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As a manager, you are an expert in your sector. This expertise is precious but it can also be your weakness and create bias.
Your product or service knowledge creates a gap between you and your customers. This is why I want to talk to you about the power of mapping your customer journey.
A customer journey map is a visual representation of every experience your customers have with you. It charts a customer’s experience with your brand from original engagement, hopefully, into a long-term relationship.
Why you should create a customer journey map
I recommend taking the customer centric approach of creating a customer journey map; a visualization of each detail and step in your clients’ user experience, mapped out. This will pinpoint how to improve customer satisfaction and increase conversion rates by highlighting potential sources of client frustration.
As a result, this powerful mapping process can help solve your business issues, strengthen your relationship with your customers, inspire customer loyalty and earn new customers.
Using this technique to map out the client journey will close the knowledge gap between you and your customer. It’s the perfect, constantly evolving tool. Additionally, it…
- gives you perspective
- fertilizes the vision
- clarifies the customer experience
- fosters your customer understanding
- helps communication with stakeholders and clarifies responsibilities
- aids collaboration
- improves your empathy and humility; you are not a puppet-master but a helper.
It’s the basic tool for any customer-centric approach because you put yourself in your customer’s shoes. It then identifies problems – and gives you the solutions, too!
Using mapping tools to improve customer experience
When you are responsible for a brand, product, or service; you create, manage, and optimize a system – a process to create a result.
This machinery is complex and, quite often, it’s more alchemy than technique. After all, this machinery is filled with humans!
Mapping a system helps you to spot each step and observe them separately. In doing so you can measure and monitor specific metrics. When the system and the measurements are clear and complete, you have a dashboard.
If there is a hitch in this system, the dashboard will blink – problem spotted!
Here, the overarching goal is to improve customer experience. Thanks to the global overview the mapping provides, and the data needed to build it, you already have most of the information needed to make rapid decisions. Test and learn your way to visualizing and onboarding a solution.
Thanks to these mapping tools, you can create this system with customer centricity in mind.
When a customer encounters a problem during their journey with your product or service, by helping them to solve this issue, you move them forward in the relationship. This leads to the best customer experience and gives them a good brand experience.
This solution will be profitable for your business sooner or later because of the purpose of your business, especially given your job is to collaborate with co-workers to deliver simple solutions that help your customers in a friendly way.
But understanding what the customer wants, the way your client interacts with your product or service, and meeting customer expectations is an on-going process.
You may already have attended a Customer Journey Mapping Workshop. A ‘big bang’ stakeholder-pleasing meeting…
You likely then received a nicely designed chart. If you were lucky, you got a draft roadmap for improvement to personalize. This ended up on a wall somewhere where you occasionally glance at it on your way to the bathroom. Otherwise, you were given a 50+ page slide-deck, stored somewhere on a server..
Slowly but surely, the chart has faded away, the deck has been forgotten and your business has fallen back into old ways again.
You ticked the Customer Journey Mapping box off your Customer-Centric Manager action list, but IT’S NOT enough.
This mapping tool is evolutive.
These workshops aim to teach you a technique AND make you work on your business problem in a very limited timeframe. That’s a lot in less than a week!
They can be useful when done well – I’ve never done such a workshop without receiving valuable output. It’s just not how you’re supposed to adopt a new tool. Nobody is customer-centric ready after a two-day workshop. This is not training.
I created a Guide to help you to build a Customer Journey Map and template which you can download. Both are ready for personalization to use in your daily business.
With this practical guide, I want to help you set solid basics to map your customer journey, get familiar with using this tool to solve problems and give you a competitive advantage that leads to more conversions.
Either it will help you to get back into this productive workshopping and start a customer-centric practice, or it will prepare you for a broader workshop, making you a Customer Journey expert. I don’t see a scenario where this problem-solving tool won’t help you!
How to map your customer journey
Now you have the template and guide, we can begin. One important note before we dive into mapping your customer journey: DATA.
To complete this mapping process you will need a lot of data. This is not intuitive mapping, that would be filled with bias. You can start with your existing data. I’m sure you have plenty of user research reports and analysis that can help you to get started.
