Advancements in digital technologies have placed more power in the hands of the customer and shifted their expectations. This has resulted in an overall switch from product to service to value delivery – and this does not end with external customers, but extends to internal employee expectations, as well.
Think of how our interactions as a consumer with brands have changed from single transactions, such as buying clothes and CDs or renting movies, towards subscription models that enable access to all of these products when, where, and how we want them. In the era when everything is “as-a-service”, service desk teams must adapt to the shifted expectations that come out of the consumer world by focusing on outcomes and value, rather than outputs.
Delivering on these expectations requires a well-oiled machine in which all the parts are aligned and working together to create a great customer experience for external customers and internal employees. An important and tangible step in crafting the experience is to clearly define the customer journey.
Mapping a customer journey means looking at the experience from a client’s or customer’s perspective. First, we need to define who the customer is, so we will need to create a customer persona.
Create a fictional person but make them as real as possible by answering the following questions:
- Who are you supporting?
- What is their preferred way of interacting with you (phone, email, chat, in-person)?
- What are their pain points?
- What problem are you solving for them?
- What are their main goals and motivators?
You can gather these answers by using data you already have out of your service management platform, or by simply talking to your clients, service desk agents, and anyone else who has regular interactions with them. Document these personas and consider creating a few different personas so that you can make sure to answer the unique needs of a few variations. For customers of the service desk, the personas should be based on employees and their day-to-day functions.
There is a potential pitfall when creating your customer persona: creating too many. Remember, for every persona you will create a customized customer journey to live up to their expectations. Don’t overdo it on how many journeys you will need to create. Instead, find common ground and focus on what’s important to know for what you want to achieve. Leave out what does not matter to limit the number of personas you create.
The customer journey is defined as the entire process in which a customer (which in this case is an employee) interacts with the service desk. This journey is not as simple or as linear of a process as it may have been in the past. Rather, it is a more circular journey because customers are more empowered, have alternatives to solve their issues, and have access to knowledge they may not have had in prior years.
So, where do you start with creating the customer journey? By using the data that you collected when creating the personas.
To start, map out all the interactions and touchpoints the employee has with the service desk. Look at things like what actions they take, what channels they use to communicate with you, and their pain points. Analyze the emotion of the customer at every touchpoint; this will help you identify which parts of the customer journey they find stressful so that you can pinpoint where to alleviate the tension.
Next, after identifying touchpoints and tension areas, you can start improving the experience by honing in on these topics, which were similar to what you may have considered when crafting the personas, but which are now focused on every part of the journey:
What goal is the customer trying to reach?
Critically review if what you are doing in their journey is adding value towards accomplishing that goal.
What kinds of information do we need to provide through which medium at what time, and how do we smoothen out the omnichannel experience?
You want to empower your customers. You want to provide them with what they need at each stage. Personas will help you determine which method is best, be it self-service, personal contact, video, text, or phone call. Then you can optimize the channels that are preferred to streamline the experience. Further, it should be easy to switch from one channel to another. For instance, it should be seamless to start with chat and switch to phone call, remote support, email, or another form of communication.
Does the customer understand us?
It can be easy to assume that everyone contacting the service desk knows what every program or action is called. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Ask yourself, are we using specific jargon that is confusing them? If so, how can you simplify and communicate more clearly?
What are the key touchpoints?
We touched on touchpoints earlier, but these are the “moments of truth” when if you do not deliver, you can lose your customer. You can end up with a bad image and, even worse, your customers might look for an alternative way to get their solutions in the future (shadow ITSM). Keep in mind that there is no need to wow the client at each point, but these key touchpoints do require that extra focus.
Where do the improvements on touchpoints fit in the overall experience?
Make sure to look at the journey from a holistic view; don’t only focus on improving touchpoints by themselves, but keep the end-to-end journey in mind.
Altogether, using these questions and the customer personas you created earlier in the exercise, you can consider the full journey from first point of contact to resolution in order to break the journey into stages to improve each stage.
The evolution of customer’s expectations has resulted in the need for the service desk to focus on value delivery by actively reviewing the types of services that are offered and how they are appreciated by the customers. By focusing on the value for the customer, you will simultaneously create an emotional connection which will foster improved loyalty.
Gaining insights into the customer’s mind and goals, and understanding their journey is important, whether you are working to refine the experience of an employee or an external customer. Mapping the customer journey gives you insight in missing links or pain points, and gives you the ability to customize the customer experience by delivering exactly on what they want. Making sure that we can (over)deliver at the moments of truth will give that emotional connection and will thus create a personalized experience for each customer during every interaction. And it is exactly that emotional connection that will propel your service desk’s customers from being satisfied to becoming loyal fans.
Nancy Louisnord is the Chief Marketing Officer of EasyVista, responsible for the company’s global and regional marketing programs and product marketing strategy.
With more than 14 years of global leadership experience in the ITSM software industry, she is a sought-after presenter at conferences and contributor to several leading industry publications.
EasyVista is a global software provider of intelligent service automation solutions for enterprise service management and self-help. Leveraging the power of
, AI, and Micro Apps to create customer-focused service experiences, EasyVista has helped companies improve employee productivity, reduce operating costs, and increase customer satisfaction. To learn more about EasyVista, visit