By Ashley Wilson
It is not enough for today’s successful businesses to simply provide a product or service that customers need or want. They also need to understand and enhance the customer journey. Your customers’ experiences throughout the sales funnel may be critical to developing satisfied and loyal customers. Be aware that the journey is about the customer rather than about the business. There are many tools and resources that you can use to track the customer journey, and this insight can help you to potentially improve the process.
Mapping and Tracking the Customer Journey
Today’s customers may have high expectations about what their overall experience with a company should be and about the quality of the products or services they receive. In order to map the customer journey, you should develop a customer persona that exemplifies the characteristics of your typical consumer. If necessary, choose one persona now, and add new personas to your efforts as needed.
These are the five steps to map the journey:
- Gather feedback from managers or stakeholders in each department.
- Assimilate customer data from each of these departments, understanding that the data at each stage in the journey is unique.
- Compile a hypothesis map that takes into account the current journey that you have identified as well as areas where additional research is needed.
- Obtain additional data required to complete your mapping effort.
- Finalize your map of the customer journey.
Now that you have the steps to map the journey, you need to prepare a visual narrative that explains each step in detail. Identify pain points and other critical or turning points in the journey. After you have identified all areas of concern, you can meet with stakeholders to brainstorm ways to improve the journey. In order to successfully track the journey, you will need specific software solutions. Luckily, there’s quite a number of them available. Here are some tools that will help you with mapping and tracking in different ways:
Mapping and Visualization Tools
These are tools that make it easier for you to diagram the journey for enhanced visualization.
- Gliffy – the Lightweight Option: Gliffy is an excellent mapping tool that works well with Google Drive, JIRA and Confluence. This is a lightweight, web-based diagram editor that is available with multiple service levels. Its simplified features make it easy to create organizational flow charts and Venn diagrams. You can also protect and track changes for easy collaboration. The price ranges from free to $4.99 per use per month.
- Smaply: This is a web-based program that makes it easy for you to develop personas that can be used for mapping purposes. This includes creating a character with a background story, specific interests, and even a robust personality. Through this program, you can create a visual representation that may be easier for stakeholders to conceptualize. Frictions and relationships between stakeholders can also be identified and used while creating storyboards or maps. This unique program lets you more easily identify dramatic arcs and emotional pulls. You can use this product for free for two weeks. Afterward, packages range from $25 to $100 per month.
- Canvanizer: With a free trial of Canvanizer, you can gain greater insight into the pre-service, service, and post-service periods in the journey. This program is ideal for service design thinking and mapping. It incorporates social media, experiences, expectations and more into its compilation.
CX software and VoC (Voice of the Customer) Software
Customer feedback is an integral part of the mapping process. There are numerous programs that allow you to import data (qualitative or quantitative) for various stages of the journey to enhance your understanding.
- MaritzCX: This is an exceptional platform that can be used for both research and analysis of the customer experience. Data is obtained through various channels, and it is quickly and accurately aligned for easier analysis and understanding. The program includes visual representations, and it also identifies impacts that various factors may have on the customer experience. The cost for this product is available upon request.
- SuiteCX: This is a robust program that takes into account qualitative and quantitative data to map the customer journey and experience. It enables strategic planning as well as design and visualization of the ideal customer experience. Price is available upon request.
- Clarabridge: Clarabridge is a feedback-oriented program that turns all of your customer feedback into usable data and intelligence. It is a SaaS-based solution, and it examines how, why and when your typical customer interacts with your business in different ways. Contact the provider for a quote.
These tools are designed to help your team collaborate on the analysis and improvement of the customer experience in different ways.
- Asana: This is an app with more than 100 integrations that lets your team track their various efforts from conceptualization to after-the-fact analysis. Through this platform, teams can communicate, share files and more. The price ranges from free to $9.99 per member per month based on the package that you sign up for.
- UpWave: Through UpWave, your team can store information in the cloud and have access to a modern interface that facilitates task management. For each project or team that is formed, members can communicate, create tasks and sub-tasks, monitor deadlines, collaborate and more. Management can also ensure that the team is being productive. You can enjoy a free 30-day trial. Afterward, the price is $4 per user per month.
- Workzone: Workzone is a cloud-based app that is ideal for data collaboration and project management. Its best feature is that it lets your team make hypothetical changes to the project or journey to see what the impact would be overall. The cost for this program ranges from $24 to $44 per user per month.
In order to be truly successful in the marketplace, you must understand what the customer wants and compare this to the experience that you are currently providing. Customer journey maps, personas and more are necessary if you want to optimize the customer experience. Each of these tools are ideal in different ways for data collection, analysis, hypotheses, and optimization.
Ashley Wilson is a freelance writer interested in business, marketing, and tech topics. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. Connect with Ashley via Twitter.