Customer journey mapping is the beginning of the journey towards creating a better customer experience with your company/brand. This does not stop at a one-off visualisation of the customer journey. A customer journey mindset involves a continuous improvement process. You can only actually deliver an excellent customer experience if you exceed customer expectations. You do this by going the extra mile every single time. By looking beyond the touchpoints and working with the total experience.
“Doing what your customers expect will create satisfied customers at best. But not fans. You will only manage that if you exceed expectations by providing an impressive experience. Organisations that succeed in adding the human touch to a digitised customer relationship will be the winners of the future” – Jos burgers, author of One fan per day.
How do you make sure you move from a touchpoint mindset to a customer journey mindset?
A customer journey mindset requires a different approach. We present one example that explains the difference between a touchpoint mindset and a customer journey mindset.
Example: trade fairs as a touchpoint or a part of the customer journey
Many companies consider trade fairs to be important touchpoints for attracting new customers and/or keeping existing customers loyal. That’s why a considerable amount of effort goes into organising trade fairs. After all, it’s also your company’s calling card. Your brand and your product or service need to look great. You want to give visitors a total experience at that very moment. Yet the customer’s experience at your exhibition stand is not limited to their trade fair visit. The customer’s experience often starts well before the trade fair with the first contact they encounter, e.g. an advertisement or a personal invitation. Every other contact opportunity before, during and after the trade fair also affects the customer experience. Such as: is it easy to make a first-time purchase? Is the product available from their own wholesaler? Will there be a follow-up? Does the product offer a solution?
A customer journey mindset goes one step further. Are you already working with this approach?
We developed the customer journey management roadmap made up of 3 phases and 7 steps.
The 3 phases of customer journey management:
- ‘As is’ situation: You take an in-depth look at the current situation from both an organisational and customer point of view
- ‘To be’ situation: you define your ambitions based on the insights gained and your ideal situation
- Continuous improvement: you translate your long-term ambitions into measurable short-term goals (90-day plan). By moving, measuring and learning, you constantly keep improving.
Figure 1. GROUP7 customer journey model based on the Marketing Design Model – Eveline van Zeeland
Getting started with customer journey mapping will offer you insight into the customer experience, which in turn will help you improve it. Applying this method will help you understand the difference between:
- The expectations from the organisation and the actual customer experience (the organisation’s perspective vs. the customer’s perspective)
- The actual situation and the target situation (‘as is’ vs. ‘to be’)
In this blog, we zoom in further on the ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ situations.
Phase 1. Delving deeper and discovering – As is situation
You want to provide the ideal customer experience with your business and brands to help you retain users throughout the customer journey. To turn them from browsing users into customers who buy and keep on buying.
First, decide which specific topic within the customer journey you intend to work on. What do you want to find out exactly? This could include aspects such as what part of the customer journey, which brand/products, what online channels and what target group.
Complete the top part of the customer journey map with all the information you already have about your buyer persona. (If you don’t have a buyer persona yet, read more about that in this blog).
2. Organisation’s perspective
In many cases, you can already gain a lot of insight about your users from existing data and knowledge within your organisation. Start by looking at what information is available. What insight do you have about who your customers are and how they behave (buying behaviour). This could include: wholesale data, market data, google analytics, online data tools, customer conversations with field sales, back office, experiences of other employees, etc. It is also nice to follow the customer journey yourself, asking your colleagues who can look at it with fresh eyes. You can often get a lot of relevant insight already from that.
Use existing data to identify the most common touchpoints. Add all of the touchpoints to the customer journey map and mark which ones are important, and very important. Make an assessment of the customer experience as well: what touchpoints provide a positive, neutral or negative experience? What do you expect the moments of truth to be.
3. Customer’s perspective – map out the customer experience
Then you look at it from the customer’s perspective. This is what the user actually does or experiences during the customer journey and how the different touchpoints are perceived. There is often a difference between what you as an organisation believe the customer experience to be and the actual customer experience. You want to know how the customer behaves, how they proceed through the customer journey and what they experience in the process.
You can only design your online marketing campaign so much from your own vision. If users behave differently, it will not be effective. Users will always try to take the shortcut (the elephant path), so make sure you don’t put any unnecessary barriers in to reach your goal. In fact, that could cause you to lose the customer. What information are they looking for when, what is important, what channels are they using for this. Look at your customer with an open mind and allow yourself to be surprised.
By immersing yourself in how users behave throughout the customer journey, you will gain insight into where there are areas for improvement and where you can best make a difference. Make sure to gather insight at multiple levels. What someone says does not necessarily match what someone does or experiences. This is reflected in the model below. You want to identify all of those needs. You can find a lot of customer information online, such as what is being said about your brand or category on social media. You can’t find out about tacit and latent needs through direct questions. This requires more thorough research such as in-depth interviews or behavioural observations. Observing digital behaviour can be done, for example, by using heatmaps from Hotjar.
Figure 2. Knowledge at different levels.
Phase 2. Determining a direction – To be situation
4. Discover the gaps in the customer journey
The customer journey map has now been completed for your current situation from both an organisational and customer perspective. From the customer, you now know what the key touchpoints (moments of truth) are and where the differences are between the experience expected by the organisation and the actual customer experience.
Ask yourself the following questions: Where are you winning over your customers? Where are the problem areas where you’re losing customers? Where are gaps in your customer journey (difference between the expected experience and the actual experience)?
Based on these insights, you can then draw up opportunities for improvement for each phase of the customer journey. Complete the key areas for improvement and/or learning points for each phase on the customer journey map. Then determine collectively which of these points adds the most value for the customer (user value) and mark this down. This is how you make your customer journey map action-oriented and can instantly see what the key areas for improvement are. This does not yet reflect your ambitions. We do this in the target situation.
5. Target situation
You have now analysed your current situation and know where the areas for improvement are on your current customer journey. Before we jump right into action, we first want to visualise the ideal situation. How does the ideal customer experience look? Be sure to look at the latent needs of your customers here as well as the ambitions of your organisation.
Then you will translate this ideal situation back to the short term. You will look at the first steps you can take to achieve the target situation. You will set short-term goals that are measurable. You will also write down the metrics you use to measure the customer journey on the map so it is clear to everyone if the objective has been achieved or not.
We have taken you through the first steps of the roadmap. Now it’s up to you to get started. Before you start, we’ll list the do’s & don’ts for you.
Customer journey mapping: Do’s & Don’ts
|Use it as a tool to enhance your customer experience
|Create it from an organisational perspective without any contact with the customer
|Look at it as a continuous improvement process to take the customer experience to the next level
|Act on a gut feeling
|Involve your customers and augment that with your latest insight: how do your customers actually behave, what is the customer experience, how do they differ from each other
|Only tackle it from 1 discipline, observing from your own ‘silo’
|Involve the entire organisation and break through the silos
|Map out what you think customers do and use that as a starting point.
|Establish action points based on gaps in the customer journey
|Use it as a one-off tool
|Use it as an ideate tool to map the target situation
|Use the same customer journey for all your customers
Want to get started with customer journey mapping?
Download the template now and get started with your first step in customer journey mapping: clarifying the issue.