Start Up / New to Business, Strategy

Be Talked About for all the Right Reasons

How often do you have a subpar experience as a customer?  When this happens do you believe you know what should have been done to make your experience better?  Ever put yourself in your customer’s shoes to ensure that your business is delivering a great experience?

We’re all told in business to put in place processes that ensure the smooth running of our business.  Often when putting these in place we think of how to make our staff’s and our lives that little bit easier and sometimes we forget the most important person in our business…the customer.  So how can you ensure that your customers are front of mind when documenting your business processes, simple, use a Service Blueprint.

A Service Blueprint is a document that brings the customer’s experience to life.  It represents the touch points and channels that customers experience when interacting with your business (the customer journey) together with what happens “backstage” and the required support actions that allow the customer journey to take place.

The elements of the Blueprint are quite simple, there are dividing lines to separate customer interactions, visibility and internal interactions as well as swim lanes of information.

THE 3 LINES OF INTERACTION ARE:

  1. The line of interaction:  The point at which customers and the service interact.
  2. The line of visibility: The customer cannot see into the service process beyond this line.
  3. The line of internal interaction: This is where support processes or partners step in.

IN BETWEEN THE LINES ABOVE ARE 5 MAIN SWIM LANES – THESE CAPTURE THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE SERVICE:

  1. Physical Evidence: The props and places that are used along the customer journey.  Items such as signage, waiting rooms, forms, physical products, shopfronts, and shop floors should be represented here.
  2. Customer Actions: The things the customer has to do to access the service or product.  Without these actions, no sale takes place.  Think parking, menu reading, viewing the product, placing an order, paying your business, and taking delivery.
  3. Frontstage: All the people, activities and physical evidence the customer sees whilst going on the service journey with your business.
  4. Backstage: All the things required to produce the service that the customer doesn’t see.
  5. Support Processes:  These are the actions that support the service

You may like to add in additional lanes that are relevant to your business.  Things like time or quality measures.

Once you’ve drafted your blueprint, take a step back and consider the customer pain points or items that you might improve that will have a big impact on the customer experience.  Also consider where you might be able to realign processes to provide cost savings or increased profits (without diminishing the customer experience).  Finally, don’t forget high impact moments that you need to maintain.

If you deliver multiple services or customer can purchase from you in different ways (e.g. shopfront and online) then it’s a good idea to map each experience out on its own blueprint.  You could also break down the experience pre and post purchase too if you wanted to go that extra step.  For example, if customers pull into a parking lot off a busy road, you might want to upgrade your signage or talk to your landlord about upgrading driveways.

Before you next make a change to the way your business interacts with customers, be sure to pull out your blueprint and ask the question “how will this affect the customer experience?”

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