The What, Why, and How of a Customer Journey Platform
The customer journey is now something that defines modern business. Providing a good experience is always important. In the age of social media and online reviews, where customers have more options than ever, businesses need to go above and beyond to secure their loyalty. Investing in the customer experience is a savvy business decision, as research from McKinsey shows that improving this aspect of a business increases sales revenue by 2-7%, with an overall shareholder return of 7-10%. A customer journey platform can significantly improve the overall customer experience.
A lot goes into customer satisfaction, and what defines a good or bad experience is rapidly changing. Businesses that hope to create happy customers will find they are increasing their revenue. Customers are more willing to spend more if they have a positive experience.
According to SuperOffice, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great experience.
Because there is so much the modern business needs to juggle, providing this may not always be easy. Having solutions that help manage and improve the customer experience goes a long way toward ensuring seamless customer interactions.
A customer journey platform is a software solution designed to help enterprises manage their customer flow and digitally impact the customer journey. It is a way of organizing the customer experience by moving certain aspects of it to a digital medium, where it is easier for businesses to improve their efficiency and give customers the interactions they desire. QLess is a customer journey platform with features that can help enterprises improve their customer experience to win over the modern consumer and increase customer loyalty.
Below, we’ll dive into what a customer journey platform can do to drive a stellar customer experience. But before we dive into that, let’s look at what defines a negative customer experience and a positive one. This will help show what areas a customer journey platform can improve.
What Defines a Negative Customer Experience
Every shopper has different expectations and different goals for their buying experience. If a customer walks into your store or office and leaves unhappy, this is a problem for businesses. According to Yonyx, 55% of agitated customers are willing to switch their business to a competitor. Customer experiences dictates customer retention, and you will lose customers if you consistently fail to meet their expectations. So what defines a bad experience for shoppers?
One of the most common customer complaints stems from long waits. Arduous queues with extended wait times are a universally disliked aspect of the customer journey. Customers have no patience for long and unknown wait times.
According to a QLess survey of 250 US adults, 39.4% of customers consider waiting for a business for 0-5 minutes a long time.
Customers’ patience runs very thin, and many will be frustrated if they are pushed into waits. The same QLess survey showed that 68.9% of customers would patronize a competitor’s business if it had notably shorter wait times. What’s more, 79.7% of respondents have left a business due to long wait times.
According to Statista, the three biggest causes of a negative customer experience are a lack of effectiveness in support staff, a lack of speed, and a lack of accuracy. Customers crave a fast, efficient experience where their needs are addressed with empathy and in a timely manner. Staff plays a big role in this. Your staff are a big swing factor in the customer journey. Their ability to offer open communication and efficient service will dictate customer happiness.
A lack of speed and unfriendly staff typically defines a negative buying journey. An inefficient business where customers don’t feel they are treated with friendliness will find their customer retention suffering, no matter the quality of the product or service.
What Defines a Positive Customer Experience
Okay, so now we know what to avoid. But what should businesses strive to do? With customer expectations being so fluid, staying connected to what the modern consumer is looking for can be difficult. The customer experience has evolved in recent years as technology has improved. Tech is now a key part of the typical customer journey. Let’s look at some of the modern trends that are defining aspects of a positive customer experience.
Two parts of the shopping experience that have become increasingly emphasized are convenience and personalization. In the age of Uber, DoorDash, and Amazon, customers want maximum ease of access. That is why customer convenience has become a core tenet of the modern shopping experience.
According to Nasdaq, more than 90% of consumers pick their shopping based on what is convenient to them, and 83% of consumers feel like convenience while shopping is more important now than it was five years ago.
Customers now expect personalization in their shopping journey, as well. They are not satisfied with feeling like any other shopper; they want platforms and experiences tailored to their individual preferences. Customer satisfaction is now dependent on it. According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers now expect enterprises to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% of consumers get frustrated when this isn’t the case. Customers need to feel like they are individuals on a journey that is unique to them.
Convenience and personalization are increasing in importance, and these are two areas that technology can be a huge asset. Technology has been improving the ease of access in the customer experience for years. Now, there are tools that make shopping more convenient and personalized for shoppers. One of these tools is a customer journey platform.
How a Customer Journey Platform Works
There are many things that customers universally like and dislike. It is the enterprise’s job to ensure that consumers’ preferences define the customer experience. A customer journey platform is a way for enterprises to reorient and digitize the customer experience. This makes it so that they meet the needs of the consumers they are trying to serve. But what is a customer journey platform, and how does it work?
