Customer journey mapping is one of today’s most useful business expansion tools. One of the main plus points of creating a customer journey map is that it hugely benefits both business and customers. A thorough understanding of your customers’ interactions with your business enables you to put yourself in their shoes; you can then tailor experiences to satiate individual needs.
By paying this level of attention to customer experience, you enhance your ability to both retain current customers and acquire new ones. If your business could be performing better, developing a customer journey map may be just the reboot it needs.
What is a customer journey?
Let’s take a look at an accurate customer journey definition. It is the sum total of the experiences had by all customers who interact with your business or brand. The customer journey comprises of various experiences, such as the convenience and effectiveness of communication. For example, the differences between a functional online live chat experience versus a user-friendly customer service line.
Business owners often make the mistake of analyzing the individual parts of a process instead of the whole. This approach fails because studying a transaction process alone doesn’t yield insights into how a customer reached that transaction in the first place, nor whether they are likely to repeat the experience.
The customer journey pertains to their entire experience with your business, and effectively documenting this process is where your power lies. Another way to refer to it is ‘Customer Experience Management’. Bernd Herbert Schmitt (a professor of international business, marketing department, Columbia University, NY) defined this as “the process of strategically managing a customer’s entire experience with a product or company.”
What is a customer journey map?
The question, “What is customer journey mapping?” is a very important one. Simply put, the customer journey map is a visual representation of your customers’ experience while interacting with your brand – from initial engagement through to brand loyalty.
Essentially you will create some form of diagram that translates to a useful resource for yourself and your teams. The map may manifest as a spreadsheet or flow chart for example, but whatever the form, it is generally an infographic and in most cases, a digital one. As 67% of the buyer’s journey is also done digitally now, this strategy makes sense.
Different types of maps have different focal points too. Some maps identify pain points and mindsets; some identify behaviors and some are predictive.
Once created, your customer journey map functions similarly to a mission statement: it is a guide that helps employees and employers alike to define appropriate actions and stick to brand goals and values.
Why does your business need a customer journey map?
Even back in 2016, a Gartner survey concluded that 89% of companies intended to compete mainly based on customer experience. This gives one clue as to why customer journey mapping is important and businesses focussing on customer retention and acquisition would be wise to get on board.
Customer journey maps are stories. Storytelling may have the effect of engaging users, but it is also a powerful learning tool. The more you know about your customers, the more consistent your brand will be; similarly, the more appropriate your actions, products and services will be.
The goal of such a map is always to understand customers’ major motivations, as well as the key interactions they have with your business. With your customer journey map you will define personas and create accurate profiles; you will accurately discern customers’ frustrations and pain points, as well as their touchpoints, expectations and desires.
To conclude, your customer journey map is a method of endowing yourself and your teams with deep insights. It creates a rich and detailed story that will educate all involved on the customer base, and when coupled with right action, it leads to consistent improvement in terms of customer experience. If you want to learn more about improving customer experience, talk to Act! now about our powerful business solutions.