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Many Customers = Many Journeys
Use of the “customer journey map” is growing as industries recognize more fully the value of understanding and responding to their customers’ unique needs and demands. Utility companies are learning from those entities and those that intentionally investigate their customers’ uses and preferences are gaining much more than just happy customers. They’re also engaging community partners in their quest to meet the demands of changing rules and regulations around energy generation and usage. If your utility company would benefit from a more fully engaged customer base, creating a customer journey map can help you achieve that goal.
Customer Journey Maps Capture Customer Experience
From the consumer side, journey mapping can reveal where customer service systems present barriers that frustrate customers. From the utility side, a customer journey map offers insights into consumer experiences across the enterprise that can be used to tailor services and practices in response to those preferences. Consequently, to gain the best understanding of how your utility company responds to its consumers, best practice suggests mapping a series of customer journeys, each designed to reveal specific data about specific company and customer interactions. With this information, your enterprise can rework its customer engagement activities to improve both their satisfaction and your bottom line.
Designing the Journey
Begin at the Beginning
Because each journey map intends to clarify an individual process or experience, its design needs to capture data relevant to that inquiry. The researchers at eSource identify three types of journeys, each of which offers a different set of insights:
- The emotional journey, usually related to complaints
- The brand-building journey, which clarifies what customers want so the utility can provide those services
- The company cost-saving journey, which clarifies consumer preferences for self-service and other automated options to reduce expenses without eroding customer service or satisfaction
Take It Step by Step
Remember that every journey is designed to ease the customer’s trek through company sectors, so decisions should incorporate those intuitive and logical steps that carry the consumer from their entry into and their exit from the process.
- Where the customer starts their journey depends on what they want at that moment. If they’re signing up for new services, the map should reflect how they find all the options available, including payment options. If they’re making a complaint about services, the map will reflect whether those processes add or reduce stress to the process.
- The maps will also show how well existing services flow from one to another. Offering options without a clear route (button to push) to attain and implement them will confound many consumers.
- Maps will also reveal the location of dead or dormant elements of the customer service system, based on a lack of consumer engagement with that area. If the purpose of the map is to improve the consumer’s journey, then data related to only those areas where customers actually go are relevant to the company in the long run.
Launching the Journey Mapping Process
While your utility relies on its customers to stay in business, its actual business is to provide them with services, not produce technically sophisticated customer journey maps. For that process, your best practice is to partner with a technology company.
At Datavail, we use our utility customers’ information to structure the apps and programming that respond directly to the needs of their customers, whether those are to improve the complaint or outage reporting process, speed online payments, or add or cancel services. Just like your utility customers are important to you, as our customer, your utility company is important to us. You can read more about how we serve our utility enterprise customers in our white paper, Utility Customer Engagement Begins with Journey Mapping or contact us.