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5 Essential Steps for Customer Journey Mapping Initiatives
This is a guest blog post by Dhruv Mehta from Acquire.
Before everything else, let’s begin with understanding what customer journey mapping is all about.
What is customer journey mapping?
Do you know what made Google Maps so popular? It makes it extremely convenient for anyone to find their way and distance from Point A to Point B.
A good customer journey map is like Google Maps for your customers. It makes it easy for businesses to guide their customers towards the final leg of the purchase and beyond. It lays down the probable path that they will take, the multiple touchpoints they will interact with or become exposed to before making a purchase as well as all important post-sale customer engagements.
The most commonly accepted definition of a customer journey map is this:
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer journey (also called the buyer journey or user journey). It helps you tell the story of your customer’s experiences with your brand across all touchpoints.
A customer journey map is also referred to as a user journey map.
From the above definition, we can decipher that a customer journey map:
- Is a visual representation;
- Is built out of experiences; and
- Involves multiple touchpoints.
All said it is almost impossible to chart out a customer journey map that applies to all businesses at all times. Each business has its own unique propositions, target markets, and market environments, based on which the customer journey map has to be crafted.
The process of putting these elements together and forming the customer journey map is referred to as customer journey mapping.
The structure of a customer journey map
A typical customer journey map can be segmented into multiple phases:
1. Awareness – The stage where the user becomes aware that there exists a solution to their problem in the form of your business offering
2. Consideration – The stage where the user considers your purchasing your offering. This is the stage where they might compare your products with competitors
3. Purchase – The stage where the user purchases the product by placing the order and completing the payment
4. Retention – The stage where they remain active customers of the business through repeat purchases
5. Advocacy – The stage where the customer becomes a brand advocate of the brand and begins referring their near and dear ones to the business.
Ways to craft a customer journey map across all the stages
As mentioned before, there is no single customer journey map that applies equally to all businesses. Even within a customer journey, each stage has a slightly different user need which makes the customer journey mapping process complex.
But, these ways can help you wade through that complexity and chart out an ideal customer journey map.
Bridge the awareness gap
The awareness or the discovery stage is where you can get into the radar of the choices of your customer. Once the customer is aware that your business exists and that your products can offer a solution, it is easier to sell to them.
The awareness gap can be bridged by addressing the following questions:
- What terms or phrases do people use while searching for your product or service?
- How did existing customers find your business? Was it through an online search, social media, or referral?
- What other products or services did customers see or consider before searching for your product?
From a digital marketing perspective, the best way to address these questions would be by creating web pages and copy that will answer these questions for the customer.
Position your business as a top choice
The consideration stage is a stage where the prospect is aware of your product but is skeptical about purchasing it. They want to compare your product with competitors and see what it offers at par or better than other options.
Hence, while designing the customer journey map, it is necessary to position your business as a top choice in the segment. In a digital medium, this could be done by creating collateral that showcases how your product is better than other options while offering the same features.
Furthermore, you can also drive product knowledge through overview videos, demo sessions, and product training sessions
Simplify the purchase process
The purchase stage is often regarded as the last leg in the buyer’s journey. On the contrary, it is actually a crucial juncture after which the customer lifetime value could increase or decrease.
How your business treats your customer during the sale and after the sale determines how long they will continue being loyal to your business.
There are several ways how the purchase process can be simplified for the prospect:
- Ask minimal details for completing the order
- Offer multiple payment options
- Show that the payment is safe and secure
- Offer a complete view of transactions in a transparent manner
Be it a B2B or B2C business, assuring your customers that you are a better choice than the competition is easier said than done. It takes a better customer experience to actually persuade them in a realistic manner. For example, on a B2C website, live chat software can make it easier for the customer to find the relevant product. It is these nuances that actually sum up to bigger, positive customer experiences and help the customer sell better and faster.
Existing customers: keep them for life
To begin with, it spares the business from the need to invest additional sales and marketing resources to acquire new customers. This, in turn, brings down the customer acquisition costs drastically.
Furthermore, repeat buyers spend more. In other words, your already existing customers will have the tendency to buy more of your products and services since they are already accustomed to the customer journey and sales processes.
Add loyalty programs to the mix, and you will be able to retain your customers for life.
Turn customers into brand advocates
Retaining most of your customers is great for the long-term trajectory of the business. But, what is even better is turning these customers into brand advocates. Brand advocates are customers who are willing to refer new customers by persuading them to try your products.
In modern parlance, this is referred to as word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM). WOMM is extremely powerful. Only a very loyal and confident customer will refer their near and dear ones to your business. It is a guarantee that the business is doing well in taking care of a given group of customers.
Secondly, WOMM works better than any other sales play. Customers are willing to buy from businesses referred by their friends or colleagues since they believe that the referral is genuine.
There are other ways to get your existing customers to endorse your business. Introduce referral schemes and loyalty programs. Referral schemes reward customers with points that can be redeemed for future purchases. They could also reward the customer in the form of promo codes, and concessions that can extend the customer relationship.
Loyalty programs on the other hand accumulate loyalty points for each completed purchase with the brand. It ensures that the customer is always nudged to recall the brand always whenever a need for purchase arises. This also helps curb competition from snatching away the customers.
Wrapping it up
A customer journey map is a tool that helps all businesses to visualize how the customers perceive them and what needs to be done to make the buying experience better for them.
If crafted well, the journey can actually turn random prospects into lifelong customers.
Creating a customer journey map is not a one-step process. On the other hand, it is a multi-step process that requires extensive brainstorming, data analysis, and trial & error. To create a customer journey map you need to decide on the objectives it aims to solve. Secondly, you must know who your customers are, which requires creating your user personas. Third, list down the many touch points through which the customer will come in touch with your business throughout their lifecycle.
It is at this stage that you might want to take stock of all the resources you have and the resources you will need to craft the journey. Remember, that the customer journey map is never final. You must keep optimizing it to make it a positive customer experience for your ever-changing product and user base.