Every single interaction that a customer has with a business creates a huge effect on its bottom-line, satisfaction and in its branding. This is why it is important to have a Customer Journey Map to help you mitigate any mistakes you might be doing in the interactions with your customer. A Customer Journey Map is essentially a visual interpretation of the customer’s perspective of their relationship with the company across different time periods and channels.
In this time and age, there are a number of channels for your customers to interact with your product/service and they always expect a service that they can recommend to others. A Customer Journey Map is a powerful tool for you to understand and draft the ideal customer experience. The journey map will show you the kind of communication the customer is receiving from any team in your organization and the kind of actions that you want the customers to take.
Before we dig deep into creating a customer journey map from scratch, here are some of the terms that you need to familiarize yourself with:
Any interaction that your customer has with your brand is called a customer touchpoint. It could be a customer visiting to your website, interacting with the chat console, buying a product, talking to a customer service representative and more.
Moment of Truth
A touchpoint that can be considered crucial in the customer experience is called ‘Moment of Truth’. At these points called Moments of Truth, as a business, you are at a position to focus and improve upon the customer experience.
This is probably one of the first terms that you need to know if you are a student of Marketing (Cue: Segmentation). Your target persona is the set of attributes that you are looking for in the person you are targeting to sell your product/service.
Let us say you sell expensive suits. How do you create a persona for potential clients? There is no single persona, there can be multiple personas for a single product. Ideally, you can expect C-suite executives to buy expensive suits. Their age would hover around 40 and above, they would live in upscale apartment complexes in metro cities with a spouse and have 1-2 kids. This is a customer persona. Hope you get the gist.
Why is identifying customer persona important? Because understanding the motivations behind a customer of yours, buying your product and other details that will help you target better.
Now that we are done with the basic terms that you should have a clear while learning more about Customer Journey Mapping. Remember there is no set way in which a customer makes the purchase, there are interactions with different touchpoints and not necessarily in the same order for every customer.
Benefits of creating a Customer Journey Map
If you want to understand your customers, then look through their eyes and you will be able to figure out the inconsistencies and poor processes that they are subjected to. You will find what your customers perceive about you. A lot of companies use Customer Journey Mapping to understand user experience and see the areas where improvements can be made.
- Brands can learn areas where they are able to satisfy their customers and see if it is possible to optimize it further
- It reveals the gaps in customer service, if there are any
- It is known to increase sales and help with marketing efforts
- It enables brands to connect with customers on an emotional level and provide the best experience possible
- Customer Journey Mapping helps companies discover more opportunities
- Helps identify operational inefficiencies which when eliminated, saves a lot of time for the company as well as improves the experience of your customers
Creating a Customer Journey Map
If there is one thing that you need to keep in mind before drafting a Customer Journey Map, it is the fact that it should be about how to improve the customer’s experience and not just looking at improving the company’s bottom-line.
The best way to identify these different phases is to talk directly to the customer and see what they feel about each interaction they had with your brand/product/service/company. If getting customer data directly from them is a bit of a stretch then draft the first customer journey map based on your findings; without understanding the expectations of the customers it is impossible to benefit from any kind of tool.
When creating a Customer Journey Map, it is important that you prepare for just one persona and one customer scenario to visualize further. Here are the pivotal steps that you need to follow to create a killer Customer Journey Map.
Get your entire team on the table
If you want to make a difference by creating a Customer Journey Map, you need to involve all the stakeholders who have a part in building the product. You need the opinion and expertise of everyone involved so that there is a holistic understanding of customers interaction with your product.
Get people from different departments, this will allow you to pick the brain of people who have a different school of thought than you, which means you will get ideas of people who have different perspectives. The insights about customer journey that they may tell you might be different from how you would have perceived things.
Get all your research done
Try to collect as much information as possible about your customers, their motivation, actions taken, actions ignored, objectives, pain points, feelings, obstacles and much more they faced during the interaction with your company. The better you understand about their motivations through various sources of data, the easier it is to craft the Customer Journey Map.
You can never be sure of the map as you need data directly from the customers, until then it will only be a hypothesis. But it will still help you bridge gaps, maintain focus and makes you understand the kind of questions and thought process required to build one.
It is important to collect as much data as possible of the target persona from as many avenues as possible. Collate this data to narrow in on how the target persona is and how their customer journey might look like. Once you collect more data, you would be able to narrow your target persona more.
Here is how you can collect some of this data:
- Conduct interviews of your customers based on their demographics
- Have Focused Group Discussions
- Talk to your employees who interact with customers
- If there are middle men between you and the customer, do get on a call with them to understand issues
- Search for customer emails. Read the entire email thread to develop your points
- Search for every single conversation about your brand in social media
- Every time a customer tags your social media handles, address that issue and take notice of it
- Use analytics
- Get feedback forms from customers at interactions that make sense
- Listen to call transcripts of customers with the customer executives of your company
- If there are areas we have missed out here, then please do add in the comments section, but the amount of data procured from these sources would be good when you are starting out.
Use Affinity Diagrams
Also known as the KJ method, it is one of the seven management tools for planning. The objective of an Affinity Diagram is to collect, organize and collate information with regard to a product, process or a problem. It is used to find out solutions for a complex problem. It can be used at any stage in a problem. Every member in the meeting is expected to put forth their views, they are in turn categorized and labeled appropriately. The ideas put forth are then discussed again, refined to create a seamless customer experience.
Visualize each part
Here is probably the first step of the visualization part. Focus on the content that is being input into the document. Build a comprehensive model by making use of all the data that was furnished from different sources along with the opinion of all the stakeholders involved.
Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to drafting a Customer Journey Map. Here is some information that you need to include at each stage of the customer journey:
- The actions taken by the customer at each point
- Areas where the interaction with a customer can be improved
- Moments of Truth
- The different channels from where information is accessed
Fix the issues
Getting all the data from customers can mean only one thing for a business: there are areas that need to be mended. Think about ways to improve the customer’s interaction. See if you need to overhaul the entire setup of your business or only certain parts need to be worked upon?
For example: If customers complain that it takes a lot of time to get to speak a customer service representative, then employ a few more people and see if the switch works or was the problem due to a process failure and not necessarily a lack of people to handle.
Keep in mind that the only goal might be to convert the prospect to a customer at any cost, this is an attitude that deserves a rap on the knuckle. The goal is to make the experience as smooth as possible for the person, the sale will happen because of the seamless experience that you provide.
Prioritize the areas that need to be optimized
Optimizing is the magic word you aim to make happen whenever you prepare a Customer Journey Map. Adding a sign-up form on the Careers Page might not be as important as making your website mobile-friendly. This is why you need to prioritize your tasks once you identify the areas that need to be worked upon. Speed up on the work to improve the interactions for your customers at each touchpoint, but work on the ones that need immediate treatment.
No matter how much you want your customers to interact with you in a particular way, there is no way it is going to happen as there are different subsets of customers with their own set of values and expectations from your business.
Take the time to understand why a customer behaves in a certain way and take steps to make that transaction as meaningful as possible. Once the entire Customer Journey Map is ready, make sure that you go through each of the processes multiple times before declaring it as final. Also, add one or two stakeholders with a different point of view to ratify the document.
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