As a brand if you’re looking to increase your revenue and improve your bottom line, you need to start thinking like your customer and analyze every step of their journey with you. Customer experience (CX) consulting firm Walker declared that customer experience will overtake price and product quality as the key brand differentiator by 2020. To understand the customer journey, you need to first have a clear, complete understanding of your customer so that you can introduce proactive strategies to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Customer journey is the process of each customer interaction with your company to achieve a desired goal. But only understanding the customer journey is never enough, customer journey mapping is crucial and you can do that by gathering feedback at every touchpoint and this can help you get a better understanding of your customers’ motivations, needs and pain points. In order to maximize customer success, break the customer journey into phases, align each step with a goal and optimize customer touchpoints.
According to Blake Morgan, a customer experience futurist, “You must invest in becoming an experience-led business, which means optimizing every customer journey touch point. By understanding the customer journey, companies can stay a step ahead of the customer to lead them on the path for a great experience and quality product or service.”
It is found that companies that use tools like customer journey maps reduce their cost of service by 15-20%. Customer journey touchpoints mapping help you identify their experience with your brand and make necessary amendments. Understanding customer touchpoints will help you retain your most valuable customers, accelerate revenue growth, increase gross margins, and cultivate brand loyalty.
To start customer journey touchpoint mapping, it’s important to identify every interaction your customer has with your business. Let’s categorize those experiences:
How did they find out about you? Common touchpoints in this stage are, for example; ads, direct mails, landing pages, testimonials, seminars, product reviews or social media activities. Make sure your website is always updated, because that’s an important window to the world.
This is your point of sale. This could be your physical store, online shop, reseller, sales representative, product demo videos, checkout lines, catalog etc. At this stage, the customer is in contact with or engaging with someone in your sales team, frontline staff or call center.
What happens after the sale? This stage includes few or several touchpoints, depending on the type of your business. Common touchpoints typically include order fulfillment, onboarding processes, billing, returns, newsletters, rebates, packaging, thank you cards, online help centre, follow up emails, surveys, post-purchase evaluations and the like. Focus and follow up on your lost deals, it’s always helpful to do that because you can then make necessary improvements.
Now, what do customers expect from touchpoints?
It’s crucial to improve each customer touchpoint and optimize it to maximize customer satisfaction:
When creating a customer journey map, consider the customer perspective, use analytics to better anticipate customer behavior, understand that you need to personalize the experience because no two customers are the same, and make sure that the customer journey map reflects all customer journey touchpoints.
Identifying the right touchpoints is not enough. To improve customer satisfaction, you must ensure that each touchpoint leads to a delightful customer experience, and that the journey as a whole surpasses customer expectations. As customers’ journeys get more complex, companies should predict the routes they may take and optimize customer experience along the multiple touchpoints rather than relying on one assumed journey.
To see what’s working, you can run customer feedback surveys at each major touchpoint or set up customer experience management software. But don’t lose sight of the big picture, and always look at your entire customer journey. To make the mapping process simpler and less time consuming, here are some tools that can come handy. Clarabridge, SuiteCX, CFN Insight, Touchpoint Dashboard and Smaply are some tools to improve the customer journey and thus experience.