These are the small steps that your customers take as they move through their journey with you. Your customer is already mentally grading you on every interaction (or lack of interaction) they have with your company, and this cumulative grade makes up his or her perceived “experience” with you.
If it’s remarkably good or bad (either way), it might become a published review. If it’s somewhere in between, it might become a mental note that resurfaces when someone asks for a related recommendation.
“They’re a little more expensive, but it was a fantastic experience.”
“They were the cheapest, and now I know why.”
“They didn’t have what I was looking for, but they actually helped me find something even better.”
In these examples, you can lose the big thing but win the little things, and the overall experience is positive. However, if you win the big thing and lose the little things, it’s a negative experience. Of course, you want both, but you NEED the little things.
Before you can improve the small steps in your customer’s journey, you have to figure out what those steps are. You’ll already be aware of some of these steps, because you have direct involvement (answering an email or phone call). However, there will be more steps that you are not directly involved in and are likely unaware of.
Map out the entire process, starting with the things you already know, and fill in the blanks by having conversations with customers about what steps they took. It feels weird, but when you explain that you’re trying to improve the process, they’ll appreciate your effort.
This will give you a roadmap of things you can improve upon.
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