Essential Points in Customer Experience Mapping

When customers reach your website or store and purchase a product, how much do you know about the path they took to get there? Customer journey mapping examines the customer experience during every touchpoint they encounter, from brand awareness to purchase. This journey map fulfills two purposes: It details what the customers encounter and expect as they go from touchpoint to touchpoint, and it delineates the ideal customer experience your company strives to provide. Creating a customer journey map provides an end-to-end blueprint of the customer experience and helps you identify key points for optimization and investment. You create a valuable tool for improving customer satisfaction, retention, and overall brand loyalty.

Who Is the Customer?

Buyer personas define key facets of customers, from their genders to their income. Consider the relationship between your company and your customers. They come into it with expectations shaped by their experiences with other companies, giving you useful context for the most anticipated parts of the customer experience. Buyer personas reveal context for customer purchases and motivation. The customers don't care about a list of product features, they want to know how your products benefit their lives or fit into their lifestyle. The more information you gather for a buyer persona, the easier it is to put yourself in the customers' shoes and understand what they want, need, and desire out of your products or services.

Brand Awareness

The customers' journey begins before they directly interact with your company. They hear about your products or services through marketing or recommendations, read an insightful article you published about your industry or have family members who use your products. First impressions are always critical, so keep a consistent brand voice across all first-contact touchpoints, such as your social media profiles, advertising landing pages and blog.

Research

Your customers hear about your brand from one or more sources, and you catch their interest. Now, they enter the research phase, investigating how your products benefit their lives. They compare your products with other companies, gauge their interest in the products and learn about what your company stands for. They may employ multiple touchpoints throughout this process, such as live chatting your customer support personnel, reading your website, asking questions through social media and exploring your online store. Your customers look for essential information, such as how to use the product, how it benefits their lives, the cost and where it's available. Optimize this portion of the customer journey by providing thorough, easily accessible information and sales and support agents well-trained in your product line.

Shopping

Your customers have an idea of what products they want, so they continue on their journey. The shopping portion takes them to your e-commerce site or in-store location. They may find other products they're interested in or have last-minute questions for customer service or sales. Refine the customer experience at this step by creating an easy-to-navigate website or store, having trained agents reactively and proactively handling any questions and providing all the information customers need to finalize their purchase decisions.

Post-Purchase

The customer journey doesn't end once customers complete the purchase. If they encounter any problems with the item, your customer support steps in to alleviate concerns and fix the issue. Provide multiple channels for customers to get the help they want post-sale, such as live chat, email, phone and social media. Handling complaints and problems effectively keeps customers on their journey as they come back for additional purchases.

Your customer journey map lays out the customer experience in black and white. Every stage of the purchase decision process and all touchpoints are represented, giving you critical information on what the customer encountered throughout the process. An optimized customer experience keeps your customers happy and grows your brand loyalty.

Sources:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/01/15/all-about-customer-journey-mapping/
http://bigdoor.com/blog/2013/11/01/a-quick-guide-to-customer-journey-mapping/

 

Michael Buenaventura

August 12, 2015