What strategy is your company using to improve the customer experience?

Hopefully, you’re taking multiple approaches to enhance your customer service department.

Here’s the trick.

Are you looking at the customer experience strategy from an internal company viewpoint?

Or are you trying to see the customer’s perspective?

Journey maps help you get inside the mind of today’s customer.

That’s why these tools are super effective and can ultimately boost your sales.

What’s a customer journey map?

Essentially, it’s a story.

It details the experience a customer goes through from their initial contact with your company to a purchase.

The map also outlines and explains the procedure of managing the customers as they form and develop a lasting relationship with your business.

Now, look, it’s nearly impossible to outline every single step a customer takes during this process.

That’s not the goal of the journey map.

You need to identify the most important avenues that would cause customers to behave a certain way or take a specific action.

Create a timeline with digital touch points throughout each phase of the map.

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Try to incorporate the thoughts, feelings, and emotions your customers may have throughout their personal journeys.

Understanding how your customers feel throughout each phase will help you improve conversion rates and retention rates.

Ultimately, this will help you to:

  1. enhance the overall customer experience
  2. increase sales

In this post, I’ll show you how to create a customer journey map for your business.

Identify the point of view of your customer

Again, we want to look at these maps through the eyes of your customer.

This may be difficult to comprehend at first.

Try your best to take a step back from the process that works best for your company and get inside the mind of the consumer.

Here’s an easy example.

For practical purposes, let’s say you own a restaurant.

You could create a journey map for lunch and dinner customers or create a map for your catering customers.

Yes, both of these types of customers are important.

But they will likely take very different paths from initial contact to final sale and relationship management.

One map does not apply to all customers.

Here’s an example.

This map creates the profile of a woman who needs a phone and Internet service.

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The map above identified 4 phases of the customer’s journey:

  • Inquiry
  • Comparison
  • Purchase
  • Installation

While in reality the customer may take more steps throughout the process, this map outlines the most important parts.

We go from initial contact to installation.

Look how the company identified the viewpoint of this customer.

The customer is moving.

The map for this customer looks different from the map of a customer who needs phone and Internet services because they are unhappy with their current provider.

Do you understand the difference?

Depending on your company’s structure, services, and industry, you may need to create multiple maps to truly understand your customers.

Let’s continue with the customer profile above.

She’s moving.

So the customer may feel:

  • Overwhelmed
  • Anxious
  • Sensitive to price

While a customer who isn’t moving, but is simply unsatisfied with another company, may not have the same feelings.

For example, they may not be as overwhelmed.

This customer may not be as price sensitive either.

In fact, they may even be willing to pay more if they can get better service.

The first step of your customer journey map process is identifying which customer point of view you’re going to outline.

Improve information gaps between departments

The customer journey map is a great opportunity for different departments to work together.

Your lead and development team needs to be part of your strategic operation process.

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I’m amazed by how many companies thought that their lead and development department was lagging in certain aspects of the business.

This problem starts at the top, with ownership and management.

Don’t let your company fall behind.

Include representatives from every department in your meetings while you create a customer journey map.

Here’s why.

Sharing information about the customer experience can help eliminate instances where the customer gets frustrated.

In isolation, your marketing department may have improved acquisition and retention rates from previous years.

The accounting department says sales are good and revenue is up.

Your software development team has optimized your website for mobile devices.

So as a manager, you think everything is operating smoothly, right?

There’s always room for improvement.

Bringing these departments together while you build a journey map will help everyone identify flaws in your system.

Analyze the customer behavior

To determine why your customer takes a certain action, you first need to figure out what those actions are.

How do customers behave on your website?

You may know your click rates, subscription rates, and conversion rates, but you can take this a step further when analyzing their behavior.

Services like Crazy Egg can help you figure out where the visitors on your website are spending their time and improve those areas.

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You can use critical information like this when you’re creating your journey map.

It will help you put yourself in the shoes of the customer as they navigate your website.

Making the proper changes can help improve your conversions and boost sales.

You can also use Google Analytics to generate a behavior flow report.

Here’s a quick step-by-step process for accessing these reports.

Step #1: Navigate to the “Behavior” menu in the “Reporting” tab.

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When you click the Behavior button, you’ll see a drop-down menu.

Navigate to “Behavior Flow” to get started.

Step #2: Choose how you want to view the report.

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Go to the “Site Section” menu and choose from the following options:

  • Automatically Grouped Pages
  • Events
  • Pages and Events

The reports will show how the traffic flows on your website.

