Some companies feel that once the sale is made, the relationship with the customer is over. After all, you’ve moved through a lot of steps in the customer journey. A prospect became aware of you, engaged with your company, and made a purchase decision.
However, the truth is that the relationship is just beginning. Repeat customers generate 40% of a store’s revenue, and they can spend three to five times more than other buyers.
How can you make the most of customer care, encourage additional purchases, and create brand advocates? By using service blueprints to ensure that everyone gets top-quality customer service every time they connect with your business.
What is a Service Blueprint?
A service blueprint is a way to visualize a customer’s contact with your business. It shows what interactions happen, who is responsible for managing each step, and where and how it occurs.
It’s similar to a customer journey map, but it includes a lot of extra details. These details combine the customer’s experience with all of the employee actions and service processes that are involved in fulfilling the customer’s needs.
The chart itself depicts how a variety of actions are often taking place at the same time. Different “lanes” show what’s happening up front, behind-the-scenes, and in support processes. This allows you to have a big picture view of what’s going on each time the customer interacts with your business.
An Example of Service Blueprints: Healthcare
The Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association published research that dived into how service blueprints could improve service in the pharmaceutical field. This area of medicine can suffer when consumers don’t understand the roles of the pharmacist, and there can be significant problems if communication isn’t crystal clear.
In the U.S., healthcare struggles overall because of poorly understood and designed processes. This creates a generally negative perception of medicine, which can impact patient compliance and health outcomes.
For example, the JAPA study showed that each pharmacy is likely to need service blueprints for each of the services it provides. The authors of the study published two different examples: one for a normal prescription fulfillment process and one for a provider-led smoking cessation program. The former process includes a deeper level of detail in order to show the need for possible clarification by the pharmacist at particular points in the blueprint.
By mapping these activities and processes from a consumer’s point of view, the researchers found they were able to better inform the public about the value of pharmaceutical services while also making those services better.
Pharmacy managers were able to identify and correct problems in the service process, which helped everyone get a more consistent, high-quality experience. These approaches can be applied to everything from HIPAA compliance to the way medical visits are scheduled and carried out.
How Your Business Can Use Service Blueprints
As a small business, how can you use service blueprints to improve your customer care?
It starts by adjusting the lens you use to view your customers. Try to see post-sale contacts from your customer’s point of view. What are they concerned about? What do they need to know?
Then, use a service blueprint to map out and become aware of what tools and resources are currently required to carry out customer requests. You might be surprised how many there are! A lot of times the only way to be aware of inefficiencies is to first write out what’s currently happening.
Once you have a true understanding of your current processes, it’s time to retool them. Make them more efficient, make sure needed resources are combined or in an easy-to-access location, and more.
When you do, you’ll win in two ways. First, your customers will have a better experience, which leads to more repeat business and profitability for your company. Secondly, it will be easier for your employees to take care of customer requests, which will increase morale and allow them to do more with the same time and resources.
The Impact of Excellent Customer Care
Why does it matter if you have excellent customer care? Here are just a few of the benefits it brings your company.
First, your overall reputation will improve, which helps build your brand. If you monitor your online reputation, you’ll find that better customer service means more positive brand mentions, new prospects, and increased sales.
Secondly, you’ll build strong relationships with your customers. When they are getting a consistent, high-quality experience every time they contact you, they will become more loyal and much more likely to make repeat purchases. It’s a lot easier to sell again to an existing customer than to get a new one, so this will boost your profitability.
Third, you’ll reduce turnover and stress in your employees. When you improve processes and make it easier to respond to customer requests, your staff will be more engaged. They will be more likely to advocate for your company both on and off the job, and the service they provide will improve.
Finally, you’ll improve your overall marketing. When you understand the customer journey as a whole (not just pre-sale), and you know how your employees and resources are engaged at each step, you’ll be able to create more targeted marketing and outreach.
When you look at essential marketing trends for 2020, there’s no doubt that better customer service will continue to be on the list. From answering customer questions on social media to using service blueprints, a more effective process will bring in more leads and give those leads a better experience.
Are You Ready to Improve the Customer Experience?
Some companies like the idea of using service blueprints to improve customer care, but they aren’t sure they want to invest the time and energy. Those businesses are missing a significant competitive advantage.
Any company that can make their internal processes more efficient and better able to serve customers will win in the marketplace. It’s worth the effort. Start mapping your service processes today.