Creating a great customer experience is becoming increasingly important. It’s not only about the product you offer. It is in the way you offer it, the experience that surrounds it (the service), that you can make a difference. Your marketing activities play a key role in this. Your campaigns partly shape the image and feeling that customers have of your products and brands. You want your customer to feel happy when they’ve made another beautiful dish with your product, spoiled their customers with a plate of tasty chips, or when they’ve experience your campaign. You want that these positive experiences are then all linked to your products. Because that means customers will buy more of your products.
“88% of B2B companies say that customer experience is crucial to growth strategy.” (Customertalk)
Companies like Coolblue, Starbucks, and Efteling are proof that it is a successful strategy. They know how to retain customers thanks to the customer experience they provide from start to finish. These companies go beyond the functional qualities of their product. You go to Starbucks for the experience, not the coffee. The Starbucks experience means you are prepared to pay double for the coffee.
We are seeing more and more B2B food companies shifting their strategy focus. They also want to deliver a great customer experience because they know that this makes them stand out and gives them a competitive edge. In short: more success.
Greater success with your marketing is exactly what you want, too. Where do you begin? It starts with understanding your customers, what they experience and how they behave when they encounter your brand and/or products. Understand that your customer’s experience is not just about functional product qualities (brand, price, etc.), but the entire emotional experience from initial research to the purchase. Customer journey mapping helps you identify this, looking at things from the customer’s perspective and discovering where opportunities exist for you to improve the customer experience.
In this article, we explain what customer journey mapping is, demonstrate our updated customer journey map and describe what the essential components are and how it will benefit you.
What is customer journey mapping?
Customer journey mapping is a visualisation technique that depicts the customer’s experience before, during and after the purchasing process, also known as the customer journey. It helps you examine the entire process from the customer perspective.
Figure 1. GROUP7 customer journey model based on McKinsey
It starts with delving in and exploring your users. You then use a customer journey map as a tool to visualise all the insights you have gained about your customers.
“What’s important to remember is that customer journeys aren’t created; they’re discovered. When we try to create journeys, we fall into one of these two traps: we either hallucinate customer needs or throw away the customer experience playbook altogether and focus on the needs we know intimately: our own.” Jack Sorofman of Gartner
A customer journey map allows you to see at a glance what steps your customer takes during the different stages of the customer journey and what the experience is like at each contact moment with the organisation (direct and indirect). These contact moments are called touchpoints. The customer journey is different for each buyer persona and for each product.
There are a wide variety of customer journey maps, but they all share the same purpose: providing an analysis of the customer journey from the perspective of the organisation and the customer. You then lay them on top of each other – ‘mapping them’ – revealing the gaps in your current customer journey. This is then used to help you start improving. This is effective in enhancing the ‘as-is’ situation in the short run while also improving the effectiveness of your marketing and sales budget. Perhaps your ‘as is’ situation is still far from your ideal. That’s the next step. You will then start looking at the ‘to be’ situation. You will explore the ideal situation with your (potential) client. That includes observations (customer behaviours), in-depth interviews, collecting data from CRM and online behaviour. More on that later.
You can find the customer journey map that we use to map out your current situation below. We explain the most essential components of the customer journey map.
Figure 2. Customer journey map – as is
Most common touchpoints
Map out how the user interacts with your company and what the most relevant touchpoints are. Customers are interacting with organisations through more channels and social media platforms now than a few years ago, which has made the customer journey more complex (Lemon and Verhoef). All of these interactions shape the customer’s perception of your organisation. The most common touchpoints within B2B Food include wholesaler websites, wholesaler brochures, email newsletters and sales representatives (Source: GROUP7 Professional Community).
Here we examine what emotions the customer experiences at each contact moment: positive, negative or neutral? This involves both direct and indirect customer perceptions. The experience the customer has is based on the entire journey they find themselves on, not just one or two snapshots.
Remember: without proper customer insight, there is no reliable customer journey. So be sure to interview your customers and use customer surveys to identify needs and behaviour. That is best done beforehand as it will help you keep an open mind. If that can’t happen, then do it afterwards and test any assumptions, making sure you have been examining actual behaviour and emotions and not just confirming your own beliefs.
This part of the customer journey is the most important as it is an indication of what the underlying customer needs are and how the customer behaves. By delving deeper into your customer, you will also better understand where your brand, product or company can make a difference to them. That will help you retain your customers.
Moments of truth: do you win over customers or lose them during the customer journey?
By mapping it out, you can see what the most frequently used touchpoints and experiences are. And what the triggers are that make customers decide to proceed with a purchase or make them pull out. These essential decision points within the customer journey are called moments of truth – where you win or lose your customers. This is your chance to make a difference.
Points for improvement: where are there gaps in your customer journey
A customer journey map reveals where there are areas for improvement when it comes to creating the ideal customer experience. We call those the gaps in the customer journey: where are the touchpoints not well aligned? What makes customers leave? What requires extra attention to ensure a good customer experience? Make a note of these improvements on your customer journey map so the actions that need to be taken are clear to everyone.
How can customer journey mapping benefit you?
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.