A customer journey map is a visual representation of every experience your customers have with you. It helps to tell the story of a customer's experience with your brand from original engagement to a hopefully long-term relationship. Unfortunately, once you get into the details, customer journeys can be quite complex, since customers can come into contact with your business in many ways and from many different starting points: for example, marketing, referrals, search, social media, customer service enquiries and above-the-line campaigns. Hence, to make sure no interaction slips through the cracks, you need to map out every touchpoint or experience along the customer journey.
Customer journey mapping helps businesses step into their customers’ shoes and see their business from the customer's perspective. It helps businesses gain insights into common customer pain points, how they can improve the customer experience, and define what customers, and prospective customers, need in order to complete a purchase.
The fact is that today’s customers expect companies to know and remember, across multiple touchpoints, who they are and what they’re looking for, so that the necessary information is available without the necessity to repeat or clarify their needs.
To make your map as useful as possible, you need to include every point where your customer comes into contact with your business - from packaging and manuals to TV ads and Facebook posts. Maps can contain quantitative elements from things like your website analytics, CRM or call center software. As your relationship with a customer develops, your map will also cover the long-term, post purchase journey they take with you. Looking at the completed journeys of a number of customers can help highlight whether there is a clear route from research and enquiry to sale: mapping potential obstacles and opportunities for the business can improve the customer journey enormously. A customer journey map also reveals how well the customer experience matches up to your brand promise. In other words, by optimizing and improving the experiences along the journey, you’ll be building towards solid, long-term relationships with your customers.
Nowadays, many consumers are shifting from offline to online, using a variety of digital tools to help them with their purchasing decisions. Offline interactions are also taking on a digital dimension, with location-based services adding to the experience of visiting a store or taking a flight. And as more ‘digital natives’ enter the world of work and gain purchasing power, online interactions grow in commercial importance. Your customer is likely to use search, online review sites and social networks as a first port of call when evaluating a possible purchase. Understanding how these interactions work, and how to take advantage of them, is vital to business success today.
Anyway, a customer journey map is just the first step to staying on top of the constant change in today’s business life. In the future, companies need increasingly sophisticated processes and tools. For instance, the number of touchpoints is increasing in number by around 20% a year according to McKinsey, and with more touchpoints comes more complexity in servicing customer needs successfully. A map should help highlight areas where technology can ease the burden and challenges faced by your business. (Source: Salesforce.com)