eAccountable Framework Series
“The customer’s perception is your reality.” – Kate Zabriskie
Today, understanding and enhancing the customer experience isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity.
But how do you effectively put yourself in your customers shoes?
Customer Journey Mapping is a powerful framework that provides businesses with a clear picture of their customers’ user experiences, allowing them to improve their products, services, and support. Let’s dive into the essence of customer journey mapping, why it’s important, and how you can create an effective customer journey map for your business.
What is Customer Journey Mapping?
A customer journey map is a way to visually represent the entire customer experience from first contact through purchase, post-purchase, and potentially even the advocacy stage. It gives businesses key insights into how customers engage with their brand at every touchpoint so they can enhance and optimize the customer journey. It doesn’t just offer a snapshot of their actions; it puts you in the shoes of your customer by providing a holistic view of their thoughts and emotions throughout the whole process.
Why Is Customer Journey Mapping Important?
Whether you use social media, paid and organic search, Amazon, direct mail, email marketing, or another channel to sell your product, a customer journey map can provide you with a birds eye view of the entire process so you can make it better.
Here are a few reasons why Customer Journey Mapping is important:
1. Understand Your Customer’s Needs
What does your customer need? Journey Mapping helps you gain a better understanding of your customer’s pain points, preferences, and unmet needs in relation to your product. When you understand these, you can customize your product or service to better meet the needs of your target audience.
2. Enhancing Your Customer Experience
By visualizing the customer journey, you can find the touchpoints in the journey map that need improvement. Fixing the pain points in your customer journey can lead to a more seamless and satisfying customer experience, ultimately boosting customer loyalty and retention.
3. Improving Your Message
Communication is key. Customer Journey Mapping helps you look at how your different channels are interacting with customers. It’s essential to ensure a consistent, strong message across all channels and touchpoints to ensure a streamlined experience for users.
4. Retain Your Customers
When you keep your customers happy, they’re more likely to become loyal customers. Customer Journey Mapping gives you opportunities to exceed customer expectations, creating repeat customers and brand loyalists in the process.
5. Boost Your Conversion Rates
How do you increase your bottom line? When you can identify where customers tend to drop off in their journey, you can make the necessary changes to increase conversion rates and increase your revenue.
How To Create A Customer Journey Map
So, how do you create a Customer Journey Map?
1. Set Goals
What are your goals? Without goals to guide you, it will be hard to tell whether your customer journey map will have a real impact on your customers and your business. How do you create goals? Gather all the key stakeholders in your business. With them, you’ll want to identify existing and future customers and the key performance indicators at each stage of their experience.
2. Define Your Personas
What specific types of buyers are you optimizing for? To find this out, you must define your target customer personas. This will help you personalize your journey map for your diverse target audiences.
To understand your customers, collect data from customer feedback, reviews, surveys, analytics, and your team. Email a survey to existing customers, leverage web analytics, and talk to employees who are regularly customer facing.
When defining your personas, you’ll want to answer these questions:
- How did your customers find your brand?
- When do your customers usually purchase or cancel?
- How easy is your website to use?
- What problems did your brand or product solve? What problems didn’t they solve?
Answering these questions will help you find the different types of people who are buying your product and how you can uniquely serve each of them in their journey.
3. Outline Customer Touchpoints
Where are your customers interacting with your brand? To figure this out, you’ll want to identify all your touchpoints. These can include your website, landing pages, social media, Amazon, email, social media, direct mail, TV commercials, billboards, customer service, and more. Think of these as the physical locations on your customer journey. After you determine your touchpoints, you can start arranging them on your customer journey map.
Wherever you sell your product or service, that’s a touchpoint. They say it takes 8 touchpoints to reach a conversion, though that’s just a generalization. The number and type of touchpoints on your customer journey map will depend on your type of business. For example, if you’re selling computer software for a B2B business, you’ll have more touchpoints than if you’re selling ping pong paddles.
4. Map The Current State
Now that you’ve defined your customer personas and touchpoints, its time to start journey mapping the current state of your business. Remember, there is no “right” way to journey map—each journey map will look different for each business.
First, you’ll want to lay out the stages of the customer journey, and arrange the relevant touchpoints across each stage. Below is an example of a customer journey map for an airline company:
- Radio, TV, Print
- Word of Mouth
- Online Ads
- Social Ads
- Online Booking
- Phone Booking
- Email Ticket Confirmation
- Boarding Flight
- In Flight
- Post-Flight Email
- Social Network
- Email Newsletter
You see how this journey map not only includes the different marketing touchpoints but also the actual user experience with the product and service? Having a birds eye view of your customer’s journey helps you see what they see so you can continue to improve your process.
5. Map The Future State
Now that you have a current map of the customer journey, it’s time to figure out the pain points. Where are your customers experiencing friction in their customer journey?
Let’s return to the airline example.
Let’s say your airline has very good PR and word of mouth, but your online ads have been underperforming. If people aren’t seeing your ads, you’re leaving money on the table. By optimizing your online ads, you could raise awareness for your business, leading to more future customers.
Or, let’s say, your conversion rate is low compared to the number of customers who click on your ads. What this means is that a lot of your customers are going to your website but then not finishing the conversion process. This could indicate a problem with your website’s user experience. Sure enough, you find your website has been loading slower than usual, leading to customers getting frustrated and exiting before finishing their plane ticket purchase. You fix this pain point, and suddenly your conversion rate starts to increase!
This isn’t a one and done type of deal. The customer journey is not static, and neither should your customer journey map be. Make sure to consistently update your customer journey map to reflect new touchpoints, personas, and evolving customer expectations. Regularly monitor the map, gather new data, and update it as needed to ensure it remains accurate and relevant.
Work With An Expert Team
At the end of the day, Customer Journey Mapping is a valuable and holistic tool for businesses seeking to enhance customer experiences, boost customer retention, and drive growth. By understanding the customer journey and tailoring your approach to meet their needs and expectations, you can create a more satisfying and successful customer experience.
Need help crafting your own customer journey map? You don’t have to do it alone. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to get a new perspective on your business.
eAccountable has used Customer Journey Mapping as a framework to help our clients grow for the past 23 years. Drop us a line here for a free consultation to see how we can help you make the most of your customer journey.