We’re Listening Blog: Road Trip to a Better Customer Experience
What’s more important, the destination or the journey? If you have time and energy for meandering, then by all means throw out the map and take the road less traveled. But, if you’re a customer seeking help, arriving at an end point quickly and easily is your ultimate goal. While no journey is ever completely linear, too many unnecessary stops and misdirections can be painful and severely impact customer experience.
A challenge for us in Cisco Services is that we don’t always know when and where customers get lost or if they’re going in circles trying to navigate our systems and online support. Surveys are great for one-way listening and gathering feedback. But, to really understand what customers encounter when they engage with us, we have to travel with them. We do this by journey mapping, where we walk end-to-end with the customer from their first encounter of a technical issue to having an online interaction with Cisco all the way through to issue resolution.
Tracking each stage of the journey and documenting customer interactions with people and functions helps us identify weak and strong points and any obstacles that prevent transitioning to the next step. We also do an emotional check to see how customers are feeling along the way to fully understand expectations and areas where we may be under delivering.
Kurtis Yang, Senior Director of Customer Experience for Cisco Services heads up the team leading our journey map initiative and over the past 18+ months they’ve engaged with more than 200 customers and partners all around the world. Journey mapping is a time intensive exercise, and we truly appreciate our customers’ participation. We also want to make it worth their while by implementing process and behavioral improvements based on their feedback. I’ve asked Kurtis to share a few highlights about what we’ve learned and done as a result.
For Cisco Services, journey maps are a critical component of our customer understanding strategy. They serve as an outside-in tool to listen, truly understand, and learn from the customer and partner point of view. The maps provide an end-to-end view of a customer’s experience with Cisco and help us see that experience holistically, instead of in silos or channels.
Journey mapping allows us to go beyond the boundaries of standard surveys to gain unfiltered insights and connect with customers in real time through in-depth conversations. During these interactive discussions, we use sticky notes and markers to create a visual representation of the steps, interaction points, and emotional states that a customer goes through over a period of time to accomplish a specific goal with Cisco.
To date, we’ve explored journeys related to Solutions Support Delivery, Proactive Device Diagnostics, RMA, and General Technical Services Support Delivery. Based on roadblocks and pain points uncovered during the mapping exercises, we have several improvements underway.
Customers told us that opening an online request for services support is not always easy, so we’re reimagining the entire experience. Currently in pilot phase, our goal is to drastically simplify the process by reducing touch points and requests for repetitive input, and ensuring customers gain access to support as quickly as possible to resolve their network issues.
We also learned of instances where being a diverse global business can lead to communication barriers in our support centers and cause unnecessary frustration at times for our customers. In response, we’ve initiated a program to increase consistency in language standards across geographies. This will ensure our support centers speak the same business language and deliver a more seamless customer experience.
Finally, the last and most important part of journey mapping is identifying the “Moments of Truth,” which are determined by asking our customers to call out areas where Cisco has to get it right, and areas where Cisco must improve in order for them to accomplish their goals. We then elevate and prioritize these areas internally to ensure that we improve what YOU, our valued customers and partners, feel is most important.
If you’re interested in becoming part of our engagement program for future journey mapping discussions, early prototype projects, or pilot design reviews, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you to better understand your journey with Cisco Services and the areas that truly matter – our goal is to enable your business success and we look forward to supporting you better in the future.