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What Customer Journey Mapping

How Customer Journey Mapping brings you closer to customers

AvatarCloudCherry | July 25, 2016

Our experience with several brands has shown that even some of the most sophisticated ones do not collect customer feedback and track the customer’s experience holistically. What do we mean by this?

Take the case of an automobile dealership. Ideally, the dealership should collect feedback at these various stages at least:

1. During a customer’s very first interaction with the brand.
2. Just after a transaction.
3. When the car gets delivered to the customer.
4. Regular follow ups with the customer; to be cognizant of any issues/troubles they might be facing.

Now, these steps apply to both online as well as offline channels. The idea is simply to collect customer feedback at every single stage of the customer journey. You might be collecting feedback at one particular touchpoint, say during ‘billing ‘, but that might not account for what the customer experiences at some other touchpoint, let’s say during ‘delivery ‘.

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And yes, customers today are looking to engage with companies on different channels at different stages of the buyer journey. For example, a lot of customers nowadays do online research, maybe even go to your website to check out some products but make the purchase at your brick and mortar store. In fact, according to Forrester, 70% of US shoppers said that they have used buy online, pick up in-store services.

So,

• How can brands be available to their customers throughout the buyer journey?
• How should brands streamline all the customer data they capture across various touchpoints so that it’s easier to understand customer behavior?

Introducing Customer Journey Mapping…

This brings us to the process of Customer Journey Mapping. We define it based on an article on Harvard Business Review. Customer journey mapping involves creating a diagram (a customer journey map) that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.

In other words, customer journey mapping is a process wherein you visualize and recreate the customer’s experience from their perspective across all the different touchpoints and points of engagement that are active. This involves streamlining every single engagement, interaction and experience so that there is absolute clarity at every stage of the customer journey regarding what the customer wants.

• Where does the first interaction happen with the customer?
• Is the customer able to transition to the following steps seamlessly?
• What are the common painpoints your customers experience along their journey with your brand?

Why you need to start mapping your customer’s journey today!

Customer Journey Maps are good storytelling conduits – they communicate to the brand the journey, along with the emotional quotient, that a customer experiences at every stage of the buyer journey. That said, why do you need to start with CJM right away?

1. Identify and optimize the core touchpoints of your business

Given how dynamically customers engage with brands today, it is crucial that every business knows what its core touchpoints are – the channels that get maximum traffic. For instance, the core touchpoints of Amazon include their mobile app and their website although they do operate brick and mortar stores. However, the core touchpoint of Bandier, an American retail brand, is their physical store.

As core touchpoints vary based on the nature of your business, the process of customer journey mapping can help you identify yours. And when you discover the touchpoints that matter the most, it becomes easier as a business to focus on collecting feedback, asking the more relevant questions, and optimizing the experience across these touchpoints, instead of haphazardly collecting feedback. Also, you get to prioritize investments and ensure that the ROI of a CX investment on a particular channel is tangible.

2. The ability to deliver an omni-channel customer experience

The buzzword today is ‘omni-channel ’. It’s something customers have started to demand, and are talking about right now. The importance of this is highlighted in this stat: 73% of consumers stated that they are likely or very likely to visit a local store if the retailer provides in-store product availability information online, compared to 36% who would visit a store if no inventory info was available online. (Source)

No longer can you deliver experiences in silos. The mobile app/website experience should be as good as what the customer experiences at the physical store. More importantly, all these individual experiences should be interconnected in order to let the customer seamlessly interact with you.

And Customer Journey Mapping makes this possible as Brands get to study the various segments of customers they cater to and discover their individual expectations based on the type of interaction and the touchpoint.

• How many customers of yours channel hop while completing a single transaction – use different channels at different stages for the same purchase?
• How, where and across which touchpoints do customers interact with your brand?
• How does the customer’s experience at each stage of their journey influence their perspective of the overall brand experience?

The quality and versatility of customer data represented visually on a customer journey map is a huge advantage as businesses can combine and interpret data from different channels, derive valuable insight to create a seamless experience.

3. Locate customer painpoints that need immediate redressal

Once you’re done mapping your customer’s journey, it’s time to interpret the pictorial data you have at your disposal. Since CJM is one of the few techniques that analyses the overall brand experience from the customer’s perspective, it represents customer painpoints, emotions and sentiment with as much clarity and detail as possible.

At which stage of the customer journey are users dropping off? How positive or negative is customer sentiment at this stage?
Do customers need further assistance at any particular stage?
How significant is the business impact if a particular customer issue is not addressed?

Post customer journey mapping, you can not only identify specific issues all along the customer journey but analyse it in depth, find out what’s causing it and come up with a tangible solution for it.

Ultimately, the brands that understand the finer nuances of their customers’ experience will be the ones to sustain in this ever-changing competitive business world. And in Customer Journey Mapping, there’s a tool that can help bring any organization closer to its customers – get to know their core needs, aspirations and emotions – to serve them in the most delightful fashion!