Just like we need a GPS to take us from point A to Point B, businesses need to intuitively map their customer’s journey to ensure they are moving through the process. But instead of plotting it physically on a map, brands need to use technology to visualize each touchpoint the customers interact with when they engage with them.
Today, customers interact with brands multiple times on various platforms, and brands need to funnel them to continue moving forward.
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What is customer journey mapping?
A customer journey map is a visual plotting or representation of customers’ experiences and touchpoints with a brand. It tells the complete story of a brand’s relationship with a customer, starting with the first engagement and moving toward a path to purchase and becoming a loyal customer.
Journey mapping is not a single instance or solution; it is a process that integrates every facet of an organization, from marketing to sales to customer service.
Why Customer Journey Mapping is Invaluable for Brands
Today, customers expect a lot from each interaction with a given brand. Personalization, consistency at each touchpoint, and relevance are not just “good to have” anymore; they are necessary to drive conversions and brand loyalty.
Customer Journey Mapping is beneficial not only for sales and marketing but also for the creative team. Armed with this information, content creators can develop timely, relevant, personalized copy and speaks to the customer at each touchpoint. Designers can derive context from this information and design an elevated customer experience.
Customer Journey Mapping is helpful for many reasons, and it primarily helps with the following three steps:
1. Identify all touchpoints to understand the customer experience better.
Customer Journey Mapping helps you construct a seamless and intuitive customer experience through every touchpoint. This is often missed by quantitative research.
For instance, a journey map may uncover a tremendous amount of online research in the discovery phase of a particular product or service. This would lead a brand to question how it appears on search engines and the content customers find when researching the product online.
2. Get in tune with your customers at every step of the way.
Customer Journey Maps are visual aids that help understand the customers better at each touchpoint. It visually reveals patterns in customer behavior and emotions, and once these are identified, brands have an account of the steps that are working and those with gaps.
3. Identify gaps in your CX and lead your customers intuitively through the funnel.
Customer Journey Mapping aims to understand each touchpoint and ensure measurement tools are in place to help monitor each customer interaction.
For instance, for a travel website, a customer’s journey starts when they search for airline tickets and cover all the steps through research, queries, finding tickets, booking them, making a payment, and receiving confirmations and other travel-related information. It includes signing up for a newsletter, recommendations to book hotels, prompting the user to check-in, and offering additional information. In a retail setting, Customer Journey Mapping would include the signage, lighting, store layout, temperature, smell, comfort, and other physical elements in addition to interactions with the employees.
Customer Journey Mapping helps you fill gaps and focus on areas that need improvement for an intuitive and seamless customer experience.
How to Get the Most out of Your Customer Journey Map
The ultimate goal of a Customer Journey Map is to improve the customer journey and move prospects through the funnel. This is because inefficient systems and interactions cause frustration amongst users and prospects, impeding conversions and sales.
Below are a few tips to keep in mind when researching your customer journey.
- Some brands do a great job acquiring customers but are not good at activating. Therefore, brands should include every touchpoint, like packaging, labels, messaging and ads, and social voice.
- A Customer Journey Map should be a combination of analytics and customer feedback. Therefore, brands must gather quantitative data from multiple sources, including call center and CRM software, QR codes scanned, website and social media analytics, and other metrics.
- It is essential to include post-purchase components into the Customer Journey Map. The relationship with the customer continues long after they purchase something. This helps you get repeat business, loyal customers, favorable reviews, and raving fans who will refer the product or service to others.
How Market Research can help brands build Customer Journey Maps
So how do you use market research to help improve the customer experience?
Let’s examine this with the example of a retail shoe store. You identified the salesperson as a critical touchpoint. You can use a focus group to experience the store just as they would if shopping for shoes.
Ask them to identify the experiential element of each touchpoint, including what they see, smell, hear, and feel. The focus group will then prioritize what parts of the journey need improvement. They will provide insights on how easy it was to find what they were looking for, the annoying details, how the store stacks up to a competitor, and the customer satisfaction score. The brand can then build an action plan to improve the customer experience at their store.
This is how the brand identifies gaps, determines development priorities, builds a plan to remedy the issues and bottlenecks, and allocates funds to optimize sales and Return on Investment (ROI).
Customer Journey Mapping should be a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods.
Market research and building Customer Journey Maps allow brands to compare what they believe the customer journey looks like and what it is like in reality. When you combine the metrics and data with sensory components, you can experience the journey through your customer’s eyes. This “outside looking in” approach will significantly improve the customer experience and revenues.