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Customer Journey Mapping Strategies - Part 1 of 2

As customers interact with brands across ever more channels, almost all digitally, it’s more important than ever that companies know everything about each of those touchpoints, and how to optimize each one so they provide for a seamless experience for the customer.

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    You may not realize this yourself, but we’re all currently in what experts call “the 4th Industrial Revolution.” What this means is that we’re all busy navigating a world that’s not just digital anymore. It’s a world where we’re all getting more and more used to smart technology, and to interacting with the world across multiple planes and multiple channels, all of which are interlinked and automated themselves to various degrees.

    In practice, what this means is that we’ve moved from a world where people built products that customers bought, to a world where factories produced products for customers all over the world, to a world where instantaneous communication became possible throughout the world, to the modern world, where customers purchase products across different channels, use those products in a variety of ways, and increasingly live a life that is digitized to unprecedented degrees.

    Now, when a customer buys a product, they use on average over 6 channels to connect with businesses. Each of these connections represents a touchpoint along their journey with a product, and each of these touchpoints is crucial to the overall customer experience. Over 70% of customers see their journey with a product as more important than even the quality of the product itself.

    What is Customer Journey Mapping?

    And this is where customer journey mapping strategies come in. If customers are interacting with brands across an increasing number of touchpoints, and then also seeing their interactions across these touchpoints as increasingly important, then every brand needs to make sure they

    1. Know what touchpoints are likely to be used
    2. Know how to optimize the experience across each touchpoint, including potential pain points
    3. Know how to synchronize these touchpoints into one seamless experience

    This process is known as customer journey mapping. A customer journey map is a visual representation of each touchpoint with which a brand engages with a customer. It’s a way to put a brand into the mind of a customer, with the goal of improving their overall experience.

    A customer journey map might look something like this:

    Customer Journey Mapping Strategies - Part 1 Graphic

    How to Effectively Map Out A Customer Journey

    There are a number of critical elements to mapping out your customers’ journey. Above you’ve got the gist, but let’s dig down to the nuts and bolts of what you have to do to map out a full customer journey.

    1- Ask relevant questions and gather data

    This is possibly the most important step to mapping out your customer journey. It’s the first thing you have to do, and how effectively you do it will determine how successfully you are in mapping out everything to come. So we’re going to spend some time going over exactly what data collection and data analysis entails. The first thing you have to do is narrow down the specific questions you want answered. For instance

    • Why do customers first engage with your company/brand/service/product?
    • How do they first engage? 
    • What do they want from it? 
    • How do they interact/engage with you? 
    • When do they this? 
    • For how long do they interact with you? 
    • What are the touchpoints across which they interact with you? 
    • What are the pain points, or potential pain points? 
    • What are the points of concern? What are the points of progress?
    • How easy to use do customers find it?
    • Do customers feel that support is helping them? 
    • How satisfied are customers with the onboarding process? 
    • How satisfied are they with the checkout process? 
    • How likely are they to recommend the product/service to others?

    When researching these questions, you’ll be using a mix of surveys, market research, focus groups, ethnographic studies, and analytics. Notice also that these questions are specific and answerable with an objective answer. Of COURSE you want the answer to questions like, “Does my product meet my customer’s expectations.” But That’s not a question that has a simple objective answer. What you’re trying to do is boil down those broad, uber important questions into bite-size answerable questions. Once you’ve optimized each answer to your liking, the answers to the broader questions you have will start to become clearer as well.

    Either way… every other step of your map will be informed based on the data you’ve gleaned, including step 2:

    2- Identifying how your users discover your products

    So you researched and gathered data regarding what the touchpoints were for you. As mentioned at the top of this article, these include just about every channel imaginable, including in-store, app-store, website, social media, email, livechat, search functions, telephone calls, SMS, in-app notifications, conferences, product demonstrations, sales calls, links, or others. 

    Once you’ve identified these touchpoints, you’ll want to burrow down into the nitty gritty of each one so that you can find a way to optimize it as you map out your customer’s journey. How does each touchpoint affect your customer? What problems might occur at each one? What course of action do customers take (or should they take) in case of a problem? Where can they find information? Is it easy for them to keep taking the next steps across channels and touchpoints? Dataroid can measure each click to take you through the customer’s entire journey.

    As with everything else, the seamlessness of everything is of the absolute essence. If your sales team is great but your website isn’t, then eventually your customer will hit a bump in the road on their journey, and that might well be the point at which you lose them for good. It’s important that you use a product that makes sure it knows how customers will go through their journey, and also how the journey from the beginning of a touchpoint to its end will go as well.

    3- Redefine these touchpoints in terms of the customer experience

    What this means in practice is that you’re trying to identify what are the actions that your customers experience on their journey. Every type of customer is different, and journeys depend on what the product or service is, but you want to finetune the touchpoints you’ve identified from your perspective to theirs. A typical customer journey might look something like this:

    Customer Journey Mapping Strategies - Part 1 Graphic 2

    But beyond that the point of this stage is really to dig down into the details of each touchpoint and what it means for the customer and their experience. You might actually want to identify the touchpoints for everything from potential issues to improving what customers already love most. For example if there’s a failed delivery or lack of satisfaction in some way. or the potential for that to arise in the future, how do the touchpoints you’ve identified correspond to the customer experience in that situation? 

    Key Takeaways

    As customers interact with brands across ever more channels, almost all digitally, it’s more important than ever that companies know everything about each of those touchpoints, and how to optimize each one so they provide for a seamless experience for the customer. In part 2, we’ll go over the rest of what’s necessary to map your customer’s journey, as well as what exactly customer journey mapping can (and can’t!) do for your business.

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