Today we’re deep into the age of the consumer. Brands are governed largely by the voice of their customers; always plugged in and switched on across multiple channels, asking questions and ready to move on if your brand isn’t offering a positive and seamless experience. Your customers are in such a powerful position that just one negative review could directly affect your business.
Understanding the behaviour of your customers in detail, by mapping out your customer journey, can help your brand stay in control, by making you more aware of potential negative customer experiences; possibly even before they crop up. Mapping out your customer journey could also help improve your products, UX and customer engagement.
What exactly is a customer journey?
It’s a document, or maybe an infographic, that details every situation of engagement between you and your customers.
Initially, it may seem as though your customer journey is pretty straightforward: your product gets picked off the shelf, purchased, taken home, and that’s it. Diving a little deeper into each scenario of involvement between your brand and a potential customer could bring benefits to your business. Your customer journey puts you into your customer’s shoes, helping your business to identify pain points by seeing things from their perspective.
Benefits of mapping out your customer journey
- Highlighting all of your brand touchpoints; aka every instance a customer comes into contact with your brand. From meeting staff in a flagship store, to an email communication. What are these touchpoints for your brand, and what experience do your customers have with them? Is it positive or negative? Every touchpoint and the scenarios linked to them can affect how customers; both potential and existing, perceive your brand.
- Bringing to attention the different needs of your customers at varied times. When customers are shopping online they’ll have different needs compared to if they have found a fault with one of your products.
- Increasing positive interaction between customers and your brand, and becoming aware of whether or not you’re delivering the customer experience you think you are by highlighting where you’re not getting things quite right.
Being aware of all these touchpoints and scenarios can help you see where you can influence a more positive customer experience. Remember that your customer journey can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like. Think about the needs of your business before you start; what do you want to achieve from mapping it out?
If you are thinking of documenting your own customer journey; bear in mind that there isn’t a one size fits all model. Be clear on what you want to achieve, do your research, and be prepared for the project to be ever-evolving.
Working for Vax, my brief was to map out their 4 main customer journeys; making it easier for the company to see where their product offering and customer advocacy could be improved. The Customer Service team were instrumental in providing the research I needed to complete the project.
The 4 main customer journeys for Vax were:
The journey a customer takes up to the point of deciding to purchase.
In store, online, via their Contact Centre or from DRTV, where and how, right up to the point of getting a product home.
From getting the product out of the box to frequency of use and DIY maintenance.
What happens when things go wrong.
For each of these journeys, the following stages and scenarios were then mapped out:
Every single part of the brand a potential customer would come into contact with; from the product itself to TV advertising and websites
Each stage a potential customer would go through
Points of contact
Between consumer and company, between the company’s different departments interacting with each other behind the scenes, and the support processes that facilitated all of these interactions
After the project, Vax had a huge document; and I mean massive – one of the journeys got printed and it was 2 meters in length! The document contained a wealth of knowledge unique to the company, and having the different journeys mapped out made the pain points and opportunities for improvement easy to spot and therefore act upon.
There are many ways to map out your customer journey. It’s not always easy, but I’ve done it and could help you with yours. Get in touch and we can chat things through.