Every customer completes a journey when purchasing a product or service, no matter how short it is. Understanding the steps along this journey is crucial for business success. One strategy that many companies have found helpful is the customer journey map.
The move from research to purchase isn’t always straightforward. Knowing why some people move along quickly while others derail at certain points allows businesses to better tailor their marketing efforts to meet consumer needs.
The Customer Journey Explained
While companies have the best intentions when creating customer journey maps, many don’t understand what to ask their customers or create the maps without attempting to talk to them at all. The purpose of speaking to customers is to learn their intentions, behaviors, and actions in order to create a better and more personalized experience for them.
Customers should guide conversations, not brand representatives. It’s also important to cover each touchpoint of the customer journey. These include the idea, brand awareness, consideration of options, and purchase.
To be successful, top companies recognize the importance of understanding how to know your customer. While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for creating a customer journey map, the following steps can help:
- Create objectives: This step is simple but important not to overlook. It requires the person creating the map to understand and articulate the reason for doing so.
- Create a customer persona and determine goals: Interviewing customers, sending out surveys, and reading product and service reviews are just some ways to gather information about the customer base. Brands can use this data to create a profile of their typical or ideal customer.
- Study customer checkpoints: Customers interact with brands through a variety of channels. Researching and listing the most common ones help companies understand their customers better.
- Take an inventory of resources: It takes resources to meet customer needs, which is why every business needs to know the resources on hand and the ones they need to obtain. Creating a customer journey map highlights the gaps that prevent brands from delivering optimal and personalized service.
- Create activities that allow touchpoints to intersect: The most efficient customer journey maps display intersecting touchpoint activities such as order notifications and status reminders. Not only does this increase efficiency within the company, it makes it easier for customers to advance through their journey without frustration.
- Implement predictive routing: Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can be exceptionally useful in predicting the actions a customer will take. It analyzes past behavior and identifies any barriers that might prevent them from taking the next logical step.
- Embrace technologies that enhance the customer experience: Brands shouldn’t fear new technology when it comes to learning more about customers. Examples includes new developments and improvements in wearable technology, Internet of Things, big data and analytics, and much more.
Creating a Successful Customer Journey Crucial to Business Success
Today’s customers crave unique and individualized experiences, and brands that can deliver it enjoy much greater success than those that treat everyone the same. The easier it is to complete the journey, the more likely it is for brands to earn repeat business.
However, it’s critical that companies continue the efforts long after making a sale. That means investing in ongoing research and website optimization at a minimum as well as continually tweaking the customer journey map.