Customer Journey Mapping 101: The Purpose, Benefits and Positive Outcomes
Head of Content
⏱ Reading Time: 10 minutes
The understanding of customer journey today, along with how, when and where people connect with your brand, have an increasing impact on the company growth and business development.
Vision Critical Researches show that 51% of the customers leave a brand because of poor customer experience, while 81% of them state that switching from one brand to another could be prevented by improving the customer journey and customer experience. So, how do you convince a person who spent a long time browsing your website, but didn’t make the purchase to convert? Or even a better question, how do you serve your customers with the exact user experience that they expect?
According to studies by IBM, nearly 80% of consumers state that brands don’t understand them as individuals. In order to win the hearts of customers, companies no longer afford the approach of asking ‘How do I get you to do what I want to do’. Instead, businesses should ask themselves ‘How do I help my customers achieve their goals, while also accomplishing my goal’. This information gap is filled perfectly using the customer journey map model.
What is Customer Journey?
Customer journey is the sum of all the interaction a customer goes through in relation to a company. From the moment a customer hears about the brand, to the actual purchase and post-purchase intention. Each and every segment resemble a part of the customer journey, filled with touchpoints and opportunities for improvement.
What is Customer Journey Map?
A customer journey map is a visual illustration of the full customer journey with the organization across major and minor touchpoints. Portraying the customer’s experience in different phases and intensities, a customer journey map is a holistic approach to understanding the experience flow a customer has with the organization.
Picture 1. Example of customer journey map
At first glance, the customer journey map comes across as pretty simple. You offer something people want to buy. The end. But with the rise of the omnichannel, platforms, marketing tools and techniques, customer journey becomes a complex crossroad. Nowadays, one purchase can last up to 10 days and expand from PC to mobile, different social networks and forums.
Picture 2. Touchpoint approaches
Customers can come in contact with your company using a multitude of ways and from many different starting points – referrals, marketing, search, social media, customer service or in-store campaigns. In order to create an amazing customer experience for each and every one of your customers, you will need to map out every touchpoint or experience along the customer journey.
What Are Customer Journey Touchpoints?
Customer journey touchpoints are individual transactions through which the customer interact with parts of the business and its offerings. In essence, any time a customer comes into contact with a brand can be considered as a touchpoint.
Customer journey touchpoints for omnichannel brands are everywhere – social media, live chat, billboards, physical stores, retailers website, and their own website. Add customer’s previous knowledge about the brand (is he just getting to know the brand, is she a returning customer) to this equation, and you’ll get the importance of the touchpoints for creating an authentic customer journey map.
Identifying the touchpoint and how customers perceive it, as illustrated above, is essential to creating a customer journey map that will drive positive customer experience.
How to Identify Customer Touchpoints?
Before taking steps to create your very first customer journey map, let’s explore the most common stages of the customer journey to identify customer touchpoints. Depending on your industry, niche and the size of your business, these stages might vary, but they reflect most of the cases:
Picture 3. Customer journey stages
1. Brand Awareness phase: Inquiry
The first stage of the customer journey starts when a prospect starts interacting with your brand. Usually, this journey begins when a user is confronted with a problem and starts researching the internet in order to solve the issue they have.
Common touchpoints include PR, advertising (both online and offline), social media exposure, search engine interactions, and top-of-the-funnel content.
2. Consideration phase: Comparison
Consumers nowadays are more informed than ever before. They will research your competition and compare you to them, along with the pricing, ratings, features, etc.
Customer touchpoints at this phase would include landing pages, Knowledge base content, webinars, free trials, product/service demos, testimonials, discounts, and Q&A sessions.
3. Purchase phase
The moment when a user decides to make the purchase either online or offline.
Your touchpoints in this phase are your checkout page and process, account creation process, and physical store interactions.
4. Installation and Usage phase
The second part of the Purchase stage refers to the point when your product or service is implemented, with the help of your support team or without. In this phase customer also acknowledges whether or not they are happy with your product or service. This, later on, will determine the likelihood of becoming a repeat and loyal customer.
Customer touchpoints include customer support, support articles, knowledge base, every aspect of the service/product itself, and potential interactions on social media with your brand.
4 Benefits of Customer Journey Map
Understanding customers’ needs begin with taking their perspective. Stating the fact that brands nowadays will be competing mostly on the basis of good customer experience, it is essential for brands who want to grow, to craft the customer journey to their needs. Here are 5 main benefits to customer journey map:
1. Identifying customer pain points (Service and communication)
Customer journey maps allow brands to roleplay as the customer. During the analysis of your current customer journey map, moving from one touchpoint to another, you’ll be able to identify the communication or service gaps in your map.
