An Introductory Guide to Customer Journey Mapping
Many companies don’t adequately track the customer journey which is essential in order to adapt to changing customer behaviors. To ensure that your customer experience is as smooth as possible, it’s important to implement a customer-centric strategy that will turn customers into loyal brand followers. A recent study reveals that loyal customers are 5 times as likely to repurchase and 4 times as likely to refer a product or service. Increasing brand loyalty begins with creating a pleasant, user-centric experience for your customers.
A customer journey map helps illustrate the customer experience through the user’s perspective, helping you to understand exactly how customers are interacting with your brand and highlight areas for improvement. The customer experience can either be a product, online experience, retail experience, or a service within a given length of time. Despite the type of experience you want to map, every association throughout a customer’s journey contributes to how they perceive the brand, which ultimately drives customer loyalty.
Why Create a Customer Journey Map?
To achieve business goals, it’s important to create a customer journey map to better understand your customer’s true experience such as feelings, motivations, and questions they may have along the way. Essentially, you want to reduce the amount of effort that your customers experience to build long-term brand loyalty.
To map the efficiency of your customer journey, you need to include key interactions that the customer encounters with the brand. This will help provide greater insight into the customer’s motivation, what they want to achieve, what their expectation of the company is, and much more.
What You Need:
Customer journey maps build off of user personas that are ideally created during product discovery. For each user persona, map the story ending (the end goal of that user), and all of the actions that are needed in order for the user to get to that point. A user persona illustrates the needs, goals, thoughts, feelings, opinions, expectations, and pain points of a particular user.
Determine a set amount of time that you want to map out. This could be as short as a week or as long as a cradle-to-grave experience. A variable phase such as awareness, decision-making, purchase, renewal, etc. could also be used as a basis for measurement.
Decide which channel(s) you want to analyze the customer experience on. This is where all customer interactions occur, such as a mobile app, website, or in-store.
To begin, you need to review the goals of the customer for each persona that you’ll be examining. Then, list the user(s) on the left, the story ending (goal) on the right, and all actions in between.
Identify The Behavioral Stages
Next, you need to examine what’s happening at each stage of the customer experience:
Actions: What is the customer doing at each stage? What actions are they taking to continue to the next stage of the customer experience?
Motivations: Why is the customer motivated to keep moving forward with their experience? What emotions are they feeling?
Moments of Truth: Emotions drive customer behavior to either move forward and buy into the brand or develop a negative perception of the brand. An emotional response generated from a particular stage will either deter the customer or keep them engaged.
Interactions/Touchpoints: This is what the customer is doing at each stage. How are they interacting with the brand?
Questions: Where is the customer confused or concerned? If the experience is too confusing, customers will often abandon their goal, for example making a purchase.
Obstacles: This is where issues such as structural, cost, and other barriers should be examined. What is stopping the customer from moving onto the next step during the customer experience?
Identifying Pain Points
Now, you need to organize the data into actionable steps in order to improve your customer’s experience with your brand. This is the time to seek opportunities for improvement and fix gaps and inconsistencies within the customer journey. If you find that a customer is abandoning their shopping cart or is stuck on a stage of the customer journey, you need to determine why that is and how to bridge the gap.
Adapting to Customer Behavioral Changes
67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally as companies are taking advantage of digital channels to enhance their customer experience. As the customer experience transitions over to digital rather than face-to-face in-store interactions, companies must learn how to analyze the behavioral changes of their customers. These technological advancements can either enhance the customer experience or make it more difficult for the user to fulfill their overall goal. In order for companies to adapt, they must understand the customer’s feelings, questions, concerns, motivations, and needs, most significantly across digital channels.
Customer behavior is becoming too complex to track through the traditional marketing funnel. With so many options available to customers, it’s common for them to skip stages of the customer experience. A lot of companies gather data on their customers however, it fails to truly demonstrate the details of the customer journey that should be considered, including where they get frustrated, abandon their shopping cart, or where they decide to check out. A customer journey map illustrates the customer experience from the beginning where the initial point of contact takes place, engagement, into a long-term, loyal customer. It identifies precisely what the most important interactions are to get from point A to point B and where you can optimize the journey to ultimately solve pain points by creating a seamless customer experience.