The ins and outs of customer journey maps and how they can help you grow your business.
According to New Voice Media, $41 billion is lost by U.S. companies alone each year due to poor customer service.
The better you can understand your customers, how they think, how they make decisions and what their preferences are, the better you can cater to their needs and thrive as a business. Your customers won’t hesitate to turn to a competitor that’s offering them a simpler sales process or better customer service, which is why your business can’t afford to not have a thorough understanding of your customer’s journey.
One tool that offers an extremely effective way to gain a deeper understanding of your customers is a customer journey map.
What is a customer journey map?
Customer journey maps allow you to create a visual story of the steps that your customers take when interacting with your brand.
This can be anything from completing a purchase or downloading an eBook to filling out a contact form on your website. It’s a simple yet effective tool that gives you an inside look into the minds of your customers.
A report by McKinsey & Co revealed that maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys can increase customer satisfaction by 20%, lift revenue by 15% and lower the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%.
While it’s easy enough to collect data on your customers, a customer journey map really takes things one step further by helping you understand how your customers think and the motivation behind their actions.
So why should you use customer journey maps? Here are just a few of the many benefits of this marketing tool:
- Understand customer thought processes. A customer journey map will give you in-depth information on how your customers make decisions and the emotions behind those decisions.
- Identify opportunities and gaps. Once you see how customers are interacting with your online platforms and your brand in general, you will have a clearer idea of how you can improve your overall offering and any platforms and touchpoints that your customers will interact with.
- Increased sales numbers. Once you can better cater to the needs of your customers, you will automatically start seeing higher conversion rates more often. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, which is why customer journey maps should be used to optimise your sales and marketing strategies.
- Better customer service. Customer journey maps can really outline where your brand might be falling short in terms of meeting the needs of your customers. When you can make your customers happier, the word spreads, bringing you a much higher rate of direct website traffic.
Creating your first customer journey map
Below are the steps to follow in order to create a customer journey map for your brand.
- Get clear on your objectives. What is your reason for creating a customer journey map? By outlining your business objectives, it will be much easier to decide which customer segment you’ll be creating the map for.
- Create a customer persona. Now that you know what you’re looking to achieve, create a customer persona or outline a particular customer segment. Describe your customer, their likes and dislikes and what their unique goals might be. Customer surveys or interviews are one way that you can understand what your customer’s goals are if you would prefer not to decide this for yourself.
- Outline customer phases. Before you move onto the next step, you will need to create a map of the different phases that a customer would go through in order to achieve their goal. Remember, this is not about your internal processes but rather the steps your customer would follow. Step into their shoes for this.
- List customer touchpoints. Anytime a customer comes into contact with your brand before, during or after a conversion, is a touchpoint. Touchpoints show us how a customer got to your website and how they interact with your website. A good tool to use to help you map out touchpoints is Google Analytics. Google Analytics’ behaviour flow report will show you how customers move through your website and where they’re dropping off. It’s also important to pay attention to your traffic sources and any advertising campaigns that you might be running to see which sources and landing pages are the most effective.
- Put it all together. Now that you understand your customer’s motives and how they are interacting with your brand, you can start identifying where you might be falling short. Is the customer journey overly complicated? Could some steps be eliminated in order to increase the number of conversions? Where are customers dropping off the most and why? Once you start identifying where you can make improvements, you can quickly and easily optimise your customer journey. Start with the low-hanging fruit first to start taking immediate steps to improve the customer journey. Get a designer to assist you with the visual aspects of your customer journey map if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.
The customer journey map will not only help you identify the areas of your business that can be improved but it will also help you find opportunities for growth that you can incorporate into your future marketing and sales strategies.
Customer journey map examples
Here are a few examples of how different brands have approached the creation of their customer journey maps. There is no set template that you need to use when creating your map as every brand is different. Do what works for you.
Along with increasing your revenue, reducing your sales and marketing costs and optimising your sales cycle, taking the time to understanding a customer’s journey allows your brand to offer a consistent level of excellent customer service, helping you generate more customer loyalty.
What made you decide to use customer journey maps as a sales and marketing tool?