The path to purchase is not a linear one. Customers have a million and one ways to interact with our business, both before and after they make a purchase.
An interesting thread recently came up in the MO Pros #strategy channel about mapping out the customer journey of a closed-won account:
Great question, Tony! By mapping the customer journey of a closed-won account, we can use this information to better facilitate that journey for future customers.
What are customer journey maps?
Customer journey mapping allows us to step into the shoes of our customers and understand how our processes impact their experience with our brand and company. Creating a visual representation of this journey provides the necessary insights to then analyze and improve those processes, leading to increased customer experience and ultimately, increased sales.
Now, here’s the thing. There’s a lot of different approaches to mapping the customer journey, different objectives for running this exercise, and the process can vary depending on the size and type of your company as well as which industries you serve.
The importance of creating a customer journey
Throughout the customer journey, there are several touchpoints that influence a customer’s emotions towards and opinion of our brand. These often take place across multiple channels, each managed by different teams or members within an organization.
In better understanding this journey, it’s possible to engineer a positive customer experience that doesn’t feel disjointed. The idea is to put yourself in the shoes of your customers.
By simply spending the time considering what it’s like to interact with and purchase from your company you’ll uncover insights into customer experience, customer culture, and the impact they have on the purchasing decision.
Developing a marketing strategy without these insights can result in a gap between customer expectations and their actual experience, potentially having a negative impact on their likelihood to purchase.
A company that has a clear vision of the customers’ journey has the ability to design an experience that results in more conversions, a more enjoyable experience, and more loyal customers.
A look at the numbers
A study from Aberdeen shows the difference between companies with a customer journey management program in place and those without. Those companies actively managing the customer journey and experience had significant year-over-year (YOY) growth:\
- Employee engagement went up 25.3% versus 10.8% for other companies
- Return on marketing investments went up 24.9% versus 16.2%
- Customer service costs improve by 21.2% versus a decrease of 2.2%
- The number of positive mentions via social media went up 20.7% versus 16.7%
- Customer referral revenue went up 17.9% versus 5.1%
- Improvement in the sales cycle went up 16.8% versus 0.9%
- Cross-sell and up-sell revenue improved by 15.3% versus 9.8%
What’s involved in the process?
There are several different approaches to mapping the customer journey. You’ll have your own reasons and methods, but ideally, you’ll want to create a flowchart, diagram, or timeline that highlights the overall journey. It should include:
- Each touchpoint between the customer and the company along the way
- Weak points in the journey where customers are likely to experience difficulties or negative emotions
- Opportunities in the journey that will foster goodwill and create loyalty
With these details visualized, it’s a lot easier to break down your internal processes and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT).
- Who are the people and departments responsible for the execution of each touchpoint?
- How can emotions, feelings, or feedback be collected from customers at each touchpoint?
- What patterns or similarities can be identified between individual customer journeys?
- How aligned are these data points to team KPIs and goals?
These are just a few questions to consider, but it’s important to align the purpose of this exercise to the outcomes you’re attempting to achieve. Mapping the customer journey as a cohesive team allows you to glean insights and perspectives as they relate to the company as a whole, rather than just your team.
Resources for Getting with Customer Journey Mapping
There’s a lot of great templates and resources available on this exact topic, so rather than add yet another one to the list, here are some of our favorites:
Hubspot has a pretty awesome guide for creating an effective customer journey map. It includes a bunch of examples and templates to help you conduct the right exercise for your business and your team.
In addition to the customer journey map template, you’ll find other useful resources such as a Lead Nurture Mapping Template, Customer Churn Mapping Template, A Day In the Life Template, and more.
The examples outlined in this guide cover the differences between B2B and B2C customers. They also provide a look into running this exercise in various markets, such as eCommerce, retail, or service-based businesses.
Content Marketing Institute provides a comprehensive guide and template for mapping your own customer journey. However, it provides insights that are geared towards marketing and helping you create content that truly resonates with your prospects.
This will be especially useful for marketing teams and those looking to craft compelling messaging that leads to better conversions.
Invesp takes a straightforward approach in conducting this exercise and provides specific questions that will guide you and your team through this process. You’ll also find examples completed by other companies who have gone through it themselves.
You’ll have your own reasons for wanting to map your customer’s journey. There are many approaches to conducting this type of exercise, but it’s important to stay focused on the goals that are most important to your team and the type of customer experience you hope to create.
Share your own experiences of conducting a customer journey mapping exercise with the rest of the MO Pros community and be sure to ask your questions in the slack group as you run through it yourselves. Good luck!