One of the learnings from creating the ROUNDMAP™ is that, although most firms consider marketing, sales and service as their main customer-facing operations, these activities alone do not account for each and every touchpoint (created/experienced) that exists between the firm and the customer.
Customer experience management “is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed expectations and, thus, increase satisfaction, loyalty, advocacy, and revenues all while reducing service costs”.
While ‘customer-facing’ refers to the activities that result in the delivery of a product or service to a customer, many activities that create a user experience, referred to as touchpoints, are in fact business-facing, i.e., oriented toward making the business operate efficiently.
For instance: maintenance in a hotel, the signs and markings at an airport, or the dishwashers at a restaurant. None of these activities are typically customer-facing, yet, all of these activities facilitate interactions that create user experiences: a broken light, feeling lost, or being served a dirty plate can seriously undermine all previous, well-intended customer-facing activities.
As such, I’m convinced that one of the main misconceptions in experience management is caused by overlooking these supportive activities that influence how a customer perceives each and every interaction with a brand/firm. In fact, by making a distinction between business-facing and customer-facing operations (processes/activities) alone, we are unable to determine which touchpoints, i.e., which moments of truth, actually contribute most to delivering satisfying experiences.
However, by dismissing ‘customer-facing’ we felt we needed to come up with a word that adequately describes all touchpoint-related activities: we call it customer-touching.
As such, the customer-facing operations include:
- Marketing communications
- Customer onboarding
- Customer service/support
- Customer success
While customer-touching operations include (for an airport):
- All customer-facing activities
- Invoicing and credit management
- Passport control
- Beverage supply
- Parking handling
- Luggage handling
- Signs & markings
- And so on.
In term of experience management, we still have to determine which of these activities contribute most to customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. This allows allocating the limited resources most effectively.