Forbes recently conducted a study in which 65% of respondents said they would become long-term customers of a brand if it could provide positive experiences throughout the customer journey.
Delivering a positive experience to the customer starts with taking a broader view of the journey they undertake to reach you in the first place. Understanding this customer journey and mapping it efficiently can make a world of difference for your business.
What do we mean by customer journey mapping?
To put it simply, customer journey mapping means defining and illustrating the steps your customers go through before making a purchase. Every touchpoint that a potential customer interacts with before reaching you or making a purchase needs to be evaluated and designed for best possible experience.
In a broader sense, every aspect of the customer journey -- online experience, retail experience, customer service, or any combination of these – should be mapped. The desired output of customer journey mapping is a detailed evaluation of customer behavior that can be leveraged for a better customer experience.
What do we get from it?
Customer journey mapping is essential to get an intuitive understanding of what your customers expect from their experience with your company and how they react to your marketing strategies. As marketers, we cannot rely solely on assumptions when mapping. It is important that we acquire real-time observations and inferences based on data and map the customer journey accordingly.
Some of the major benefits of mapping the customer journey are:
- You get a better understanding of how your customers behave across multiple channels.
- It helps you predict the general path a customer takes before making a purchase.
- It enhances your customer engagement, marketing, and sales methods.
What is the right way to do it?
Let's start with how not to do it. Sitting in a conference room and discussing how to make customers follow your journey maps. That is NOT how it works. Chalking out an action plan for customer journey mapping without doing solid research into the current behavior of the customer will lead to a weak and ineffective marketing strategy.
The most important thing to understand here is that customers are in charge. They decide the journey, and you find a way to work around it. The first step is to obtain correct and relevant customer data from their interactions with the customer service, sales force, and other touch points. This will help you understand what your typical customer's journey looks like. You can then employ marketing methodologies to enhance that journey through personalization.
What not to do?
To ensure your mapping process works optimally, avoid the following mistakes:
Starting with a restricted scope- Most companies today engage with customers through multiple channels. If you do not study every single engagement channel, your final mapping is bound to be incomplete and flawed. For example, if you focus only on customer service and marketing communications, your understanding of the actual customer journey will be lacking in crucial details.
Lack of segmentation and well-defined personas- Customers come in all shapes and sizes. Customer segments like high, medium, and low-value customers should be treated individually as their journey might differ significantly. The marketing team needs to define various personas and employ personalizations distinctly for each so that the best possible experience is delivered to all.
Too many assumptions- If you do not have enough data about customer behavior, spend time and resources to gather the relevant information. Even though it might seem inefficient and slow at first, this process will ensure that your mapping is solid and closer to reality. The alternative is to move ahead on the basis of assumptions that might result in a flawed output and force you to redo the entire process.
What is the role of customer experience analytics?
Analyzing a customer's journey in real-time is key to figuring out the most efficient way of enhancing that journey and the overall customer experience. Customer experience analytics helps you figure out:
- The percentage of customers on each path
- Ways to reduce churn in high-return journeys
- The best timeframe and channel for customer interaction
- Ways to add value to each customer's persona
A robust customer experience analytics system is key in supervising and enhancing the final customer experience.
Businesses striving to meet customer demands need to actively invest in customer journey maps. Market conditions and customer behavior are constantly evolving. Naturally, customer journey mapping needs to be a continuous and vigilant process. You must regularly monitor and modify your customer journey maps for them to remain relevant and effective.
CX service providers can help you craft a customer experience that is data-centric, relevant, and engaging throughout the customer journey. They help businesses increase sales and revenue through personalized marketing strategies.