Today before any business can satisfy its customer needs or even exceed their expectations, good knowledge of what the customers truly want is required. This entails having an end-to-end understanding of the customers’ journey with the brand, from the awareness to loyalty stage of the buying cycle. A Customer Journey Map is a powerful tool for achieving this.
A Customer Journey Map is a diagram that shows how customers go through each stage of the buying cycle with a brand, from the customers’ point of view. The customer journey map highlights key interactions as well as customer motivations and emotional state at each touchpoint as they go through the buying cycle.
History of the Customer Journey Map
I was unable to identify the exact origin of the Customer Journey Map, but from my research, the concept evolved from Jan Carlzon’s Moments of Truth which advocated for an ecological view of the customer experience that involved looking across touchpoints.
Oxford Corporate Consultants (now OxfordSM) first introduced the concept of customer journey mapping in 1998 during their work with Eurostar to establish and implement a corporate mission and brand proposition.
OxfordSM continued to use the concept widely after this, even with the UK Government through which they eventually published the Customer Journey Mapping Guide for Practitioners.
Today more brands are turning to customer journey maps to gain insights into their experience. Here are 5 major reasons you should also map your customer journey.
#1. Identify gaps & opportunities for improvement
A customer journey map is a great tool to visualize how your customers go through each phase of the buying cycle, from Awareness to Advocacy (or Detraction). It outlines steps taken by the customer, their goals and motivation at each phase.
With this visual laid out before relevant stakeholders in an organization, it is easier to understand the current customer experience, identify pain-points and process gaps, as well as opportunities to improve the experience at each stage of the journey.
#2. They Improve Personalization
The use of personas in Customer Journey mapping makes it possible to understand how different segments of customers go through the buying cycle. The customer journey for a 19-year-old is going to be vastly different from that of a 47-year-old business executive.
To get better engagement with the younger demographic and drive more awareness at the first stage of the buying cycle, a brand might decide to collaborate with major influencers to create appealing content or use social media ads to reach the targeted audience. To reach the older demographic, they might consider running ads in major business papers or magazines.
Having insights into the customer journey of various segments empowers brands to personalize the experience at each touchpoint for the customers and in turn, drive revenue via higher conversion rates
#3. Eliminates Organizational Silos
The Customer Journey Map makes it possible for various stakeholders within an organization to see how their roles affect the customers at each stage of the buying cycle.
This unified view of the customers’ journey eliminates silo thinking as previously isolated departments now have a shared goal to improve the experience at each touchpoint and phase of the journey.
#4. Allows Targeted effort on key issues
The Customer journey map makes it possible for a business to identify gaps in processes at each stage of the buying cycle as well as opportunities for improvement. This enables the business to concentrate its efforts and resources on what matters most at each stage of the customer journey to maximize effectiveness.
#5. A powerful competitive edge
It is no longer news that the best performing brands today are those who have put customer journey mapping at the centre of their CX Strategy. This allows the businesses to tailor their business and its process around the customer as against trying to make the customers fit into their processes.
As a result of adopting this strategy, the customers have more awareness of the brand, less friction achieving their goals and a personalized experience at each stage. This allows such brands to easily stand out from the competition
Customer journey maps empower businesses to see the big picture and understand the customers, their needs and expectation as they go through the various phases of their lifecycle.
Considering that customer experience is the new battleground for brand loyalty and a unique differentiating factor for companies, it is essential that businesses who wish to grow and remain relevant in the market place begin to map their customer journey.
This article was originally published on CXService360