Companies have multiple priorities to manage whether it’s employee satisfaction, product development, or logistics. Another priority most companies will agree on is the customer. The customer is what keeps a business running and it’s important that they are well taken care of otherwise they’ll start going to your competitors. That’s where customer journey maps come in to play to help you understand your customer and discover solutions to your sales and marketing funnel.
What is the Customer Journey?
The customer journey is the winding road a customer takes from the second they’re introduced to your company to the moment they convert. This metaphorical path describes the customer’s experience from start to finish (and beyond) while also showing any points of friction or frustration.
Companies value customer journey mapping because it is an effective method for visualizing the interactions between a customer and the brand. Basically, it shows the countless ways a customer could get from point A to point B and how the processes in place might aid or deter them. This helps keep a close eye on the customer experience and make the journey more intuitive and easier for the customer.
Why is Mapping Important?
Understanding the journey that your customer goes through as they work their way from the beginning of your marketing funnel to the end allows you to properly optimize the experience for them and for your company. Mapping this out is how you visualize and keep track of the steps your customers move through and can help you pinpoint areas for improvement as well as obstacles. Mapping is important because it’s how you win conversions.
1. Improve the Customer Experience
One of the main reasons why customer journey mapping is recommended is because we want the sales and marketing experience to center around the customer. The best way to do that is to visualize the steps they’re taking from the moment they are introduced to your brand to the moment they walk out with your product or services in hand. When you map this out, you know exactly where the pitfalls are and can make conscious strides towards remedying them.
2. Understand the UX Behind Your Platforms
The user experience is vital in this day and age. It’s not just about slapping some cool pictures and clever words onto a website or a social media page. Instead (like we’ve mentioned before) this really is all about the customer. You can really dive deep with your mapping exercise and use it to develop an understanding of how your brand appears and interacts through the perspective of your most important audience. Use the data to pinpoint where the blocks are showing up. Are customers making it to your home page and aren’t sure how to contact you? That could mean your user experience is lacking and you need to rearrange some aspects of your site.
3. Prioritize the Customer
It can be easy to lose sight of what’s important when you become so engrossed in running your business. Between managing employees to designing new products and targeting new goals, customers can become less of the centerpiece and more of an afterthought. Customer journey mapping helps you reset and keeps the main priority on what the customer is experiencing. It reminds you to continuously reflect on whether what you’re ideating is really what’s best.
4. Improve Internal Collaboration Processes
The customer travels through multiple stages as they make their way from start to the finish in your sales funnel. It only makes sense that this expansive journey is touched on by multiple people in various departments. A customer journey map can make this entire process easier for your teams to navigate. It helps internal departments get a clear idea of who steps in where and how each of their roles affects the next stage in the journey. When this happens, your goals become clearly aligned and you’ll find that everything runs more smoothly.
5. Decide What Comes Next
Customer journey maps give you a great idea of what’s going on in the present. However, it can also give you a jumping off point for where to go next. Even the most fleshed out and reworked customer journeys can use improvements somewhere especially as marketing trends continue to change and new trends, technology, and processes are incorporated into the customer buying experience. Reference your map often and when there’s nothing that needs tweaking, use it to think about where you can grow.
Customer Journey Planning
As you work your way through mapping your customer journey, be sure to note any campaigns, nurtures, strategies, etc. that are relevant or active to each step. You want to know where your marketing plans are working and how they’re making an impact. Completely fleshing this out ahead of time can help you notice where the bumps are. For example, you may have redundant campaigns running and can eliminate one to focus on the other, or you may notice a gap where it would be useful to insert a touchpoint.
It’s helpful to have multiple sets of eyes on this as well as frequent refreshes to ensure you’re capturing all of the pain points. When one person oversees this process, it can be easy to miss the obvious especially if they aren’t personally dealing with every single touchpoint. This is why pulling in a variety of teams can bring in new perspectives. Your marketing team will have a completely diverse set of experiences with your customers compared to your sales team. For example, your marketing manager may see data behind why a campaign isn’t working and give input while a customer service representative hears about struggles firsthand from customers who contact them.
Understanding what your customer goes through is not only one of the best ways to improve the experience for them, but also one of the best ways to help your company run more efficiently and grow. It doesn’t make sense to go down a path that only works for your business when your business relies on its customers to be successful. Instead, take the time to invest in a thorough customer journey mapping process to fully visualize the steps it takes to get customers from where they are to where you want them to be. While there will be some ups and downs and adjustments to be made, a map will help you clearly identify the gaps and achieve your goals.
Download our Guide to Mapping Your Customer Journey to get started!