The Customer Arriving on Platform 11 is…
One of the biggest challenges to face growing businesses are silos. What I mean by silos are: groups, departments, people that start to focus on their specific area, and to some extent, ignore what else is happening in the business. This is because of a fundamental role that is missing in ALL organisations, and one I am going to let you in on…
With a small but growing business, there is little structure. Everybody is as important as the next person, and there can’t be any passengers.
As the business grows, structure appears, responsibilities get allocated, and those awful silos start popping up:
“It’s not my job.”
“That’s not my area of responsibility”
Or, worst of all…
“Well, I did my bit right.”
So, what is the role I am referring to? I call it the Customer Journey Champion (CJC). Let me explain WHY this role is so FUNDAMENTAL as your business starts to grow.
As a solopreneur and small business, we have full knowledge and understanding – from start to finish – of the entire business. We designed it after all! This end-to-end view diminishes as we grow, and the ability to provide consistent, excellent and world-class service disappears. We implement roles like sales, marketing, customer services, operations. And so, we split our once end-to-end into silos.
The role of the CJC is simple: make sure the business is looking from an outward (customer) to inward (business) position. Most companies look from an inward-out position. I recently read a great book: ‘They Ask You Answer’ and this is a fantastic example of an outward / in looking perspective. If you haven’t done so already, READ IT!
What the CJC is searching for are ‘moments of truth’ where the customer has some interaction with our business. They do this by following the simple 4 step process:
1). Examining every step to see if it helps or hinders the journey.
2). Understanding the customers’ needs.
3). Designing better solutions for both the customer and the business.
4). Getting a focus on the tangible business benefits (this isn’t wishy-washy).
Last year I presented my customer journey workshop to Nigel Botterill’s mastermind groups. It formed a major part of their mastermind journey for the coming year. I’ve since shared it with my private clients and their teams.
During the session, I tell a story of where one of the world’s largest businesses had got it wrong. The impacts could have been catastrophic, and it illustrates why it is so essential to have this role.
The story is of Doug and Sofia. Doug is an engineer in GE, and designs MRI machines that save peoples’ lives. Sofia is six-and-a-half-year-old, and a future customer of Doug’s.
The story goes like this…
Sofia has an appointment at the local hospital. Doug is there because they use his machines, and he wants to understand the end-to-end as he’d recently been on a customer experience / journey workshop.
He meets Sofia and her mum and learns what has happened to date. This is Sofia’s first visit to hospital and she is a bit scared. She hasn’t been well for some time and whilst she would rather be at school with her friends, she is sat in a hospital waiting to have her scan. As we know, hospitals are not the best for keeping appointments, so Sofia and her mum have now been sat there for several hours. And Doug is curious as to why.
Eventually, Sofia is prepared and taken to the MRI suite. As her journey develops, she is getting more and more anxious, upset and emotional. On entering the MRI suite, she sees this big machine and loses it. Now, the only way to actually get her scanned is a general aesthetic. One, to keep her still, but secondly to help manage her level of fear that has been building and building over a period of weeks, days and hours.
Doug is horrified to see this, but is mapping the behaviours, the events, the customers (Sofia and her mum’s) attitude and emotions, the people involved, and any things that are being used – the customer journey.
Right from the start when they saw her Dr – who gave Sofia and her mum an information pack – right through to receiving an appointment card, Sofia taking a day off school, and so on. Everything was being captured. Doug was no longer siloed and was experiencing everything. He even got to hear Sofia telling her friends about her experience:
“Don’t tell mummy or daddy you are ill, or you will have to go into this horrible loud, scary, machine.”
Doug realised that in his department he had done a brilliant job, as had the sales team, the marketers, and the customer service team. Even the hospital was mitigating the problems through longer appointments and general anaesthetics. But NOBODY was focused end-to- end. Doug was devastated. His machines were built to help people – but the journey was harming the effectiveness of them.
Armed with all this great information, Doug focused on areas of issues, and looked at all the people and things involved at that point.
Doug examined the impacts: more staff, time, drugs, side effects, emotional distress and potential avoidance. He also identified the customer needs: make it simple, feel safe, have the scan.
He re-examined the whole journey and asked Sofia and her school friends when they last felt safe and had fun. It was at summer camp. Then it hit him!
Why could they not turn the whole experience into a trip to camp? Create from start to finish the essence of camping? The info pack would now be a camp guide. The hospital could create a new entrance with pictures on the walls of animals. They could put all children together for appointments and create the children’s camp room. They even piped in sounds of crickets, as well as decorated the machine itself. Fundamentally, it still did its job – Scanning.
The children were now having fun, feeling safe and the business impacts were:
- More scans.
- Less costs.
- Happy customers.
- All in all, a better customer journey / experience.
Most of you reading this will think: ‘but we are not Doug.’
And the challenge was, that’s what Doug thought until he understood his customer journey.
So, who is going to be your customer journey champion?
Can I suggest initially it’s you…what you will learn will be priceless.
Jump on board and enjoy the journey.