Customers are the greatest, most indispensable aspect of any company. It doesn’t matter how big you are or how promising your product is—without them, you cease to exist. So, you must understand your customers, their needs and desires, as well as their decision-making processes to optimally cater to them. All of this begins with crafting a customer journey map.
Customer journey maps carry huge advantages, which your business will enjoy as a result of its improved customer relationships. They’re also the first step in constructing an effective customer care plan. Here’s how customer journey maps can help your business better connect with its customers.
What Is a Customer Journey Map?
Customers are far more than numbers on a screen. They are real people with their own desires, quirks, dislikes, feelings, and motives. Understanding the multidimensional nature of customers is the first step to making sense of bigger questions, like why they opt to patronize one business over another. Fortunately, you don’t need to know every customer’s entire life story to facilitate their customer journey.
A customer journey map, or a user journey map, provides a visual representation of a customer’s engagement with a service, product, or brand. They commonly take the form of diagrams, flow charts, or graphs. Good customer journey maps start at the beginning—when a prospect identifies they have a problem or learns about your business—and end only after the sale has been finalized.
Why You Should Create a User Journey Map
A well-informed user journey map can transform both the customer experience and internal operations all in one go. For example, while sales reps use it to learn the best ways to interact with customers, IT specialists use it to determine if the business’s web services are up to par. With every department looking at the same customer journey map, it ensures that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
Of course, you all want to grow the business. The problem is that trying to get there without a clear roadmap is akin to playing darts in the dark. Changing the wrong things can drive customers away, and focusing on small issues in the face of glaring problems will only waste resources and frustrate customers. A customer journey map helps you avoid these conundrums by putting you in your customer’s shoes. You gain a bird’s eye view of how they engage, their motivations, their pain points—everything you need to keep them coming back for more.
Benefits of Mapping the Customer Journey
Customer journey maps reflect your sales funnel back to you like a mirror. They show you the good, the bad, and the ugly in the name of self-improvement. Even lost customers, whether they bowed out early on or mere seconds before checkout, provide invaluable insights. Listen and learn!
Some of the biggest benefits of customer journey maps include the following:
1. Allows You To Empathize With Your Customers
You likely have plenty of assumptions about your customers and what they want. Many of these assumptions are probably correct, as they are based on common sense and experience. Nevertheless, there are instances where making assumptions can lead you astray. A customer journey map is built on data pulled from your customers themselves, so you can’t go wrong turning to it for guidance. The more you listen to customer-informed data, the better you can empathize with them.
With a customer journey map, you get to see your business from the customer’s perspective. You can know exactly why a certain ad campaign missed the mark or why customers turn away at a certain point in the user journey. It also highlights the elements of your business and brand that are successful, which is equally as important. These are areas you shouldn’t change but rather strive to continually improve upon.
2. Allows You To Predict Customer Behavior
A customer journey map gives you a good idea of the decisions a potential client will make, and what steps they will take along their journey with your business. Of course, there will be some variability, but these maps greatly enhance your ability to predict the general consumer’s next move. This means you can plan ahead so you are ready for your customers every step of the way.
A customer journey map also allows you to more accurately predict which potential customers are the most likely to seal the deal. This allows you to focus your time and resources on guiding these customers to purchase.
3. Allows You To Identify And Solve Existing Pain Points
Every time a customer interacts with your business or brand is known as a touchpoint. They can occur in person through a salesperson or online via social media and internet ads. Every one of these touchpoints is an opportunity for you to either pull customers in or repel them. A customer journey map identifies each of these touchpoints and relays what’s happening at every juncture. It also directs highlights how the real-world customer experience deviates from the one your team planned.
Implementing a customer journey map will shed light on which touchpoints are actually pain points in disguise. More pain points equal more lost customers. If rule #1 is to not play darts in the dark, rule #2 is to not shoot yourself in the foot. Be mindful.
4. Allows You To Personalize The Customer Experience
Smart businesspeople recognize the importance of good customer experience. Figuring out how to deliver it is harder said than done. One of the biggest things you can do to impress customers is to simply remember they’re human. You can achieve this through personalization.
