Customer Journey Mapping: What it is, and Why You MUST be Doing it
July 20th 2018 | By Emma Grant
Customer journey mapping. Marketing jargon it may be, but in reality it’s what stands between you, and delighted customers. Get a customer journey map wrong and not only will you risk dissatisfied customers, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities.
Let’s take a look at what customer journey mapping involves, and why you should be spending time on this worthwhile marketing initiative.
What is customer journey mapping?
The customer journey map sets out each and every experience that your customers go through when interacting with your business. For the marketer, it is invaluable, because it tells the story right from the very first contact and throughout the relationship.
A customer journey is a complex thing and will vary depending on the customer type and the product or service they are buying. Customer journeys can start in a host of different ways and the paths they take will depend upon those first contact points. These could be word of mouth referrals; advertising and marketing; web search; social media and other above and below the line campaigns.
Customer journey mapping is all about mapping out each touchpoint with the aim of ensuring that no step goes unnoticed. Because if you don’t manage each step and are not aware of what is going on at every touchpoint, you could well lose customers somewhere along the line, or miss out on opportunities to boost your relationships with them.
Why is customer journey mapping important?
By stepping into the shoes of your customer, you can see how things are from their standpoint. You’ll be able to identify areas that need improving, and see precisely what is required for purchases to be completed and for prospects to be converted into sales.
If you think about how you feel when you are buying something, you just want it to be as straightforward as possible. As a customer, you expect to be acknowledged for who you are, and what you buy. You want crucial information to be available to you as and when you need it without having to re-explain what you are looking for. The customer journey map makes all of this possible.
What are the benefits of customer journey mapping?
With a customer journey map, you’ll be able to see at a glance precisely where customers interact with your business. It will help you see precisely what customers need at the various stages of the buying process and whether the process you take people through is ordered logically.
Are your customers actually experiencing what they want to experience? The customer journey map will demonstrate this. It will also shine a light on potential areas where you could be developing leads.
How to do customer journey mapping, and do it well
The place to start is by listing every point where a customer comes into contact with your business. Don’t leave anything out. Include things like social media posts; your website; adverts; product packaging; direct mail; call centres; live chat; switchboards and even your product manuals. What are each of these touchpoints saying about your brand, and how well are they doing the intended job.
When compiling your maps, use as much qualitative data as you can get your hands on. Website and social media analytics; customer relationship management and call centre platforms and feedback forms.
The next step is to scrutinise all of your measurements. You may find that your social media platforms are providing a fast customer service response, but your call centre is well off the mark where customer satisfaction is concerned. Or that your website is converting prospects to sales, but your direct mail and advertising campaigns are not delivering results.
All of this information will help you ascertain which areas of your sales, marketing and customer service are in need of attention.
The role of customer journey mapping in nurturing the long term customer relationship
Customer journey mapping also applies to the longer term customer relationship. As the relationship grows, your map will set out the journey they take with you after they have made a purchase. Do they go on to make another purchase? To buy from you on a regular basis? To leave reviews for you and share their experience on social media? Do they refer new business to you?
Mapping the post purchase journey will help you understand how valuable your customers are to you, allowing you to take steps to make the most of their actions, for example by introducing a loyalty reward campaign, or a refer a friend programme.
Mapping completed journeys will also highlight whether the path from the initial research through to making an enquiry and actually buying something is straightforward and free from obstacles.
The customer journey and brand values
Does your customer journey actually fit with your brand values? For example, your core value is to make everything a breeze for your customers. But in reality, when dealing with every aspect of your business, is every experience nice and streamlined and totally effortless for them? If there is disparity between any of your values and the actual customer experience, trust in your brand will falter. Customer journey mapping will allow you to identify any areas where work needs to be done.
Where to next on your journey to better customer relations?
When you are aware of the journey your customers take in dealing with your business, and are able to recognise and deal with flaws and discrepancies between your brand values and the actual customer experience, opportunities for your business to grow and thrive will start to flow your way.
Need help with customer journey mapping? Get in touch with our agency in London to learn more.