You can't skip steps along the customer journey.
About a year ago, my wife and I hired a company to clean the upholstery on some furniture. After the cleaning, we never heard a word from the company... until now... one year later.
A post card arrived in the mail, reminding us that it was time to clean our upholstery again, and encouraging us to "call them soon." We weren't particularly happy with the job that the company did, but like so many consumers, we never took the initiative to tell them about it. And like so many companies, they never took the step to ask us.
But they were certainly sure to ask for our business again, a year later.
A customer journey is a series of steps. And each of those steps should lead toward a destination that's beneficial for the seller and the buyer. But along the journey, you can't skip steps.
That's what the upholstery cleaning company did - they skipped the all-important step of asking the customer how they did; did they exceed the customer's expectations; did they deliver the goods, as far as the customer was concerned. If not, why not? What should they have done better? How can they make it right, to immediately raise that level of customer delight?
Asking for customer feedback is a critical step along the customer journey, because it accomplishes three important things:
- It tells you what you need to continue doing, and do more of.
- It tells you what you need to stop doing, or do less of.
- It tellls the customer that you care, and makes a deposit into the "emotional bank account."
Asking for feedback is just one step among many, along the customer journey. Each of the steps has a specific purpose in getting you to your destination.
The key point is this:
Map out the journey, and identify each of the steps along the way, understand the purpose of each step, and be sure to hit every one, with each customer.
When you skip steps along the journey, you're in danger of ending up at the wrong destination.
What customer journies have you been on lately, where a step was skipped? What effect did it have on the outcome?