In the course of doing business, most entrepreneurs often encounter instances where they attempted to win the favor of targeted customers by offering them very reasonable deals – only to find out later that these customers opted for their competitors instead.
Not knowing why that happened, these entrepreneurs settle for merely dreaming about a device or app that could read their customers’ minds. They would want to know first-hand what their customers really, really want. They would want to know the next perfect step to do once a customer initiated a particular action, or make the right kind of changes based on a customer’s reaction.
The problem however is that many organizations are not focused on the customer experience. Many are not fully aware of the customer journey nor are they knowledgeable of all the touchpoints a customer undergoes as they interact with their businesses or organizations.
What a customer really wants goes beyond merely availing of a company’s products or services, but in actually experiencing more about the company and what it has to offer them. This kind of customer experience can be likened to a journey – from the moment a customer learned about the company, to the moment they availed of its offerings.
Businesses and digital marketers can gain a very valuable insight by mapping this journey through a tool called Customer Journey Mapping. Many digital marketing professionals and business have started using and adopting this tool in their campaigns, and achieving awesome results in the process – and so should you.
So, let’s begin your journey.
In essence, Customer Journey Mapping is like telling a story – the story of your targeted customer’s user experience. This story records all your interaction points: from the first moment you made contact, the long list of interactions and engagements you underwent with them, and eventually up to how you developed and maintained a long-term relationship.
Each of these interaction points or touchpoints will give you an insight of what’s going on inside your customer’s brain at that particular moment. You would gain insight of what they want done, how they want it done, and other expectations they have from your company. Mapping this journey will tell you what your customer expected from that particular touchpoint or experience – and what they actually received from you.
The diagram above from Customer Champions provides an outline that can be used as a generic basis where you can form your customer map. Each segment or section like “Aware” or “Purchase” can be further broken down into several other specific touchpoints that would give you an even greater detail of a particular customer interaction.
The key here is to understand each segment and touchpoint in your map so you can identify gaps between the expected user experience and what your customers are receiving or not receiving now. From there, you can improve the overall quality of your customer experience, providing them with positive interactions that will eventually transform them from paying customers – to loyal brand advocates.
If you haven’t realized it yet at this point, it would be important to emphasize that Customer Journey Mapping is a very powerful digital marketing tool that could deliver amazing results. The following outlines some of the key benefits you and your organization can get when working with customer journey maps.
- Customer Journey Maps provide key players in your organization valuable insights about the customer experience as they move through your sales and marketing funnel.
- Customer Journey Maps gives you insight that can help you identify: key opportunities; weaknesses, gaps and inefficiencies you need to address; and how you can improve the overall customer experience.
- Customer Journey Maps gathers your team and help them focus towards one important goal – giving your customers an awesome user experience.
- Customer Journey Maps puts your customer at the center of focus of all your digital marketing efforts. It gives them a clear path to focus on the feelings, issues, needs and particularly on things that your customers value the most.
- Customer Journey Maps will give your company a great insight on what to do or build next that will resonate to what your targeted customer wants. In the process, you can develop an awesome product roadmap that will surely click in the near future.
- Customer Journey Maps helps your organization prioritize on important deliverables that matter to your customers and need special attention to.
- Customer Journey Maps helps your organization identity your future team and logistical needs, allowing your business to expand in the proper way and in line with the current and future needs of your targeted customers.
There are many forms that you can actually use when creating Customer Journey Maps, but most can be graphical or visual in form and presentation. The key here is to use a form that your organization can easily understand and gain a deeper insight about your customers. The following are examples of some of the more popular forms of mapping digital marketers use:
The chart above from Customer Champions is a generic representation of a customer map. Here, you should identity the owner of each touchpoint, the desired impact on the user experience at that particular touchpoint, and the gaps that you need to address
The use of infographics is another graphical form that you can use for your Customer Journey Map that can easily be understood by members of your organization.
The Timeline is a good contextual and graphical representation of the customer journey just like this sample above from UX Matters.
4. Mapping Game
Paul Kahn from Mad Pow and Christophe Tallec from Uinfoshare developed this gamified version of Customer Journey Mapping. The use of a journey worksheet and sets of cards can help your team gain a better understanding of the actitivies and touchpoints your customers undergo through.
The TrainRide version of the Customer Journey Map from 31Volts is another cool graphical representation of the customer journey, where you can start from a particular starting point and move on to the possible touchpoints your customers go through in their experience.
There are other types and forms of Customer Journey Mapping that you can use. You should select the form that you are comfortable with and that which resonates with your particular business and other unique needs.
The following provides an overview of the steps that you can use to develop and create your own Customer Journey Mapping campaign.
It all starts with research. The information you get initially from research is important in setting the course of your whole journey. Getting the wrong sets of information at the start can prove disastrous in the long end. Research can be Analytical, or it can be Anecdotal:
Digital Marketers are already familiar with various analytics and other information they can get from in-house or third-party applications that they can use. This includes website analytics, social media analytics and other data tracking and monitoring applications that you can use. From the data you gathered here, you can create profiles and other valuable information about your customers
Understanding your customers in a deeper and more in-depth manner oftentimes could not be achieved by merely looking at analytical data alone. Most of the more valuable information can only be obtained by direct interaction, either by person-to-person or online interviews or discussions through social media or other available channels at your disposal.
Establish Customer Personas
Once you’ve gather enough analytic and anecdotal research data, you can create customer personas that will help you put a face on your targeted customers. We shared an article before on how you can develop these personas, helping you create some for your journey mapping
Identify Customer Stages
You will also need to identify at what particular stage in the sales funnel your targeted audiences are, so you can decide at which particular touchpoints you would need to put more focus and resources on
Identify Customer Goals
Knowing your customer’s goals can also help you put your mapping efforts in sync with what they want and need. This way you are ensured that your efforts will generate favorable action that will help them reach their goals – and yours as well
Identify Customer Touchpoints
At this point you need to identify each particular touchpoint or interaction that your customers undergo through with your brand, product or services. This include all interactions and engagements online and offline, from initial contact point to repeat orders and beyond
Once you’ve gather all information you need, its time to represent your Customer Journey Map in a form that you can use. Again, the form and style does not really matter as long as the one you choose is effective in teaching you and your team the value of the customer experience
The Digital Marketplace is highly competitive. More and more players are joining the bandwagon each day, while some continue to improve their methods and techniques in a bid to win more business from targeted customers – your targeted customers.
What can set you apart from your competitors is to gain vital knowledge about your customers – getting into the mind of the customer – and leading them towards your goal: conversion or sales. Customer Journey Mapping is the perfect tool that can help you achieve all that, helping you gain a better understanding of the customer experience and giving you insight on how you can provide value and what they truly need.
Make your journey now.