A customer journey platform is a digital solution where enterprises can virtually organize the customer journey. These are supposed to be end-to-end solutions that allow customers to interact smoothly with enterprises. How exactly this will work depends on your specific business nature and needs. Customer journey platforms are very popular in industries ranging from government and healthcare to retail and education but they are becoming increasingly popular across all sectors.
The QLess customer journey platform has several core features designed to help enterprises control their customer journey in a friction-free, efficient way. These features include:
- A queue management system, where customers can remotely check into a virtual queue and receive real-time updates about their spot in line. With the queue software, customers don’t even have to enter a queue until they are at the front of the line.
- QLess also has appointment scheduling software that doubles as a calendar management solution. This makes it easier for customers to access and control their appointments and for staff to oversee their day-to-day.
Overall, the goal of a customer journey platform is a smoother interaction for customers from start to finish. These software solutions allow enterprises to digitally control customer flow and ensure more efficient processes. Let’s look at how a customer journey platform can positively impact the customer experience.
Improve the Efficiency and Speed of Your Operation
Customers crave quickness. They don’t want to spend a long time in check-in or check-out lines and sit in crowded waiting rooms. Customers also don’t want to have to wait a long time to speak to a customer representative. Yet, staff can’t be everywhere at once and wait times are a seemingly inevitable byproduct of demand exceeding supply. However, with a customer journey platform, enterprises can now increase their speed and ensure they are meeting the pace of service customers expect.
The QLess customer journey platform helps reduce wait times and improve speed, leading to happier customers. QLess has been found to increase customer satisfaction rates by up to 100%, and a big reason is reduced waiting times.
With QLess, enterprises have a customer flow management solution that will lead to a faster line process. When customers join the virtual queue, they are put in line according to the business’s configured policies. Enterprises can create lines according to service type, employee handling the service, and whether or not the customer has an appointment. The customer journey management platform will then automate the line accordingly.
This means staff no longer have to be responsible for organizing customer queues, which removes human error. It is now automated by a highly efficient AI system that will lead to a faster line. And because companies can set their own line policies, it is highly customizable to fit the needs of different businesses.
The QLess software also includes a smart, adjustable digital calendar that will help boost staff productivity. Staff can view an appointment calendar that shows them everything they have scheduled for the day. They can move the calendar around, make tweaks, and better structure their day-to-day. This helps employees with workflow visibility, ensuring they have a clearer sense of everything they need to do. This will lead to more efficient and productive employees, which increases the speed of service for customers.
Make Strides in Customer Convenience
The modern consumer does what is easiest for them. We’ve broken down how convenience is one of the hallmarks of an excellent customer experience. This trend is only continuing to grow. Technology has given consumers instant access to so much. Now they expect their purchases to be straightforward and as easy as possible. If you want loyal customers, prioritizing convenience along throughout their customer journey is a must.
According to Pollfish, 97% of customers have abandoned a purchase because it wasn’t convenient enough.
QLess is a way for enterprises to dramatically improve customer convenience by transforming the queuing experience. With the QLess customer journey platform, queues go from a frustrating aspect of the consumer journey to a convenient process without stress or anxiety. The QLess queuing software allows customers to remotely enter a virtual queue and see a forecast of their projected wait time. Customers receive SMS updates as they are moved through the line and are able to know with clarity when they need to arrive at the front of the line.
The virtual queue has a simple user experience that customers of all backgrounds will appreciate. Customers will often abandon purchases due to inconvenient lineups, but a big reason is that the waiting experience can be so suffocating. But with QLess software, your customers can wait how they want. They can remotely enter a line, check the wait time, and enjoy a coffee from their local coffee shop before strolling to the front of the line when it is their turn.
Physical queues are a major obstacle to customer convenience. The QLess digital queue management system provides enterprises with software that removes the need for long physical lineups. With a smooth user interface and remote check-ins that maximize customer convenience, this software helps enterprises create more satisfied customers by transforming the waiting process.
End-to-End Communication and Transparency With a Customer Journey Platform
One thing that can’t be overlooked in the customer journey is the value of communication. Customers emphasize personalization as one of their biggest priorities, and communication is a major component. Entering a store or office can often feel very impersonal, particularly when there are long waits and overburdened staff.
According to Startup Bonsai, 63% of consumers won’t purchase from businesses with poor personalization.
Enterprises need a tool capable of improving their communication to give customers the level of personalization and interaction they desire. That is where a customer journey platform can help.
QLess offers a customer journey platform with embedded communication features designed to help enterprises connect better with their customers. Our platform’s features are created to help you manage the back-and-forth with customers in a scalable way. It includes the ability to:
- Send personalized messages to individual customers.
