When customers interact with your business, they embark on a journey.
A journey with a specific end goal in mind.
As a potential vendor, it is your job to lay the stepping stones to get them to their desired destination.
Transporting them from A to B as seamlessly as possible.
But if the journey has not been planned out, it can be fraught with danger and littered with obstacles.
Particularly if it takes place across multiple platforms or relies on the input of multiple individuals.
“89% of companies with multi-channel engagement strategies were able to retain their customers, compared to 33% of those that didn’t.”AB Tasty
This is why you need to light the path for them. This is why you need a customer journey map.
What Is A Customer Journey Map?
A customer journey map is the visual embodiment of how customers experience your business.
It’s a representation of interactions and touchpoints. Of motivations and emotions.
Depending on your process, this could either be a simple single transaction or an in depth endeavour with countless branching points.
“80% of customers consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products.”Hubspot
No matter the length, the important thing is to ensure you map every step of the way accurately.
Accounting for every eventuality and ensuring a mutually desirable outcome.
Why Are They Important?
A customer journey map ensures you are prepared to delight customers at every turn.
Each touchpoint throughout the journey has a direct impact upon their perception of your operation.
“Customer journey mapping helps you plot a path to resolution, offering customers the valuable information they need, exactly when they’re looking for it.“GWI
By undertaking customer journey mapping, and visualising the path ahead, you can identify roadblocks, pain points and opportunities.
Without calculating precisely how to respond, and understanding what your customers are aiming to achieve, you can’t guarantee the outcome.
Without mapping, you leave success to chance.
7 Steps To Create A Customer Journey Map
So how to go about creating your optimal customer journey map?
Here’s a straightforward, 7 step plan to set you on your way…
Step 1: Set Objectives
Without being able to clearly articulate your destination, you’ll have a hard time navigating towards it.
So a good place to start is by considering where you are now compared to where you want to be.
Is each and every journey as simple and straightforward as possible?
Does it account for the specific purpose of the journey?
For example, a support journey may require a faster resolution than a sales journey for maintaining customer satisfaction.
By setting objectives, and highlighting the current state of play compared to your ultimate desired journey, you can spot the gaps.
This is where to direct your initial focus. To map what is missing.
Step 2: Create Buyer Personas
Much like the objective itself, the type of customer will dictate the steps required to reach the destination.
The best speakers in the world wouldn’t speak to a complete novice in the same way they would a seasoned veteran.
So why would you do that with your customers? Presuming they’re all wanting and needing the exact same thing.
Start by defining either your ideal customer or you most regular customer and build out from there.
If you’re unsure what their ideal journey would constitute, ask them!
They’re arguably the best source of knowledge at your disposal; utilise their insight to elevate your operation.
Step 3: List Customer Touchpoints
Now you have your objective and your subject, it’s time to ask, how are you going to take them where they want to be?
Every journey will require different touchpoints, which should be reflected in your customer journey map.
Looking at existing journeys, are there too few touchpoints? Perhaps suggesting customers leave your process early, without reaching their end goal.
Or are there too many? Potentially highlighting an opportunity to streamline.
At this point, the finer the detail, the better the map will be.
It’s also worth considering the channel being used.
The medium can, and will, dramatically influence interpretation of the touchpoint. Tweak the contents and tonality appropriately.
Step 4: Identify Customer Actions
On the flip side, if touchpoints are your responsibility, what do your customers need to do to progress their experience?
The purpose of the action isn’t necessarily important. The crucial thing is acknowledging the requirement for external input.
If you can’t hold up your side of the bargain without the customer completing an action, make sure to document it in the map.
That way, no steps are glossed over that could create issues down the line.
Step 5: Understand Your Available Resources
Your customer journey map is going to engage the vast majority of your business functions.
As such, you must account for their capacity to deliver.
Alongside all of the resources that go into creating the customer experience, it’s essential to evaluate gaps that need to be plugged, or supporting software you can use to maintain service standards.
This is a crucial step for balancing aspiration and realism.
You can have the grandest plans and the most well articulated map going, but if you can’t fulfil it, it’s worthless.
Step 6: Analysing The Customer Journey
By now you should have an end to end experience, bespoke to your specific capacity and customers, ready to go.
Time to follow the map yourself.
No skipping, no presumptions, no stone unturned. Follow your steps exactly as a new customer would.
Doing so allows you to see how it works in practice, both for your company and the end user.
Only then can you be confident of introducing the process into the “wild”.
Step 7: Take Business Action
Last of all, the reality is that your customer journey map is ever evolving.
Therefore, you should take regular action to review and evolve your frameworks in line with shifting consumer patterns and internal needs.
It should be responsive yet proactive to ensure you’re always in the strongest position to satisfy customer needs.
Doing so will ensure you’re always in the strongest position to satisfy customers.
To ensure you have no missing pieces, and a raft of happy customers across the board.
Ready to explore how Anthill can help you create a customer journey map? Schedule a demo today.
Intrigued to learn more? Check out our Insights Hub to keep your business at the cutting edge.
May 24th, 2022-