Consumer Journey: Improving Value One Interaction at a Time

Today’s business leaders understand the complexities of successfully mapping experience to the consumer journey. In this ever-evolving marketplace, the consumer expects instant, seamless support across multiple existing and evolving channels. In fact, 90% of consumers rate an immediate response as “important” or “very important” when they have a customer service question, according to a HubSpot Consumer Support Survey. “Fast” is expected at all customer touchpoints, supported by solutions that also answer to personalization, digital, and social care demands. As the epicenters of customer experience (CX) excellence, business process outsourcing (BPO) partners are increasingly being leveraged for expertise and strategy. Here, we talk to HGS’s own Tom Hricik, North America President and Head of Business Development about the importance of a consumer journey blueprint that builds to optimized CX and client ROI.


Q: What is HGS’s Consumer Journey design? Can you describe the high-level phases of this mapping?

A: The HGS Consumer Journey covers six steps: Engage, Buy, Bill, Care, Repair, and Retain. Across this journey, we leverage our solutions, empowered by our capabilities and supported by our four-plus decades of domain expertise. Our recent acquisition of Element Solutions advances the goalpost even further, in terms of how we can employ our transformative digital solutions in additional to traditional care channels. Today we can meet our clients’ customers at any point along their journey, with support, service and now technology and analytics to influence and capture actionable insights of buying decisions. 

Q: Why is the consumer journey solutions approach so relevant in today’s marketplace?

A: When you look at the current service marketplace, a fundamental piece of CX strategy is based on the fact that there are two growing aspects of customer care: traditional and digital.

Traditional customer care has been growing by a couple percentage points with ecare/digital care growing at 20-25%, according to Everest research. Add to that a 17% overall market growth rate for contact center outsourcing, over the next five years. Once you dissect these trends, you see that traditional care comprises a large, global market –with outsourcing from North America sent nearshore to Latin and South America,  and the Caribbean,  as well as offshore to the Philippines, and India, with Eastern Europe up and coming. Digital care is also growing very, very rapidly on a global scale.  Therefore, the overall market for customer care is definitely not on the decline, as some market economists have projected.

With marginal growth of traditional care and rapid growth of  digital  care, the consumer journey has shifted from  single and multiple channels to an omnichannel approach. Today’s customers expect a singular, positive experience with the companies they buy from Further, the market is bifurcated across generations and technological sophistication of consumers. 

The underpinning of an optimized, consistent customer experience is one that supports, with preferred channels, the  consumerization and personalization of everything we do. Whether it’s health insurance, food delivery with an app, or bespoke solutions—it’s about providing service when, where, and how customers want it. Consumerism and the individualized focus of today’s marketplace drive expectations to receive care across multiple channels. Consumer journey stages, from Engage to Retain, are   well aligned to this modern-day buyer. Consumers want to research, become aware, buy and pay, then receive service on something they have purchased, with a compelling reason to buy the same product. Companies need to be empowered with solutions that align to these journey phases.

Q: How might this journey be applied to different industry verticals?

A: Today’s clients don’t want to just buy a shiny object or a specific capability. They want  best-in-show type buying. Take for example, the challenge of the travel industry customer experience. Let’s look at online reputation management as a solution that should be strong at both the Engage and Retain phases of the journey. Research shows that millennial travelers expect an optimized experience, and they will review and post about that experience in real time. In fact, 97% will post a review while traveling and 75% will post once a day. From reservation booking to social care, whatever that buying process looks like, it needs to be specific to the nuances and marketplace factors of that industry.

Q: What are some real outcomes delivered by this model? How can focus on this journey optimize CX and drive ROI for businesses? 

A: HGS’s Consumer Journey mapping starts with solutioning that solves our clients’ specific problems, with a deep-dive analysis that mines understanding of the need behind the need. We’ve delivered results across Engage, Buy, Bill, Care, Repair, and Retain phases, for results like the following:

  • For one top five health payer, HGS engaged with the client through a governance structure that drives client goals around member retention, aimed to reduce cost and improve member/provider experience.  This engagement model has matured so that HGS now provides for the client impactful process reengineering, automation, and elimination of wastages. Over the past three years, HGS’s end-to-end strategy has been instrumental in significantly reducing cost for operations, as one case in point--employing automation to a $3.3 million cost savings annually.
  • For an international credit card leader, HGS studied factors and agent characteristics that positively impact Net Promoter Score (NPS) to meet the stringent targets. We also used speech analytics to mine call data and monitor each agent’s performance with a score card that helped improve first call resolution (FCR).​ The net effect for the client has been a 70% NPS improvement.
  • The web portal we created for a leading consumer electronics manufacturer is an omni channel solution across FAQs, Videos, Virtual Chat, Assisted Chat, and Email. As an outcome of this solution, a 97% resolution rate was achieved.

Q: How can customer care experts support delivery of this Consumer Journey model?

A: Business process outsourcing (BPO) partners and customer care experts play the all-important integrator role. From thinking about the customer journey and the industry problems, we bring solutions across consulting, classic care, ecare and digital capabilities. Ultimately, we help our clients all along the consumer journey to grow their business with their customers. Additionally good BPOs bring global delivery and talent. At HGS we refer to our team members as “empathetic problem solvers.” We’re also known for our responsive, rapid design and deployment of solutions. It’s about meeting the customer where they are with people, process, and technology required at specific consumer journey moments.

On a personal level, this is a passion for me. My background spans many different industries: manufacturing, service, healthcare, and insurance. With today’s technology, we can truly revolutionize customer care. I think that’s what’s exciting about what’s ahead of us—the ability to be part of that change. Not just the evolution but the revolution of enhancing the customer journey. That’s what I get excited about.


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