What influences your customers? What triggers them to take action and buy your product?
Today, it’s more important than ever to engage your customers. You need to know just what your customers require to make each interaction more than just a fleeting encounter.
Sounds complicated? It actually isn’t!
The solution – creating a customer journey map enables you to visualize the path your customers take. Once you know what they are going to do, you will understand just how to nudge them in the right direction.
What is Customer Journey?
Let’s begin at the beginning – what is customer journey?
It encompasses everything – from the moment your customers find out about your brand to every interaction that eventually makes them take the desired action.
This could be making a purchase, clicking subscribe, requesting a demo, or just about anything!
It is an all-encompassing term that takes into account every instance of interaction, from that very first ad that you potential customers came across, to looking up your brand online, approaching customer service, and more.
The entire customer journey comes together to form customer experience – the overall experience a customer has with a brand.
What’s so Special About Customer Experience?
The world’s leading brands have realized that it’s no longer just your product that sells. Most customers would pay more for better experiences.
In fact, customer experience is going to be the key differentiator for brands in the years to come.
It goes beyond whether an interaction was good or bad. Customer experience asks questions such as:
What are you customers feeling during every interaction with your brand?
Do your ads connect with them?
Are they happy with the customer service?
Is the product just what they expected?
How can you exceed their expectations?
So if you want to be a leader, it’s best to begin by investing in customer experience.
Where do you begin?
Customer experience is such a broad term, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re trying to improve everything together. Instead, let’s break it down.
To enhance customer experiences, you first need to create a customer journey map.
Understand the key interactions your customers have with you, and improve each instance to enhance the overall CX score.
Best Practices for Creating a Customer Journey Map
If you want to improve your customer experience, you have to implement a customer journey map. So here are the key things to keep in mind:
What do You Want?
Before you even begin mapping the customer journey, set clear objectives and goals about what you want to achieve.
Only with that in mind will you be able to map out the most effective customer journey path.
Who is it for? What is the output you want? What interactions do you want to focus on?
Once you have it all penned down, you can create a buyer persona that incorporates the key traits of your entire target audience. With this in mind, you will be able to better determine the sub-goals you set for your customer journey.
Profile Your Personas
Go into the details. Send out surveys, and identify your target audiences. What are their likes and dislikes? How did they come across your company? What do they like and what needs to be improved?
Identify your various target markets so that you can hone in on the key customer personas, creating for a more personalized customer journey experience.
Identify and List Down All Touch-points
Now that you know your goal and your primary customers, it’s time to take a look at the touchpoints.
List down every interaction your customer has with you – not just on your website, but across the internet. This could be social media ads, emails, third-party review websites, and even social media mentions.
Do a quick search to see what comes up and cross-check these using tools such as Google Analytics to understand their impact.
Once you’ve got a comprehensive list in place, narrow it down to the pages and touch-points that see the most interactions.
These are the ones you need to focus on immediately as you chart your customer journey.
Actions and Emotions
Once you’ve listed down all the touchpoints, break down the actions that are required at each of these.
The purpose is to understand how extensive or rapid each series of actions happens to be, and optimize these to give you better engagement.
Next in the process is the emotional factor. All actions are based on emotions.
So, at what point in their CX journey will the customer be coming across the said touchpoint? For example, an email is something the customer comes across once they – perhaps – subscribe to your product. Hence, they already know what you are about.
Paid marketing, on the other hand, reaches out to potential customers that may never have heard of you.
Breaking it down can help you understand your customer’s emotions at the time.
Taking this into account, you can improve your marketing and prime it for the right audience.
Know the Pain-Points
You know the actions your customers need to take. You know their emotional state to spur the right actions.
So why aren’t potential customers engaging the way you’d like them to?
Identify the potential pain-points that keep customers from taking the next step. It’s only when you know these that you can address them.
For example, if your customers aren’t engaging because of the price, perhaps add in discounts at that touchpoint or flaunt the USP of your product to justify the premium it charges.
Determine the Resources you Require
Once you understand what you want out of each touchpoint, you will be able to determine what else you require to achieve your targets.
For example, if you notice that your customer services team requires the right software to ask for feedback after a call, invest in survey software or look for CX tools to make the process more efficient.
Test the Customer Journey Yourself
The customer journey map is in place – but you’re nowhere close to done!
If this is all you put into practice, perhaps there will be a spike in engagement- but can it be better?
Perhaps people are clicking on your emails, following through on your ads, or even finding your landing pages organically, but this is just the first step.
If you want to stay ahead in the game, you have to invest yourself in constantly evolving.
Get in the mindset of different personas and test the journey out for yourself to see if it has the desired impact. Are the emails hitting the mark?
Is that social media ad really increasing curiosity? Is the process easy or are there too many clicks?
It’s only once you have been in your customers’ shoes that you can know what truly needs to be improved.
Experiment and Evolve
Customer personas evolve, and customer actions keep changing over time.
The best way to stay up to date and gauge accurate feedback from customers is by testing what works and what doesn’t. Do A/B testing with alternate customer journey paths and record which ones receive the most clicks.
With data to back up your actions, you will be able to create much better – and ever-evolving – customer experiences that increase engagement and grow your business.
Advantages of Creating a Customer Journey Map
Creating a customer journey map is a great way to boost overall customer experiences. As a consequence, it bolsters customer loyalty and increases revenue. Besides, it also impacts your organization in a more beneficial way:
Foster a Customer-Centric Attitude
Not every team across your organization interacts with customers. As a consequence, they may not always have a customer centric attitude. By creating a customer journey map, you engage each team to do their part keeping the customer in mind.
Refocus and Target the Right Market
By identifying target personas, you can refocus your marketing campaigns to target only the ideal audiences, reducing overall spend while increasing conversions.
After all, it’s only when you visualize your customer journey that you can identify prospective client profiles, break down their likes and dislikes, notice patterns in their purchases, and also identify parallel target markets!
Image Credit: Cisco
The original version of this article was first published on V3Broadsuite.
- 8 Best Practices to Create an Effective Customer Journey Map - October 7, 2020