The last few years have radically transformed the way companies do business, mainly because customer's behaviour and expectations and have also significantly changed. In this context, mapping the customer experience or customer journey is key to fulfil customers' new needs.
The market, companies and clients are changing. It is a fact.
Many of these changes respond to an acceleration of already underlying market trends, but have highlighted how agile customer experience management strategies need to be.
Modern customer experience management (CXM) is based on what has traditionally been called customer relationship management. However, managing the customer experience goes further than managing customer relationships. More than just a management framework, customer experience is an incredibly valuable tool for optimising any part of the customer journey.
Mapping the customer journey is the first step to improve the customer experience. Mapping the customer journey allows companies to visualise the development of intangible services involved in the customer experience.
If every map tells a story, the customer journey tells the story of the customer experience.
5 reasons why you should map the customer experience or customer journey
1. You will improve all your interactions with customers
Mapping our customers' journey allows us to visualise the process a customer goes through in relation to our company while trying to accomplish something. The mere act of building the customer journey forces companies to accurately identify the what, when, how and why of all the interactions they offer their clients.
Thus, when we analyse the journey that each of our customer segments goes through, we are not only engaging in an important exercise to understand our customer portfolio, but we are also inevitably examining all the interactions that we have built with them, often without realising it. This gives us the opportunity to uncover interactions that are unnecessary, ineffective or that could be optimised.
Not until we map our customers' experience, are we capable of realising what we are actually offering them.
2. You will take the customer where they want to be
Because customer experiences and expectations change so quickly, the customer journey is also essential for organisations to know where the customer is and where they are going at all times. Only by visualising their journey through a map will we be able to guide our customers to where they need or want to be.
Whether it's taking a customer from discovery stage to a purchase, from a sale to a second purchase, or along a continuum service, companies need to know how their customers experience the process of achieving their objectives in order to improve the process and guide customers towards meeting their goals.
3. You will build a customer-centric conversion funnel
One of the most important aspects when managing the customer experience is understanding that it is about the customer, not about our business. No customer interacts with a brand thinking, "I'm already a qualified lead". Nor should companies.
The problem with the traditional way of managing customer relationships is that it is inherently business-centric and driven by interactions rather than journeys. Organisations use tools and definitions to manage the customer experience that are based on internal processes, usually related to where the customer is in the conversion funnel.
By using business-centric definitions, we inherently focus on what we have to do and what we have want to achieve internally —moving the prospect along the conversion funnel or creating a sale— rather than focusing on how we can help our clients satisfy their needs and meet their objectives. The danger of this approach, especially in the context of customer experience, is that companies fall into the trap of drawing a diagram of internally defined processes within their particular corporate silo, building a customer journey focused on what the company wants to deliver rather than what the customer needs.
In this sense, mapping the customer experience must be a customer-centric process and internal processes must be subordinated to our clients' needs and goals, not ours. Otherwise, it is virtually impossible for us to motivate the customer to move through the conversion funnel to finally get where they want to be.
This mindset shift is not easy to achieve. For many years, companies have been designing their processes with their own goals in mind. However, modern customer relationship management technologies such as the Customer Data Platform (CDP) encourage this much-needed corporate cultural change.
4. You will learn how and why
Even when we approach the customer journey right, it is still easy to fall into the trap of focusing too much on "where" customers are. The "where" is important, but the "how" and the "why" are just as, if not more, decisive. Especially since the "how" and the "why" are the two aspects of customers' behaviour that have changed the most in recent years.
Robust customer journey mapping solutions help organisations gauge the validity of assumptions they have made about customers' behaviour, whether conscious or unconscious, and then identify areas for improvement.
The more we can accurately map our customers' flow through the journey, the more we can learn about their evolving behaviours and determine whether or not we are meeting their expectations.
5. You will be one step closer to being a data-driven company
Mapping the customer experience forces organisations to collect data, to work with it, to draw it and to transform it into decisions. In other words, whether it is an internal process or externalised, building the customer journey trains companies to work with data which, once consolidated, must be updated on a regular basis.
The ultimate goal of mapping the customer journey is to enhance the customer experience and all the processes involved. Therefore, the procedure forces companies to make decisions based on customer data.
How to map the customer journey and the customer experience?
Mapping the customer journey is an in-depth exercise that we cannot tackle in one article. However, you will find all the information you need about the customer journey and how to build it in the free e-book "Customer Journey: How do we improve our customers' experience by
placing them at the center of our organization?".
Ultimately, if done well, a solid customer experience mapping solution is not only one of the best ways to optimise the customer experience, but it is also one of the best tools for listening to the voice of the customer. a An effective customer journey guarantees that we are not going for an internally organised, business-centric customer experience, but rather creating a customer-centric experience that is constantly evolving and bringing us closer to our clients.