Getting into the minds of a customer is a tedious task. Especially if you are a B2B company. The product is complex, and the sales cycle is lengthy.
Once you think you’ve got to know what they like, new trends and technologies emerge.
You may wonder why all the traffic you attract churn out at a specific stage or why it’s hard to make customers trust your brand.
Whatever the outcome might be, the root cause is that you are still unaware of your customer’s journey. You still don’t know how your customers navigate before buying your product/service.
We live in a highly inter-connected world where customer needs cannot be served by one platform. As a result, the customer journey has evolved into multiple pathways. It’s not linear like it used to be.
To create a better customer experience, B2B businesses must identify and improve a multi-platform journey. And this starts with viewing the customer journey holistically.
What is a Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map is a visual representation of how a customer goes through your digital assets to achieve the desired goal. The goal can be a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, booking a strategic call, or anything in between.
With the help of a holistic customer journey, you get a better understanding of what motivates customers to achieve their goals.
However, with multiple digital channels, just understanding the customer journey isn’t enough. It’s best to visualize the journey and trace their steps. This is where designing a customer journey map is useful.
What Does it Mean to Gain a Holistic View of Your Customer Journey
When people talk about the customer journey, most of them are referring to a specific path taken by the customers. But there’s a problem with that approach: It’s true only when all your customers have the same perspective towards your brand.
So rather than streamlining a linear customer path, it’s important to optimize the entire customer journey, which includes optimizing multi-platform journey.
Steps to Create a Holistic Customer Journey Map
Here are the steps you can follow while creating a holistic customer journey map:
1) Set Clear Objectives
Before you dive into creating your customer journey map, you need to ask what you want to accomplish? What experiences is it based on?
Based on your objective, create a buyer persona. This is a fictional representation of your most ideal customer. Knowing your most ideal customers will remind you to design a customer-centric map.
2) Research your Personas
Next, you should conduct research. You need to test your current user experience. Research people who are really interested in your product. You might be attracting different types of users and this step can reveal it. Ask questions that help you get constructive feedback on your current customer journey map.
Questions such as
- How did you first hear about us?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how easy is it to navigate our website?
- Is there any easy way to simplify your process?
- Did you ever require customer support?
You can document all the answers and sense a pattern in customer response.
3) Highlight your Prominent Customer Personas
Once you’ve learned about different customer personas, it’s time to narrow down to the most prominent ones. Your customer journey map is designed for specific users to take specific actions. Grouping up different customer personas may confuse your prominent users.
If you are creating a customer map for the first time, it’s better to choose your most common customers and the route they would take to complete their goal. Compare different customer personas and determine which would be the best fit for your business.
4) List out all the Touch points
Touch points are all the places on your website or digital properties that your customers can interact with. Based on your research, you should list down all the possible touch points your customer takes.
This is an important step in the customer journey map, as it gives you insight into what actions the customer takes while navigating your website. You need to look at all the ways your customers interact with your website: Social media, paid ads, email marketing, third-party mentions, etc.
Whatever the case might be, understanding touch points is a tool that can help you understand the ease and objections of your customer journeys.
5. Determine the Resources you Need
Your customer journey map is going to touch every part of your business. This will highlight all the resources you need to create an optimized customer journey. It’s important to know the resources that you can afford and create customer suitable customer journey.
6. Take the Customer Journey Yourself
It’s impossible to create an optimized customer journey in one go. So once you are done mapping your customer journey, you need to take the journey yourself. The whole plan of mapping your customer journey remains hypothetical until you analyze it yourself.
Analyzing the journey shows where your customers churn out, the steps they can object to, and what’s stopping them from converting.
7) Make the Necessary Changes
Your data analysis should give you a sense of what your customers expect from your brand. Then you can make appropriate changes to your customer journey map to accomplish this goal.
No matter how big or small the changes might seem, they are essential because they directly highlight the customer’s pain point. Rather than blindly making changes based on your gut feeling and hoping it would improve the customer experience, base your changes on the data available.
Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping
Many marketers think they don’t need customer journey mapping. However, breaking down customer pain points at each stage and restructuring your journey is essential for maximum customer success.
After all, marketing is all about solving customer problems.
1) Helps you With Inbound Marketing
Rather than trying to attract through outbound marketing, your customer journey map can help you attract customers through inbound marketing. The customer journey map reveals the pain points of the customers and also their desires. It helps you create interesting content and offers that customers are already searching for.
2) You can Discover New Target Customer Base
If you don’t understand your customer journey, you probably don’t understand your customer demographics. It’s a waste of time and resources to target customers who may or may not fall into your target customer base.
Researching and mapping out your customer journey reveals the exact demographics of your customer base. You may also discover a new segment of the audience that’s interested in your content. They may not be yet ready for a transaction but are good for lead nurturing.
You can create separate customer journeys based on your target audience, thus boosting both sales and brand value.
3) You Can Implement a Good Customer Service
A customer journey is a roadmap to customer experience. It shows you moments where people feel delighted and steps where they feel dreaded. This can help your customer care representatives. Knowing the phases of maximum friction allows them to prepare and intervene at ideal times to solve the problem.
Such proactive customer service also makes your brand seem reliable. You can also let them know additional customer service at different buying stages and what to do if there’s an urgent problem.
4) Improve Customer Retention Rate
When you have a complete view of your customer journey, it’s easier to pick out problematic areas and improve upon them. When you do that, customers experience lesser friction, which leads to a reduced churn rate.
Customer journey mapping can point out customers who are on the verge of getting churned. This gives you the option of providing them alternate solutions. Since it’s worth retaining an old customer than converting a new one.
5) You can Create Customer-Friendly Environment throughout the Organization.
Customer journey mapping affects all the sections of your organization – marketing, sales, customer service, design, and many more departments. As your organization gets larger, it becomes difficult to communicate your ideas. A customer journey map informs all the sections of your organization about their role in converting the customer.
A clear customer map can be shared with the entire organization. So each team can visualize how their goals inter-connect and how each department depends on each other.
With that rationale, you cannot deny the importance of a customer journey map. Especially if you have a large organization with multiple channels to attract customers.
Once you completely grasp your customer journey experience, you can delight them at every step of the way. No two businesses will have similar customer journeys. There are many factors that affect the customer journey, including customer pain points, their emotions, your marketing budget, and the touch-points. Hence, it is advised to create your own customer path.
Mapping your customer journey is the best way to understand customer needs and even new business opportunities. A business with high traffic but a lower conversion rate should analyze its customer journey and pinpoint the exact spots where customer churn happens.