We have for you the steps to create an effective customer journey and ensure that you are creating an incredible experience for your customers at each point of contact with your brand. Keep reading and discover how to achieve it!
Recent trends indicate customers are leaving brands faster than they used to. They lose interest midway, much sooner than organizations expect them to.
This abrupt loss of interest in a product/service is fueled by the heightened awareness and expectations customers have, thanks to available online resources and the influence of social media.
Today’s consumers know they have options and are not averse to keep trying until they find the brand of their dreams.
That said, customer experience is the only differentiator that can convince an informed customer to stay loyal to a brand.
How to create an effective customer journey?
The customer journey is the summary of everything that the customer experiences in their relationship with a company from start to finish. This journey begins with the first contact customers have with your company, and the goal is always to create a long-term relationship.
However, it is not an easy goal, so the main objective of the customer journey is to try to understand what works and what does not. Gather insights, foster a shared customer-centric vision across the organization, and understand how to best meet customer needs.
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Benefits of designing an effective customer journey
A business needs to manage the customer journey from the start. They can create a map as soon as they can get some consumer data to do some research. Mapping the customer journey requires more than gut feelings and hunches, as solid data and behavioral analytics should back it up.
Before addressing the steps to create a customer journey, we have for you the benefits of carrying out this process:
- Creating a customer journey map is a unique opportunity for companies to get inside their customers’ heads and gain valuable insights into how a brand is perceived.
- They inspire empathy in employees, and they’ll gain clarity about what buyers want and how they’re feeling often in the process.
- With a proper understanding and clear metrics, you can master customer behavior patterns and roadblocks, equipping yourself to develop best practices and anticipate future needs.
Steps to create an effective customer journey
Next, we have for you a guide with the steps to create a customer journey that will exceed customer expectations.
Step 1: Create a customer profile
Understanding the customer journey begins with identifying your buyer persona. How is your client? You may think you know your customers and their needs, but how well do you?
You need more than a superficial understanding of your customer to create an effective customer journey map. Ask your customers what you need to know and they will fill in the blanks for you.
Online surveys are a great way to do this. From Net Promoter Score and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys to Customer Effort Score, there are numerous ways to collect customer information and understand them better.
In addition, the data will help you discover how they came to know you, what prompted them to select your product/service, and what obstacles they faced on their journey.
Once you have collected the necessary data, you can create a fictional customer profile to represent your ideal customer.
It is not necessary to cram the characteristics of several personas into a single buyer persona. You can have multiple buyer personas, representing diverse customer bases.
Step 2: Define the behavior stage and identify your goals
Another step in creating an effective customer journey is to discover how customers learned about your brand.
There are 5 distinct phases your prospect goes through: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention, and Advocacy.
While most clients go through all of these phases in one way or another, it cannot be represented in a linear journey from A to B.
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More often than not, customers take a round trip, mixed, cyclic, or multi-channel path to reach the end point. Therefore, it makes sense to map behavior distinctively for each of these broader phases and assign a goal to each phase.
If you’re creating your first customer experience map, a smart approach is to pick the average customer and map out the path they would typically take the first time they come into contact with your brand.
It is vital that your customer touchpoints have a purpose and determine if customers achieve their goals by going through this route.
Step 3: Make a list of customer touchpoints
If you don’t know what your customer’s journey with your company is like, how can you hope to optimize it?
Touchpoints are all the places where your customers can interact with you. It refers to any time they come into contact with your company, at any stage of the buying cycle, using any channel, for any purpose.
It is nothing more than an end-to-end map of the entire customer journey, from the first point of contact to the last.
The objective of this exercise is to analyze if you are reaching the goals that have been established for them in each phase and to optimize these points to have a better performance.
Not all touchpoints should be treated in the same way, as some have a more decisive impact than others. You also can’t afford to completely ignore any touchpoints, as they are all opportunities to listen to customers and can be leveraged to make the process smoother and easier.
Step 4: Identify pain points
Do you know that every touchpoint can become a pain point if not carefully considered? When tracing them, it is inevitable that you will encounter potholes and obstacles.
This is one of the most important steps to creating a customer journey, it is the backbone of creating a journey map to improve the customer experience, solve these problems and fix the potholes that customers often find in their journey.
The customer journey map allows you to be prepared and proactive. You can take the pulse of your customers’ motivations, needs, areas of friction and pain points and plan accordingly.
If you like reading about this you might be interested in learning about what is a customer journey dashboard.
It’s easy to get carried away with this step and end up optimizing each of these touchpoints for the sake of optimization. The problem with that treatment is that you sidetrack your ultimate goal of a smoother customer experience that can result in more conversions and retention.
Step 5: Choose a trip and the map
A brand can have several different customer journeys, and this is the stage where you choose the journey that is closest to your goals. Finally, you can draw the map!
Some brands are better suited to an end-to-end customer journey model, while other brands find that their goals are more aligned with a map that focuses on a specific part of a given journey.
They often fall into any of these 4 categories: Current State, Everyday Life, Future State, and Blueprint Customer Journey Map.
Current State: These types of journey maps are used to continually improve the customer journey. As the name implies, they are about how customers are interacting with your business today, visualizing your customers’ actions, thoughts, and emotions in the moment. It highlights the risks and opportunities in the current state of affairs and sheds light on actions you can take to improve interactions.
Everyday life: Visualize everything that an average customer experiences on a daily basis. This is a great way to address unmet needs even before they realize what they want.
Future State: Although useful, these are the least popular of the customer journey maps. The focus here is to predict and establish an ideal process for the future. This is done by estimating the actions, thoughts and emotions of customers in their future interactions with the company.
Blueprint: It is a master plan that unites the journey of your business with that of the client. Built on top of any of the other three customer journey types, the Blueprint model is an advanced map that creates a single, organization-wide understanding of where they want to go.
This is the middle ground that bridges the customer journey map with real organizational change. Rather than being a fourth type of customer journey map, a Service Blueprint can best be described as a counterpart, made for employees.
Step 6: Determine the course of action
The last step in creating a successful customer journey is finding lasting solutions and achieving higher customer retention rates.
Tracking the emotional and physical process of each client is a laborious task, but with a guaranteed impact on the journey.
Now that we’ve broken down the customer journey into phases and ensured that each step is aligned to a measurable goal, the only step left is to restructure touchpoints to hit goals quickly.
The goal is to improve products and services, maximizing customer success. Every recommended action and plan formulated in this step is supported by real customer experiences, making them almost unbeatable.
Importance of creating an effective customer journey
When done right, customer journey maps can bring together various departments in the company to create a better customer experience. They can serve your team well for a good couple of years and remain a long-term asset across developments.
The customer journey is also useful for predicting brand success and forecasting customer behavior to plan ahead. At the end of the day, it’s another effective way to deliver highly relevant and personalized experiences to customers.
Start executing the steps to create an effective customer journey and deliver the best customer experience. We wish you success in the process!
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