No matter what industry your business is in, it always helps to have a customer-centric mindset. Improving the customer experience is a never-ending process, especially in an ever-changing, highly competitive modern world. While this may be a daunting task, businesses have various tools and data on their side to help them make the customer experience better, including customer journey maps.
What is a Customer Journey Map?
Businesses use customer journey maps as a visual representation to see the different engagements a customer has with their company, product, or service. A customer journey tells the story of each buyer persona and the different stages they go through as customers. These stages can include awareness, consideration, the decision or purchase phase, service, and advocacy. Due to its visual and storytelling nature, a customer journey map can help businesses better understand not just their customers but their internal processes as well. Customer journey mapping may be just what you need to optimize business processes, fine-tune marketing strategies, create workforce development plans, maximize your resources, and perhaps most importantly, improve the customer experience.
Why Improve the Customer Experience?
If you’re a business that’s looking to grow and stay competitive, then you’ll know how important it is to keep customers happy. Nowadays, competition is as tough as ever. In this highly globalized, increasingly digital world, you’re competing with other businesses worldwide. Products and services offered by various companies may have minor to zero differences. But you can set yourself apart by providing a great product and an even greater customer experience. An improved customer experience can lead to the following:
- higher sales conversion rates
- more repeat purchases
- increased customer loyalty
- word-of-mouth marketing or advocacy
All the above items will generate more demand for your product and service, which will of course lead to more revenue.
Using Customer Journey Maps for an Improved Customer Experience
Now that we’ve established the whats and whys, it’s time for the hows. Customer journey maps can help you uncover various ways to improve the buyer’s experience. Here are some ways to make customer journey maps work to your advantage:
Revisit the Total Customer Experience
Your current business process may work just fine, generating enough traffic and conversions. But if you want to grow and improve, then it’s important to reassess the customer journey with fresh eyes. A customer journey map can help you review the total customer experience to find out what works for one buyer persona and see if that can be replicated for other parts of your customer base. Having a map of your current process can also help you set a baseline. This reference point can help you measure whether an adjustment provided a positive effect on the overall customer journey or if it should be fine-tuned to produce the desired results.
Keep Horizontal Teams Aligned
A customer journey map is a tool that turns confusing data points, algorithms and variables into a visual report that’s easier to digest. It’s a great way to keep everyone, whether they’re from marketing or product development, on the same page. When everyone has a common understanding, it’s easier to introduce customer-centric adjustments. At the same time, the whole company is empowered to suggest ways to improve the customer experience as well. The customer journey map can be the key to creating a more data-driven and customer-centric company culture.
Identify Gaps and Customer Pain Points
Customer journey maps are useful for teams that want to zero in on specific pain points in the consumer journey. Because it’s laid out in a simple and methodical manner, customer experience champions can both see the big picture and clearly identify which particular step to fine-tune. While it’s not as simple as finding capital cities on geographical maps, identifying gaps and pain points is much easier with a customer journey map. Suppose a team is investigating low conversion rates despite an aggressive digital marketing campaign. They can review the customer journey map to help find pain points. The team members may find that the campaign is bringing extra traffic to the online store, but drop-offs are higher than expected. They can review the next stage in the map and see that most online store visitors leave within a few seconds of being on the site. This can be caused by various factors that the team can easily explore and address. For example, the online store is not optimized for mobile devices when the buyer profiles included in the customer journey map show that consumers tend to shop on smartphones and not computers. By using the map as a reference, the team can now address an issue and identify possible solutions.
Pinpoint Areas for Personalization
The one-size-fits-all approach will no longer work, although it’s difficult to remember a time when it did. Customers are becoming more discerning with the brands that they engage with. They are also bombarded with messages from various businesses on a daily basis. Your message may get lost in the crowd if it sounds just like everyone else’s. One communication strategy may work for one type of buyer but turn another away. Personalization is not just a nice-to-have capability; it’s something modern consumers expect from companies. So if you want to have a fighting chance at getting your target consumers’ attention, then personalization is key. But how do you personalize? This is when the customer journey maps come in.
The customer journey map can help you find the specific points in the customer journey where you can inject personalized communications. For example, you may target cart abandoners in different ways depending on their buyer persona. You can re-engage price-sensitive buyers by offering limited-time free shipping coupons or emphasizing your products’ value for money.
In this day and age, businesses must use everything at their disposal to gain a competitive advantage. Even in seemingly saturated markets where players produce identical or easily substitutable products, businesses can still thrive by giving customers the best customer experience possible.