5 Key Steps for Building the Architecture for the Customer Experience Journey

Here's what you need to know to start building the architecture needed to set a customer-experience transformation in motion.

by John Godwin

Now that you have mapped your customer experience journey, and you’ve taken the time (and researched) to better understand your customer, it’s time to put together the architecture to set a customer-experience transformation in motion.

Build the vision.

The architecture of your customer journey begins with a vision statement of what you want your CX to be. A vision statement differs from an overall organizational mission statement in that it does and should change over time. A vision statement offers a compelling description of the future state of the organization. Back in the 80s, for example, Microsoft saw a vision of a future with a PC on every desk in the home. That vision has clearly shifted over time, evolving as mobile devices arrived and the internet changed how software is delivered. The company and its overall mission – “to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential” - remains steadfast.

For customer experience, it is critical to create a vision of how the customers will:

  • Talk to the company
  • Think and feel about the company
  • Talk to others about the company
  • Interact with the company

Once the vision has been articulated, you can begin to build the target experience.

Create the CX narrative.

If the existing emotion is negative, how do you turn it into a positive? Pardon the sci-fi speak, but it’s true: customer experience happens in your customer’s mind – in the perceptions customers have of you, and the interactions they have with your organization. We can control processes and technology that elicit the emotions we want, but we cannot control emotions themselves.

As an organization, we are most interested in the emotions of the customer, because if we can make people feel good, and give them a good experience, they will respond positively and continue to come back for more. By positively impacting customer emotion, you can positively impact the bottom line.

Once the vision and narrative is in place, it’s time to start layering in the capabilities required to make good CX happen. 

Create a capabilities matrix.

Once you have an idea of how you want the experience to look and feel, you need to create that experience from inside your organization. What processes, people, or technology are required to bring your CX vision to life?

Designing and delivering thoughtful CX requires tight integration across three important layers – experience, process, and technology.

Each interaction during the customer journey involves one or multiple channels that will touch the business process and technology layers. 

If the new experience requires delivering an email to the customer what do you need to do? Collect the addresses (where do you get them?), build the automation platform, write the emails, personalize with content. Irrespective of service or communications channel, there are steps, costs and resources required along the way.

It’s important, at this stage, to understand that customer experience is cross-functional, and a responsibility of everyone in the organization - not just those customer-facing teams. Your customers cannot see org structure or your disparate processes and technologies. To affect meaningful change, you must understand what enables or hinders those experiences.

The capabilities matrix outlines each capability and how it is delivered, whether person, process or technology.

We call this step “operationalizing the customer journey.” Even if you can’t control a person’s emotions, you can control the processes and technologies that stir them. We must define the channels to reach the customer, how we talk to the customer, and who says it, and when.

This is also where big data comes into play. You’ve invested in collecting information and storing it, and now it’s time to make that data available to your customer at the right time. Uses for big data may include: 

  • Making product recommendations to customers
  • Identifying patterns in common customer issues, and becoming proactive in stopping issues before they manifest
  • Identification of new innovative product features

At this point, costs and budget should also be considered. If we are going to deliver a great experience, how do we make sure we do so profitably? Improvements should not come at a net loss– in fact, the goal is to deliver what the customer wants at a profit, and thus improve operations over time.

To that end, you must also measure whether your transformation has been impactful. So you must… 

…Set metrics.

How can you know what kind of experience you have created, or if it has any impact? Set metrics for each step in the customer experience. For six tips on creating actionable CX metrics, see my previous blog post on the subject.

Build the Roadmap.

When you know what you need to do, now you need a way to get there. The roadmap provides a visual charter for the entire team, showing key activities and an overall plan for the approach. The roadmap is where you get to the very tactical pieces of change that occur in order to deliver on the initial vision.

The CX roadmap brings it all together –outlining the technologies you will use, the processes required, and allocating the investment, people, and tools needed to get the job done.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach for creating great CX. But if you take time up front to understand your customer and build an architecture that will fulfill their needs, you can create a more efficient and effective CX transformation.

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John Godwin
John Godwin
Customer Service Lead
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