In our last post we talked about what customer experience mapping is. Now we take it a step further by laying out what should be included on your customer journey map. Below are nine essential items.
The buyer persona
To adequately empathize with your customers, you have to understand who they are. You may have multiple buyer personas across multiple verticals, but for the sake of this discussion, let’s focus on one type of customer. How do they spend their time? What challenges do they face in everyday life? What might motivate them to look for what your company offers? When and how do they shop? What influences their decisions? Understanding their lives a little better helps you to empathize with their customer journey and better see things from their perspective.
The customer journey is rarely linear, but a linear map helps your team visualize how the journey moves from one stage (milestone) to the next. Milestones in the buyer journey include:
- Pain point
- Researching solutions
- Awareness of your brand
- Delivery of the product or service
- Tells others about the experience (rants or raves)
Notice how the timeline encompasses time before the customer interacts with your brand. The better you understand what led them to you, the better you’ll be able to empathize when they arrive.
Entry points (on ramps)
First impressions matter. Your customer experience map should include all the possible points a first impression might occur. In other words, where could a potential customer first interact with your brand? List them all so you don’t miss an opportunity to make a great first impression. Possibilities include:
- Seeing an ad on social media
- Finding your website after a Google search
- Reading a brochure they received in the mail
- Making a phone call to inquire about services
- Walking into the store (or seeing the storefront)
- Reading an email
- Attending a tradeshow or conference
- Acquiring a business card from a friend
- Seeing or hearing a commercial
An itemized list of touchpoints
In addition to the entry points, your map should include all the possible touchpoints a customer might have with your company along their journey. Include all of the interactions so you can identify any that create a snafu for your customers. These should include face-to-face touchpoints as well as paperwork exchanges, live chat support, customer support phone calls, online interactions, email dialogue, and website navigation.
How do customers move from one touchpoint to another? This transition needs to be seamless to prevent customers from falling through the virtual cracks. For example, if you’ve ever called a company for customer support and provided all of your information to the person who answered the phone only to be transferred to someone else who asked the same questions, you’ve experienced a poor touchpoint handoff. The customer service representative who answered the phone may not have been able to answer the question or resolve the issue, but they could have done something to make the handoff more pleasant for the customer.
Taking the buyer persona and your company offerings into consideration, determine the customer goals and expectations along their purchase journey. Are they looking to establish a long-term relationship with your brand or get something quick? Are they more motivated by convenience or superior quality? How do they expect to be treated?
What do the numbers say? Look at the analytics for your website, call logs for customer support, customer reviews, repairs, returns, complaints, etc. to have a basis for understanding the overall customer experience. The more data you have, the better you will be able to see patterns form. For instance, website analytics may indicate you have a large number of abandoned shopping carts, or call center reports may reveal a part that’s consistently breaking. Data keeps you from making assumptions and bases your efforts on the facts. It provides a standard against which you can measure customer interactions.
Data presents facts, but it doesn’t address emotions. That’s when you need real people to step in and empathize. Identify how customers are likely to feel at each touchpoint and transition. Are they sad when an item is out stock, angry about store hours, pleased with the level of service, or frustrated because they didn’t understand how to take the next step? The goal is for customers to experience positive emotions as often as possible throughout the journey.
As you take an honest look at the customer experience, notice what obstacles customers may face along the way and what questions they might have. These are potential detours that could evoke negative emotions on their customer journey. Identifying these detours enables you to reroute the customer efficiently.
After, and only after, you’ve created the customer journey map as it stands right now should you determine the action steps required to improve the overall customer experience. Creating the map without making it an actionable exercise is like mapping out a road trip you never take. If you determine you need help with customer support, reach out to Alliance and let us put our expertise to work.