Companies try to make their clients think about them more and more - they are becoming a part of clients’ lives.
This constant interaction of client and company on the whole ‘path’ from client visiting the website or seeing the window display of the shop till the purchase and after-sales services is a called a Customer Journey.
Though journey might start differently, in general, it consists of three main stages: preparatory (or expectations), usage (or experience) and feedback (or reflections). The other journey timeline might be presented as follows:
engaging with the company, buying the product, using it, sharing the opinion with other people and completing the journey by buying a new version of the product or choosing the competitor.
Each customer will go through this path, but various tools and channels might be involved on each stage. For example, imagine someone sees a billboard showing a new smartphone, he might first go to the store, where it is possible to explore the features and try the phone (engaging).
Then, at home, he might already check different forums with reviews and websites which offer discounts (again engaging), order online (buying) and, if it is more convenient, not wait for the delivery, but go and pick it up from the store the next day (so that he can start using it). He goes to his work/study, speaks about the new phone (sharing) and if he is satisfied, next time, he follows the same path when buying an upgraded version (completing).
As we see, the customer had several touchpoints with the company (billboard, store display, website, etc), which could influence his decision: in the shop he is thinking of one phone brand, but the web search might make him change his opinion. Here is where the marketers should come into “the game”. Their main goal is to make the journey from one step to another, the transition from one device to another as smooth as possible. It is crucial to fill the gaps (between devices or between channels) and make the whole path look as natural as possible, as if they did not change anything.
The main difficulty in mapping the Customer Journey is that very often it is non-linear, sometimes some stages are omitted. Moreover, the same person might behave differently, depending on the situation. Thus, it is the main goal of customer journey designer to predict all these variations and increase clients’ retention.
1. The primary task for the marketer, before preparing a map, is to set the goal. What does the company want: to improve in-store service, to increase customers’ awareness or to boost sales? These goals seem to be interrelated, but not always. Maybe all three of them are important for the company, but try to set priorities and address them one by one.
2. After you understand what it is that you are targeting, you can start doing research – you need to collect information about your clients: website analytics, surveys, interviews, social media, etc. Many companies already have some data, but if you still do not, you can find a lot of reports online: as an example, report on Mobile in the Purchase Journey will help you to analyse the role of the smartphone in the decision-making, The Customer Journey to Online Purchase report will show how different channels lead customers to the purchase. Social Mention will show how often the word was searched in social media.
3. Identify the touchpoints (when interaction between you and your client occurs) and describe them: which channels are used, who is responsible, what is the retention rate, what are the barriers and how to overcome them, etc. (*more about touchpoints you can read here)
4. Think, where you can add value, improve the experience of your customer, using your product, and steadily implement the changes. It is better to make the improvements one by one for more precise measurement of result, but if you really want to feel the difference immediately, just go for it. There are many tools, which will assist you in preparing your Customer Journey Map. For example, Customer Journey Canvas and Touchpoint Dashboard to draw a Customer Journey Map. You can also prepare various graphs and models using Service Design Tools and Business Design Tools.
5. And, finally, get customers’ feedback and measure the success of your Customer Journey Map. Do not forget to update it regularly.
Next article* from this series will tell you about different touchpoints – mobile surfing, social networks, products, etc - what is happening at each of them and how to lead your clients from one to another, not losing them. We will consider successful and unsuccessful cases of Customer Journey Mapping.
Ekaterina Voronova for InnMind.com