Creating a Consistent Client Journey
Your clients interact with your agency through a variety of channels, including phone calls, tweets, emails, and online forms. Your team likely strives to make sure each interaction is pleasant and provides the client with what they need at the time, but it’s hard to consider the bigger experience when you’re in the weeds. That’s why it’s up to program managers and those in leadership positions to take a step back from single interactions and consider the client’s entire journey throughout your organization.
A client’s journey may begin with an application and end with a finalized adoption, but between those points, they interact with nearly every department at your agency. It’s important to create a consistent experience for your client and staff.
A recent study by the McKenzie group found that effective client journeys are more important than the satisfaction of individual interactions: measuring client on customer journeys is 30 percent more predictive of overall client satisfaction than measuring happiness for each individual interaction. In addition, maximizing satisfaction with client journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20 percent but also to lift revenue by up to 15 percent while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20 percent.
So what makes an effective client journey, and how can SAM help?
In the McKenzie study, researchers found that inconsistent service and experiences correlated with lower satisfaction and lower repeated customers. This makes sense - consider a restaurant that brings you an amazing meal one day and a terrible meal the next, you’d likely hesitate to try it a third time. The same applies to your organization’s services.
We often push workflow mapping here at InReach - that’s because you can’t deliver a consistent experience to your clients if you don’t understand what the experience should be. Have a clear understanding of each program and the case stages within it. What are the big milestones? Case stages, auto actions, and templates should all be a part of your program’s workflow, such as “Send a welcome email when a family fills in an inquiry, then send an email to the inquiry team to look at the new record.”
Speaking of templates, communication should be a major part of your client journey. It’s vital to keep everyone in the loop and clearly outline who is responsible for what. This is where the public checklist comes in: direct your families to this page over and over again as the case progresses to complete forms and provided documents. You can link to external pages from this checklist, such as upcoming events and trainings.
Using templates means your communications will be consistent. Your staff will no longer need to write the same email over and over again, or wonder what to say during a certain milestone or case stage.
A feeling of trust was the biggest drivers of satisfaction and loyalty in the study. Consistency creates trust - the client should know what to expect. Of course, the other side of consistent communication is follow through. If your team promises something to a client, they need to deliver. This is where those case stages are so important - have an understanding of how long processes really take to create realistic expectations.
We’ve seen SAM clients use reporting in amazing ways to understand what is really happening within their agency. Consider creating a report to show the time between a home study packet being sent out and the home study being finalized. If you tell your clients the process takes 2 months but the report shows 4 months, revise your promise and keep the trust.