This story is a version of a post published here.
Research says that it costs 5 times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one while the chances of selling to an existing customer is 60%-70% and to a new prospect around 5% to 20%. To retain your existing customers its important to understand them. It is not about what you think your customer experience but how your customers feel about doing business with you. It is a pictorial representation of all the steps your customers take when they do business with you over a period of time and their thoughts and feelings at the different stages.
The days when customers took linear journeys are over. Customers jump through multiple channels when interacting with you. They may find you on a Facebook ad, purchase from a physical store and then request a service support on Twitter. The complex nature of this non linear journey also means that there could be more than one journey that your customers take. Mapping out their paths from first interaction to the last will show if they are achieving their goals in each of these stages. This may seem like an arduos task but believe me with the benefits of doing this it is worth the effort.
- It gives a holistic viewpoint of the customer journey and the departments effecting the experience at different touchpoints. Its no more about departments responding to customer concerns in silos. A customer journey map helps departments realise the importance of workinng in teams to achieve the common goal of customer delight.
- Deep diving into touchpoints that impact the customer experience and the ones that are creating detractors throw light on what areas you need to focus on to improve your product/service offering and also plan new functionalities that could enhance experience at these touchpoints.
- Impact and experience at different touchpoints allow you to plan the resource deployment at these touchpoints. It helps you answer questions like if you need to hire people to develop new product functionality or maybe hire new people to improve experience.
You need to understand what customers do, think and feel about doing business with you and to break it down for all the stakeholders in your company. A good example for a healthcare brand from the Heart of the customer. To begin mapping this customer journey one needs to ask –
How can we help our customers achieve the goals of doing business with us with minimum effort from their end while still fulfilling our goals?
So, how is the customer journey map created? To be honest there are no set templates to design a customer journey map. A few best practices however help in taking the first step.
Identify your customers
Have you identified your customer Personas? If not here is a quick guide to help you do that. According to Hubspot Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers. They help you understand your customers better. If your business caters to multiple personas then they may be taking different customer journeys.
Create customer Stages
Customer stages define the stages your customers take in their journey of doing business with you. While no two customer journey is same and difficult to map an exact journey, every customer interaction can be fit into one of these stages according to Kerry Bodine.
Image Source: Kerry Bodine
- Need: Customers realize that they have some goal—like buying a shirt, saving for retirement, or spending a week in Belize.
- Seek: Customers widen their options as they look for products or services that fulfill their goals.
- Choose: Customers narrow their options and select the products or services they want to use.
- Give: Customers exchange money, information, or something else of value for the product or service they want to use.
- Get: Customers receive—and, if needed, set up—the products or services they want to use.
- Use: Customers utilize the products or services they’ve acquired.
- Fix: If needed, customers get help to solve issues related their products, services, or experiences.
- Love: Customer actively decide to continue or enhance their engagement with an organization.
- Leave: Customers actively decide not to engage with an organization anymore—or passively go away.
She says, “Don’t get hung up on the exact order of these stages—they vary by business model. For example, in a fast food restaurant, customers Choose (food) ➜ Give ($) ➜ Get (food). But in a fine dining establishment, they Choose (food) ➜ Get (food) ➜ Give ($).”
Define customer goals
Its important to list down the goals customers have in each stage of the customer journey and what are they trying to achieve as they move through each stage. These customer goals are not just what you think your customer goals are but what your customers and experience and feel at each stage. To really understand your customer goals you need to start listening to them. Use all mediums like surveys, interview, user tests and most importantly their behaviour.
Touchpoints in the customer stages which are the different interactions with your customers as they try to reach their goals in each stage. These interactions could happen online, your location or theirs, in person or over the phone. Some of these touch-points are more critical to the customer experience and the goal is to manage your customer needs and expectations well at these touchpoints. It helps identify problem points where you need to focus on to provide a good experience.
Designing the customer journey is based on research on how customers feel about doing business with you. Keeping track of time helps you identify the time taken at different touch points and make better business decision
Who is responsible
Once you have defined the stages and the gap in customer expectations and your offering you need to define what needs to be done to bridge this gap and the departments involved in bridging this gap. Get all the stakeholders and understand who are responsible for the customer experience at each touchpoint. Designing your customer journey maps and sharing it across the organisation helps achieve a one company approach to delight customers.
So start defining your customer’s journey and remove the guess work from customer delight and take your first step to customer delight.