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Charting the Customer Journey on Fair Experiences to build Trust

Though uncertainty and the unexpected might set the tone for business at the moment, the vital importance of the customer journey is a constant. The components of the customer journey have been evolving constantly, from one-on-one physical interaction to various channels of communication, which translates into a more complex mix of moving parts for a business to manage.

The Customer Journey is Crucial

Fast-forward to today. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, a product business or a service business, and so on, you have multiple touchpoints with your customers: email, text messages, websites, online stores, apps, and social media in addition to whatever old-school touchpoints still apply. The customer journey is more diffused than ever before.

At the same time, a customer’s experience with you is as important as ever, if not more so. As a PwC survey shows, a smooth, outstanding customer journey can redefine your business as a premium offering, with customers ready to pay as much as a 16% premium for a superior experience. The same survey indicates that 32% of all customers will reject a once-favored brand after a single negative experience.

What Matters: the Experience

Across the customer journey what matters most is their experience. From the customer’s point of view, everything a business does while interacting with them, adds to the experience. This perspective is key. Sometimes, things that look great from the business perspective don’t look as rosy from the customer’s experience.

For example, many businesses jump on the trend of using a customer service chatbot. This is often seen as a kind of cure-all for customer service. In reality, frustrating experiences with a chatbot can outweigh the advantages - high value customers or older customers often resent being fobbed off with an automated process. The customer perspective turns out to differ from the business’ perception.

What Defines a Great Customer Experience?

All experiences around a business either builds trust or erodes it. And this vital trust capital is nurtured by a key factor: fair experiences. So where does the customer experience happen, and what makes it good or bad? To answer the first half of the question: across multiple places, real and virtual. As for the second half, here are some key aspects worth pondering. Does a business deliver the value it promised or is there a gap? Is it consistent in doing so? Are customers consistently treated with due care and consideration, with their perspectives valued and their needs accommodated? Are the business’ practices inclusive and accessible to all groups of customers? Is there transparency in all customer-facing processes or does the customer feel lost, navigating voice menus and trying to feed their request through multiple channels and chatbots?

Fairness at the heart of what matters most

There are many other ways we can extrapolate on these dimensions of the customer experience. But they all boil down to one simple element: fairness. It’s primarily about, has the business delivered on its brand's promise both explicit and implicit? When there is a sense that this promise has been kept then the customer has indeed received what we define as fair experience. These fair experiences, multiplied across different customer personas and interactions, build up immense trust capital - the surest foundation for sustained business success.

Fair experiences resound across the ecosystem

And fairness to customers hinges on other stakeholder experiences. It’s an interconnected web. Employees who experience fairness are more receptive and responsive in their interactions with customers. A business that deals fairly with vendors and suppliers are in a position to leverage positive supply chain relationships to go the extra mile for customers. When investors have trust in a business that is known for fairness, they prioritise to power initiatives that result in better offerings and better customer experiences.

In our wired world, customers are more connected than ever before to your business. At the same time, they’re more demanding, with the ease of searching for options, and more empowered to broadcast negative experiences. With a growing demand out of organisation’s citizenship role, customers expect businesses to do more than pay lip service to stakeholder value creation. Are you poised to turn this challenge into an opportunity? Is your business geared up to listen to what different customer personas are saying, to empower your frontline team to gather direct insights, to embed transparency and deliver consistently to make the journey more meaningful, to enlist all key players across the customer journey spectrum truly as partners ? Are we ready to take the customer experience to the next level, where customers too become co-creators, as we weave their feedback into an outstanding customer journey?

Find out more about Fair Stakeholder Experiences, FSx and how it underpins a culture that delivers value and win-win for your customers across their journey beyond NPS.

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