For example, you might find out that there is a step too many in your purchase process on the mobile version of your webpage, and reducing your journey by just one step, might lead to the increase in your sales. You may discover that your chatbot IVR is not routing customers quickly enough, or that your social media channels are slow with responding to your customer.
Even the level of your service on each of the channels you are available on plays a significant role in your customer journey. Along the way, you may reveal gaps in communication among your teams that are preventing the amazing customer experience to happen.
Read more about customer pain points and how to solve them.
2. Increase in customer engagement
Uncovering the potential scenarios customers have with your brand, along with situations they come across, will help you become aware of their feelings. If a customer has troubles reaching your salespeople right before he is ready to make a purchase, there is a great possibility that you will lose this customer. The same rule can be applied even to your returning customers. If they have troubles with your customer service agents, there is a great chance that he will react upon that case.
Both of the customers from our examples will engage with a brand, but more likely in a negative sense. Sharing bad feedback online, leaving a mad review or not recommending your product to their friends or colleagues.
The happy customer creates positive customer engagement. Read more on how to increase customer engagement with CE strategy.
3. Reduce in cost and increase in sales
Some researches show a direct connection between brand growth and customer journey mapping. According to the Aberdeen Group, companies that have a customer journey map experience reduction in the cost of customer service. Moreover, these brands have a 54% greater return on marketing investment and an average sales cycle that is 18 times faster as opposed to brands that do not use such maps.
4. Loyal customers and better employee satisfaction
Improvements to customer journey map result in better customer experience. Since the customer’s expectations are met, satisfaction and customer loyalty naturally increase. Nurture your bond with your customers with rewards and incentives, creating a fun game-like environment.
Companies with a clear customer journey map stand a better chance for cross-team collaboration and higher employee satisfaction. Since the customer journey map serves as a helicopter view of the entire customer experience, teams get a better understanding of how someone becomes a client.
Customer journey mapping gives your employees a better understanding of how to improve the process and on which areas to collaborate to create a stronger, better, customer experience.
Customer Journey Mapping in 4 Easy Steps
Your business size, goals and your target audience will dictate the outcome of your customer journey map. This means that there are no universal customer journey maps that can be applied to each SaaS or e-commerce company in the world. You have the freedom to explore and get creative with your customer journey map, both visually and practically.
However, we’ve come up with the quick checklist to get you started on your quest:
1. Create a buyer persona
The best way to get to know your customers is to walk in their shoes and experience your brand, with all the likes and dislikes, in a way they do. Altough everyone is unique, these customer profiles will provide you guidance and precious input for the journey mapping process.
If you haven’t already started, create your buyer persona with the help of our guide.
Keep in mind that people at different journey stages will behave and interact with your brand differently. That being said, it is worth to make a distinction between someone who is researching your products/services for a couple of months and someone who has recently begun to think about solving their needs by trying your product or service.
2. Understand customer goals
Each of your customers is motivated by something. By creating a buyer persona you got a better understanding of the customer, but now its time to dig a little deeper. Think about the ultimate goals of your customers at each stage of the customer journey.
Here is some examples of user motivation:
- Ensuring that customer is paying the fair price (research stage)
- Having at disposal information and guidance (purchase stage)
- Get awarded for sharing the company with friends and family (loyal customer stage)
To ensure that you’ve got the clear vision of how your customers interact with your brand, first identify the paths that visitors might take on your website. Your returning customer, in that sense, would come to your site and log-in to their account. Activities from your leads, as opposed to your customers, may reflect in researching your product, information about your company, compare products, etc.
3. Draw a map of customer touchpoints
There are so many different ways a person may come in contact with your company – before, during or after they have purchased something from you. This too includes moments that are both online and offline, in person, over the phone, through marketing materials.
Some touchpoints may hold a higher importance than others, reflecting your company’s KPIs and your customer strategy experience goals. And some have more impact than others. For example, a duplicate payment on your checkout can lead to unpleasant situation for your customer, which could easily escalate quickly.
You can identify customer touchpoints using tools like Google analytics, with Behavior flow report and Goal flow report. This will help you reveal how traffic navigates through your funnel, and are there any points with high bounce-rate or traffic loop that need to be improved.
Picture 4. Behavior flow & goal flow report
4. Identify the roadblocks and improve your customer experience
Both qualitative and quantitive data that you’ve gathered empower companies to see the bigger picture and identify potential pain points in the customer journey. Mark the areas where you are working fine and figure out the ways to upgrade your experience.
For the segments of the customer journey which causes users to step away, step away from the maco perspective and go into details. Ask yourself what needs to corrected or built to fix the occurring problem? Do you need to re-think the entire process or a few simple changes will get you to big impact?
Either way, prioritize on your tasks and keep the track of your changes.
Refine Customer Journey Map
Use the customers feedback to refine your customer journey map often.
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