Running a successful business is about far more than just selling a product or services. With a focus on marketing, we see that the ability to gain and retain customers is dependent on identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer needs. To gain insight, we must put ourselves in our customer’s shoes and view our organisation from their perspective. This is why customer journey mapping is such a valuable tool…
What is Customer Journey Mapping?
Customer journey mapping focuses on the experiences of one of your target customers and their specific goals. With a clear persona and scenario in mind, you consider the stages and process they might follow, along with any emotions they may go through, to complete their goal.
The entire customer journey stretches from the first interaction with your brand, through the various stages that, hopefully, will result in their desired outcome and onto post-sales communication. It considers the effort required, by the customer, from the customer’s perspective, to interact with your brand in order to reach their desired outcome.
It respects the likely emotions at each touchpoint; is the customer frustrated, disappointed, satisfied or highly impressed?
Customer Journey Mapping is therefore an essential part of your customer experience (CX) improvement.
In brief, customer journey mapping is:
- A diagram to illustrate the steps your customer will go through as they interact with your company
- A process that will allow you to step into your customer’s shoes to discover how they experience your company
- A tool to gain insights into common customer pain points and how to improve them
What is the Value of Customer Journey Mapping?
The goal of any business should be to delight its customers. In making a great impression, the company is likely to benefit from repeat business, positive reviews and peer recommendations.
To achieve this emotive response, it is important to ensure easy access to consistent information, prompt service and an understanding of customers’ needs and how to best meet them. Friendly, personal touches are highly desirable.
The purpose of customer journey mapping is to gain insight that leads to delighted customers. Use the process to step into your customer’s shoes – when you start to explore interactions from a fresh perspective, you’ll see where your company is meeting, or failing, expectations. It also helps to identify and prioritise changes to improve the customer’s experience.
Once delighted, customers will remain loyal until a brand fails to live up to their expectations, they perceive that another brand is better suited to their needs or offers better value, or their needs change.
Why Now is the Ideal Time to Undertake Customer Journey Mapping
We have been through a period of rapid change. Lockdown forced many businesses to diversify, embrace digital and offer alternative ways for customers to access information, goods and services. Many changes had to be implemented at speed, so now is a timely opportunity to consider whether these changes work for customers and are sustainable for the business in the longer term.
It is also important to note that your customers, their needs and expectations have also shifted. It would be foolish to assume that the same people want the same things as before.
Taking time to review current practices and customer needs can enable you to channel resources where they can effectively retain customers and attract new business. Customer journey mapping provides the opportunity to reflect on the problems that customers are seeking to resolve. Is your offer still relevant and persuasive?
As we look forward to lockdown easing and hopefully a time, in the not too distant future, where we can actually meet friends and family indoors (perhaps at a restaurant and interact normally without the need for face masks and hand sanitiser!) your customers will be interested in what steps you will be taking to ensure their safety; when they can visit; how they can book a table or tickets to a show; the cancellation policy if something changes; what the protocol will be on arrival for instance. The scenarios are endless, which is entirely the purpose of the exercise – so that you can meet, and hopefully exceed, your customers’ requirements.
How to Map a Customer Journey
The process begins by creating a persona; one of your typical customers. It can be helpful to give them a name, a job title and other relevant demographic information. Learn why you need to understand your ideal client in a previous blog.
Then prepare a scenario where your persona is looking for a specific product or service that you offer, wants to get in touch, view your opening hours, find out when you will be re-opening as Covid Lockdown eases – there are lots of scenarios to consider, especially at the moment.
Consider also what has prompted this need; is it for themselves or someone else? What are their priorities; the factors likely to persuade them or put them off? Are there time restraints or other pressures? What is their ultimate goal? What departments might the individual interact with whilst trying to achieve their goal?
There are generally five stages of a customer’s journey: discovery/awareness, consideration, action/purchase, service delivery/retention and advocacy/loyalty. Consider each of these stages in turn, their implications for your organisation and the impact on the customer.
Let Mapping Begin!
With that persona, scenario and goal in mind, mapping can begin. The map is essentially a visual diagram, often a table, that details the steps of engagement. Each touchpoint with your company is recorded, including visiting your website, any face-to-face interaction, as well as delivery or social media interaction. The experience and emotion are also considered from that customer’s perspective and may be presented within the table as an emoji or quotation directly from a customer or prospect. Above all, it does not need to be overcomplicated.
The map should be used as a working document; after all you may not have all the information to hand at this time – use it, review it and add to it over a period of time. Your insight and progress will be informed by customer comments, compliments and complaints. Start with what you know already and begin from there.
The simple table below is to be used as a guide and example only, as every customer, company and scenario will differ:
|GOAL OR TASK||What does the customer wish to achieve?|
|TOUCHPOINTS||How will they do this? ie, phone, email, visit the website etc|
|CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE||What data do we have available to help us understand the customer experience? ie, website analytics, or call recordings|
|EMOTION AND/OR QUOTE||What does the customer say/ask for and how might they be feeling? Ie, happy, frustrated or annoyed, cross, or passive|
|OPPORTUNITIES||What can we do to improve the customer experience, to ease the customer’s pain and who will take ownership and when? Ie, introduce FAQ’s, add a named contact, offer a dedicated customer service portal|
A crucial element in this table is the Opportunities box. Even when the customer is satisfied, are there ways to further enhance the interaction? Any changes must be considered and sustainable, with a designated person being assigned ownership for its implementation, and a date – remember SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timebound) it always comes in handy!
As you will have a variety of customers, you can gradually build up a series of customer journey maps. These should be shared with your team, used to inform business decisions and reviewed regularly – it could be that they are introduced as a regular feature in team meetings.
Support with Customer Journey Mapping
As your outsourced marketing team, Alison Page Marketing can support your organisation with customer journey mapping. We can also use the insight that you generate through this process to inform marketing plans.