By Sonal Patil
Customer journey mapping relates to the entire story from how your customer first found you to where they are today. Mapping your customer’s journey involves understanding the motivation relating to each step your customer takes in the process to becoming a regular client. You should then find it easier to attract more potential customers and convert them to regular buyers of your products or users of your services.
What is Customer Journey Mapping?
Customer journey mapping is fundamentally mapping out the complete process from a customer’s need for your product to a satisfied client with repeat purchases. In a nutshell:
- Why the customer needs the product or service.
- How they found your product
- What motivated them to choose your type of product or service?
- Why they made the decision to purchase from you.
- How they first made contact with you or your company.
- How they first sampled/tested the product/service before buying.
- What factors decided them to buy it.
- What their comments were after purchase.
- Why they became regular customers for your products.
- Why and how they recommend your product to their friends and contacts.
Fundamentally, customer journey mapping refers to a complete analysis of the journey the customer took between seeking a product such as yours and becoming a regular customer. Not only that, but it also relates to how and why your new customer refers your product to others.
By carrying out a detailed analysis of each of these ten factors with each customer, you can focus on any one of them and work out how to improve it. By carrying out customer journey mapping you should be able to predict how other new customers may interact with your company. You may then be able to make that interaction as easy and compelling as possible.
Here is description of each of these steps and how to achieve them.
How to Begin Customer Journey Mapping
OK – so the concept seems appealing to you, and so it should! How do begin mapping your customer’s journey? You should do this for every customer you have. If you are just beginning with customer journey mapping, then it may be possible to carry out some of these methods retrospectively with existing customers and clients. On the other hand, it may not be, and you might prefer to begin with new customers.
First, you should define the important steps in your customer journey mapping. This is fairly similar to defining the stages in a sales funnel pipeline.
A to J: Time Frame of Your Customer’s Journey
Before starting, you must decide the time frame over which you will carry out your analysis. The start and end points! For a comprehensive mapping of your customer’s journey it’s recommended that you begin when the customer perceives the need for a product or service, and end when they have made the purchase and recommended you to others. Referring to the list above, begin at A and end at J.
The ‘time frame’ here is not a set chronological time, but the length of time it takes to get from step A to step J.
Customer Journey Mapping Fundamentals
A: Why They Need the Product. The first stage is why they need a specific product or service. It may be to replace old and outdate products, to solve new problems, to advance their own companies, etc. It is important to you to understand their need. You can then offer the best of your products to meet that need. Knowing their need is therefore Step A.
B: How They Found Your Product: Where did your customer initially find your product or your business? It could be from advertising (TV/radio, online adverts, the press), social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc), verbal recommendations and so on. It is important to understand how your business or products came to your customer’s notice. You may then be able to maximize the use of these sources to your benefit.
- Why Your Type of Product: What is it about your type of product or service that they liked? Why your product and not something else. Is there anything about your type of product that you can use in promoting it?
- Why Buy From You: Why did they decide to purchase that type of product from your company? Why did the customer choose your business? Were you one of many approached, the only potential vendor, best advertiser, etc? Was it the product or your company name that attracted them? This is useful information for you.
- First Contact: How did your customer first make contact with your company? It may have been by email, through a contact form on your website or through social media. By analysing this information you can find the most productive form of promotion and focus on these. Check out our notes on ‘Customer Touchpoints’ below.
- Sampling/Testing the Product: How did your company check out your product before purchasing? Did you provide samples or a larger quantity, sufficient for full product/production tests? This is a very important step in customer journey mapping. Your prospective customer or client must have confidence in your product, and offering a try-out may be an important aspect of the purchasing decision.
- The Purchasing Decision: What factors persuaded the customer to buy your product or pay for your service? If you can establish why each customer bought from you, then you might be able to make that another aspect of your sales pitch. There is usually some reason why a customer bought from you rather than a competitor. Customer journey mapping enables you to establish the reasons why your customers are using your product or service.
- Comments or Reviews After Purchase: If you sell through Amazon, this is done for you. Amazon customers are permitted to review your product in writing and by giving you a star rating from 1 – 5. Otherwise, you can provide a similar facility on your website – or ask them what they thought of their purchase. An email to the customer is all it takes – and many appreciate that.
- Why They Become Return Customers: If you have a number of regular or return customers, they may appreciate a request from you about the suitability and quality of the products or service they purchased. A new customer might not appreciate such a request as those that have ordered from you 2 or 3 times may do. Many people like to be asked such questions. This is not only so they can their let their opinion be known, but also because they know that it may help the product to be improved.
- Why Do They Recommend Your Products – and How: If certain repeat customers have recommended your products to others, try to find out why. Tell them you are carrying out a company consumer survey, and can they tell you why they recommend your products. Explain that their answers could help you improve your service to them – or your products. It’s often best not to offer an incentive for responding, or you are likely to get false statements just to make sure they get the prize!
The Final Step: You must be able to define the final step in customer journey mapping as it applies to your business and your customers. For most, this will be the purchase – or the customer becoming a regular client and referring you to others, renewing a subscription or setting up a direct debit payment. For others, the benefit of mapping your customer’s journey comes in the form of improved customer retention and your business getting a good name among consumers.
These are the 10 major steps of our concept of Customer Journey Mapping. Now some information on Customer Touchpoints.
What are Customer Touchpoints?
Customer touchpoints are important stages in mapping your customer’s journey. The term refers to those situations when your customer interacts with your company. They may access and register a hit on your website. They may read your blog, or even better – make a comment, enabling you to contact them back. They may open a promotional email, fill in a form or even call you asking for details of your products. It is very important for you to able to analyze these initial contact touchpoints.
Touchpoints in Customer Journey Mapping
Touchpoints enable you to make direct contact with a prospective customer. A touchpoint may not be their first contact with your business, but it will often be your first contact with them. You cannot assume, however, that such contact will lead to a sale – or to a customer.
You need more information from such contacts before you can even consider them genuine prospects and not just somebody being curious. The information you might get from them may be critical to your ability to convert an interested prospect into a customer. The first information is obtained from your ability to analyze the various customer touchpoints as explained above.
When To Begin Customer Journey Mapping
Completed newsletter subscription forms and even hits on landing pages on your website, are touchpoints that can be used to attract potential customers. You can use them to get you good information about your visitors, including how they’ve heard about your product.
Check out ‘Shares’, ‘Likes, Opens’ and G+ Clicks. By accumulating all of that information provided to you by prospective customers, you can decide whether they are genuine prospects or just casual visitors. That decision will then determine whether or not you can begin the customer journey mapping procedure within your customer acquisition process.
Customer Journey Mapping: Mapping Your Customer’s Journey Conclusion
Mapping your customer’s journey can help you ascertain their own purpose for purchasing from you. It also helps you to provide them with what they are seeking, and maximize your conversion rate from prospect to customer. By understanding why prospective customers are looking at your website or blog, you can more easily give them what they want. What they want to see, and the products that may help them.
That is one reason why so many people find customer journey mapping to be such a useful tool to use. It can be a very effective customer acquisition tool, but it also gives you an insight into how others perceive your company.
In Rabbie Burns’ words:
“O wad some Power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us! It wad frae mony a blunder free us, An’ foolish notion” He wrote that ‘To a Louse’, on seeing one on a ladies bonnet in front of him in church. That 1796 sentiment is as true today as it was then. Customer journey mapping is that gift – it would free us from many a marketing blunder.
Sonal Patil is a Research Analyst at a market research report providing firm in industry, a food fanatic and a travel enthusiast. Besides this you will find me reading and experimenting new things.