Written by Suky Lawlor
Sunrise Executive Series: January 22nd, 2015
The Customer Journey: Owning the Moments that Matter
Jennifer Ramirez, VP Global Customer Experience, Western Union
On January 22nd, marketers from around the Chicago area gathered for our first Sunrise Executive Series Breakfast of the year: The Customer Journey: Owning the Moments that Matter. Our speaker for this event, Jennifer Ramirez, VP of Global Customer Experience for Western Union, shared her thoughts on loyalty and retention strategies, with an emphasis on creating an exceptional experience for their customer.
Founded 1851, Western Union has been providing money transfer services to their customers for more than 160 years. During this time, they have built a strong brand, becoming synonymous with transferring money both domestically and internationally. With 29 transactions per second and over $5.5 billion in revenue, Western Union is definitely not hurting for customers.
So why the shift in ideology when things seemed to be working well enough as is? According to Jennifer, conversion rates were a strong motivator. Somewhere along the path to purchase, customers were dropping off. With a little introspection, they realized that they were only “talking to” the customer, not “doing for” the customer. Until about 18 months ago, the idea of customer experience went from a “nice to have” to an integral operational strategy at Western Union.
As a means to better understand their customer’s needs, Western Union worked with several organizations, including Ideo and Forrester, to map their the customer journey. By conducting interviews with 200 of their customers, they were able to better understand the process, attitudes and behaviors involved in completing a transaction from end to end.
Through this dialogue, they found that the most important moments within the customer journey happened at both the beginning and the end of a transaction. In particular, they found that the area within their website that listed their products was more of a “choose your own adventure” experience rather than the guided tour that it should be. To address this, Western Union adopted an interface that broke down the transaction into easy-to-follow steps. By taking some of the guesswork out of the process early on, they were able to alleviate some of their customer’s anxiety, thus making it easier to continue on to the next step of the journey.
In addition, insight into the final stages of the transaction highlighted the lack of transparency into what happened to the money after it left the customers hands. In turn, this was having an adverse affect on the customer’s loyalty and likelihood to return for repeat transactions. To address this problem, Western Union established a more transparent interface that mapped the path of the money from Point A to Point B and gave an estimate of the time it would take until it reached its destination.
By developing a more customer-centric outlook, Western Union has seen itself transform from a “transactional” mentality to a “customer-focused” mindset. They have turned actionable customer insights into standards by which they measure their behavior across all future transactions. As marketers, we should keep this in mind and execute our strategies with Western Union’s idea of “doing for” the customer instead of just “talking to” the customer.