When a sales representative is selling a product with the customer’s purchase in mind, they are only focusing on the product. Their focus, however, should be on the customer. If a company wants to sell products, they must think like a buyer rather than a seller.
That’s because a seller’s mindset is only limited to increasing product sales and achieving their sales targets. But to grow your business, your sales representatives must think like a customer and imagine the journey the customer takes when making a purchase.
Customer journey mapping is vital for the sake of getting an overall understanding of the buying behavior of a customer. Your company must be aware and familiar with a customer’s journey so you can quickly and easily resolve any issues the customer might face along the way.
Your company must have a detailed understanding of how a potential buyer is reacting at each touchpoint. This will help you build an effective and efficient customer experience strategy.
Millward Brown Digital surveyed 300+ US senior marketing professionals from various companies. The survey revealed that a buyer’s behavior tends to shift. Due to which companies are facing problems keeping track of it. At least 55% of marketers reported having no confidence in their understanding a buyer’s journey.
What is the reason for this? Are companies not efficiently conducting customer mapping? Or is it just that their customers are moving too fast that it’s a challenge to keep an eye on them?
If you have questions like these, and are looking for answers, this post is for you. This post will talk about the advantages of efficient customer mapping. It will also guide you through how to build an effective customer journey map.
Advantages of Customer Journey Mapping
Customer journey mapping can help marketers think like a customer and see their business from a customer’s point of view. It helps businesses understand the pain points of their customers. This, in turn, will help them discover ways to improve their customer experience. Also, marketers will be able to figure out what it takes for a potential customer to make a purchase.
Customers prefer a seamless experience with brands. And businesses can enhance the customer’s experiences with an efficient customer journey map in place. Let’s talk about the advantages of customer journey map more thoroughly.
1. Boosts ROI
Through a customer journey map, a business can better understand the behavior and intent of the customer. This gives businesses the opportunity to utilize data and leverage it. It allows businesses to target and approach customers on a more personal level with personalized marketing messages.
When businesses interact with customers through personalized messages, customers react to these interactions. And they can potentially become brand ambassadors for your company, recommending you to their family and friends. This will generate positive feedback and effective ROI, as the money spent on developing your message doesn’t go to waste.
2. Speeds Up Sales Cycles
Another main benefit of customer journey mapping is that you can improve your sales cycle. Providing your customer with a flawless experience should be your top priority across every channel. Companies can get their sales cycle up and running by optimizing each channel. Also, it ensures that every department is on the same page regarding customer engagement.
When every department is working together, it helps make sure that the customer will not experience any issues at the various touchpoints. Or, even if they do, this helps ensure that issues are quickly resolved. This allows the customer to receive the correct information and move smoothly forward in the sales cycle.
3. Combines Customer Data and Increases Engagement
Business may have to deal with inefficient data management, as departments work in silos. Through customer journey mapping, businesses can combine all data and then develop an overall and complete perception of customer interactions.
This also gives you the opportunity to develop a comprehensive profile of customers derived from the engagement on different channels. The collected data can be used to maintain continuous engagement with the customer, even after the purchase. It can be used to upsell and cross-sell relevant services and products to your customers.
4. Helps to Identify Gaps in Customer Service
Customer journey maps will also help you to successfully identify any gaps in your present customer services or communication. Let’s say your business has developed a mobile-friendly website, but the version is not working properly. Through the map, you can find out if the mobile version is well-optimized or not.
The map can also reflect if there is any communication problems within your employees. Perhaps your customer service agents are not getting support from their colleagues during their communication with customers. These kinds of issues require immediate attention during the customer journey. And the mapping of customers’ journey will help you to identify and understand the gaps.
5. Helps in Understanding Customer Emotions
With the help of customer journey mapping, you can easily understand the behavior of a customer. You can track the movements of the customer along touchpoints and see if they can easily move on or not.