Thanks to modern technology, there are countless ways to personalize customer service. It’s as simple as addressing the customer by name wherever possible. Applications can also learn user habits and make recommendations based on past behavior, or remember a user’s preferred settings. Though these may seem minuscule, they go a long way in cultivating positive, meaningful customer relationships. Meaningful relationships are the foundation of customer loyalty, trust, retention, and ambassadorship!
Getting Started On Customer Journey Mapping
Granted, not all customer journey maps are created equal. Follow these 3 steps to ensure your customer journey map guides your business towards treasures, not troubles.
1. Identify the Customer Framework
The customer framework should include a buyer persona, which is an outline of your average customer. The framework should also identify all of the customer touchpoints and pain points. This can be done through several research methods, including but not limited to surveys, web monitoring, and social media monitoring.
2. Acquire the Necessary Data
When crafting your customer journey map, remember the GIGO principle—Garbage In, Garbage Out. Ensure you are working with accurate and relevant data to produce the most useful and predictive customer journey map. The kind of customer data you gather will depend on your business, its clients, and their typical consumer journey. Customer data can be obtained through surveys, focus groups, and interviews, to name a few.
3. Develop a Scoring System
Scoring systems are a great way to determine how successful your business is at guiding customers through the sales funnel. Each business’s scoring system should be unique, as they have different variables to consider. Nevertheless, there are common key performance indicators (KPIs) every business can benefit from paying attention to. The amount of time customers are spending on each webpage is important, as it tells you which are the most engaging. Similarly, ‘pages per visit’ reinforces that your site is alluring as a whole. They’re stepping through the digital door. You should also pay attention to conversion rates, as they tell you how many site visitors are turning into viable customers.
Basic Elements of a Customer Journey Map
You need to be familiar with a few essential elements to forge an effective customer journey map. These include buyer personas, customer touchpoints, goals and actionable insights, and data from key metrics.
A buyer persona, to start, is the median of your intended audience. Every individual is different, so it’s impossible to directly target every campaign to every prospect. That’s why you should add them all up, find the average, and appeal to whatever that may be. All in all, you have an easier time making customer-oriented decisions with a buyer persona. You’re still playing darts, but hey, at least the lights are on.
Furthermore, customer touchpoints are the points of contact customers have with your business. They make up the customer journey and hold the power to become pain points or excellent customer experiences. Identifying touchpoints helps you focus on the smaller parts of the bigger picture.
On top of this, your customer journey map must also be goal-driven. This will inform the map’s design. For instance, if the goal is to increase customer retention, the map should place greater emphasis on the pain points that cause customers to jump ship.
Next, the data provided by the customer journey map must lead to action. Data without action is nothing, after all. So, be intentional in your analysis and response. Should your company abandon ship for a different strategy? Continue with business as usual but tread carefully? Or maybe conduct more research before deciding? A clear journey map will give you these answers.
Your key metrics will reveal how effective your customer experience is. These are tracked by your KPIs, or key performance indicators. Some KPIs target online customer service, while others provide information regarding customer conversion and retention.
Implementing Effective Customer Journey Orchestration
You want your customers to have the best customer experience possible as they move through the sales funnel. For this, you need customer journey orchestration. This is a real-time, customer-based approach that treats clients as individuals. It differs from customer journey management, which looks at customers as a collective.
The benefits of customer journey orchestration over customer journey management are best illustrated through an example. Let’s say a customer has recently purchased a vehicle, isn’t satisfied, and has made a complaint. In the customer journey management process, the seller would automatically send them marketing materials without accounting for the fact that there was an issue because they’re treating all buyers as one. In this case, the marketing materials may have the opposite of the intended effect. Conversely, with customer journey orchestration, staff would be aware that the specific customer had complained and wait to send marketing materials until the problem has been resolved.
Support Your Customers Every Step of the Way With Helpware
Journey mapping is hard, and doing it effectively is even harder. It requires precise data for you to map your customer touchpoints and accurately craft your buyer persona. Like any other map, a customer journey map will only steer you wrong if it’s incorrect. So, it’s imperative to get it right from the start.
Fortunately for you, Helpware can help with all of this and more. We even provide custom teams for your business via Back-Office Support. Whether you need skilled researchers, data handlers, or marketing experts, our agents can guide you every step of the way.
Contact Helpware today to get your customer journey map underway and A-team built in no time.