Journey to the Center of the Customer Experience (PLUS! Improving One-to-One Customer Communications)

Customers expect an experience with a company nowadays. It's not enough to just evaluate the product or service alone. People want the whole package- the Beyoncé kind of model/actress/singer triple threat of products. This experience starts with the ease of signing up, moves on to the design and aesthetics of a product, and follows through with each communication or message you have with your customer. The best way to assess if your customer experience is resonating is through one-to-one communications. However, most businesses don’t have the capability to reach out to each of their customers all the time. So being able to reach out to them at the “right” times and provide an easy way for your customers to get help when they need it most is critical to their Experience. Yes, with a capital “E.”

At our company Talu, we are in the early stages of developing our product and the customer experience that goes along with that, so having feedback early and often is critical. We have limited time and resources so we want to make sure we are spending it creating the best experience for our customers.

When we first launched to our group of about 50 Private Beta customers, we were able to reach out to them directly and set up time to receive feedback. However, as we moved to our Public Beta, the number of people started to increase too dramatically for our small team to interact with.

Our solution was to implement another software product called Intercom. Intercom is a communication tool that allows us to quickly scale how we interact and get feedback with our customers. Intercom was easy to install and get started due to our previous “tagging” and “analytics” setup we did in our application using Segment (see Journal article "Iterate on your metrics....or else).

Intercom provides us with an in-app chat box so customers can directly reach us. This alone has been very helpful, but there are a lot of great solutions out there that do that well. What worked best for us was setting up triggered events so we could proactively reach out to our customers when they did something within our application. Because everyone likes a friendly non-threatening, "Hey, how you doin'."

We started to use Intercom for essential tasks such as:

- On-boarding information for the product
- Product Support
- New feature updates or pointing out existing features not yet used
- Product feedback
- Interacting with customers during our free trial period
- Segmenting customers into groups to better help and track what they need

The most important thing about setting up Intercom for us was learning that we had to map out the entire customer experience. This process was super insightful. It made us think through at what points it would be helpful for us to get feedback from our customers and when those customers might want or need information or support from us.

Mapping out this process helped us set up Intercom the right way. Intercom is an “event” based system so the key is to understand what “events" trigger communication either out to the client, in app, or provide opportunities for the client to provide feedback to us. Once you map out all these “events” it is easy to use Intercom to set up different types of automated messages based on these events, or segment customers based on groupings of events.

For example (Of course we have examples. We're not monsters.):

As our clients onboard into our free trial, approximately 50% don’t move through the full sign-up process. If we see a user come into our application and they don’t fill out the process within 24 hours, this triggers an event in Intercom so we can see if the customer needs help.

On the flip side of this, we reach out to customers that have made it through our process and started using the system to get some initial feedback and see if they have questions. Our “event” trigger for this is when a customer first sees a report from our system as this is the first time they get value from our product, and/or consider this might not be the right solution for them.

As you can see, mapping out the customer experience is critical to identifying the key “events” for how you interact with your customers. Now that we have gotten our initial customer experience mapped out we can start analyzing it and evolving it.

The results our team received after we implemented this was instant and dramatic. We started interacting with multiple customers on a daily basis. We were able to quickly identify issues or common questions that our customers were having. We got a sense for how they were interacting with the product and received tons of great feedback to inform our product roadmap and better understand the needs of our customers.

The other cool thing we did was hook up all communications from Intercom into our chat application Slack. This allowed everyone on the team to see what customers were saying, how many customers were signing up, and the key “events” we wanted to track. With everyone seeing our customer interactions, the entire team feels connected. The engineers have even jumped in a few times and provided immediate customer support. It's pretty awesome.

With the feedback now flowing across the entire team, we are all constantly thinking and sharing ideas for how to improve or solve needs that come up through our client interactions.

While we are obviously a big fan of Intercom and think it is an amazing app, we wanted to share this experience more from the standpoint of showing the value we got from mapping our customer experience and figuring out our communication plan from that. We think that is an important exercise for any company in any industry, not just at Talu. Communication and client interactions build trust with customers and we wanted to make sure we were in a position to understand our customers experience and evolve it daily.

Have you mapped out your customer journey?  We’d love to about hear your experience. Leave a comment below or drop us a line via email