Delivering B2B experiences that make Exact stand out

A participatory learning approach to Customer Journey Management

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As the B2B environment of the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry is changing more rapidly than ever, Exact needs to constantly adapt to these changes and accommodate to the increasingly complex needs and wishes of their customers. Designing a good customer experience is vital in ensuring a sustainable competitive advantage for Exact. In order for Exact to try to adapt to this change in environment, a shift towards customer centric initiatives showed over the past years within its organisation. Among these initiatives is the creation of a Customer Journey Management (CJM) team, about half a year ago, within the Customer Success department of Exact. Their aim is to improve customer satisfaction and reduce churn, by optimising the customer experience of Exact solutions. This project was initiated by the CJM team which asked: “How can Exact bring Customer Journey Management to the next level of maturity?” As CJM is slowly getting up and running, many quick wins can still be achieved in the Post-Sales process they are currently responsible for. It is debatable, however, whether this is the right approach for the long term, whether they have the right influence to make the desired impact and whether the metrics they are being held accountable for are fitting for its ultimate goal: the optimisation of Exacts end-to-end customer journey. In order to reach this goal, close collaboration between different departments is necessary, by empowering them to positively contribute to their part of the customer journey in an integrated way. This can only be achieved through a shared deep understanding of the customer and their journey and if the value of customer journey management is proven for all stakeholders involved. Ultimately, electing a board member responsible for Exacts customer experience in the form of a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) would be advised. The challenges that the CJM team face, identified in analysis, all seem to point towards the conclusion that user-centered design thinking is not embedded (enough) into the veins of the company. This does not mean that it’s employees do not have the customer at heart though, but it seems that often the customer is not understood well enough and thus mistakes are more easily made. In practise this approach seems harm the customer experience, hurting revenues in the long run. As long as the customer experience is not understood deeply enough by employees, Customer Journey Management does not have the means to impact the customer journey end-to-end, as recommended by literature to bring CJM to the next level. Therefore it was chosen to design a system that enables Exact employees to gain a deeper understanding of their customers. The solution was found in the design of a Game Development Guide. It enables the CJM team (and other employees) to simulate the customers experience through playing games. It is a step-by-step guide for its development and provides the process and tools necessary to design, play and evaluate the games based on different customer experiences. Once the game is ready to be played it can stimulate participatory learning by having employees temporarily step into the customers shoes. This creates deeper (richer) understanding of the customer’s perspective, including his/her (tacit and latent) needs, emotions and contextual factors. The resulting deep customer insights can then be used throughout the innovation process to validate assumptions and prioritize solutions, which results in improved Customer Journey Management. This way Exact will be able to better understand their customers, enabling them to design user-centered solutions that truly benefit their customers experiences. This will ensure that Exact will stay on top, giving them a sustainable competitive advantage over their competitors in the long run.