For example, can a potential customer contact an agent through an IVR menu? Or can they make a quick and easy switch from a social to a voice channel? What was the customer’s satisfaction score after the contact? The answers to these questions disclose the emotions of the customers along every step of the journey.
This, in turn, can help you to improve your practices, if there are any scopes of improvement found. You can also learn about the aspects of your service that completely satisfy customers. And then you can think of tactics to further leverage your successful practices.
Important Elements of Customer Journey Mapping
To multiply the effectiveness of any customer journey mapping, below are the five must-have elements. By making the most of these five crucial elements, you can create an effective customer journey map.
The timeline is a vital feature of customer journey mapping because the map reflects the thoughts, emotions, and actions of a customer over a specific period of time. Many companies represent timelines in a fancy style, in the form of an infinity symbol or circle.
This denotes the idea of maintaining unending loyalty towards the customer. But I strongly advise you to keep the simplest form of a timeline, a timeline running from left to right.
2. Customer Steps
You should know the activities of your customers along the purchase timeline. If a customer is researching budget laptops or looking for new fashion, for instance, how do they begin their journey? And how many reviews do they read before they make a decision?
It is important to write these steps from the customer’s perspective. If your marketing agent sends an email to the customer, the map should include a step in which the customer receives the email and then a step in which they read the email and click on the link.
Never forget to track and mention customer activities that are not visible, like when the customer is waiting to collect a quote. Also, it is vital for marketers to note steps in which the customer is not engaging with their business. For example, when a customer is researching on Google or asking for suggestions from family.
3. Customer Profile
The choices made by two customers will never be exactly the same. So you need to make sure that each journey map is representing one and only one customer. It is vital for your reader to understand exactly whose journey is being represented on this map.
You need to create a brief description of your customers in the form of a customer profile. The customer profile can be present on the map itself for easy access. The customer profile will include details about customer ’ age, name, location, and other behavioral attributes to understand the why this customer’s journey is the way it is.
4. Highlights and Pain Points
Just by looking at the journey map, you can tell what is working for the customer and what is not. Usually, the journey or the timeline is undulating, where the vertically rising points mean things are going well for the customer.
And if there are any vertically low points, it means the customer is unhappy and frustrated. This is how you can better identify your customers’ pain points and struggles along their purchase journey. You can also color code the customer experience and replace it with the undulating style of line representation.
5. Supporting Evidence
If the readers of your journey map want to understand a customer in detail, the data points will guide them. By adding customer statements from their interviews, you can understand how a customer feels and thinks when interacting with you.
Through some quantitative data like customer attrition rates or net promoter scores, you can support your journey map. You can also use other operational and/or financial metrics. This will further strengthen your mapping story.
How to Build a Customer Journey Map
To build a successful and impactful customer journey map, follow the steps below.
1. Identify the Objectives of the Journey Mapping
A single journey map can show you an all-inclusive report about a customer quickly and easily. An effective journey map can teach you whether things are working or not. And more importantly, it can help you understand how it feels to be in the customer’s place.
Journey mapping is effective only when the goal and objectives are clearly identified and defined. You can identify the points where the customers are not satisfied with the service, which results in negative feedback. This is one of the most common goals of journey mapping.
To define the goals for your journey mapping, you must call for a meeting with business line stakeholders. The discussions from the meeting will help you to identify relevant objectives for your mapping exercise.
You must also ensure that your journey mapping strategies are aligned with already identified and existing business strategies. You should consider referring to and taking advantage of pre-existing strategy documents from stakeholders.
2. Define the Scope
Once you have identified the objectives for customer journey mapping, it is time to decide on the scope of mapping. It is important to decide the scope of the map to determine the type of research you need to do and the level of details you want to showcase on your map.
You and your team must decide on the scope of mapping based on the previously decided goals. Whether you want your map to focus on the customer onboarding process or just map the experience of existing customers after purchase.