You’ll get to see connections and exits, which help you analyze the behavior.

Your content grouping page will show all the points grouped by certain rules or tracking codes.

The events report will analyze something specific on your website, such as a download or video play.

Pages and events allow you to analyze a single page or an assortment of pages on your website.

Step #3: Analyze the behavior in each report.

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“Nodes” are the points on your page where traffic flows.

Anything that’s green is a page node, and the blue sections of the reports are event nodes.

The connection shows the path from one node to the next.

You can use these tools to help you analyze your customer behavior while you’re making a journey map.

This process works well with the previous point about getting all of your departments involved during this discussion.

Understanding the customer behavior on your website can help you determine areas where the customer is getting frustrated.

Use this information to make the necessary improvements.

Build your customer journey map

Now that you’ve gotten inside the mind of your customer, met with all of your departments, and analyzed the customer behavior, it’s time to build the map.

There are tons of different ways you can do this.

You could write it out by hand, use a whiteboard, put sticky notes on a wall, or use some kind of graphic design software on your computer.

Another option is using software that’s specifically designed for building a customer journey map, like SuiteCx.

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SuiteCX is all about improving customer experience.

Their customer journey mapping tools can help make sure you don’t skip any steps in this process.

The software is really easy to navigate, and the visuals are a great way to comprehend the information.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide of their platform.

You can still apply these steps to any software you’re using, even if it’s not SuiteCX.

Step #1: Start by brainstorming.

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Brainstorming is a great way to create better content for your customers.

Start at the beginning.

How does the customer walk through your doors? Or get to your website?

The brainstorming area allows you to put your thoughts down.

The example above shows some lead generation options for a medical clinic.

Remember how earlier we said your journey map doesn’t need to include every single component of the journey?

For example, the clinic may decide not to include brochures in gyms into their journey map.

These leads probably aren’t as prominent as doctor referrals and their landing page.

Step #2: Organize the leads.

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The SuiteCX software lets you drag components from your brainstorming list directly onto a map.

From here you can build an arrow from one part of the map to another.

You can include notes for each step of the process that focuses on the customers’ thoughts and emotions.

Use the information you found earlier about the customers’ mindsets and behaviors.

Make sure all of your departments are present during this process so that you can minimize information gaps.

This will ensure your map is more accurate and effective.

Step #3: View a graph of your plan.

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The graph will help you analyze and plan any changes you’re implementing to improve the customer experience.

First, you’ll see their current journey.

Next, you can plan how to implement the changes you’ve identified.

You may need to ease into this to avoid completely shutting down your conversion methods during a transitional time.

Finally, you can project and implement the optimized map.

Step #4: Outline the customer’s physical journey (if applicable).

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This tool is perfect for businesses with retail locations.

Map out the physical steps your customer will take as they step through your door.

What does the customer see?

How will you generate a sale based on your current layout?

It’s a great opportunity for you to analyze your store.

Step #5: View the finalized version of your maps.

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Yes, maps. Plural.

Remember earlier I said different customers would take different journeys?

You need to have a map for each customer.

The illustration above shows a great example of segmenting your maps by demographic.

Millennials’ first form of contact is through Google AdWords, while Boomers get contacted through direct mail.

Boomers will pick up the phone to call for more information, while the Millennials will go to your landing page.

Each map is different, but the end result is the same.

Conversions and increased sales.

Make sure the finalized version of each map is available to everyone in your business.

They need to understand the importance of each step of the journey.

Conclusion

Journey maps help you get inside the minds of your customers.

They outline and explain the different steps a customer could take throughout their experience with your business.

It starts with the initial point of contact, goes through the conversion process, and continues through the customer life cycle.

Identify the viewpoint of the customer before you create a map.

If you’re building multiple maps, you’ll have to do this more than once.

Next, analyze the customer behavior.

There are ways you can track customer habits on digital platforms.

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You can use tools like the heat map from Crazy Egg or the behavior flow reports from Google Analytics.

This will help you gain a better understanding of each step your customer takes throughout the process.

For example, 47% of buyers view 3-5 content pieces before contacting a sales representative.

Build your map.

Consult with all the department heads in your company.

Bringing everyone together to meet about the customer journey will help ensure there aren’t any information gaps causing customer frustration.

Once those gaps get identified, you can all work together to come up with a solution that improves the customer experience.

Ultimately, your sales numbers will grow as you enhance the overall customer experience.

What tools will you use to get inside the minds of your customers and create your first journey map?



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