Customer Journey: How to Get a Map that Makes Customers Come to You?
The Journey Can Be as Important as the Destination
Nowadays it really is true that the customer is the boss. It is not enough anymore to distinguish yourself by the parameters of your product or service, which is also becoming more and more difficult. Even a well- designed customer experience may not be enough if the journey to reach it is not well prepared and clear. Ideally it should also be fun, mapping the customer‘s story! Product experience can no longer suffice; customers also need to have a good shopping experience.
Companies whose activities revolve around customer thinking are intensely trying to map the purchase or service journey, analyse it, understand it and then redesign it for maximum satisfaction and continuity. This process of customer behaviour and decision-making is often referred to as "Customer Journey ".
Such a journey describes behaviour in various stages of shopping decisions, typically from the identification of need itself, through the discovery of options, decisions and the actual purchase process. And ideally it does not end at the purchase, but it also maps adaptation (onboarding) product use and subsequent customer care.
How not to Get Lost? Customer Journey Mapping
The main output of activities around customer journey mapping is so-called "Customer Journey Map" (often called as CJM). How does such a map look like? Mostly it has a lot of visuals and it is a form of info graphics. There is no right and ideal model how to build it, but you can almost always find on it the following:
- The main (time) axis shows the development of the customer's purchasing and decision-making behaviour, and his position in the ongoing process
- List of interaction points of service or product supplier with the customer, so-called "touchpoints" - naturally, we do not mean only physical points but also digital touchpoints (web, text messages, e-mails, mobile apps)
- Overview of what information we have about the customer in the given the step as for his / her motivation and any the blocking factors or concerns preventing proceeding to the next step
- You can also almost always find information about what mood s/he is in the given step. (Note: If you see a curve with an infograph with "emoticons" you can be pretty sure you're looking at CJM 😊) Points where the customer can potentially be unsure or upset, are the key points to tune the form and the tone of further communication.
Of course, you won’t get the map sitting at your desk. You need to get to know your customer and use various methods of research and analytics. Also there isn‘t just one map, but typically we make a few - for different target groups and customer segments.
Well-made customer journey maps are valuable inputs for work of many specialists. Starting with marketing communications professionals, who according to it tune channels and messages, through UX designers and product designers who harmonize the product for maximum user experience, to the managers, who use them to make their decisions about where to primarily invest effort and budget.
Such a map helps people inside the company reach a consensus across all kinds of roles, departments, products and channels. Thus a customer journey:
- Often goes across different devices, the user switches them as time passes (and the customer doesn’t care different company managers in charge of the web and the mobile interface)
- Goes through more departments (but the customer doesn’t care how the purchasing department internally submits their inquiries to the customer care department)
- Goes across more communication channels (and the customer can get really upset if the same day Facebook, an email newsletter, homepage and a web site offer the best TV for him, but ... every time a different one!)
Journeys are Changing and the Map Must be Live!
*„Sixty-three per cent of CX (customer experience) professionals relies on Customer Journey Maps as the basic artefact, they use to run their activities and investments”. (Source: Forrester Research. Brief: The Top Five Reasons Why Customer Journey Mapping Efforts Fail, August 2016.)*
I often hear that the laborious creation of Customer Journey Maps is useless, as they often become obsolete even before they are finally finished. I have to agree with this to a certain degree. Customers are changing, and their behaviour is changing even faster than the digital environment. And so the journeys on our maps change too.
However, the solution is not to resign to not to do mapping, but to prepare the CJMs so that we can work with them as the time passes, to keep them up-to-date – since customers have different tastes, and you have to be adaptive enough to cater for that.
One thing is to have your marketing office wall papered with CJMs of all target groups, to have them in front of you at all times (which is a good thing to do). But it is also advisable to prepare them in electronic form, and make use of the series of software tools to prepare CJMs.
More advanced tools not only allow maps to be adjusted and updated, they are also a tool for "Journey Analytics". Such a tool can track how customer interaction happens in the individual steps, what communication is used in the situation, in how many per cent it converges in the next steps, and so on.
By linking analytical tools and CJM you get a very powerful tool - a live map where you see real feedback from your customers. Then you can easily assess what effect will have even a small change in settings of individual steps - whether it's ad targeting, a different remarketing email wording, tweaked text of failed to pay for goods messages, or anything else.
Picture 2 – Journey Mapy example - source: www.uxpressia.com
Digital Customer Wants to Go His own Way to Get a Unique Experience
The sad fact is that even many large companies don’t have such maps and visualized knowledge of their customers' behaviour. However, having such a map doesn’t spell an immediate victory.
Today's digital customer wants more. We are in a time when customers expect not only a quality product, but also a related service that will be tailored to one‘s needs, that will be personalized. You often read that the era of product is long gone, and we are in the era of service. But the future is in "personalized experience". Service and good quality are not enough anymore – we need to chip in experience! And the experience is also made by the journey to the service itself. Customers expect you to know them, and that's why you are paving the road to maximum personal satisfaction.
Picture 3 - source: https://theblog.adobe.com/mapping-conversion-journey/
Technologies, as we know, are going this way, and there are ways to take advantage of data to build customer interaction so that it matches the level of each individual, and adapts to them in real time.