“Legendary customer experiences are designed.” – Dwayne Vera
The customer journey is one of the most fundamental aspects of a thriving business. Without a clear, comfortable path, people who stumble upon your brand will never convert to customers.
One of the biggest roadblocks organizations encounter are assumptions. You can work through the things you know you don’t know, but what about the things you think you know? The inability to understand customer needs and act upon them meaningfully has been the downfall of countless global companies who once led their industry. The real-world paths customers take toward a brand are not always obvious, and often they can’t be imagined by staff members in a board room.
We need to separate the idealized customer journey from the actual one that’s taking place – What’s really happening to visitors as they engage with a brand? What questions are going unanswered? What overlooked details are creating subtle frustration?
To solve this knowledge gap, you need to know what your customers are experiencing in detail. That’s where journey mapping comes in.
According to a 2018 MyCustomer study, “Two-thirds of individuals surveyed said their organizations were currently using customer journey mapping. One-third said their organization isn’t mapping. This proportion was consistent irrespective of company size.”
When it came to how, survey participants cited data analytics, customer feedback, visualization software, and user profiling as the most useful mapping tools they use.
“Those that reported using analytics solutions as part of their toolkit overall reported a slightly more positive impact of their journey mapping, with 42% saying that the impact was ‘extremely positive.”
By bringing together the right combination of tools, your team can interact with data on a regular basis to demystify your customer experience.
Real-Time Mapping & Reducing Friction
Mapping the customer journey is nothing new, but the capabilities organizations now have are far more sophisticated than they were in the past. Thanks to more advanced analytics tools, your customer journey no longer has to live in a static document. It can be tracked in real time, from moment to moment. As customer behavior changes, organizations can implement corresponding changes and resolve kinks in their pipeline.
Real-time customer journey mapping allows organizations to collect valuable data like demographics, psychographics, and transactions. By analyzing this information, you can begin to flesh out customer personas and understand how different segments should be targeted differently.
For example, an athletics company with a large customer base of parents with small children and millennial sports enthusiasts will need to nurture those two groups in different ways. This may mean different calls to action, uniquely designed offers, or personalized product recommendations. Tracking the customer path through your website may reveal that certain audiences respond better to popups, while others are annoyed by them.
The most critical element of a smooth customer journey is not what you add, but what you eliminate. A beautifully designed storefront means little if the shopping experience is confusing. A comprehensive digital help desk is useless if the process of submitting a request is frustrating and time-consuming. Removing barriers to comfort is one of the most impactful ways to keep customers not only happy, but raving to friends about their pleasing experience.
Customer Experience is the New Price Point
In the past, brands obsessed over price point and product quality. Their marketing content was geared toward getting customers to recognize that their product was either more affordable or had better features. Today, the customer experience trumps both.
“Customer experience will overtake price and product quality as the key brand differentiator by 2020. The chart below shows the relative importance of three key elements to business strategy.” source
Web traffic, POS systems, email marketing, and IoT devices are just a few avenues for garnering customer data. By mapping these customer paths, organizations can identify which avenues to prioritize and where new revenue opportunities exist.
For example, customers who make their way to a retail store after receiving a coupon via email may respond best to these direct offers. Meanwhile, other audience members consider this spam and would rather scan a brand’s social page for news and offers. Information like this helps organizations tailor their marketing strategy for maximum results.
Customer journey mapping can inform the work of UX designers, product managers, marketing coordinators, and customer service professionals. It’s an ongoing process that has developed significantly over the past 5 years and will only be more important as customer service grows more personalized and digital.
According to the MyCustomer survey, organizations that implemented customer journey mapping experienced benefits within the first year, and organizations who’d been mapping the longest reported the strongest impact.
If improving retention and revenue are top priorities, customer journey mapping may be the solution. From awareness to interest, evaluation, purchasing, and finally post-purchasing, your customer needs a smooth, seamless experience.
Bring customer journey maps to life and create new ways to connect with customers. Looking for help? Get in touch to start extracting key insights from the customer data you already have.