The success of a business lies in its knowledge of its customers.

Your product or service is targeted to a specific need of a specific customer, and naturally you consider your customer’s behaviours, thoughts, and feelings. From there, you can now formulate your marketing and other business aspects to sell your product or service successfully.

However, knowing your customer doesn’t stop at simply identifying their need. A lot of businesses often forget that various stories and narratives lie behind each customer.

To familiarise yourself with the overall Customer Experience, you need to get to grips with the customer journey map. It’s the representation of the key engagements between the business, the product or service, and the customer.

In other words, it’s the end-to-end Customer Experience. A typical customer journey map includes personas, timeline, emotion, touchpoints, and channels.

There are different types of a customer journey map. Sometimes, it’s just a part of the total experience, or it can be the whole journey. Nevertheless, journey mapping will help you visualize your customer in the sales funnel.

Here are some ways journey mapping can improve the customer experience:

1. Identifies and addresses gaps

Sometimes presented through an infographic, a customer journey map will help you see the gaps in your CX. These gaps are as follows:

• Gaps between devices – the unique and original customer experience in which your product or service can be accessed

• Gaps between departments – the movement from one department of your business to another. Take note that a customer hates being passed around the departments, and make it as seamless as possible

• Gaps between channels – the transition from one of your active channels to another (eg, social media to website)

By looking at these gaps, you’ll see the interaction between the customer and product or service. It puts the customer at the centre and connects it from there. You’ll also realize the impact of these gaps to the touchpoints that drive business value.

You must remind yourself that a customer doesn’t describe their experience with your business in parts – they usually define it as a whole. Therefore, one gap in a specific part might affect their overall assessment of your product or service and business in general.

2. Presents in-depth customer information

Beyond the demographic data such as age, gender, and other personal information, well-thought-out CX has a basis of in-depth customer information. This includes actions, motivations, questions, and barriers.

You’ll be surprised at how much these four factors influence the decisions of your customer in each stage of the sales funnel. In the customer journey map, you’ll fill out each factor and picture out your customer eventually.

3. Provides analytical research

Since you’re building the customer journey map through solid data, you can see numbers and figures that will assist you in understanding your customer. Through website analytics, you can identify what part of the process they started, and if possible, where it ended abruptly.

One of the most popular tools nowadays is social media where you can see brand mentions and reviews at each stage of the Customer Experience.

4. Provides anecdotal research

You have to remember that not everything can be told through the quantity, as you have to consider the quality as well. Know the stories and narratives behind these numbers and figures. Social media can still be your assistant in doing this.

In line with that, you can also tap someone who’s always interacting with your customers. In this manner, you’ll get the information first-hand while avoiding the possibility of miscommunication.

While it’s true that this will take so much time and budget, just make sure to come up with smart assumptions. By doing the anecdotal research on a population sample, you should handle the data properly.

5. Visualises the customer journey

The greatest selling point of a customer journey map is its ability to layer the customer data you currently have with regards to priority and importance. You can prioritise certain key performance metrics to identify how to achieve a specific goal quickly.

Moreover, the customer journey map allows you to see the positive and negative Customer Experiences, and what led to them.

If it’s a positive one, then you can take note of the things that happened to implement it again. If it’s a negative one, then identify the points for improvement and how to handle such situations.

You might want to see the ‘behind-the-scenes’ for each step of the Customer Experience and pinpoint which ones you can control through the journey map. Another strength of a map is how to attack a situation with concrete actions accurately.

6. Summarises your performance

Just like with any business process and strategy, you should always evaluate its effectivity and performance. You can easily view performance indicators such as customers’ emotional highs and lows, and expectation metrics (exceeds, meets, below).

Here are other indicators you can include:

• Measures of the status of a certain touchpoint
• Net Promoter Score (NPS)
• Customer satisfaction measurement
• Measures of primary emotions (quantity) at specific touchpoints
• Effort measurement

This performance evaluation should be your guide in assessing your current CX offering, and how it will adjust in the future so that you can make sound decisions that give importance to value. You’ll also be confident that you’re doing it right because you’re basing it on a formidable CX performance.

Key takeaways

While there is no one correct way to do a customer journey map, it’s important that the essentials are there. Always put the customer at the centre of it all. While it can come in different forms, the content should include analytical and anecdotal data.

Furthermore, don’t overcomplicate things when you’re building a customer journey map. After all, this should help you and not make things even more complex.

Now that you know how a customer journey map optimises the Customer Experience, you’re on your way to acquiring more accurate knowledge and understanding of your customers.

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