Optimizing Customer Experience Through Journey Mapping

October 1, 2021

Over the past two years, I have had many different experiences with companies: some good, some bad. As a consumer, I am most interested in frictionless experiences. Honestly, I don't really want to speak with the company that I purchase from. I just want my issue solved as quickly as possible with minimal disruption to my day. Here are a couple of recent examples:

A Frictionless Experience - Amazon

I go to Amazon.com, search for what I'm looking for, and order it. Two days later, the product was on my doorstep. Frictionless, right?

I even had an issue with a recent Amazon order where the box showed up empty. I got on chat, they identified the missing product and shipped out a replacement without question. It took less than 5 minutes of my day.

A Friction Filled Experience - Appliance Repair

Lately, I have been trying to get my stove fixed. I called to schedule an appointment and was given a repair window when the technician would show up. That day came, and he was late by several hours with no warning. He then ordered a part that took months to get with no update that there was an issue or when I might see them again. Then when they finally received the part, they scheduled an appointment that they missed by multiple days. Not ideal, to say the least.

Both examples make me wonder how much each company really understands me as a consumer. Amazon is a company that I will continue to do business with and likely knows me way more than I'd like to admit. As for my repair company, I'm looking for alternatives. There is no way they understand me or my customer journey at all.

Delivering positive, memorable customer experiences requires a comprehensive understanding of every interaction, intent, outcome and emotion. Customers are human. We react to the environment around us and then create individual memories based on experiences that create perceptions. The more friction in the experience, the more frustrated we become.

"Friction = Customer Frustration"

Here are some customer experience statistics to think about:

  • 73% of consumers cite CX as a key factor in buying decisions - Salesforce
  • 32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience - PwC
  • Companies with superior CX grow revenues five times faster on average than their competitors with inferior CX - Forrester

Today’s consumers want a highly personalized experience and this includes your marketing and customer service efforts no matter where they engage (online, in-store or mobile). With those stated statistics, is there a price you wouldn't pay to make sure your customer experience was positively unforgettable? After all, Positive Experience = Lifelong Customers!

The only way to be successful in today's environment is through leveraging journey analytics to understand where each customer is at any point in time, tracking them individually and then engaging them with relevant messages. This is more commonly known as "Customer Journey Mapping".  Journey Maps help you visualize how customers feel at all brand touchpoints so you can avoid potential issues ahead of time, increase customer retention, and discover key information to make the best decisions for your business.

What is a journey map?

Journey maps are a visual representation of the customer journey. They help you tell the story of your customers’ experiences with your brand across all touchpoints (social media, email, live chat or etc.) ensuring no customer is forgotten. This exercise helps businesses step into their customer’s shoes and see their business from the customer’s perspective.

It enables you to assess:

  • Insights/Empathy – Understand visually what your customer journey is like and where problems might lie
  • Issues/opportunities – Diagnose existing issues and plan for making your customer experience better
  • Innovation – Identify where you might want to completely change the existing customer experience by finding moments that matter – where there is the greatest emotional load.

Journey maps are built to make it easy to identify issues in the process and know how where to go to resolve them.

Why should executives care?

“Only by looking at the customer’s experience along the entire journey can you really begin to meaningfully improve performance.”
McKinsey

Customer journey mapping is important because it is a strategic approach to better understanding customer expectations and empathizing with their experience allowing for you to optimize their experience.

Some benefits may include:

  • Optimizing the customer onboarding process
  • Benchmarking the desired customer experience vs. reality
  • Understanding your different buyer personas as they move from prospect to customer
  • Creating a logical order to your buyer journey

Journey mapping creates a common understanding for the organization of how a customer interacts during different stages of the customer lifecycle and who within the organization owns that experience. It will also bring an organization together and foster customer empathy and collaboration between teams to deliver the experiences that customers expect. This will help you to develop a shared sense of ownership of the customer relationship driving a customer-centric culture.

McKinsey's, The Three Cs of Customer Satisfaction states "Maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also lift revenue up by 15% while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%".

Essentially, leaders leveraging Journey Mapping correctly will drive customer retention and more money to the bottom line.

How do you get started?

There are two ways you can approach Journey Mapping. Read a book and attempt it yourself OR engage an expert. We always recommend getting an expert on your first go round so it's done correctly with optimal value. Enterprise companies even keep experts on staff.

No matter which direction you choose, here are some places you should start:

  1. Assess the current state of your customer journey
  2. Understand and diagnose issues in current experiences
  3. Understand what the future state of your customer journey should look like
  4. Design, redesign and create new experiences

Conclusion:

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself "do I really understand and have empathy for my customer's experience?" The reality to this question is, you can never understand your customer enough and this understanding is critical to them sticking around. The largest companies in the world invest millions in Journey Mapping and Analytics per year. If you're not doing it now, I highly suggest you start. If you are doing it, please continue. This could be the difference between success and failure.

If you want to dive deeper, please schedule some time to talk. We're here to help at whatever level make sense to you and your company.

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