- Schedule automated messages to a specific group of customers.
- Send a message to an entire lineup at one time. This will help enterprises communicate delays, request information, and create a more communicative shopping experience.
Customers can also message businesses through these features, so it is an impactful tool for elevating customer engagement. Your customers can message the business if they are running late for an appointment, ask questions about products, and more. These tools are a more direct form of customer interaction, as customers don’t have to wait in line to speak with staff. It helps foster a better customer relationship and improves transparency.
Customers don’t want to feel like a number or just another shopper. They want to feel like an individual. Stores and offices that manage to personalize their experience through improved communication will find customers respond extremely well to this. Communication and transparency help businesses foster connections, and QLess’ customer journey platform helps businesses provide communication at scale.
An Omnichannel Customer Experience
How customers purchase products or receive services has changed as technology has improved. Customers are now so reliant on digital technologies that they expect them to be integrated into every aspect of their lives, from purchasing clothes at an outlet store to checking into the doctor’s office. That is why the omnichannel approach has become a staple of businesses in recent years. This is when enterprises seek to alter the customer experience by adding multiple channels, including both physical and virtual ones. This change is something customers are in favor of.
According to the Harvard Business Review, a study of 46,000 consumers showed that omnichannel customers offer more value to businesses, and data from Clerk.io showed that 73% of consumers prefer omnichannel shopping.
So not only do consumers like shopping through multiple channels, but it is better for businesses when they do. Some enterprises have been late adopters of this trend, but it looks like something that will define the next several decades of the shopping experience. Businesses need digital touchstones to help them connect with customers who prefer multiple channels in their shopping experience.
QLess helps enterprises add a mobile component, creating an omnichannel experience. QLess has mobile applications which customers can download and access on their phones and use as part of their shopping journey. Customers can contact staff, schedule appointments, and enter virtual queues from their phones. There is also a desktop version of QLess, but the application works best for the mobile-driven shopper. A mobile app will create a virtual aspect of your customer experience that augments the physical.
Omnichannel shopping is a trend heavily indicative of consumers’ preference for using tech while shopping. Customers of all ages have smartphones and spend a significant portion of their days on these devices, so it is only natural they would want them integrated into their in-store or office experience.
Give Your Customers a Voice in Their Journey
If you are seeking ways to improve the consumer experience, one group of people can tell you how to do that better than anyone else: your customers. While many businesses invest resources in creating a smoother buyer journey and a better overall experience, they forget that their customers possess the best insights into what their business needs to improve. Your customers have gone through the appointment or purchase process and can illustrate ways for you to enhance them. You just need a way to hear them out.
The QLess customer journey platform has customer feedback tools designed to help enterprises better understand what their customers think.
With this software, businesses can send pulse surveys to customers, which show up in the form of an SMS link after the customer leaves the store or finishes their appointment. Businesses can choose the questions they want to ask their customers, send the survey, and store the results. Customer responses can help enterprises determine what they need to change to improve their operations.
If a significant portion of your customer base is informing you that they are unhappy with the check-in process, that staff have been slow to address their needs, or that they were confused about how to find the office, this is all crucial information to have. Listening to your customers can help you find flaws in your process that may have been overlooked. The discovery phase is a crucial initial component of improvement, and if your customers indicate that some aspects of your enterprise aren’t working for them, this is important to be aware of.
Customer feedback is hugely important for businesses. It shows them where they stand in the eyes of their customers. The QLess customer journey platform includes feedback features that enable businesses to analyze the feedback of their customer base to identify and address problems in their processes.
Key Takeaways on Utilizing a Customer Journey Platform
Customer happiness is an integral component of longevity for a business. Happy customers come back, and retention is the difference between life and death for any business. However, consumers’ expectations from businesses are sky-high. The limitless options in the market have given consumers the ability to be picky, so enterprises now need to go above and beyond to ensure they are offering the experience their customers desire.
The difference between a positive and negative customer experience can be hard to differentiate, but the biggest factors are limiting wait times, enhancing convenience, and using communication to drive personalization. For an enterprise hoping to stand out to consumers, a customer journey platform like QLess can help drive the positive, friction-free experience consumers crave.
QLess has an array of core features that make it easier than ever for enterprises to digitally streamline the customer journey and create better results. With queue management software, a smart calendar, and communication features, enterprises are improving efficiency and adding an important digital channel to their business. In a world where customers are more empowered than ever, the QLess software is helping enterprises meet and exceed sky-high customer expectations.