The customer journey, mapped out comprehensively, is a powerful tool in the hands of the modern marketer. This is the age of data, after all, and data equals understanding, and understanding equals knowledge. Whether you're exploring hiking trails on an unfamiliar mountain range or navigating a new city, a map is an invaluable source of knowledge. When we apply this idea to something more marketing-oriented, like the customer journey, we see how important such a source of knowledge can be.
Let's explore this a bit more.
What is a customer journey map? This is a document that tells you all about customer motivations, desires, expectations and origins. It is both a source of information on your customers — helping you better understand them — and a tool that can help you actively mold the experience your customers have when they make contact with you.
This second aspect serves as a point of differentiation between a traditional map and the more interactive customer journey map. While the traditional map model that we are all familiar with tells us information about a specific journey or route, a customer journey map gives us a vantage point to directly control this movement from Point A to Point B.
For example, if you have mapped your current customer journey and found that many customers access your website via a link from social media and then navigate to a particular product before converting and then leaving the site, this is useful information. It shows that your marketing strategies are working for that particular product. However, it also gives you the opportunity to divert the customers' attention in meaningful ways.
Let's say you have other products and services that can support the product customers are already connecting with. You can tweak the structure of your site to influence the customer journey towards this new product or service, increasing your revenue and enhancing the customer experience at the same time. This is positive customer journey mapping in action.
We've already touched on why you need to be mapping the journey your customers take when they interact with your business, but let's list some of the factors that make this approach so useful.
Where do you start as you map and craft the customer journey? Take a look at some key techniques.
A basic customer journey can be broken down into four key phases — awareness, research, conversion and post-conversion. This is a good starting point for developing a more detailed map of the customer cycle. So, use data to understand the behaviours, motivations and general sentiment of the customer at each phase.
How are customers becoming aware of what you can provide to them? You can measure referral traffic or deploy analytics to discover key access points and use this to work backwards to the point at which your customers became aware of what you provide.
How are customers finding out more about what you can offer? Are they reaching out directly, reading reviews from third parties or finding information from some other source? This is useful data to have as you develop your content marketing and customer service strategies.
What are customers doing at the point of purchase? Perhaps you could offer relevant add-on purchases to increase revenue and enhance user experience.
Are customers churning after conversion, or are they coming back for more? We'll explore this one in more detail below.
What happens post-conversion is critical to the success of the broader customer journey. Nurturing a customer through to conversion and then simply letting them churn is a huge wasted opportunity. Think of the customer journey as less of a linear progression and more of a cycle — the conversion is simply one point in this cycle.
Understanding customer experience and how this relates to their expected customer experience is crucial to driving growth. Data can help you understand what customers want from you after conversion. Perhaps they require support in the form of an ongoing subscription, or maybe they need additional purchases or repairs and maintenance further down the line.
Just like you want to avoid areas of traffic congestion and construction work when you drive through town, your customers want a smooth and streamlined route to what they need.
As you map your customer journey, be aware of these potential sticking points. Customer feedback and analytics will help you gain a picture of where these points are and give you the insight you need to smooth out any areas of friction in the journey.
The customer journey does not begin and end with your business itself. Your business — and, as such, your customer journey — exists within the broader market ecosystem. Customer awareness, your brand's reputation and how you measure up against competitors all feed into this.
Bear this in mind as you map and develop your customer journey. Find out what people are saying about your products and services, and put yourself at the heart of the conversation in your industry. If customers do not see you as a viable option, you are missing out on valuable traffic and revenue. Aim to influence the customer journey to attract these prospects you would otherwise be missing out on.
The engage™ app and platform are developed with data at their very core. With this digital technology, you can understand customer motivations, drive direct connections with prospects in your field and gather the data you need to elevate your customer experience as you map the customer journey.
You may have noticed a theme as we examined the customer journey above — everything depends on data and understanding. Access this data and take control of the customer journey. Take a free tour of the app and platform today to discover more.