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Many companies develop products or services with similar features and benefits. Competition in the marketplace escalates as a result. Customer experience is now a currency and a way to stand out from competitors. It is affected by every communication and interaction between a brand and customers.

Most of the time, organisations make decisions from a financial perspective. They act without considering the impacts on customer perception and experience. To keep customers, companies need to become more customer-centric. You can start by tailoring the customer journey.

What Exactly is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map is a visual aid that portrays a path, process, or sequence. It shows you how customers access your products or services. The framework of a customer journey is developed through an iterative process. You can create it based on customers’ actions or customer experience indicated from case studies and operational work. The purpose is to identify an effective solution to a specific business challenge.

The map usually categorises a customer journey in five stages: awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy. Within each stage, all activities and events related to the delivery of a product or service are marked as touchpoints. They can be intangible stimuli or tangible surroundings. For instance, moments of contact between a customer and a brand, or physical stores and websites. You can manage these touchpoints and corresponding perceptions in the map.

How to Build an Effective Customer Journey Map

Customers expect you to understand them and make their journey as easy as possible. To exploit the benefits of a customer journey map, you need to make sure it is seamless. Here, you can find out how to create one in five steps. 

Step 1: Create a Persona

Before jumping into the mapping process, you should always understand whom you’re targeting. Also, what vital information about the customers you need to know. Companies should put themselves into buyers’ shoes. Then comprehend how they act under certain conditions and the reasoning behind those behaviours. You can do so by:

  • Conducting research. It can be in any form. For instance, an interview, a survey, or a digital analytics tool that shows what your audience has been up to. 

     You can also make assumptions based on customer interactions or experience. As long as they help you gather           reliable data and information about the buyers. 

  • Segmenting customers. Depending on the industry and offerings, there can be more than one buyer persona. After all, everyone is unique, and using just one profile to represent the whole clientele doesn’t seem accurate. 

      You can categorise target customers based on their demographics, psychographics, or behavioural attributes. So          you’re able to attend to your clientele on an individual level. 

  • Defining customer needs and requirements. Once you have established the segment personas, you should be able to pinpoint customers’ needs, goals, and expectations. You can store information on their purchase and what routes they’ve taken. Then see what people hope to achieve and how at each stage of the customer journey. 

Persona templates: Miro, Xtensio, HubSpot, UXPressia

Step 2: Identify Touchpoints

Customers of different segments access your brand through separate routes. The actions they take and interactions they have with your brand differ. These various encounters are touchpoints. 

At each touchpoint, people hold specific expectations towards the service provider. These expectations are not only based on experience but also on external factors. Such as, advertisements, brand image, word-of-mouth, and so on. 

Also, quality and satisfaction can be achieved when results meet or exceed customer expectations. Thus, mapping out touchpoints is crucial to identifying the cause of customer dissatisfaction. You can pin down and manage customer journey touchpoints by:

  • Using the persona. To put yourself into the customer’s perspective, you can use the persona you just created and walk through the journey step by step. 

      Ask yourself questions, then answer them based on your knowledge of the clientele. 

  1. Where do I go if I want to buy a (product or service your company offers)?
  2. How do I make a purchase decision?
  3. What do I do if a problem occurs?

  • Conducting a survey. A straightforward way to know what channels your target audience use and what expectations they hold is to ask them. 

  • Categorising touchpoints. You can map the touchpoints stage by stage, from awareness to advocacy. Because when a need in the previous stage is not fulfilled, another touchpoint might occur. 

      This way, you can see what touchpoint is missing to bridge the gap between stages and what redundant                          touchpoint can be eliminated.

Step 3: Reduce Pain Points

After mapping out the touchpoints, you can identify barriers and potential problems within the journey, a.k.a pain points. These pain points can lead to loss of customers But, you can resolve pain points with following steps:

  • Decreasing the occurrence of that touchpoint. Viewing the board picture of the map allows you to see where you can add another touchpoint or use a strategy that helps you remove the roadblock. For instance, if your customers have difficulties accessing customer service, you need to eliminate their need to do so. 

  • Improving the quality. You need to identify the cause of this pain point. For example, if you struggle to drive consumers to the purchase stage, chances are you need to improve your products or services. So the quality matches with the pricing. 

      Also, you can provide more information that resonates with them and arouses desires to make a purchase.

Step 4: Measure Customer Experience

Customer experience measurement provides firms with insights and comprehensions of their performance and customers’ needs. They help tailor customer journeys for each target group. 

There are a plethora of metrics and KPIs to evaluate the customer experience. But here are three essential metrics that help you create a seamless customer journey. They are easy to use and incorporate emotional and cognitive evaluations.

  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT). You can get CSAT via surveys asking customers to rate their satisfactions. Usually on a five-point scale, with 1 being very unsatisfied and 5 being very satisfied. The CSAT percentage score is calculated by:

    CSAT % = Number of Satisfied Customers (4s & 5s) / Number of Responses Received x 100

  • Net promoter score (NPS). NPS reflects the number of retained customers and potential customers. And a simple question—how likely would you recommend a brand’s product—is enough to determine a firm’s prospective sales increase. 

      You ask on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 indicates a low willingness and 10 indicates a high willingness. 

      People who choose 1 to 6 are detractors. They are unsatisfied customers who would not promote the brand                  and might even share negative reviews. 

      People who choose 7 and 8 are the passives who are indifferent to the brand. But they have the potential to                    become a detractor or promoter. 

      People who choose 9 and 10 are the promoters who are very likely to advocate the brand. 

      After collecting the result, the NPS is calculated by:

      NPS % = (Number of Promoters – Number of Detractors) x 100

  • Customer effort score (CES). You can calculate CES by asking customers to rate the amount of effort needed to do something. Usually on a five-point scale, where 1 is very difficult and 5 is very easy. It is then calculated by: 

      CES % = Sum of scores / Number of Responses Received x 100 

      This metric can be used on many aspects, such as the ease of purchasing or returning a product or service,                    using it, contacting the customer service.

Step 5: Implement Corresponding Adjustments

After measuring the performance, you can start making modifications based on your KPIs. It is vital to adjust the map now and then, as your persona’s purchase behaviours might change due to external factors. You need to make sure the customer journey map fits the customers’ path without missing any opportunities to exploit. 

The goal of your journey map must be achievable, measurable, and aligns with your values. Whatever you do, just make sure you put yourself into your audience’s shoes and tailor the journey for them.

Conclusion

As we enter a new era of business where positive customer experience is an asset to a company, we need to make sure nothing can jeopardise it. To enhance your competitiveness, you need to map the customer journey to ensure nothing problematic occurs at any stage. With the above-mentioned 5 steps, you can easily and effectively create a seamless customer journey. Now, go generate a positive customer experience and foster loyalty. 

Customer journey map templates: Miro, Mural, Custellence, Lucidchart

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