Customer journey mapping is “a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company” (HBR).
Users and consumers go through different paths for every product or service they purchase. For example, the customer journey for a car or a washing machine are very different. In fact, the complexity and the cost of a car make information gathering and brand choice much longer and complex. We will try to summarize why customer journey mapping is important for the digital strategy of firms of any industry, and we will identify the key criteria for an effective customer-brand interaction.
The internet has changed the playing field
The first touchpoint that modern consumers have with your brand depends on the communication channels that the consumer used to connect. At one time, the mass consumption economy was deeply entwined with television commercials and the brick-and-mortar experience and the consumer’s decision process was quite linear.
Deloitte highlights the importance of the widespread use of the Internet as the main game changer of the consumer-business relationship. Buyers have the chance to increase their awareness of products, and they have many new ways to express their opinion and give feedback on products. While these channels provide opportunities for a firm’s visibility, it also exposes the company to negative reviews.
A new framework for customer journey mapping
Firms must be prepared to have multichannel communications with customers and social media users. For this reason, the use of a standardized framework will help you analyze every step of the customer decision journey and define a strategy to improve the performance at every step.
B2B International defines the following steps to effectively design the customer journey:
Represent the customer journey in a flowchart. The journey depends on the product and the service under analysis.
Define the main touchpoints and their connections, focusing on the consumer’s target and feelings per each point.
Find the “pain points,” the least performing touchpoints. Many KPIs, such as the average number of claims, can be used to assess critical aspects in a determined touchpoint.
Assess the “moments of truth,” the touchpoints where the consumer can decide whether to stop or proceed in her journey.
We have described the procedure to identify the general aspects of the journey, which is the first step of mapping.
The analysis of touchpoints:
The main business functions involved in each touchpoint;
The link between touchpoints;
The analysis of the customer’s desired and actual feelings;
KPI analysis per touchpoint.
The fourth point is crucial for the analysis. Indeed, the target of the customer journey map is to define the functional changes required to improve business performance.
How to define the customer journey map?
No customer journey map is the same, even for different product lines from the same brand. Nevertheless, there are always three elements of analysis in mapping customer journey:
The needs: Through stakeholder engagement, interviews, focus groups, questionnaires or even experimental sessions, firms can understand customer needs at each stage of the journey.
The journey: Management is generally asked to provide a broad point of view on the whole customer journey, providing insights on customer needs and their interactions with the brand.
The process: At the executive level, this is aimed at identifying strenghs and weaknesses.
An example of customer journey map
As an example, here is a sample customer journey map for an online store, with basic features.
In this graph, we mapped the customer journey of a customer in an online store. We took the model used by Lucidchart, which starts the the journey by defining the buyer persona and the scenario.
In this example, payment procedures are the “pain point” of the experience, as the persona finds difficult to use the platform in this phase. Therefore, the IT department and all actors involved in platform development should be involved in improving the payment system. Otherwise, the risk of having a high loss rate in this phase of the journey would be a risk for the whole business model. In the assessment phase, efficient internal communication processes are vital.
This very simple framework can be developed depending on the complexity of the journey. The identification of other touchpoints, and the detail of the analysis per each touchpoint, depends on the scope management. Nevertheless, the “emotional” point of view of the customer must always be at the core of the mapping procedures.
Risks and opportunities of customer journey mapping
Customer journey mapping is an occasion to assess the effectiveness of products and services, and an opportunity to rethink many business processes or even the brand positioning.
It is essential to deepen the analysis by paying close attention to potential obstacles on the way to change. According to B2B International, some of the most frequent issues in adopting the customer journey map are the following:
A lack of cooperation between units: A seamless and fluid information flow requires adaptability of every member of the company.
Investment of resources: Mapping is effective only if the information is collected extensively. The investment in CRM and other data collection systems can be very high before having enough data for accurate mapping.
Status quo bias: Management can be a serious obstacle to the process if there is no interest in “changing the game,” or, on the other hand, the advantages of using customer journey mapping are not presented in their evidence.
ChannelAdvisor states that “The multi-step path to purchase is the norm for today’s consumers. And a multichannel, multifaceted strategy will ensure your brand is accounting for all digital touchpoints in the shopper’s purchasing process.”
Providing new channels and improving the User Experience is Doxee’s goal, and the metrics are at the core of any digital point that we develop for our customers. Credem has adopted Doxee Pvideo® to provide customers with a platform for online micro-financing. Showing a personalized offer in an intuitive way, the user is able to perform the operations without obstacles.
This is only one example of how a detailed analysis of customer journey and the use of modern digital tools to create a fluid user experience can boost the performance of businesses operating in any industry.
Vittorio is a data-driven marketer interested in decision-making and behavioral models in a digital context. Vittorio develops analysis and content on modern marketing methodologies related to digital technologies, especially around personalization.
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