What exactly is Customer Journey Mapping?

CloudCherry | October 23, 2015

It goes without saying that customer interactions today are much more complex. With new channels and touchpoints popping up often, the modern-day customer can choose how, when, and where to engage with your brand.

Now, from a brand’s perspective, how do you keep track of these interactions? Most importantly, are you looking to deliver consistently delightful experiences across all these channels? If your answer is yes, then you’ll need to know how your customers’ expectations are changing.

Enter customer journey mapping. According to Harvard Business Review, a customer journey map is a very simple idea: a diagram 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.

From this definition, it is quite clear that one of the objectives of customer journey mapping is to simplify customer interactions, which is very important if companies are to understand modern-day customers. Knowing that a customer journey map details interactions so that organizations can grasp them better, it forms a critical part of any customer experience management strategy, helping improve customer acquisition and retention rates.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAP?

 

An effective customer journey map relies on data-driven research and depicts various steps of the customers’ experience, recorded from the customers’ perspective. A unique feature of customer journey maps is that it is rarely linear as it has become second nature for customers to switch channels even in the middle of a purchase.

For instance, a customer might research about your product online, then visit your store to compare prices and then again go online to order the product via your mobile app. Else, he might research on your mobile app, go to your store to check quality and price, go home and order the product from his laptop. Channel-hopping has become the norm!

Here’s what you need to keep in mind while designing a customer journey map.

• Depict the customers’ experience with your brand in a step-by-step format
• Include every single channel and touchpoint – both online as well as offline
• Create the map from the customers’ perspective and not from the brand’s
• Collaborate with other departments such as Sales, Marketing, etc to get a wider and more holistic perspective

APPLYING A JOURNEY-BASED APPROACH TO CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

 

Understanding customer experiences holistically is the only way to deliver delight in a personalized way. To assess the holistic picture though, customer journey mapping is essential.

One of the things that brands find elusive is understanding evolving customer expectations and addressing new pain points. And unless you stay in-sync with customers, there’s every chance that your competitors might outrun you. This is why a journey-based approach to CX lays the foundation for proactive customer engagement.

A journey-based approach looks at Customer Experience through a single pair of lens – with all teams aligned around the same goal. It is one single view, one single platform to track omni-channel customer experience, and generate insights to modify processes and policies.

Here’s how a journey-based approach works!

• Determine the key touchpoints and channels along the customer journey
• Send channel-specific surveys to customers to solicit relevant and accurate feedback
• Analyze customer sentiment and aspirations across touchpoints to identify generic as well as specific pain points
• Chart out how Sales, Marketing, Finance, and other teams can align themselves around the customer journey

To know more about how customer journey mapping can benefit your business, click the link below!

TRY OUT CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING!

HOW IS CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING DIFFERENT

 

In a lot of organizations, sales and marketing teams map the journeys of prospective buyers. This is a high-level representation of customer interactions. For instance, most of these journeys trace the prospective buyer from discovery to interest to evaluation to purchase.

A typical customer journey map, however, is a slightly miniature depiction – what exactly the customer does right from the first to the last interaction with the brand. It takes you through every single interaction step by step. You get to know with which sales representative the customer interacts, what touchpoint they use during onboarding, how they find the onboarding experience across this touchpoint to be, at point do they drop off the journey or churn, etc. And the best part is that it doesn’t rely on assumptions.

It uses research and data to help brands better understand their customers. It offers a level of freedom that traditional funnels cannot touch because it throws the so-called “truths” about customers and how they interact with a brand out the window, allowing you to really understand how your customers interact with your brand. So, instead of designing a funnel based on “accepted truths”, you will actually be creating a system (and tweaking it) that relies on your customers’ perspectives rather than yours.

Equally important while mapping customer journeys is to choose the right analytics engine to deep dive into these interactions and generate insights that you can action. Your analytics engine should not just be confined to telling you what to do today, but go a step beyond and deliver futuristic insights across the journey. How can implementing ‘X’ strategy reduce call center waiting time by ‘Y’ minutes? Or how can implementing ‘B’ strategy reduce onboarding time across a specific touchpoint by ‘C’% in ‘D’ months?

To become customer-centric as an organization, you need to realize the importance of walking in your customers’ shoes. Think from a customer’s standpoint, experience your brand’s offerings from their perspective and critically introspect the journey. That’s how you can create strategies around customer experience that allow you to serve customers more delightfully!

Use CloudCherry to Design & Execute Customer Journey Maps by understanding your customers thoroughly!