Saving the Customer Experience

See the customer. Be the Customer. Map the Journey.

Customer Journey Mapping

Customer Journey Mapping is something every company with customers should do. Not only does it give you insight into the minds and decision processes of your clients, it benefits your clients by providing them with the answers and resources for every question about your business and the hesitations they may have. By learning what they’ll need to make a decision or to become a loyal customer, you’re making their life- and yours- much easier.

I’m going to trust that you have a customer journey map, that it’s been well planned and researched, and that it is monitored and analyzed for optimization. If you don’t, my colleagues Mary Carter and Deanna Peiffer have crafted a savvy case study detailing the ins and outs of Customer Journey Mapping. Go grab it. I’m also going to assume that, as it’s bound to happen, your customers experience some pain or friction at various stages of that journey. A pain point can come at any time along the path and for a multitude of reasons. The way you go about fixing that pain point will lead to better outcomes for both you and your customer. Using the five steps outlined below, you will be able to quickly dissect the situation and turn a rough patch for your customer into a better experience with your brand.

The Process

The first step to a better experience is to decide where in the customer journey your pain point occurs.  There are 6 common steps associated with customer journey:


Discovery → Consideration → Purchase → Use → Adopt → Advocate

Whatever your company calls these stages, you have to find out which one is giving dissatisfaction. The earlier on in the process, the less you might know about your customer, but a fix might be smaller in scope to get them back on track. A ZenDesk survey surmised that 66 percent of B2B customers stopped buying after a single bad customer service interaction

Now that you know where the problem falls for the customer, let’s figure out where it falls within your company. Is the pain point at odds with the company’s values or mission statement? The stakeholders in charge of outlining the customer journey map should handle that problem, as it relates to persona building at the core of the map. Is there a gap in what the customer is expected to do vs. what they are doing? That issue refers back to the process you’ve outlined, possibly by your digital strategy or marketing team. Problems can also lie in the information you are delivering (your content team) or the technology the customer interacts with (your IT team). Knowing who owns or can produce the salve to this pain point will speed its resolution.

You know now where this pain point is internally and externally; let’s focus on what kind of pain point it is. By that I mean, is it an emotional issue for the customer? Does it have to do with their relationship with the company? Maybe there is a sticking point at the time of transaction, an issue with their physical interaction with the company or brand, or they don’t feel that their loyalty is being acknowledged. These are four main areas in which we can break down how the customer may be experiencing pain, and to address is appropriately, you need to know which one.

Where Data Reigns

This next step is an extra piece in the process that, depending on your level of customer data, you might be able to take advantage of. Once you’ve determined the kind of pain point, let’s look at what kind of interaction this pain point is occurring in. The interaction could be a basic transaction– maybe their shopping cart doesn’t save from site visit to visit, or they physically have to repeat their customer number over and over again into your phone system. Customers could be having an issue with the knowledge base or content you’re providing, or struggling further along in the journey and becoming dissatisfied with a loyalty-based interaction. Whichever interaction it is, you’ve now uncovered where it is, for both you and the customer, what it is, and how it’s occurring.

Set Priorities

This final step will teach you how to best manage the resolution of your customer pain point in the most beneficial way for them. A recent webinar I attended broke down how to prioritize dealing with pain points along the customer journey. The first points to fix are ones that dissatisfy your customer. You might argue that any pain point rattles your customer, but by this I mean the quick fixes, the items that stick out almost as a “how did we not notice this before?” kind of pain point. These are quick, easy wins that will go far to smooth out your customers’ experience and deliver maximum ROI for the company.

The next issues to address are those that inhibit loyalty. This kind of issue keeps them from being habitual users or purchasers and pulls customers away from your brand instead of turning them into adopters and advocators. Once you’ve dealt with those first two types of pain points, you can then attend to the more exceptional, experience-enhancing type of features that customers enjoy, but don’t demand. Beware, though, of refreshing your outlook on what constitutes each kind of fix – as time passes and your customer and technology evolve, what you once considered a perk might now be a ‘must’ to attract new customers.

Each customer pain point is unique and deserves the proper consideration (and research!) of how to mend it. The better you know your customer and can anticipate their wants and needs, the more enjoyable and delightful that customer’s experience will be. But when they wander astray from that journey to Utopia, use these five steps to get them back on track.