A customer journey map is a visual representation of the experience customers have with your brand. A customer journey is not as simple as you offering something and your customers buying it. Customer journeys are complex and in today’s integrated and technology-focused world customers come into contact with your business in a multitude of ways and from many different starting points.  Customer journeys might start from an ATL campaign, referral, search, social media, customer service enquiry, direct marketing campaign, in-store, banner advert, the options are endless. Companies need to ensure that every customer’s experience is a good one, as today’s customers are fully informed and switching between brands is easy and fast, and leaving a bad review on a brand has the potential to reach thousands in seconds.

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Therefore it is vital to map out every possible experience and touch point customers may have with your brand. A customer journey means stepping into your customer’s shoes and seeing and experiencing it from their point of view. This will give you the knowledge of how well you are actually servicing your customers, and highlight points which need improvement.

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Customer journey mapping allows brands to develop product roadmaps, assisting them in deciding what’s next. When you map out how your customers explore your products, it becomes very evident where they hung up and what they are missing. You start to see what they see, and from there you see the holes. Customer journey maps makes it easy to identify the low hanging fruit and the easy wins, and can help you decide what enhancements you could make. Customer journey maps help us bring different teams together for a common goal: the customer experience. This is essential in customer centric organisations.
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There are many reasons why customer journey mapping is vital for your organisation. Here are a few of these reasons:

  1. It provides valuable information about your customers:

Customers are the livelihood of your business, they are your bread and butter, and without them your business cannot exist. Therefore, it is very important to know who your customers are, where they came from and what they are trying to achieve, why they made certain choices and why they abandoned others. It helps you to accurately define your target market, smooth out your sales process and identify the sweet spot where the customer’s need is met by your offering.

  1. It improves your competitive position and encourages brand advocates, who share their brand experience

A positive customer experience is important in that customers are savvy and have the power choose between competing companies. A bad customer experience will not only cost your business a sale, it could result in bad publicity. Customers talk, they rate your business, leave a review and read up on other customer’s reviews. Customers’ opinions hold a higher power than the brands own voice – in fact 67% more effective!  According to research by Nielsen, 67% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase a product after a friend or family member shared it on social media.  Word-of-mouth is not only the strongest sale tool and does not directly cost your business much money.

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Furthermore, a satisfied customer is more likely to return to your brand rather than use a competitor product. A recent study by White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that 80% of consumers would pay more for a product or service to ensure a superior customer experience.

  1. It improves customer satisfaction

According to Ross Beard, customer experience is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions for the purpose of meeting or exceeding customer expectations, thereby, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.

A report by Mckinsey (2014) found that companies focused on maximising satisfaction, with regard to the entire customer journey, have potential to increase customer satisfaction by 20%.

A good customer experience will be a point of differentiation from your competitors. Creating an experience that truly impresses customers and exceeds expectations ensures that they will want to continue doing business with you. After all, 80% of your company’s future revenues come from just 20% of your current customers.

 

  1. It creates customer stages

To determine what the behavioral stages your customers go through when getting to know your product, service, and brand. If you know how your customers move through the sales funnel, you will know where they leave the sales process, where they experience difficulty, where and why they abandoned the process. This helps determine what works and what doesn’t. This will not only ensure you give your customers a better experience but also achieve you more sales. It will not only identify where and why customers dropped off, but also offer you the opportunity to fix this and resulting a higher sales achieved.

 

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Traditional customer journey model

Becoming customer centric means ensuring all customer facing functions provide a consistent seamless experience. Journey mapping helps bring customers stories to life. It challenges preconceptions, and can help change perceptions, acting as a call to action and contributing to a culture change. The insights that it generates can help shape strategy and policy, leading to a better customer experience and more efficient government. It can transform businesses into customer centric businesses giving them competitive advantage and longevity.

The big question then, is how do you apply this in your organisation?


Join us next month, as we explore How To Create Your Journey Map!

 

 

Written by Bronwyn van Dyk, Bronwyn joins Prana as a Marketing and Branding Consultant, working on specialist projects.  Bronwyn has a B.Comm Business Management, a diploma in Marketing Management and a certificate in branding. Bronwyn started her career at FNB as a graduate for 5 years and is now an independent marketing consultant. She has worked her way to be a specialist in her field. Bronwyn has worked across a 360-degree marketing sphere in  digital marketing and as well above and below the line advertising..