Defining customer interactions, needs, and problems with your business may seem unnecessary and a bit overwhelming. However, understanding your customer’s experience at every stage of the customer journey is critical in turning business insights into improvement strategies.
For this reason, customer journey mapping is essential. Basically, customer journey refers to the process that starts with your customer being aware of your brand, the factors that led to their decision to purchase your product, and their outlook or relationship with the brand after the initial purchase. The process is similar to a content marketing funnel.
However, there’s more to customer journey mapping that you should know. For further information, read more below.
What Is Customer Journey Mapping?
Also referred to as user journey mapping, customer journey mapping is the process of developing a customer journey map, which is the visual story of your customer’s interactions with your business. It helps your business step into its customer’s shoes. This way, you can quickly scale your marketing strategy, gain insights into the most common customer pain points, and discover ways to improve them.
Customer journey mapping includes several components, such as:
- Emotions – One of the primary goals of customer journey mapping is to predict the customers’ feelings and emotions. This way, a business may pinpoint possible pain points and strengths.
- Customer Touchpoints – Customer journey mapping must always include touchpoints that customers are likely to use at every stage in the journey. For instance, during the service or installation stage, customers may use chatbots or phone calls to communicate with your business.
- Buyer Personas – These are the market segment’s composite representation. They can be essential for customer journey mapping because customer experience (CX) teams can accurately predict customers’ feelings and behaviors using personas.
- Customer Stages – One of the steps in customer journey mapping is identifying the stages in the customer journey. These stages may include inquiry, installation, purchase, and comparison. Such stages may have varying names. For instance, an inquiry is sometimes known as awareness, and the last stage is often called advocacy or loyalty.
Why Is Customer Journey Mapping So Crucial For Businesses?
Customer journey mapping is essential for many reasons. One of these is because it’s a strategic approach to understand customer expectations better. Using customer experience management tools can be a strong and effective way to optimize user experience.
Customer journey mapping is crucial whether you’re running a small enterprise or a bigger company. Since customer expectations constantly change, most customers prefer a more personalized and omnichannel approach to marketing, sales, and customer service. Customer journey mapping allows businesses to make personalized experiences across every touchpoint for individuals across various channels.
Advantages Of Customer Journey Mapping
You might think that customer journey mapping is unnecessary for your business. However, even if you think you understand your customers’ pain points and needs, there are other things you don’t know at each stage of the customer journey.
So, if you’re unsure about using customer journey mapping for your business, here are the benefits you must know:
- Help You Refocus Your Business With An Inbound Perspective
Instead of discovering more about your customers through outbound marketing, you can make customers discover your business through inbound marketing. Typically, outbound marketing strategies are poorly targeted at uninterested or generalized audiences and usually interrupt target customers.
Outbound marketing is also inefficient and costly. It deters and annoys prospects and customers. On the other hand, inbound marketing involves crafting interesting content that’s helpful and something that your customers are looking for. Moreover, it grabs their attention first and concentrates on the sales later.
With customer journey mapping, you’ll understand what’s helpful and interesting to your customers. Plus, you’ll know what makes them turn away from your business. This way, you can create the right content that will make them stay or stick with your business instead of considering your competitors.
- Empathize With Your Buyers
Customer journey mapping lets you observe your company’s sales experience and change perspectives from the customer’s viewpoint. With this, you can easily understand your buyer’s point of view and see what made them choose your business over other brands. Use this data to improve customers’ experience in the future and adapt your marketing and sales methods as needed.
- Identify Gaps In Communications Or Service
Customer journey mapping reveals where gaps may exist in your company’s customer service. For instance, one channel can be understaffed, causing frustration for customers who need immediate assistance.
Also, switching from a desktop to any mobile device might not be good if the mobile version isn’t well-optimized. Issues in employee communications may also be revealed when agents can’t obtain timely support from other teams during service interactions. Hence, customer journey mapping is ideal for understanding the gaps that should be addressed in the journey.
- Eliminate Silos From Departments
A silo in an organization refers to the different departments that operate independently and don’t share information with each other. It inhibits departments from having the knowledge needed to enhance a customer’s experience. With customer journey mapping, it enables you to see how every department works together.
For instance, you might find that other prospects are more engaged once they first noticed your service and then had low engagement when they started researching other brands. To avoid this, your sales and marketing teams should work together proactively to look for strategies to nurture leads and move them through the sales funnel. You may use customer journey mapping information to collaborate with every team and address your customers’ needs using the abilities and knowledge of your company’s multiple departments.
- Attract Loyal Customers
If you can make improvements using customer journey mapping, it’s easy to attract loyal customers and increase your sales over time. As you meet customers’ expectations, your customers will likely have a positive experience and stay loyal to your brand. You can nurture customer relationships continuously by offering incentives or rewards to keep them interested in your products and services.
