Customer journey maps: visualizing a path to profitability

Customer Journey

Customer journey mapping is a method for marketers to visually understand how a customer interacts with their brand. It tells the story from a customer’s initial point of contact, providing an overview of how they move through the sales funnel, identifying touchpoints along the route. This will highlight whether it you are satisfying your customers, as well as points that could potentially disrupt their journey, or derail it completely.

While a map might take many visual forms, it needs to communicate the journey from the viewpoint of your customers and prospects – rather than showing it from an internal business point of view. Remember: not every step a customer takes is going to be under your control!

Before building the framework for a customer journey map, the first and arguably most important step is to base it on fact rather than fiction, analyzing real-world data rather than making assumption. Asking customers their needs, purchasing habits and frustrations (such as through surveys and feedback forms), as well as mining your own behavioral customer data, will enable you to identify who your customers are and what motivates them and which path they should follow. 


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This combination of research, website analytics, segmentation, personas and lifetime value will enable you to create appropriate journeys. Other key points to consider include:

1. Listing the stakeholders. As the customer journey will involve several areas of your organization, it’s important to get all the relevant departments involved in its creation. Making it a collaborative effort will get everyone of the same page, as well as reveal touchpoints, key interactions and potential areas of friction. For example, it's no good dropping calls into a call center unless the call operatives know and understand the journey points, or their role in the customer journey. Equally, a fulfillment house needs to know timescales to ensure mailings are sent at the most relevant time.  

2. What a customer’s expectations are before they begin their journey, along with outcome they are hoping to achieve. Identifying different personas and segments will enable you to better understand their needs and goals at each touchpoint. 

3. Establish how customers will be moved through their journey across different channels. The process is likely to be different depending on their first point of engagement (such as websites, native apps, call centers, etc.).

4. Identify critical areas for opportunity based on your perception of a customer’s emotions at different stages. Might a certain point make them feel excited, apprehensive or uncertain? Are their expectations being met, exceeded or not met at different points?

5. Discover the pain points. Stages that are disjointed can cause frustration for customer and see them abandoning their journey, so it’s critical you identify any gaps. These pain points could occur when a customer moves between devices or channels and this could prove one of your most significant challenges.

6. Opportunities for personalization. Delivering a tailored experience is a well-documented way to improve customer engagement and encourage conversions. Using personalization tactics on website landing pages, such as showing recommended products, special voucher codes or content, will help build better relationships with your customers.

7. Remember that a journey can constantly evolve. Creating a map is not a one-time thing and should reflect the customer experience your organization is currently delivering. Once created, you can analyze its real-world performance and look for drop-offs or churn.

8. Have an end goal. While it sounds obvious, a customer journey map needs final objective – for you and your customers. Is the goal being met? If not, then adding steps or changing some logic can be essential for optimizing your customer journey. 

The ultimate aim of a journey map is to optimize the customer experience and develop an actionable plan to improve it. No matter how your map looks (for there is no ‘standard’ customer journey, nor a single way of designing it), it needs to help your organization understand and address any issues as much as bring new opportunities to light. Completing a customer journey map may not be an end point, but it will get you on your own path towards a more profitable customer experience. 

intervening-in-the-customer-jourvey-cover.pngTo find out more, please download the BlueVenn eBook: Intervening in the Customer Journey.

Marketers now have to focus more on the experience than the goal, simply because your customers and clients demand control of how they get from point A to point B. To do that, marketers need to understand the customer journey, as well as find new ways to intervene appropriately, at the best times.

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