On the surface, customer journeys may seem simple - you offer a product and they buy it. But look more closely and it’s easy to see that the customer journey is becoming increasingly complex.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is redefining customer expectations every day, with the average consumer now using 10 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 and according to recent research from Salesforce:
80% of customers now consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products.
69% of consumers want to talk with a company in real-time
60% of customers in the UK expect the customer experience to be connected
So, customer expectations are undoubtedly undergoing a major transformation. The question is then: 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.
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer journey (also called the buyer journey or user journey). It helps you tell the story of your customers’ experiences with your brand across all touchpoints. Whether your customers interact with you via social media, email, livechat or other channels, mapping the customer journey out visually helps ensure no customer slips through cracks.
This process also helps B2B business leaders gain insights into common customer pain points which in turn will allow them to better optimise and personalise the customer experience.
Customer journey mapping (also called user journey mapping) is the process of creating a customer journey map, a visual story of your customers’ interactions with your brand. This exercise helps businesses step into their customer’s shoes and see their business from the customer’s perspective. It allows you to gain insights into common customer pain points and how to improve those.
Firstly, all the possible customer touchpoints are mapped out, for instance, a website, social channels, interactions with 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, research it on the mobile version of your site, and finally make a purchase on a desktop computer.
The customer experience at each touchpoint should be included in a customer journey map. This can include what action the customer needs to take and how your brand responds.
Customer journey mapping is important, because it is a strategic approach to better understanding customer expectations and is crucial for optimising the customer experience.
Customer journey mapping is just as important for small and medium-sized enterprises as it is for larger companies. Customer expectations are changing for all businesses, regardless of size – customers demand an omnichannel approach to customer service, marketing and sales.
One of the most important aspects of the customer experience is personalisation. Recent research found that 84% of consumers feel that being treated like a human rather than a number is crucial to winning their business. Customer journey mapping allows SMEs 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
Benchmarking the customer experience desired by your customers against what 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 is simply understanding your customers more. The better you understand their expectations, the more you can tailor the customer experience to their needs.
Today’s consumers want a highly personalised experience and this includes your marketing and customer service efforts. This interconnected approach is called omnichannel marketing and omnichannel customer service.
In terms of marketing, customer journey mapping plays a crucial role in this process, as marketers 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, omnichannel marketing is often backed up by omnichannel 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.
Mapping out many different customer journeys across many different buyer personas can be quite time-consuming. And once you have mapped them out, you still need a way to offer a personalised omnichannel customer experience based on your map.
So if you’re serious about customer journey mapping then you need to invest in software that can take the hassle out of doing this. Customer journey mapping tools are typically part of marketing automation software like Pardot. They for example allow you to easily create customised customer journeys and automate marketing actions. This takes your marketing automation efforts to the next level.
Check out a demo of Pardot’s powerful marketing automation software built on the world’s #1 CRM.