Mapping the Shopper Satisfaction Journey

L.L. Bean wanted to identify friction points in the Return/Exchange process in order to create a roadmap to help the them increase back-office staff efficiency and customer satisfaction.

  • 100K duckboot sales in 2007
  • 750K duckboot sales in 2007
  • Multiple sales channels were affecting their legendary 100% satisfaction guarantee.
  • More than 300% increase in demand of boots since 2012

Journey Maps Identify Customer Friction Points

Today’s shoppers demand a seamless experience with retailers they trust. Sometimes, however, a seamless experience is hard to achieve across multiple sales channels. This was the problem recently facing a leading retailer that built its business on a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. But, with the retail world expanding beyond brick-and-mortar stores to outlets, catalog, phone, and online ordering, implementing the Guarantee was becoming a major challenge. They turned to Mad*Pow’s Strategy and Service Design team to create a set of customer journey maps to identify friction points in the Return/Exchange process. Our research provided a roadmap to help the retailer increase back-office staff efficiency and customer satisfaction.

100% Satisfaction (Not) Guaranteed

Reliable return and exchange is an important cost of doing business that must be controlled. Inconsistently applied policies across sales channels meant the company was falling short of its 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. To help boost customer satisfaction ratings, Mad*Pow conducted a research-based situation analysis and created a series of five Customer Journey Maps. These maps identified friction points for both customers and staff in the retailer’s Return/Exchange process, and provided a roadmap to success.

Research First: The Shopper’s P.O.V.

After an internal communications effort to help staff interpret the Return/Exchange policies uniformly, the company realized it still wasn’t living up to its Guarantee. Mad*Pow knew it was critical to look at the problem from the shopper’s point of view. We started by reviewing the retailer’s existing service blueprint, interviewing stakeholders and conducting “secret shopper” experiments. This research uncovered numerous friction points in the Return/Exchange process. Most were caused by back-office incompatibilities between the retail system used in stores, and a separate system used by reps on the phone and online.

An Inside Look: Customer Journey Maps

Working with Smaply, a cloud-based service design tool, Mad*Pow created a series of Customer Journey Maps to capture customer and staff experiences during the Return/Exchange process. The maps:

  • Identified common customer information goals.
  • Showed types of return/exchange.
  • Described how the return/exchange was conducted.
  • Included details on checkout processes, exchanges, returns and shipping.
  • Isolated the various friction points that occur when customers cross channels or service staff turn to improvised solutions to bridge gaps in their support systems.

Mad*Pow enhanced the project with a 20-person workshop to expose the retailer’s key staff to the results of the research, including the friction points to address. After the workshop, the final Customer Journey Maps were revised and delivered to the client as editable Smaply service design projects the retailer can use to direct changes in its policies.