When discussing the customer journey, we talk a lot about the path a customer takes and the touch points along that path where your business interacts with the customer. This path and those corresponding touch points shape the quality of the customer journey and that quality, or perceived quality, is very much influenced by your systems and processes. That is why evaluating and improving your systems and processes will lead to great things for your business, including better reviews and more referrals, and time and money savings.

In simple terms, your systems are the tools you use to help manage the customer during their journey, while your processes guide the customer along the path you want them to take. Of course, the two are very intertwined in that sometimes the system you are using will dictate the processes that interact with that system, and sometimes the process will dictate the system. The ideal situation would be where you create processes that exceed your customer’s expectations and then integrate systems that fully support those processes. Unfortunately, especially at our budget level, we usually have to use already created systems that don’t necessarily do exactly what we want.

For example, let’s say that you have a good handle on your ideal couple and know that when a couple first contacts you through your online contact form, the ideal process would be to collect 10 pieces of information, which would then allow you to properly respond to their contact request. However, your contact form on your website is only set up to collect 5 pieces of information. You could alter your process so that you collect the 5 pieces of information and then follow-up with an e-mail to collect the other 5, or you could pay someone to change your system so it collects the 10 pieces of information within the initial contact (and, P.S. risk them never even getting in touch, as asking for 10 pieces of information upfront vs 5 is overwhelming to many). Which way you go is based on figuring out the value of the additional customer happiness vs. cost of making the change. Assume changing your contact form would cost you a decent amount of money, while you could just automate a follow-up e-mail easily with no cost. Without taking customer happiness into consideration, the automated e-mail would be the obvious way to go but in our service-oriented world, the customer journey is very important, so if customer would much prefer to give the 10 pieces of information in one step or, ever more importantly, if you find a decent percentage of customers contact you and give you the first 5 pieces but never respond to the follow-up e-mail, maybe it is worth the expense to change your system.

This is why understanding your ideal client and then evaluating and changing your systems and processes to match can yield such big returns for your business over the long term.

As always, if you have any questions or need help with any of this, please feel free to contact me.