What is the customer journey?
A customer journey refers to all the steps, touchpoints, and interactions that your customers have with your company - from awareness to purchase and beyond. It is the entire experience they have while doing business with your organization, and focuses on how your customers feel after interacting with your company.
What are the steps in the customer journey?
This is the stage at which your customers first find out about your brand or offerings.
At this stage, they are comparing alternatives and looking for the best solution to opt for.
This is when the finally make the decision to purchase your offering.
At this stage the customer actually takes and goes ahead with making the purchase.
This is a critical stage, as retaining customers is far less expensive than trying to acquire new customers. Failing to keep your customers loyal to your business has an enormous opportunity cost tied to it.
Customers trust reviews and testimonials more than they trust the claims that companies make through their marketing materials and on their website. They trust recommendations from people in their circles even more, making it critical to create a fantastic customer experience and encourage customer advocacy, turning your customers into brand evangelists.
What is customer journey mapping?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer journey. It depicts the entire process that a customer or a lead goes through in order to achieve a goal defined by the company.
It outlines critical events, areas of friction, and your customers’ motivations.
Why is customer journey mapping important?
Customer journey mapping helps you understand the customer experience holistically. It helps you understand how customers are interacting with your brand, what their experience is like during those interactions and what their pain points are during the customer journey.
It is extremely important for optimizing your customer experience and streamlining your customer experience.
Irrespective of the size of your business, customers are seeking an omnichannel experience. And they expect this experience to be personalized. Journey mapping helps you improve their experience and give them what they want and need.
Customer journey mapping also helps you compare the actual customer experience with the experience that your customers were expecting. It helps you understand how buyer personas evolve as they flow through the journey.
The biggest advantage that customer journey mapping brings to the table is that it allows you to tweak your customer experience to your customer’s needs.
How do you create a customer journey map?
Before you get into the actual journey mapping process, you need to dig deep and understand why you’re going ahead with the exercise. You need to clearly define the objective of the journey mapping exercise.
Next, you need to understand your customers. Define your customer personas and identify their challenges and goals. Select the personas that are most valuable to you, these are the ones that you want to serve the most.
Now you need to identify all the customer touchpoints during the entire customer journey. You should also identify every action that your customers end up taking during the entire buying process. Look for the reason behind that action and also identify obstacles that cause friction and prevent them from taking the actions that you want them to take.
Identify gaps in your customer journey map. Find out which touchpoints you should be dedicating more resources towards, and see if it is possible to divert resources from elsewhere or acquire new ones.
At this point, it’s still completely theoretical. You don’t have any firsthand experience of the emotions that your customers will face during their journey. This means that its time for you to take the customer journey yourself.
After doing that, you will have a better understanding of what your customers are going through. This will help you identify areas of friction, allowing you to optimize your customer journey.