Remember the age-old adage "The customer is always right?" Well, it's still true.
If you want your business to survive in a challenging, competitive environment, the customer experience is essential. You need a clear vision and strategy for solving customer needs and leaving them satisfied, so they will come back and engage again.
In one 2022 report about customer journey mapping from Hanover Research, 94 percent of businesses using customer journey maps said they help develop new products and services to match customer needs. Seventy-nine percent said customer journey maps helped make them more customer-centric. And 91 percent said maps drove sales.
But only 47 percent of companies use them.
It's no longer enough to present your product or service and "wing it" on the customer experience end. You have to anticipate what potential clients will do, how they think, and what they will feel about each step of interacting with your business. That's what a customer journey map can do.
A customer journey map is a diagram that shows the process your customers go through when interacting with your business. It's a flow chart – a visual representation of a customer's experience with your brand. It could track an experience with your website, visiting a physical store, ordering a service, or any other interaction, and you can make one for each type of transaction. About 55 percent of companies using customer journey maps have between three and five versions.
Importantly, a customer journey map is data-driven. It should include "touchpoints" where a customer does something, plus the team members involved, the feelings customers experience, and whatever action you want them to take.
They often look like detailed timelines. Customer Journeys can ultimately help you refine the product or service you offer to better serve the customer and your overall community. You are ultimately leading to more revenue and better community engagement.
First, imagine a fictitious (but realistic) ideal customer. Imagine them interacting with your business as realistically as possible. Think about what you want this person to come away with after interacting with your business. Determine what the big picture and fundamental goals of your customer experience should be.
Next, build up some data. You could interview actual customers and look through online reviews to see what the people using your business are really like. Talk with your team members as well. Find out how easy or hard it is to interact with your business and what customers are likely to do and feel about it.
Touchpoints are the moments customers interact with your business and how they experience your brand. The number and scope of touchpoints will depend on the business. A car repair garage is different from a coffee shop, after all.
A customer might need to find you through a web search – how hard is it to reach your website? They might walk up to the counter and look over your menu – what kind of feelings does that elicit?
List every interaction from the initial idea to interact with your business, through finding you, making a purchase, using the product or service, and the resulting impact. Include information in each touchpoint, like what the customer does, how they feel, and any challenges they face.
Now organize your info on a graphic flow chart. Start with a timeline, placing touchpoints in order along it with employees/teams involved in each one. There's no "right" way to make it look, just as long as each step of a customer experience is accounted for. You should include how the customer feels and be as truthful as possible.
This is the current state of the customer journey, and it should help show where things are working well and where they could be improved. If you have team members, make sure they share input on the steps of the process they are included in.
Using your customer journey map, we now know how good the customer experience is – and where it could be better. It's time to start taking action. Referring back to the goals you initially established, determine where and how you could make the customer experience better.
Maybe the transition between one touchpoint and the next could be smoother or require less of the customer's time. Maybe that coffee shop menu could be bigger and easier to read. Maybe getting in contact with customer service about an issue after the purchase could be more pleasant and easier to access.
Remember, a customer journey map is just a tool. It's not about playing the blame game but working together to create the best customer experience possible.
Learn how Cause Machine can help take your vision of a better customer experience and make it a reality.