One of the outcomes of any successful Social Local Mobile #SoLoMo campaign will be a relevant customer experience. In previous columns I have talked about the need to put the customer first, often this requires a new mindset.
This involves a great deal more than reciting a slogan. It requires organizational leadership and a culture that encourages collaboration. One powerful way to create and sustain a memorable customer experience is to create a customer journey map.
A customer journey map is both a tool and a process. An effective journey map documents the entire customer experience with your product or service from their point of view. While there is no specific process, It should address every part of the customer’s experience, not just discovery and purchase. I’ll go into more specific details about the process at the end of this post.
If you’re like most, your plate is already chock full, so you may be wondering why it’s worth your time to develop a customer journey map. Below I’ve outlined 7 reasons. At the conclusion of this post, I have included a few resources to help guide you through the process.
#1 Outside in View – Build from the Customer Perspective
Most organizations have an inside out filter. We tend to view the world from the features and benefits perspective of our product or service. When brands had more control of the message and information flow, this was an effective approach–not anymore. A customer journey map done correctly will force proper perspective.
Empowered consumers now often consider people they don’t know more reliable than brands.
#2 Make a group effort and gain a more comprehensive view
The customer journey includes more than product or service specifications. Putting together a team from every group in the company will help shape a more effective picture of the complete journey.
I suggest including competitive choices as part of the journey. It’s a very real part of the journey and understanding this particular issue will help with content development.
#3 Strengthens stakeholder engagement – Culture is Important
One important aspect of creating a journey map is building a sense of ownership on the part of each group who participates. Leverage this by making the participants’ customer journey ambassadors.
My friend Judy Gombita says it is a reflection of character. I think that is a thoughtful description.
#4 Identifies gaps in the journey
Customers expect a seamless experience that is consistent online and offline. Creating a journey map may reveal gaps in the experience. Maybe there are unnecessary extra steps or disconnects between internal departments, for example, accounting and service.
#5 Discover ways to improve the customer experience
You may find there are opportunities to help customers find, install, learn to use, or any number of other activities that will help to create experiences your customers will love and ideally want to share.
Or you might find cumbersome processes that are held over from dated practices. You can probably think of a few areas right now. Be sure to listen to challenges your colleagues face, some of these may have customer experience consequences.
#6 Provides opportunity to create relevant and helpful content
The journey map will paint a picture of the customer experience. As you explore the journey, think about content that you have or could easily develop to help your prospects and customers.
Be sure to think about all of the points along the journey. Often marketers tend to focus on finding and acquiring customers; and that is because they are measured on acquisition metrics. Don’t forget that doing nothing is often the most compelling option for a consumer so be sure to address that choice too.
Increasingly studies show that the customer’s experience during the first few months after a purchase will determine whether they will buy and use more of your products and services or move on.
#7 Use the process to validate assumptions
We all make assumptions, especially in informal settings. I would guess that most assumptions are probably time tested and reasonably accurate. Formalizing the journey process will help validate the assumptions.
Validated assumptions can be reinforced and improved; incorrect assumptions can be scrutinized and addressed appropriately.
Creating a Customer Journey Map
So how do you go about creating a customer journey map? First I suggest you keep it simple. There is no one single journey mapping process. You can find helpful templates and resources but use a process that works for you.
The most important factor – focus on the experience from the customer’s perspective. It’s a good idea to simulate the experience, going through the exact same processes your customer will, in fact plan to interview prospects and customers.
Remember this is a work in process, continue to edit and adapt. The marketing landscape is changing faster than ever so use this process to stay on top of the kind of customer experience you want your brand to reflect.
Here are some resources that will help define your Customer Journey Map:
Here is an excellent list of 10 customer journey mapping requirements
Mobile Shopper’s Journey – A Nielsen reference
A helpful view of a Shopping Life Cycle
What have I missed? Can you think of other resources or ideas?