The digital transformation has allowed us to market more strategically to our customers. But it’s also caused our customers to want more—more engagement, more value, more memorable experiences—from our companies overall. And, they want it on their terms. Customer journey mapping has become a trendy way for businesses to make sense of their customers’ expectations and opinions throughout a product or service life-cycle. But do journey maps really make a difference?
Research shows yes: companies that take time to meaningfully map their customer experiences see 50 percent greater returns on their marketing efforts. They also enjoy almost 25 percent more positive social media mentions, and 55 percent greater success in cross-sales and up-sells. The question is no longer, “Do maps make a difference?” It’s, “How do I create an effective customer journey map for my business?” The following are a few tips to keep in mind as you begin your own adventure in journey mapping.
Map Specific Market Segments
Your Millennial and Gen Z customers likely shop—and prefer different styles, methods, and frequencies of communication—than your older market segments. When creating a journey map, create specific maps for each market segment that is important to you. You can also create maps for new markets you are trying to reach, making time to understand their specific preferences.
Map from Your Customer’s Perspective
I have a friend who worked for a government agency that was trying to change their website structure from one that mirrored the internal structure of the organization—to one that structured information in a way their visitors would look for it. Turns out, it was incredibly difficult for the employees to get their heads around that concept. Every iteration of the structure came back incredibly similar to the structure in which they worked. That’s how many of us act every day in working with our customers. But you want your customer journey map to be useful, you need to re-wire your brain to think like a customer, not like an employee. Think: why should I choose this brand? How and what would I like to hear from them? Start from the customer viewpoint, always
Make Your Touchpoints Purposeful
If you’re tired of hearing the word “touchpoint,” I get it. It seems like we’re all clamoring to “touch” our customers as much as possible, especially in today’s omnichannel environment. But as you map your touchpoints on the journey, take time to analyze whether those touchpoints are truly meaningful for your customer. Do you they add value, or do they feel like a nuisance? Are your incentives easy to use—or so difficult to redeem that customers won’t even bother using them? Remember: every touchpoint can become a pain point if it isn’t carefully considered.
Get to Know Your Customers
There is no reason to assume how your customers think or act in the modern digital marketplace. Today’s companies have much more data to help them personalize their communications and customer experiences than ever before. Make sure you’re using that data—including quantitative and emotional/qualitative feedback—to guide your journey choices. If nothing else, mapping is a great opportunity to find out if the data you’re collecting is meaningful for understanding how your customers “work.” P.S.: If you aren’t collecting data already, you need to start.
Embrace the Pain Points
As a former boss once said: the only problem that can’t be fixed is the one that isn’t talked about. As you begin to map the customer journey, pay special attention to the pain points your customers may experience—anywhere they might fall off your company’s bandwagon. Is it on your website? During the customer service experience? Do they buy your product once, never to be seen again? Spend extra time on the “valleys” of your journey to improve your sales overall.
We’d all prefer a nonstop flight to one with lots of different layovers and carriers. In the same way, your customers want their interactions with you to be easy and seamless. How are your customers experiencing your brand, both online and in person—on your app and on the web? In addition to multi-channel experience, determine points where you lose control over the customer journey—such as when big box stores and other vendors are selling your product, rather than your own sales team. Is the experience of buying an iPhone the same at Best Buy as it is at the Apple Store? Not likely! So how can you better channel your standards to those areas where you have little control?
Lastly, don’t make your customer journey map any more complicated than it must be. At the end of the day, the map is only useful if you use it. I’ve seen companies spend millions of dollars on generating customer experience maps, just to have them hang on a conference room wall. If simple, easy, and consistent is proven to work with customers, it’s likely it will work with your own teams, as well.
Additional Resources on This Topic:
Mastering Customer Experience Starts with Customer Journey Mapping
How Technology Has Changed the Customer Journey
Competing on Customer Experience: Your Best Bet for the Win
This article was first published on CallidusCloudCX.com.