CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING
While companies continuously explore which product features and benefits apply for each of their distinct audiences, they need to also get granular in their assessment. As part of this exercise, they need to determine which messages are global versus specific to a particular customer type. And undoubtedly, some personas may lean more “technical,” while others will be attracted to products that are cool, but easy to use.
In the race to understand their customers, companies now have another term to acquaint themselves with: customer journey mapping. A customer journey map is an incredibly useful tool to understand and improve your customer experience.
CUSTOMER'S POINT OF VIEW
Customer journey maps enable companies to understand, from the customer's point of view, their experience in interacting with companies over products, services and so on. In today’s digital world, customers are very likely to first connect with a company over a social media channel regarding a product quality issue, but then take to a customer service line over the phone, live chat on a company's website, or another channel by which to interact and voice their concerns.
Although there is no standard for a customer journey map, it should reflect various scenarios by which a customer may communicate with a company or take action. Companies need to anticipate and strategize based on these various potential Voice of the Customer scenarios.
A customer journey map documents the customer experience through their perspective, helping you best understand how customers are interacting with you now and helps you identify areas for improvement moving forward.
CONTACT CENTERS & CUSTOMER DATA
An important objective of customer journey mapping is to create a more frictionless, seamless, and consistent experience for customers as they traverse the multi-channel business world. Customer support contact centers are at the forefront—if not in the trench lines—of Voice of the Customer initiatives.
Fully-equipped with real customer data, behavioral stages, touch-points for interaction, cross-team resourcing, sentiment, and more—contact centers use the latest CRM technologies, including web-based self-help interactive content, chat, and social media channels. Through this multi-channel Voice of the Customer experience that they have designed, they can anticipate a consumer’s journey from Web to social to a contact center.
MAPPING YOUR CUSTOMER TOUCH-POINTS
A customer journey map is a very simple idea: a diagram that illustrates the steps your customers go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination. The more touch-points you have, the more complicated—but necessary—such a map becomes.
Building a customer journey implies the observation of the user experience and the representation of that experience through its touch-points. The starting point is the identification of the touch-points as the elements of the service interface establishing the relation between the user and the organization. The touch-points can be physical, virtual or human. The user experience is obtained by connecting the different touch-points in a sequence.
Note that the journey is often non-linear. Someone may jump straight from awareness to purchase if they are not inclined to do research and have a strong recommendation from a friend, for example. Or they may spend a long time spinning through iterations of the research process for an expensive purchase.
There is no single right way to create a customer journey, and your own organization will need to find what works best for your particular situation. The ultimate goal is a better understanding of the journey that your customers travel through as they engage with your company, brand, products, partners, and people.