Simply put, the “customer journey” encompasses each step of a person’s interaction through an experience with a business. Mapping the journey means looking at the customer’s needs, thoughts, feelings, and motivations - from initial contact, through the process of engagement, and into long-term relationships with the business. Individual journey maps may focus on a particular part of the story, or may give an overview of an entire experience.
The beauty of creating journey maps is that they enable us to transform complex data and insights about your customers into a compact, one-page visual representation. This compact visualization of key information makes journey maps easy to share and understand. Whatever its format, the goal is the same: to inform your business about your customers. Customer journey maps identify key interactions that the customer has with the organization. These maps provide a deeper sense of the customer’s greater motivations, expectations, and the goals they are looking to achieve.
As a business decision-making tool, customer journey maps bring customer needs and expectations to the forefront of the conversation, where they belong. They help to identify the most important moments in a journey, as well as gaps in the experience. Journey Maps use these insights to assess overall flow, and help clarify whether the company is delivering on key needs and expectations. After areas of weakness are discovered, journey maps serve to prioritize investment in customer experience improvements, which is key to driving growth.
Understanding customer-driven growth has become increasingly important as more and more companies embrace this approach. An effective customer-driven growth strategy works to address an organization’s internal challenges that may be standing in the way of delivering positive customer experiences. Here, customer journey maps are a foundational tool, helping your business embrace these realities. These maps serve to shift the decision-making framework from traditional business performance metrics to a customer experience-driven framework. This means the intelligence gained from understanding the customer journey can serve as the frame through which you view traditional business performance metrics. This framework can help ensure that future transformations and additions coordinate with the existing experience - ultimately improving brand loyalty and leading to an increase in conversions.
CSO Insights found that “companies with ‘dynamic, adaptable sales and marketing processes’ reported an average of 10% more sales people on-quota compared to other companies.” commerce businesses must have strategies in place that prepare them to adapt quickly to converted prospects. It’s one of the few ways to stay competitive in the market. And customer journey mapping can help you get there.
In order to determine if your company has the items to fulfill the needs of your customers, it is essential to first establish a strong understanding of your current customers and their respective journeys. This is often determined by analyzing pertinent customer data from user interviews, surveys, or analytics. In order to determine failures and weaknesses, your initial customer journey can be compared with anecdotal evidence to identify missing needs and potential product opportunities. Once you intimately know your user and customer journeys you can map out best-case scenarios to determine the products and offerings it will take for them to make the conversion.
Observe customer behavior, mapping their journeys to determine where they stop, what content they are searching for, and where they are searching from. Look for indications of consistent trends. If users are consistently asking the same questions in FAQ pages, through “Contact Us”, or chat, see what they are persistently inquiring about. This is an obvious place to gain information on customer needs and determine new product opportunities.
Reviewing customer return data is a good way to assess customer satisfaction. If you have the right products but not the right quality for example, you are not meeting customer expectations. You will see this evidence in the amount and frequency of product being returned. This is a good place to start thinking about the emotions of the customer. Adjustments may be needed in the product information to ensure it is clear and accurate. Customers may voice feedback in reviews or in the return submission. It is important to analyze consistencies within these areas and look for patterns of reoccurring complaints and misunderstandings.
Monitoring user wish lists can help to determine customer need and product mix. Some companies, like Amazon, allow customers to save a generic category to a wish-list for gift ideas, etc. This is an easy way to determine user needs and new potential product offerings. Wish list items also provide a great way to reach out to customers that have not returned to the site in a while.
Sometimes the data may reveal opportunities for product upsell. If for example, the data supports that an average customer cart in-store contains three items, while online it is only one item, we can look for additional data to identify the explanation for this and try new approaches to upsell more products in an online transaction. This could be done by adding promotions for “add-on” or “accessory” products to PDP pages.
Additionally, there are times when accessories or related products can be very relevant to the overall product acceptance/approval from the customer. These particular offerings help prove that the business understands the needs of the customer, resulting in a deeper trust of the business and higher likelihood for return engagements.
It’s not just about determining if you have the right product offerings, it’s also about determining if you have the appropriate service offerings to go along with them. Consistency in behavior is again an indicator of this. For example, if you notice customers are continuously returning to a product and “watching” for a price reduction, you may have an audience that would react well to product clearance sales. Your business may want to cater to these needs and add a few annual sales to the marketing plan to increase sales. Another common trend to watch for is customer groups returning when seasonal or updated products are added.
Brands today are constantly looking for ways to engage with and offer relevant content to their customers. Home Depot has found a clever way to do this by offering product-relevant DIY articles. They resourcefully reference their own products within that content. It is essential to validate what your customers are engaging with, within the existing journey, to determine opportunity for additional relevant offerings.
We believe that customer journey mapping is an important first step when it comes to improving your customers’ experience. A customer journey map is a powerful tool which helps to uncover valuable customer insights. Customer journey maps provide the framework to analyze and uncover the “why” behind the decisions of your customers, bringing their needs and emotions to light. These insights allow you to identify areas of improvement in the experience, missing customer needs, and new product opportunities. Customer journey maps help to secure an effective strategy for shaping ongoing customer experience operations, helping to ensure a prosperous future for your company.