If you are missing any data, ask your customers! There are many ways: field trips, qualitative research, quantitative survey, contextual studies, round table brainstorm meetings, client interviews, web analytics e.g. Google Analytics, customer support and digital marketing feedback, social media, competitive intelligence… and many more.
Should you already be familiar with the five powerful habits for becoming customer-centric minded which I detailed previously, this should not be challenging for you. Simply ask your customers, listen to them, put yourself in their shoes and empathize with them.
Now, let’s go through each of the steps and map your customer journey…
This tool is only powerful if you have a clear scope so I’m taking a step-by-step approach. A customer journey map can be straightforward or, if you try to detail everything, very complex.
I advise you to focus on a specific problem or part of the journey to start with.
Customer journey mapping is always based on one main character. Please understand that having one ideal client, one persona, is not limiting anything within your business.
It shows prioritization and focus – key factors for success.
Once you master one persona, you can expand and juggle several others.
The stages are the different steps of the conversion funnel you are already familiar with.
AWARENESS, ACQUISITION, ACTIVATION, REVENUE, RETENTION, AND REFERRAL.
For the example I listed them all BUT, depending on your scope, you can focus on some specific steps and drop those that aren’t relevant.
Thanks to this listing, you will be able to detail the KPIs for each stage and narrow down the measurement.
The ‘places’ are the context of the customers’ interactions.
Even if you have an online-only experience, your persona still has a specific context in which they are interacting: the office, home, kitchen, highway, car, etc…
The steps are not only the touchpoints but also the channels. That’s the full trail of the Customer Experience defined by the scope.
Each touchpoint is part of the conversion funnel; it’s not always as linear as you would like. That’s also why it’s important to have a specific scope for the problem you want to tackle. Focus on one specific step or stage depending on your scope.
The timing is not relevant for every step but it can be critical when you start to define your KPIs and it’s important to value your customers’ time.
You can also use it as a timeline if it’s more relevant for your products and services.
Your customers’ input is vital to fill in the Emotions part of the chart.
There are no bad emotions, just observation and facts. It’s important to have a realistic view of the situation.
I also often comment on the emotions of each step as the range of emotions can be complex depending on your scope.
Don’t forget to highlight critical interaction points as these are often pivotal moments in the customer experience. You can focus on these when you define the initiatives and improvements.
How do you define a critical interaction point? It’s usually the step leading the customer to another stage of the funnel.
Voila! You’ve completed your first step in building a Customer Journey Map. Now you have the core of your mapping, analysis can start.
Problem solving and the analysis phase
As you may see in the Guide, one of the major purposes of this customer journey is to monitor the journey and update it frequently. You start a continuous improvement process in your collaboration and customer relationship.
There are some layers I like to add on your Customer Journey Map for this, starting with KPIs for each stage or step.
As we are in problem-solving mode, I also advise adding these critical layers:
- Roles & responsibilities
With all these layers complete, per the template, you will have all the evidence to identify opportunities to solve problems listed in your scope.
This list of initiatives is the list of the JOBS-TO-BE-DONE; Your new way of problem-solving with a customer-centric mindset 🙂
This mapping makes sense only if it is used and shared with your team and other stakeholders. You will quickly see how you need to align with others as you cannot have an impact on this Journey on your own.
It’s normal for the first map you build to require numerous alignments. It’s a new method. Be patient and enjoy the process of learning together. You will acquire valuable input from others to re-use on every build.
Once the team and stakeholders agree on the Map, it’s an easy way to bring everybody back on board.
This is why I like to use these “reconnect slides” during my meeting introductions… They:
– start your meeting with the one topic that matters: the Customer.
– connect with relevant stakeholders.
– keep track of what has been discussed and agreed as this tool will evolve
– prioritize and discuss the important topics of the scope.
- Download your guide AND slide templates
- Base everything on data and insights, don’t let bias ruin your efforts
- Be specific and set a SCOPE
- One persona at a time.
- Map relevant stages and steps of the experience
- Set KPIs
- Set Roles and Responsibilities
- Document these stages and steps to deepen the analysis by adding layers of information
- Define the JOBS-TO-BE-DONE to solve the problems you listed in the scope.
Now you’re all set to start using and adopting the Customer Journey Map!
I wish you success in your projects and hope to hear from you about how you get on.
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