Mapping the Customer Journey
Every company wants to understand how their customers feel about their experience with them. The question is how to accomplish that? Mapping the customer journey can be difficult if not done with the proper tools and methodology. Let’s cover seven steps you can take to make your customer journey map accurate and effective.
Customer journey definition
Customer journey mapping is the identification of the strengths and weaknesses your company and products have in the stages of the customer experience.
By clarifying the strengths and weaknesses you have in each stage, you can effectively identify potential barriers your customers may encounter that would sour their experience with you and look to defect to a competitor.
Seven steps to a customer journey map
Define your potential buyer personas
Different types of buyers have different end-goals when using your products. Consequently, they will each experience your products differently. Identifying each buyer persona’s end goal helps you see their path through the life cycle of your products.
Identify the touch points each will go through when evaluating, purchasing, and using your products. Evaluate what each buyer persona may encounter at each point.
Define your lifecycle phases
Most companies have similar phases, but you may feel the need to identify alternative ones based on your particular product or industry.
Some common lists include items, such as: discovery, evaluation/comparison, purchase decision, implementation, support, and renewal. It is common to create a visual representation of your map for an easier visualization.
Define the feedback you need for each phase
Once you establish your basic customer journey map phases, evaluate what you need to know about each. Formulate the questions you want answered to know the experience customers have with your current organizational arrangement.
Gather feedback on current experiences
You cannot understand the pitfalls customers experience from internal speculation. You must reach out and ask current and former customers about their experiences with you. Using the questions defined in step 3, gather feedback from these customers to get the real-world picture of what is happening in your lifecycle. Programs like Customer Experience Analysis by Primary Intelligence are formulated to give you optimized feedback without trying to build a program from scratch.
Identify best practices and root causes
Analyze the feedback from your customers and identify what you do well and what needs improvement in each phase. Take each phase specifically and look for feedback that affects that phase.
Once you have identified the root causes for pitfalls in each of the customer journey phases, work out an action plan to tackle these issues and correct the problems you have. By keeping your focus on only two or three root causes at a time, you will be able to systematically solve cultural and feature issues that derail positive customer experiences.
Distribute the findings and solutions
Keeping the findings to yourself does little to help your company improve. Make the program a company-wide initiative. Distribute the feedback findings throughout the company, explain the action plans for improvement, invite feedback from within, and keep everyone informed of progress.
Review, revise, and repeat
One time through the process does not create lasting change. Once you have started a customer journey mapping exercise, you need to maintain it. Keep interviewing customers to find out how your efforts are improving their experience. Keep evaluating root causes to see if you solve old ones and if new ones show up.
By remaining consistent in your approach to defining the customer journey and working to improve it, you will create a culture of improvement within the company. It also keeps improvement efforts up to date with the ever-changing needs of your customers. Best practices may soon become outdated if they are not tweaked over time, and new root causes can go unresolved.
In the end, effective customer journey mapping is an ever-evolving process. Put in the effort to define it correctly at the beginning, create a well-researched roadmap, and gather current information from your existing and former customers to help create a clear picture of your customer’s experience with you.