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Using customer journey maps to boost customer experience - part 2

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In the second part of this customer experience blog - you can find the first part here - we will look at How to create a customer journey map, and what should be included on your customer journey map.

How to create a customer journey map

1. Set clear objectives for the map.

Before you can dive into creating your map, you need to ask yourself why you are doing it and what information you need. Who is it specifically about? What experience is it based upon? It may be useful to create a buyer persona. This is a fictitious customer but with all of the demographics and psychographics of who represents your average customer. Having a clear persona is helpful in reminding you to direct every aspect of your customer journey map towards your customer. Your persona should be based on knowledge of your customer, if you already have data in the company use this as way to put together stats and facts about your most regular customers. If you don’t have this data already, pick 100 customers and look at their profiles, do a bit of research to find out some information about age, needs, what do they post on social media, what are their interests. LinkedIn and social media is really helpful to do a bit of research. I promise this isn’t stalking just being passionate about your customer.

2. Conduct research.

Some great ways to get valuable customer feedback is through questionnaires. The important thing is to only send questionnaires to customers or potential customers already known to you, they may have already enquired about your goods/service. It’s important to get the feedback of people who are actually interested in purchasing your products and services and who have interacted with your company before or plan to do so.

Some examples of good questions to ask are:

  • How did you hear about our company?

  • What first attracted you to our website?

  • What are the important goals/ interests for you? In other words, what problems are you trying to solve?

  • How long have you / do you typically spend on our website?

  • Have you ever made a purchase with us? If so, what was your deciding factor?

  • Have you ever interacted with our website with the intent of making a purchase but decided not to? If so, what led you to this decision?

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how easy is it for you to navigate our website?

  • Did you ever require customer support? If so, how helpful was it, on a scale of 1 to 10?

  • Is there any way that we can further support you to make your process easier?

3. List out all the touchpoints.

Touchpoints are all the places on your website and through other channels that your customers can interact with you. Based on your research, you should list out all the touchpoints your customers are currently using, as well as the ones you believe they should be using. This is an important step in creating a customer journey map because it gives insight into what actions your customers are performing. If they are using fewer touchpoints than expected, does this mean they are quickly getting turned away and leaving your site early? If they are using more than expected, does this mean your website is complicated and it requires several steps to get to an end goal. Whatever the case may be, understanding the touchpoints is a tool that can help you understand the ease and objectives of your customer journeys as well as recognising possible pain points. Pain points are obstacles that cause a problem with the customer going forward, this might be shipping costs,

Looks at all ways your customers might learn about you

  • Social channels

  • Paid ads

  • Email marketing

  • Third party review sites or mentions

Run a quick Google search of your brand to see all the pages that mention you. Verify these by checking in on your Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. Whittle your list down to those touchpoints that are the most common and will be most likely to see an action associated with it.

Now you have all this data you can start to think about the type of map you want to create, you might want to create a few different types?

There are generally four types of customer journey maps that each have their benefits. Depending on the specific purpose you have for the map, you can choose the proper one.

1. Current State

This customer journey maps are the most widely-used type. They visualise the actions, thoughts, and emotions your customers currently experience while interacting with your company. They are best used for continually improving the customer journey.

2. Day in the Life

This customer journey maps visualise the actions, thoughts, and emotions your customers currently experience in all the activities in which they partake on a daily basis, whether or not that includes your company. This type gives a wider lens into the lives of your customers and what their pain points are in real life. They are best used for addressing unmet customer needs before customers even know they exist.

3. Future State

This customer journey maps visualise what you believe will be the actions, thoughts, and emotions your customers experience in future interactions with your company. Based on what the current experience is, you map out where you want to be with this style. They are best used for illustrating your vision and setting a clear objective.

4. Service Blueprint

This customer journey maps begin with a simplified version of one of the above map styles. Then, they layer on the factors responsible for delivering that experience, including people, policies, technologies, and processes. They are best used for identifying the root causes of current customer journeys or identifying the steps needed to attain desired future customer journeys.

 Once you’ve decided what type of map to design, have created the journey of your customer on the map and you have all the data you can now start to add to your map the actions, emotions and motivations and obstacles and pain points your customer experiences. You can create this in an excel spreadsheet (please see the free downloadable resource) or a great way is to use different coloured post it notes on large sheets. Using the latter way you can engage teams, give them different maps to work with and encourage them to think about the customer journey as well as where their role fits into this and the importance of their role for the customer.

What should you include on your customer journey map

Actions

List out all of the actions your customers perform throughout their interaction with your organisation. This might be a Google search for your keywords or clicking on an email from you. You may wind up with a long list of actions. That’s fine. You’ll get a chance to rationalise your information later. It’s important to recognise when customers are being expected to take too many actions to achieve their goals. Reducing the number of steps a customer needs to take can feel risky, but pays off in higher conversion rates.

Emotions & Motivations

All marketing is a result of cause and effect. Likewise, every action your customer takes is motivated by an emotion. And your customer’s emotions will change depending on which part of their journey they’re at.

The emotional driver of each of your customer’s actions is usually caused by a high point or pain point or a problem. Knowing this will help you to provide the right content at the right time so that you smooth the customer’s emotional journey through your brand.

Obstacles & Pain Points

Get to know what roadblocks are stopping your customer from making their desired action. One common obstacle is cost. For example, one of your customers could love your product but abandon their cart on discovering unexpectedly high rates or high shipping rates. Highlighting these potential obstacles in your customer journey can help you to mitigate them. For example, you could provide an FAQ page which answers common questions about costs.  

Make the necessary changes.

Your map should give you a sense of what processes need tightening up or if systems need to be put in place so the customer journey is smoother. You can then make the appropriate changes to your website to achieve these better touchpoints. Perhaps this is making more distinct call-to-action or links. Or, maybe, it's writing longer descriptions under each product to make its purpose more clear. It might be reducing the amount of people your customer talks to or making sure they all have the right skills, questions to ask and knowledge.

No matter how big or small the changes are, they will be effective as they are directly correlated with what customers pain points. Rather than blindly making changes in the hopes that they will improve customer experiences, you can feel certain that they will. And, with the help of your visualised customer journey map, you can ensure those needs and pain points are always addressed.

Your map should be a constant work-in-progress. Reviewing it quarterly will help you to identify gaps and opportunities for streamlining your customer journey further. Use your data analytics along with customer feedback to check for any roadblocks. In doing this your customers will really feel you care and your organisation will have a greater connection to your customer's needs, creating purpose and motivation for all.

FInd out more about the Laughology customer experience learning and development programme.

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