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Chapter 2 - Customer Journey Optimization: Lean Operations in the Age of Customer Centricity

The business world has been buzzing about customer journeys and customer centricity for years now without widespread results. There are certainly innovators across various industries that have drastically re-invented business operations in support of customer experience (consider Zappos, Amazon, Citizen M). Yet in spite of the broad interest in this topic, the average organization has only seen limited results from their customer experience initiatives. To gain further insight into customer journey optimization, Mavim initiated research into our own customer base to understand the challenges they faced in optimizing customer experience and what led them to choose for Mavim. Here are the four primary roadblocks Mavim customers identified that impeded previous efforts to delivering a better customer experience.

Organizational Silos

Silos develop from an inside-out approach to value production. In essence, silos developed as an organizational design choice based upon what was most convenient for the organization. Yet, there is a clear problem here. Organizations don’t exist for themselves – they exist for their customers. In many cases, silos were created as a means to help companies coordinate activities in order to create efficiency within the business unit. It is more convenient for the organization that department x works together because they have overlapping roles and functions, but silos often stand in the way of an organization being able to harness the necessary knowledge and expertise across internal boundaries in a way that customers value. In essence, silos serve a purpose – but that purpose is not customer-centric. What is worse, the efficiency gained by working in silos is often counteracted by the lag time that is created when the baton is passed in between business units.

No Holistic Customer View

While many organizations understand the importance of customer and business intelligence, they fail to leverage it as a strategic asset. A wealth of information can be found in customer contact centers – both in CRM/case management systems as well as among the members of customer-facing teams. However, most of this information is stored in separate databases that aren’t shared across all silos. We’ve all been there – as a loyal customer, the last thing you want to do is repeat standard details and preferences that you know have been stored multiple times.

Siloed Data Analysis

CRM systems can be excellent tools to help provide a snapshot of the customer journey. It can indicate the general preferences and behavior of your customer, including what they are buying, when they are buying it, and when they choose to leave for a competitor. These systems can be extremely helpful for optimizing customer touchpoints. However, to be able to optimize the customer journey, organizations need to be able to take a holistic view to data analysis. For instance, a sales department could generate reports indicating high numbers for a new product launch. That seems to be great news for the organization until this information is connected to the service department – who are also seeing high numbers of customer contacts due to confusion about how to use the product.

Lots of Data, Lack of Context

The market demand for customer centricity fueled the proliferation of tools aimed to solve a discrete part of the need. These range from standard CRM packages to customer experience management software down to best of breed social listening tools. Most organizations have more than enough tools to help them measure, map and report on what the customer is doing, thinking and feeling at any given moment. But what most organizations lack is context. If all it took was measuring every step the customer took, few organizations would still struggle to optimize the customer journey. True customer journey management requires not only customer experience data, but a strong (visual) representation of how that experience can be squared with the organization’s operating model. This will allow for better root cause analysis about how certain customer issues arose, but will also empower business leaders to make decisions that will drive serious business impact.

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