In a world of constant digital development, where the number of touch points your customers use to interact with your business are growing year on year, customer journey mapping is a prerequisite of any successful marketing and sales strategy. But what does customer journey mapping entail?
What is Customer Journey Mapping?
Generally and historically speaking, customer journey maps have been simple, top-line flow charts that demonstrate a customer’s passage through the sales and marketing funnel. Customer journey mapping enables businesses to plan and track customer interactions and exploit them wherever possible.
As competition in sectors like Retail and Food & Beverage gradually rise, many businesses find themselves competing on more than just price, and adding more value to the customer’s experience. In practice this means creating a seamless customer experience across all channels, where the customer can interact with as many, or as few touch points as they choose. This is often more easily said than done, and many businesses find it difficult to create a seamless experience for their customers, which is where customer journey mapping can help.
How does Customer Journey Mapping benefit your business?
Customer journey mapping can help benefit your business in a myriad of ways, but most importantly, it helps you see your business through the eyes of your customers and understand how they interact at key touch points, which in turn:
• Maximises Return on Investment (ROI)
Understanding where the key customer touch points are, as well as how they’re interacted with means that you can optimise each channel to increase return on investment. Using a digital marketing platform like Eagle Eye AIR can help further, by offering real-time monitoring data that can feedback to inform more personalised messaging and better quality interactions.
• Feeds a Single Customer View (SCV)
With the vast variety of channels and touch points that businesses use to interact with their consumers, data management is often inconsistent between departments. Employing customer journey mapping gives businesses the opportunity to collate data and build a single customer view, which can be used to engage individual customers at key decision making points.
• Enables an Omnichannel Customer Experience
Again, as the number of channels your business uses grow, so does the opportunity for discrepancies and inconsistencies that can potentially disengage your customers. Using customer journey mapping to create a seamless customer experience across all channels removes any obstacles the customer meets during the sales cycle, and helps develop an omnichannel experience.
How to build your Customer Journey Map
1. Define your Customer Personas
Before you can start building your customer journey map, you must first establish who your customers are. Customer personas are comprehensive representations of your ideal and key customers. Defining customer personas can require research, but can help demonstrate broader customer behaviours, as well as help personalise messaging and wider marketing campaigns.
2. Establish the Customer Goals
Once you’ve defined your Customer Personas, it’s time to understand their associated goals. This means finding out what each of the personas is looking to achieve at every step through the customer journey. The most effective ways to establish your customer goals include conducting one-on-one interviews, or broader customer surveys, as well as using online tools. Gathering this information is a key step in determining whether customer goals are being achieved, which in turn is indicative of company sales success.
3. Plot out your Touch Points
We’ve talked a lot about touch points so far, because they’re integral to the customer journey mapping process. Put simply, a touch point is any point or time where a customer comes in contact with your business, which can be at any point during the marketing and sales process. It’s vital that you take every touch point in to account here, otherwise you may miss a key opportunity to enrich your customer’s experience.
If your business uses a variety of channels to engage with customers, it can be difficult to plot out all the potential touch points, unless you approach it from the customer perspective. Try asking yourself questions like “If I was a customer, where would I go and would do I get there when I have [the problem my business solves]”?
The easiest way to plot out your touch points is to engage with your existing customers, or even just brainstorm the potential areas where they might come in to contact with your business. These might include:
- Pre-sales: How did they find your website or store? Perhaps they came by way of social media, search engine, review, or advertisement.
- During-sales: Where are your customers spending the most time on your website and how many pages do they need to navigate through as part of the sales process?
4. Determine whether Customer Goals are being achieved
After you’ve established your Customer Goals and plotted your touch points, you need to determine whether your customers are achieving these goals. This means looking at where obstructions are appearing during the sales process, most importantly - if and where people are disengaging.
If your business is predominantly web-based, then the easiest way to establish this is to use web analytics to examine where customers are dropping off. The research you collected in Step 2 will help here. Once you’ve done this, you can analyse how well your customer goals are being met at each touch point.
Once you’ve determined whether your customers are achieving their goals, and most importantly – where there is room for improvement, it’s time to identify where you can make the quickest wins. In practice, this means looking at where the smallest and easiest changes can produce the biggest results. This might mean simplifying the checkout process on your website, or adding explanatory notes to explain the difference between form answer submissions. Prioritising your changes to the customer experience will not only make your customers happier in the shorter term, but serve to boost revenue and engagement.
Though we’ve made the customer journey mapping process as simple as we could, it’s always easier to visualise on paper or screen. Try drawing your customer journey out on a whiteboard or piece of paper.
Customer Journey Mapping and your business
There’s no single, linear process that can describe how your customers are interacting with your business, be it online or offline, and ensuring your customers enjoy a seamless journey is by no means a simple task. As every customer is different and engages with your business in their own unique way, it’s vital that you have the framework in place to optimise the journey to capitalise on touchpoints which offer opportunities to grow revenue. Understanding your customer’s goals and their previous experiences with your business are key in identify these fundamental points where you can vastly improve the customer experience.
If you’d like to find out more about how Eagle Eye AIR can help you develop a seamless customer experience, and support you in implementing your new customer journey mapping, then contact us today.