On the surface, customer journeys may seem simple – you offer a product and someone buys it. But look more closely and it’s easy to see that the customer journey is becoming increasingly complex.
Customers use messaging apps, email, phone calls, websites, and various other channels to communicate with businesses. All these touchpoints create increasingly complex customer journeys, making it more difficult to always ensure a great customer experience. But customer experience is more important than ever. According to 2020 global research from Salesforce,
- 80% of customers now consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products.
- 69% of Gen X customers prioritise convenience over brand loyalty
- 91% of customers agree that a positive customer experience makes them more likely to purchase again
Customer expectations are undoubtedly undergoing a major transformation. How can brands meet these expectations and ensure every customer journey is smooth?
One excellent way to understand and optimise the customer experience is a process called customer journey mapping.
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Your customer’s journey – in pictures
A customer journey map is a visual picture of the customer or user journey. It helps you tell the story of your customers’ experiences with your brand across social media, email, livechat, and any other channels they might use.
Mapping the customer journey ensures that you are not missing out on the chance to interact with your customer at any stage.This process also helps business leaders gain insights into common customer pain points. With these insights, businesses can deliver more optimised and personalised customer experiences.
Creating a customer journey map
Customer journey mapping (also called user journey mapping) is the process of creating a customer journey map. Doing this helps businesses see things from the customer’s perspective and where they can improve. First, all the possible customer touchpoints are mapped out. Touchpoints include websites, social channels, or interactions with the marketing and sales teams.
User journeys are then created across these various touchpoints for each buyer persona. For example, a millennial buyer persona may typically become aware of a product on social media, research it on the mobile version of your site, and finally make a purchase on a laptop.
The customer experience at each touchpoint should be included in your customer journey map. This can include what action the customer needs to take and how your brand responds.
Why customer journey mapping matters
Customer journey mapping is important, because it is a strategic approach to better understand customer expectations. It is also crucial for optimising the customer experience.
Customer journey mapping is just as important for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as it is for larger companies. Customer expectations are changing for all businesses, regardless of size. Customers demand an omni-channel approach to customer service, marketing, and sales.
One of the most important aspects of the customer experience is personalisation. Recent research found that 52% expect their offers to always be personalised. Customer journey mapping allows SMBs to create personalised experiences across all touchpoints – for every individual, across all channels.
Mapping the customer journey has a host of benefits such as:
- Allowing you to optimise the customer onboarding process
- Checking customer expectations against the experience they actually receive
- Understanding the differences in buyer personas as they move from prospect to conversion through the buying funnel
- Creating a logical order to your buyer journey
However, the biggest benefit of customer journey mapping is simply understanding your customers more. The better you understand their expectations, the more you can tailor the customer experience to their needs.
How does customer journey mapping enable omnichannel marketing and customer service?
Today’s consumers want a highly personalised experience and this includes your marketing and customer service efforts. This interconnected approach is called omni-channel marketing and omni-channel customer service.
In terms of marketing, customer journey mapping can target one prospect across multiple touchpoints. For example, a customer who browses a product on a website can be retargeted with a social media ad later on.
To offer the best possible customer experience, omni-channel marketing is often backed up by omni-channel customer service. This is where the customer can receive customer support across any channel, such as on social media, messenger apps, or live chat. Again, customer journey mapping can allow your customer service team to better understand the customer experience and improve their ability to resolve issues.
How can I optimise my customer journey map?
Mapping out many different customer journeys across many different buyer personas can be quite time-consuming. Once you have mapped them out, you still need a way to offer a personalised omni-channel customer experience.
If you’re serious about customer journey mapping, you need to invest in software that can help. Customer journey mapping tools are typically part of marketing automation software like Pardot. These allow you to easily create customised journeys and automate marketing actions. This takes your marketing automation efforts to the next level.
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This post originally appeared in the U.K.-version of the Salesforce blog.
- What is a Customer Journey Map?
A Customer Journey Map is a visual representation of the end-to-end experience a customer has with a brand. It outlines touchpoints and interactions, helping businesses enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. Explore Salesforce solutions for optimising your customer journey today.
- How do you create a customer journey map?
Here are the steps:
1) Identify customer touchpoints and interactions across their lifecycle.
2) Gather data, analyse feedback, and collaborate cross-functionally.
3) Leverage Salesforce’s tools to streamline the process and design effective journey maps for improved customer experiences.