Customer experience is more important now than ever before. Today, a staggering 80 per cent of customers consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products. While 60 per cent of customers in the UK expect the customer experience to be connected. And to further complicate matters, we live in an omnichannel world where the average consumer will use as many as 10 channels to communicate with a company.
So, how do businesses enhance customer experiences as both expectations and complexity rise? The secret may lie in the often-ignored exercise of creating a customer journey map.
What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer journey (also called the buyer journey or user journey). It details your customers’ experiences at each stage of the sales funnel, which typically starts with awareness of your brand, engagement with your business, and consideration of your offer before purchase, re-purchase, and advocacy.
In short, a customer journey map is a way of walking in your customer’s shoes. Of understanding their thoughts, feelings, and actions and giving you a roadmap for improving the customer experience your business provides.
Why do you need a customer journey map?
A customer journey map will provide key insights into your customers’ behaviour, perceptions, and preferences. Based on this information you can design or redesign elements of your customer relationship, for example, by streamlining your onboarding process or enhancing your after-sales service. A customer journey map can identify opportunities to upsell or cross-sell, and even provide insights for new products or services that better meet the needs of your customers.
Five steps to creating the perfect customer journey map
1. Create customer personas
Customer or buyer personas are pen portraits that describe the different people using your products and services. They bring to life typical customer profiles by detailing demographic information, needs, and motivations. To be really useful, your personas should describe a customer in both practical and emotional terms. For example, listing their media preferences as well as their perceptions towards you—both positive and negative. A good way to approach creating a customer persona is to consider pain and passion points—the challenges your customer must overcome to purchase from you and what they love. You can find a customer persona template here.
2. Hold a workshop
You cannot create a customer journey map sat at your desk working in isolation. You must gather a team from across the business, people who possess unique and valuable insights into your customers’ behaviour. Representatives from marketing, product development, and sales as well as customer support should be invited. You must share the customer personas with all attendees and, crucially, narrow the focus before you start. In other words, prioritise the experience of a single persona in a single scenario with a single goal. Otherwise, the journey map will be too generic, and you’ll miss out on opportunities for new insights and questions.
3. Identify touch points
As a group, you should discuss how your customer interacts with your brand and your business. What are their preferred platforms, devices, and media? For example, does your customer follow you on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn? Do they use a mobile, tablet, or desktop computer? Do they see your broadcast or print advertising and visit your website? You should view these interactions through the lens of a typical sales funnel and identify touch points during the awareness, engagement, consideration, purchase, and re-purchase stages. The answers to these and similar questions will start to build up your customer’s behaviour and reveal how and where you can better interact with them.
4. Address customer needs
Having pinpointed your customer’s touch points, you should debate how they think, feel, and act at each of these interactions. This is where the composition of your workshop group is really important. Team members with meaningful insights are vital to the authenticity of your customer journey map. You will want to have findings from research in the room. You will need to know first-hand customer feedback, and be able to pull user analytics from various channels. Honesty is equally important. For instance, if customer onboarding from your website is poor because the user experience is second-rate, this should be revealed and not hidden.
5. Analyse and plan
At this stage, you will have a customer journey map for a particular persona and an understanding of their sentiments and how they interact with you. As a group, you should analyse these informative and valuable insights to identify patterns and trends. But this is not where a customer journey map ends. Now, you need to discuss solutions and how, as a business, you can answer your customer’s needs to improve their overall experience. This may involve scheduling subsequent workshops or briefing project teams to develop new solutions. At the very least, you will need to repeat these steps to create a customer journey map for each of your buyer personas.
Given that customer expectations are higher than ever, a customer journey map is an indispensable tool for your business. But a time-consuming and on-going task. So, the challenge is to discover better ways to create a customer journey map. At Zendesk, we believe we’ve found a better way. We call it Conversational CRM.
Conversational CRM enables you to stay connected to customers across all channels to achieve a unified view of every customer interaction, no matter where they are on the customer journey.
Freshly, the healthy meals subscription service, moved seamlessly into B2B sales using Zendesk Sell. By integrating sales and support services, Freshly turned their CX people into salespeople without hiring a team of consultants or employing complex tools. “Zendesk Sell helps us easily track the who, what, and where that goes into each pipeline,” said Ben Segal, Associate Director of CX at Freshly.
The better you understand your customers’ expectations, the more you can tailor the customer experience to their needs.