Time and again, there are a number of questions that have made businesses frustratingly curious and confused.
They might wonder why did the customer took 3 steps to hit the contact button when they should have taken one or why did they leave the website right away when they were supposed to make the order or it can be as simple as this - why does my website has views but no conversions?
Irrespective of the nature of concern, the root cause of them is that you may not have a clear understanding of your customer journey - the one they take inside your arena - website/social media platform/ application or even store and customer care centers.
And the solution to this root cause is to create a customer journey map.
The customer journey map is a visual representation of the path a prospect or customer walks through for achieving a goal with respect to your company. When you create a customer journey map, you get a sense of what motivates your customers - what are their needs and pain points.
While out bound marketing has several benefits it is something that the marketing industry has made businesses dependent on. But the low attention span of the customers makes it extremely difficult for them to answer to any one business's outbound marketing efforts.
But when it comes to customer experience, if done well businesses get to utilise one of the most potent marketing tactics, word-of-mouth. With customer experience management as a marketing tool, the customers are within a business's territory. Upon understanding how the customer journey works, brands are able to plan a content strategy that gives customers what they came for and seeking at every point of interaction.
A customer journey map will give you a clear understanding of who your customers are, how they are interacting with your business and when, along with giving you in-depth insights into what exactly your customers’ pain points are. These insights, can often lead to the discovery of a new target base.
Usually, it is only the contact centers or teams who are facing the customers who know the customers inside out. But, the clarity that you will get when you create customer journey map will ripple down to the entire business.
A journey map will have insight for each – Products, Sales, Service and Marketing team of your company. They will come together to give the customers what they require at all stages of interaction.
Although the total number of benefits of creating a customer journey map goes beyond what this article could contain, the three benefits that you just read are enough to nudge businesses in the direction of creating customer journey map.
Now before we head on to the creation part, it is first important to understand what are the different types of customer journey maps present and operative in the customer experience domain.
The current state customer journey maps are brought into use to understand how the customer is interacting with your business this instant. They are developed keeping in mind the customers’ experience all through the process with the aim of preventing the customers from getting out of the interactions, dissatisfied. To be more specific, the current state journey map will analyse all the interactions with a customer in chronological order and across all devices and will then conclude on their current experience on the basis of the tone of the last engagement.
The future state customer journey maps are created to know/understand how the customers would behave in a certain situation.
Under this, several instances are made up into a list and users are placed against each to identify how they would move from point A to point B in those situations. Majorly these evidence based hypothesis journey maps help take proactive corrective measures and develop rules on escalation management.
The focus of the day-in-the-life customer journey map is on the general behaviour of the customers in their day to day life. It looks into the pain points and the issues of every-day calls coming to agents that influence their decision-making. The aim of this mapping strategy is mainly to find the peaks of interaction categories and match them with changes done in the organisation and use this information to refine services and products, turning them into effective solutions.
Now that we have looked into the introduction of customer journey map - its definition, importance, and type, it is now time to get down to the basics - Steps to Create a Customer Journey Map.
The first step for creating a customer journey map is understanding why customers come to you. You should seek out answers to questions like - what are your customers trying to do and what problems are they trying to solve, etc. The answers to these questions can either be very complex or pretty straightforward depending on your business type.
At this stage you create a visualization of the customers’ interactions based on many rational and emotional filters. The documentation of this step starts with identifying the different paths a customer takes or the company uses to reach a point of contact. Example for a problem statement that asks to reduce the dropout of existing insurance customers during the renewal period, the customer experience team should look at the different path a customer would take to renew the policy. The touchpoints in this case will vary, from company sharing email reminders for premium payment to having agents give a reminder call. They may also use Robo call to send out premium payment reminders.
The things to consider at this point will be -
- What steps would the customer take to accomplish their objective
The CX team should check if the email has the direct payment link for the customer to complete the renewal easily and instantly, or if the agent calling the customer follows up the call with an SMS that has the payment link and if the robo call frequency is such that it is nudging the customer, in a right way.
The end objective of this exercise should be to minimise the touchpoints a customer needs to reach the end objective.
Once you are done with mapping of customer journey, step into your customers’ shoes and take the journey with them. At this stage, you should identify the following:
- Places where customer support team would offer better experience
- Places where long hold times or abandoned calls happen
- The main reasons behind chatting, emailing, or calling
- The point where customer experience can be improved
- How do customers prefer to get information?
- Which channel do the customers prefer?
- Are you able to say if the interactions and channels work?
Once you have created and evaluated your customer journey map, create a road-map for changes that have to be made. See how the process aligns with the organization’s goals and how they can be modified to bring in maximum profit for the business.
The effectiveness of all the efforts that your CX team takes in the creation of customer journey map in line with the above mentioned steps will only be deemed enough when you are able to give clear answers to these questions -
- How are the prospects finding you?
- What customers’ issues are you solving?
- How are you solving those issues?
- Are your customers well engaged?
- How is the customer engagement getting improved across multiple channels?
- How difficult/easy it is for the customers to pay for the service or product?
- How easy it is for the customers to connect with your customer service team for support?
Building and refining the customer journey is not a single day process, it should be an exercise spread across days to get all the details and should have a plan for repeating and re-analysing the process for obsolescence.
It is advisable to work with industry experts who can not only guide you on building the customer journey map but also suggest the right tools to reach out to customers at each stage, guide on the optimum frequency of contact and the right content to send from varying channels.
Creating customer journey map is a fruitful exercise and also a continuous exercise as the behaviour of customer changes based on demography, available channels and even the competitive landscape.
Once the customer journey maps are created, the respective team, processes and tools should be aligned to make the customer journey as simple and meaningful so that it creates a lasting experience. We all want such experience for us, so why not offer the same to our customers.
Author Bio: Akanksha is an IT enthusiast, having an experience of 7 years in marketing and promotion. She has experience in varied industries, in positions working across the line of marketing. She is a day dreamer, an avid reader and a crazy traveler when she is not working.