- Predict Customer Behavior
One of the best benefits of customer journey mapping is that it helps predict how buyers will behave as they go through the sales funnel. You may observe their behaviors and determine which are likely to convert. Then, you can consider offering proactive assistance to potential customers to take the right steps or help them find the right products.
- Create A Smoother Experience
Another advantage of customer journey mapping is searching areas where you might want more touchpoints. Touchpoints refer to customers’ interactions with your products, such as reviews on blog posts, paid ads, and testimonials.
Suppose you understand how your customers navigate the sales journey using the touchpoints. In that case, you can quickly identify where you can eliminate or add some to make the experience smoother for your customers. Areas you might want to have more interactions with customers include pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements or nurturing emails.
- Help Satisfy Your Employees
Businesses that invest in customer journey mapping are more likely to utilize cross-functional collaboration, especially when various departments focus on reaching a common goal. This strategy may help satisfy employees because every team may better understand what others do daily and appreciate the work every team does to enhance the customer sales journey.
Steps For Successful Customer Journey Mapping
To get started with customer journey mapping, here are the steps to achieve success, regardless of business size or industry:
- Determine Touchpoints
Start by listing the different ways customers can interact with your business. To make your customer journey map more specific, be detailed with your list.
You can do this by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and walking yourself through their journey. For example, where do you usually go when you want to know more about a certain brand or product? Do you prefer social media or browsing the brand’s website instead? Another way to locate touchpoints is to ask your customers directly about where they first saw your brand and how their experience was.
- Select Your Target Customer Persona
Whether it’s purchase behavior or a demographic trait, clarifying who your business wants to reach and narrowing your focus can provide a framework to build around. Choosing customer personas will humanize customers and add a personal touch to every step. In addition, your team will have a consistent point of reference throughout the customer journey mapping process.
- Understand Your Customer’s Goals
Once you’re done creating customer personas, the next thing to do is to understand what each hope to achieve. Think of your customers’ goals in every phase and note that these may change once the process unfolds.
An excellent way to understand your customer’s goals is by identifying your visitors’ paths on your website. If your visitors are pre-existing customers or members, their first step is to log in. Some activities include searching for products, browsing, comparing, and more. Once you have a list of such activities, you can quickly determine the goals associated with the touchpoints.
- Visualize And Map Out Flow Of Interactions
In this step, carefully review target customer personas and start placing your touchpoints along a linear path toward a desired outcome or goal. Usually, the main goal is a purchase, but the customer journey may extend beyond the purchase through steps of nurturing loyalty and relationship building. You can think of this step as a draft that can be adjusted and altered as every piece starts coming together.
- Focus On Your Brand’s Touchpoints
Review the big picture and keep your target customer personas in mind. Consider where they’re likely to spend their time, the essential points of contact as they move to the purchase stage, and where you can make an impact in terms of content creation or strategy.
The main goal of customer journey mapping is to enhance the flow between your company’s touchpoints. It can be done by referring to the journey map and examining customer interactions one by one with the intent to improve continuously.
- Review And Update
As you start making improvements and adjustments to your brand’s touchpoints, you’ll see fluctuations in customer interactions. Adjustments in a certain area may reveal opportunities in other areas. Therefore, review and assess your customer journey map regularly to ensure your business is ahead of the competition.
Best Practices For Customer Journey Mapping
Since there’s no exact solution to understanding the customer experience across various touchpoints, customer journey mapping can be challenging. To get the best results, you need a strategic and organized approach.
If you don’t know where to start, apply the following best practices to develop an effective customer journey map:
- Make A Different Map For Every Buyer Type
Buyers vary widely depending on their demographics and roles in society. If you want to generalize each persona under a broader customer journey map, you might not be able to take advantage of various opportunities to create the best product experience for all buyers.
For example, while some of your users scroll past the blocks of text on your homepage and browse more engaging elements like videos, other users would prefer written content. To know your website’s popular or unpopular elements, use tools to adjust your website to help every user get to wherever they want.
- Make It Cyclical
Not all customer journeys are linear, which means your customer journey mapping must reflect this. For instance, if you want strong brand advocates and high customer lifetime value (CLV), mapping out cyclical customer journeys is crucial. In this case, the journeys don’t end when the users get to know your products and make a purchase. To improve customer loyalty and satisfaction, it’s essential to understand other pathways to purchase.
- Collaborate With Stakeholders
The key to creating customer journey mapping effectively is including various perspectives from stakeholders. Collaborating with your stakeholders can ensure that everyone is on the same page to deliver a superb customer experience.
For the best cross-functional collaboration, consult every team with insights regarding customer touchpoints or interactions from marketing and sales to design, operations, and customer service. If possible, involve executive decision-makers to get their buy-in on the finalized customer journey mapping and get corresponding action.
The more you empathize with or understand your customers, the more you can improve their overall experience with your business. With customer journey mapping, businesses can easily determine what their customers want instead of what brands think their customers prefer, revealing new insights. It also allows brands to better empathize with their customers’ needs and provide the right information, content, or guidance whenever necessary.