A customer journey is a process by which a customer interacts with a company to achieve a goal. From discovering a brand via social media to receiving an email after a successful transaction, the steps in between are usually numerous and varied. Today’s consumers use multiple channels to communicate with a brand. All these touchpoints create increasingly complex customer journeys and can make it difficult to always guarantee the best experience.
In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about the customer journey and how to map it to improve the customer experience.
What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s experience with a company. It helps to understand the needs and concerns of potential customers that directly motivate or inhibit their actions. The information gathered allows companies to improve the customer experience, increase conversion rates, and build customer loyalty.
The customer journey map represents all the key stages of the customer journey and the touchpoints with your company, from the moment the customer discovers your product or service until the moment of purchase and beyond.
Here is what a customer journey map should look like:
Why is it important to create a customer journey map?
A customer journey map allows you to track your customers’ experiences with your brand. This way, you can determine where and how the customer experience should be optimized to increase customer satisfaction.
Having a customer journey map allows you to:
– Have a global overview
Sometimes, different departments within a company can have divergent information about a customer’s experience. Having a map that brings together all the information and touchpoints allows the different parties involved in the sales process to have a clear overview of a buyer’s interactions with your company and provides them with synchronized information, which can help them work together towards the common goal of producing more sales.
– Predict customer behavior
Having a customer journey map allows you to predict your clients’ behavior as they move through the various stages of the sales funnel. You can use these models to predict which type of prospect is most likely to convert. Also, knowing your audience can help you decide what you can do to move them through the sales process.
Some customers want to talk to a salesperson. Others prefer a less direct approach and appreciate newsletters or blog posts related to your products. Consider using this method to effectively anticipate what your customers need at their stage of the process and strive to provide those solutions.
– Create a smoother experience
Another benefit of the customer journey map is that you can pinpoint the areas where you want to make more contact with your consumers. A touchpoint is any interaction your customer may have with your product, such as a testimonial, a review on a blog post, or a paid advertisement.
If you understand how customers navigate the sales journey using touchpoints, you can determine where you can add or remove touchpoints to make the overall experience more seamless for the consumer. Nurturing emails or pay-per-click ads are examples of areas where you could include more customer interactions.
How to create your customer journey map?
1. Set clear objectives
Before you dive into creating your customer journey map, you need to ask yourself why you’re making one in the first place. What are the goals you are directing this map towards? Who is it specifically for? What experience is it based on?
Based on this, you can create a buyer persona, a fictional customer with demographic and psychographic data that represents your average customer. It is important to define a clear persona and that you direct all aspects of your customer journey towards it.
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2. Define your personas and their goals
Then, you need to conduct research. Surveys and user testing are great ways to get valuable feedback from customers. The important thing is to only talk to real or potential customers.
Do you want to get feedback from people who are interested in purchasing your products or services and have already interacted with your company or are planning to do so? Here are some examples of questions to ask them:
- How did you hear about our company?
- What first attracted you to our website?
- What are the goals you want to achieve with our company? What problems are you trying to solve?
- How much time have you spent on our website?
- Have you ever made a purchase from us? If so, what was the deciding factor?
- Have you ever needed customer support? If so, how helpful was it, on a scale of 1 to 10?
- Is there anything else we can do to make your purchasing experience easier?
Once you have identified the different customer profiles that interact with your business, you should focus on one or two of them.
3. Make a list of all the touch points
Touchpoints are all the places on your website where your customers can interact with you. Based on your research, list all the touchpoints your customers and prospects are currently using, as well as the ones you think they should use.
This is an important step in creating a customer journey map as it gives you insights into the actions your customers are taking.
If they use fewer touchpoints than expected, does that mean they are quickly turning away from your site and leaving it prematurely? If they use more than expected, does that mean your website is complicated and it takes them several steps to reach an end goal?
Either way, understanding touchpoints can help you understand the ease and goals of customer journeys. This doesn’t just apply to your website and you need to look at all the ways your customer can meet you online. These can include:
- Social channels
- Paid advertising
- Email marketing
- Third-party review sites or mentions
Do a quick search for your brand on Google to see all the pages that mention you. Check them out by visiting Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from.
4. Determine what resources you have and what you will need
Your customer journey mapping will touch on almost every part of your business. It will highlight all the resources that go into creating the customer experience. So, it’s important to take inventory of the resources you have and the resources you’ll need to improve the customer journey.
For example, your map may highlight some gaps in your customer service offering and you notice that your team doesn’t have the tools to properly follow up with customers after a service interaction. With your map, you can advise management to invest in customer service tools that will help your team manage customer requests.
By including these new tools in your map, you can accurately predict their impact on your business and their added value. This makes it much easier to convince gatekeepers and decision-makers to invest in your propositions.
5. Analyze and adjust
This is the most important part of the process: analyzing the results. How many people click through to your website but leave before making a purchase? How can you better support your customers? These are some of the questions you should be able to answer with your completed map.
Analyzing the results can show you where customer needs are not being met. By addressing this question, you can ensure that you are providing a quality experience and that customers can find solutions to their problems with the help of your company.
Note that the customer journey mapping exercise remains hypothetical until you try it yourself. For each of your personas, track the journey they take through their social media activity, their email reading, and their online searches.
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6. Make the necessary changes
Your data analysis should give you an idea of what you want for your website. You can then make the appropriate changes to your site to achieve those goals. Perhaps you can insert more distinct call-to-action links, or you may write longer descriptions for each product to clarify its purpose.
Regardless of the number of the changes, they will be anyway effective because they directly correlate to what customers have indicated as their pain points. And, with the help of your visualized customer journey map, you can ensure that these needs and pain points are always addressed.
Once you understand your customers’ experience with your business, you can keep them happy at every step of their buying journey.
Eminence is an expert in customer journey mapping. If you need support in setting up your customer journey map, contact us.