In a customer-centric world, mapping the data of the customer journey can help organizations to understand their audience better. This knowledge can drive better product development, marketing, UX, and merchandising decisions. Customer journey is at the core of Customer Experience (CX), mapping out these journeys is vital to improve customer experience and tap into the monetary potential of great customer service.
The customer journey has increasingly become more complex as we continue to see a rise in customer expectations. Successful customer journeys have massive benefits for an organization. Mapping the customer journey is the best way to visualize the overall experience of a customer with a business, from customer motivation to post-purchase emotions. Understanding the different steps involved in this journey can help brands to create more personalized customer experiences, which can lead to greater loyalty and retention.
The importance of mapping customer journey
The purpose of breaking down the customer journey is to maximize customer success to achieve long-term brand loyalty and advocacy. Marketers use analytical and anecdotal data mining tactics to identify customer behavior and market trends, which are essential to conducting a comprehensive mapping process.
Mapping customer journeys can amplify a company’s inbound marketing efforts, and help them become more customer-centric. Additionally, detailed insight into the customer journey is beneficial when expanding and targeting a new customer base. When business leaders and marketers are aware of customer needs and pain points, they are able to construct precise marketing strategies that result in greater conversion and revenue.
Research published by Aberdeen Group stated that companies with formal customer journey management programs enjoy a 54% greater return on marketing investment compared to those without it. The study also found that mapping customer journeys have the ability to improve the cost of customer service by ten times while also enjoying 3.5 times more revenue through customer referrals. Customer journey management has a direct linkage to a greater share of wallet & customer lifetime value and increased top & bottom-line revenue. It can increase up-sell and cross-sell revenue by 56%.
Steps to mapping a customer journey
Understanding the customer
The first step to formulating a customer journey is to understand who your core customer is. A deeper understanding of the customer can help companies to create better marketing strategies to convert a visitor into a long-term, loyal customer. Companies employ various tactics to gather customer information such as feedback surveys, customer contact forms, customer interviews, usability tests, on-site analytics, etc. Extensive data collection provides businesses the opportunity to capture the customer’s perception of their product or service experience. This information is crucial to visualize a customer’s experience with a product over a period of time, and identify areas of improvement to enhance CX. Businesses use a combination of competitive and comparative research to observe and analyze how customers use an existing product or service. There is also value in gathering inputs of all company personnel who come in direct contact with customers, to truly understand the frustrations and pain points of the customer. Every customer touchpoint is a critical part of the customer experience, and it requires an in-depth analysis to create an accurate customer journey map.
Creating customer personas
Customer insights help businesses to create customer personas. Customer personas represent a sample of the homogeneous audience, with recognizable key traits within them, which help businesses to build a detailed picture of hypothetical customers. Personas allow companies to evaluate important customer information such as customer motivations, personal preferences, the preferred mode of communication, and other emotive information. These insights are key data that help companies to create and deliver more relevant and customized experiences. An ideal customer persona requires empathy mapping which takes into account what a customer thinks, hears, sees, and feels in the process of a product purchase, thus creating a truer customer perspective. It also might be worthwhile to create negative customer personas (the kind of people brands don’t want as customers), to avoid wasting time and resources.
Defining the steps of a customer journey map
The customer journey depends on various factors such as marketing strategies and sales funnel design. It is important to define all the different stages of your customer journey to get a proper overview of the complete journey. The focus of this journey is on different factors such as channels through which customers find your business, their course of navigation on your website, and their actions on each stage of the journey. There are 3 important stages in a journey map- awareness, consideration & decisions, and conversion & retention. It’s important to evaluate each stage of the journey to make a customer-focused design, product, user experience, and marketing decision.
Listing out all key customer touchpoints
Touchpoints are defined as all the areas on the brand’s website and channels of communication that customers interact with at each stage. This includes landing pages, case studies, webinars, blogs, etc. These touches are critical to understanding the objectives of the customer journey. Although every company is different, some of the most common customer touchpoints are social media channels, reviews, testimonials, advertisements, customer support teams, and sales team interactions. Companies need to analyze where their traffic is coming from, and where the customers are heading next. These touchpoints can help you anticipate your customer’s next move, and accurately design a customer journey with the best possible user experience.
Analyzing various key touchpoints will help businesses to find weaknesses and areas of improvement in the customer journey. Something as simple as reducing the number of steps customers need to reach the purchasing stage can have a big impact on conversion rates. Here the focus should be on finding roadblocks that are causing customers to abandon the journey, and creating ways to improve the site to enhance the user experience.
Mapping customer journeys help businesses to identify problems and opportunities in customer management. As customer behavior continues to evolve, businesses will have to adapt and re-evaluate their customer journey to sustain a seamless user experience. At Alkye, we help our clients to analyze and map out a customer journey that elevates the customer experience and brand value of the company.