Download the Customer Journey Template to Create a Unique Customer Experience (CX)
Gather and Analyze Customer Data
As gathering data on customer interactions continues to become a priority, the question remains around where to begin. Businesses have created an emphasis around listening to customers and implementing changes based on their feedback but the disconnect between customers and organizations remains.
All too often customers are also not as willing to voice their opinion with service and simply part ways. For example:
Data analytics may report customers are visiting your site, adding items to their shopping cart, but not completing their purchase. The consumer activity is there so where did things go wrong?
As much as businesses want to insist on deciphering the code known as the consumer’s behavior, habitually humans tend to only speak on what caused them to have a good or bad experience and not what led up to it. You may hear a customer talk about their frustration with a service but they will almost always fail to mention the roadblocks in between the interaction that led up to the outcome.
So what if you could track the interaction from beginning to end to know where the roadblocks were encountered? Creating a Customer Journey Map can fulfill that task.
The Customer Journey Map is a visual representation of the step by step process your customer goes through during an experience with your company. The purpose is to tell a story about their experience with your brand from start to finish.
The idea is to map out the customer’s association with your brand. The purpose of the map is not to file just one transaction or experience but to sum up their entire history with you. From reporting however the initial engagement may have been, to registering the overall outcome of the relationship.
What is Customer Journey Mapping?
Knowing and understanding your customer’s experience through the steps of the journey can be difficult to analyze because there can be many variations. This is why creating a visual diagram can be beneficial because it can help map out the different steps and variations.
Mapping the journey helps businesses understand a customer’s experience by seeing things through the customer’s perspective. It helps businesses become aware of what pain points customers may encounter during a purchase process. Every experience, transaction, and interaction will vary so it is important to map each one in order to gain insight as to what may be interfering with their decision to purchase.
Why should you create a Journey Map?
Being able to determine the cause of a customer’s pain point and the ability to fix that can go a long way for a business to consumer relationship. By breaking down the journey of a customer into a step by step process you can really narrow every improvement down and take better control of the experiences you want to deliver. You can also concentrate on creating objectives that are more goal-oriented because you will have data that stretches across multiple touchpoints.
Knowing the demographics of your clientele base is key. Sometimes, you may even be unaware of the demographic groups that your product or service appeals to. Knowing this information and making the necessary adjustments to better serve these groups is important because it will help you expand and create a new customer base. You can even create campaigns directed specifically for those target bases.
Your company can benefit from creating a customer-centric mentality because it will help your sales department focus on inbound prospecting. This alone can help save money in marketing and customer acquisition costs.
How to create a Customer Journey Map
Many steps must be integrated in order to document an experience from start to finish. This can make your journey map either simple or complex depending on your preference for detail.
- To start, you’ll want to document how the customer came across your brand, product, or service.
- The steps that follow will then be based on the touchpoints that your product or service provided.
- Your last step should revolve around customer satisfaction because that would conclude the journey and also be the deciding factor behind a customer’s decision to begin a new journey with your company.
- Referring to the example above, you’ll want to document the customer’s introduction to your product/service based on the 6 common marketing touchpoints: TV, In-Store, Online, Email, Outbound Sales, and Word of Mouth. Knowing and documenting how they became aware of your product or service is important especially when allocating funds for marketing.
- From there you’ll want to add the steps in their journey. These steps are based on the experience you assume your customer is having with your brand. For example, after exposure to a product, a customer will do their research based on features, benefits, and pricing. You can customize the next step based on what you feel may be appropriate.
- If they choose to proceed then the next step would be to purchase. A customer will purchase a product once they’ve fully researched the product and compared it to that of a competitor. The purchase step is important because this allows you to track your sales and what factors may have interfered with the customer’s decision to not purchase.
- If the item was ordered, then the next step may be to document the product delivery. Knowing what the delivery process was like is important as this may require the service of third parties such as UPS, USPS, or FedEx. If you offer your own delivery service then this step is especially important because it will give you insight for further improvements in this service. This could also just relate to delivery in general as in-store purchases still require a customer to take a product home so packaging could be something to be considered in this step.
- If the product has a level of complexity it may require after-sales support. Documenting this experience is important because a bad one could lead to a customer returning the product.
- The last step should always be based on customer satisfaction because satisfaction leads to them reviewing, rating, or verbally sharing their experience. It also is the deciding factor for whether or not the customer wants to revisit with your company and restart a new journey.
Things to keep in mind
- Establish your company’s objectives – A customer journey map should be created with a clear objective in mind. Whether it be to increase sales, increase retention, or increase acquisition, you need to know what the purpose of your journey map is in order to track results.
- Profile your customers – Knowing who your customer base is. Document the demographics of your customers in order to create separation in your data to look for trends. Expectations and feedback may vary based on your customer demographics so it is important to know what commonalities they share or don’t share.
- Highlight your target market – If you are specifically catering your product or service to a particular demographic then it is important to document that information so that you may track their responses. For example, if you are not focusing on serving an older demographic, you may not want to spend time and resources reviewing their data and implementing changes based on their feedback.
- List out all touchpoints – A customer journey will never follow a straight line. Every experience will vary with many possible responses in between. It is important to list all touchpoints in order to cover all possibilities within the journey. Not listing a touchpoint can have a negative impact as it will allow certain experiences to go unnoticed. How can you make changes on things you don’t know about?
- Determine what resources you have and those you’ll need – Know what resources you have in hand to help you achieve your objectives. Identify any resources you don’t have and will need in order to make adjustments and meet your objectives. This will allow you to determine what capabilities you’ll have in improving the customer’s journey.
- Take the customer journey – Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and take the journey yourself. Eliminate all biased opinions by looking at the purchase experience through the customer’s perspective. The only way to know what they’re going through is to go through it yourself.
- Implement all necessary changes – Listen to your customers and let them know you’ve listened to them by making the appropriate adjustments. Announce all improvements so customers know their feedback is important. This alone can drastically enhance customer retention.
Understanding how your customers are interacting with your business is crucial for your success. As online and app-based shopping continues to rise over face-to-face interactions, it is vital to track their experiences to take advantage of all missed opportunities. The inability to witness these interactions makes it difficult to identify these missed opportunities but Journey Mapping can be an important resource for increasing awareness of their experiences.
Only you know what type of experience you want to deliver. Knowing your touchpoints will help identify the areas that are succeeding in delivering those experiences and the ones that are struggling to meet that challenge. So don’t risk negative acquisition and retention rates by ignoring your customer’s input. Start journey mapping today!