3. Collect and Assess the Existing Customer Data and Research
Almost every company will have some data about their existing customers. If you are doing customer journey mapping for the first time, then dig into your existing customer data and research. This data will help your team gain a better understanding of your current customers and their personas
After you have a better understanding of your existing customers, you must decide whose journey you wish to map. You can choose a specific persona to create the map for based on the purpose and intention of your journey mapping.
If you haven’t yet created a details buyer persona, then create one baseline prototype. During the mapping workshop, this will help you to make your participants understand who you are mapping. At the later stages of the mapping process, you can interview new customers and validate the earlier developed baseline personas.
4. Organize a Workshop to Develop a Hypothetical Journey Map
In this step, you need to organize a workshop where at the end of it, you will be ready with a hypothetical journey map. Make sure you invite stakeholders, the design team, and business owners and ask them to participate in the workshop.
At the beginning of the workshop, introduce the participants to target customers through the earlier developed baseline persona. Then present a model of the varied range of elements, which will be captured in the map.
Customer journey mapping can be classified into 2 categories ’ frontstage and backstage elements and customer-oriented elements. Elements like goals, feelings, activities, thoughts, or challenges are customer-oriented. Elements like people working to help customers, systems used by employees to assist customers, etc. are frontstage and backstage components.
During the workshop, determine the goals of customer and try to arrange them in a logical manner. Afterward, you can use the logical sequence to give structure to the journey map, in the form of various stages. Don’t forget that, at each stage, there are one or more than one customer goals linked to it.
Once the goals are identified, participants can brainstorm and fill in the goal sheets with activities undertaken by a customer. Through this journey map, you can identify if it is easy or difficult for a customer to accomplish the goals.
Now that you have the required elements for journey mapping, go ahead and prepare a hypothetical customer journey map.
5. Test and Update Your Hypothetical Customer Journey Map
Now that you have a decent baseline persona understanding and a hypothetical map ready, the next step is doing basic customer research. You must test, validate, and update your hypothesis.
Rather than asking your customers long questions, ask them to use the product under normal conditions. This process enables you to observe customers in their natural environment. This interview process is called as contextual inquiry. This process allows you to observe and record the behavior of customers.
You can occasionally ask the customers to give insights on why they are reacting the way they are. In case you are not able to conduct a direct interview, develop and conduct surveys which can efficiently collect the required data. With the help of this data, you can validate your hypothetical maps.
Once you are ready with your observations and findings, share it with your participants from the workshop so they can review your findings.
6. Make Your Customer Journey Map Visually Attractive
Now you have all of the required attributes of the map. The next step is to develop and display a visually attractive and persuasive story, using all of the map attributes.
7. Make It Social and Activate
In this final step, you need to bring your final customer journey map in front of the wide range of stakeholder audiences. With the help of customer experience management tools, you can also send an invitation to stakeholders. These tools will help the stakeholders to view the final copy of your journey map.
You can use the final map to structure the discussions towards enhancing the customer experiences.
Tools to Automate the Development of a Customer Journey Map
If you are trying to create a customer journey map manually, it will take you a long time to do it. If done manually, it is a very difficult and time-consuming process to collect all of the required customer data. So the smart move is to search for sales tools that can automate the process of developing a customer journey map.
Automation tools can help your sales team by providing them the necessary data and analytics in real time. This real-time data can be a huge help for your sales team to gain an understanding of various aspects of the business.
Salesmate is an excellent automation tool for this as it is cost-effective and easy to use. The tool can assist you in developing an efficient journey map of a customer. Because it is a cost-effective tool, it is great for small growing businesses as well.
The tool will help you stay organized by keeping all of your communications in one place. It is easy to set up and requires very little training to master it. By making the most of this tool, you’ll be able to maximize sales and generate greater revenue.
I hope that this post has helped you to understand the meaning, elements, and the process of developing a customer journey map. With the help of this, you can achieve your goals towards enhancing and improving customer experiences.
But don’t forget to align this strategy with your main business goals and objectives. This will help you if you ever want to track back to your primary customer research. Also, use an automation tool to make the process of developing an effective and efficient journey map faster and easier.