What is Customer Journey Mapping?
From understanding where your brand aligns with customers to knowing the areas where you’re alienating them, customer journey maps are crucial tools for understanding where your customer experience (CX) excels and where it needs work.
The days when a customer saw your advertising, was immediately convinced by its message and then went out and bought your product or service have long gone. Today the path to purchase can be as complex and unique as the insides of a handmade Swiss watch.
“Modern customers are not just active participants on the path to purchase, they’re in complete control,” explains James Lee, Head of Digital Strategy, TSC, Sitel Group’s digital experts. “They’re steering, rather than being steered along a journey and in most cases, they’re moving faster than you are. Today businesses are in a constant race to keep up.”
This need to play catch up is why customer journey mapping is a necessity for any business that wants to attract new customers and keep its existing customers satisfied.
What is customer journey mapping?
Simply put, it’s a way of seeing every interaction a customer has with your company and understanding if that interaction makes things easier or harder to complete a purchase. Usually created in a simple-to-follow visual format, a customer journey map covers every touch point from online ads and search engine results to in-store interactions and calls to the contact centre that someone experiences when passing through your sales funnel.
“The choices a customer makes are not always the ones you think he or she would or should make,” says Lee. “That is part of the disconnect customer journey mapping aims to address. A detailed, step-by-step understanding of the customer experience and the areas where it needs improvements will bring you closer to your customers.”
Step into your customers’ shoes
However, you can’t start making improvements until you’ve collected enough insights to understand your customers. “This is only possible if you can step outside,” warns Lee. “You need to experience your business the way your customers do in order to gain the necessary objectivity.”
This means seeing all aspects of the business behind those touch points – marketing, sales, customer service, process management, IT, operations – the way your customers see them. This will highlight if there are any silos or weaknesses between departments that serve business processes but are impacting customer service.
“Then look at all common call drivers, chat drivers, contact centre speech analysis to identify any point of pain or moment of truth – any time where you are on the hook as a brand to deliver a positive emotional result,” continues Lee. “Identifying those moments will help you reduce customer effort and make it easier for you to get on the positive side of the emotional scale.”
Know who your customers are and where they are
As well as drawing on data within the business, merging it with insights that can be gained from sources such as social media will give you the information you need to recognise different customer personas and draw conclusions about their interests and behaviours.
“This will help you understand where your customers are and how to reach them and what they’re trying to achieve when they interact with your business,” says Lee. “Being able to more accurately segment your audience makes it easier to tailor messages and to know how, when and where to communicate with them.”
In short, creating customer journey maps will help you to:
- Identify where your brand story and your customers’ stories are aligned
- Spot every opportunity on the path to purchase for targeted communications that can move customers along the sales funnel
- Identify if touch points are serving the customer’s need or are focused on business process and eradicate areas of friction and pain points that force the customer to exert more effort, abandon a sale or think twice before doing business with you again
- Optimise commercial and marketing activities in line with customer behaviour
From customer journey mapping to gathering data insights Sitel Group has over 30 years’ experience in helping brands discover more about and get closer to their customers through delivering differentiated CX.