You might think a customer experience map is not practical or useful for your company. Why do we need another customer experience map when we already have the customer journey map, right? Not exactly. In reality, the cases of success using this tool continue to increase.
Why? Because the experience map gives us a general understanding of a Customer Experience. Therefore, it has become a great addition to many companies’ processes and strategies, reflected in their overall product sales.
In a competitive environment like the current one, managing a customer experience map will put you one step ahead in the “race” to generate value for your customers and differentiate yourself from your competition along their Customer Journey.
The design of the customer experience is key to the management of service since it will allow us to know what customers feel, what they expect, and what motivates them to buy.
But the big question arises: how do we map the customer experience? To identify the moments that a customer lives with your company, along with the points of contact and opportunities for improvement, you must use the customer experience map widely used in organizations to understand their customer journey further.
In this post, we will go over the experience map definition, the main differences between the customer journey map, why it is essential, its elements, and its benefits. Happy reading!
What is an Experience Map?
An experience map is a visualization of a complete end-to-end experience mapping experience that a “generic” person goes through to achieve a goal.
This experience is agnostic to a specific business or product. It is used to understand human behavior in general.
Remember, the customer experience reaches all interactions: from attraction to loyalty. Also, you should know that its scope is holistic, uniting the business around the customer’s vision.
Although your company cannot completely control the customer experience because it implies mastering perceptions and emotions, it can be prepared to offer WOW experiences and correct what needs to be rethought.
Experience Map vs. Customer Journey Map: Is there a difference?
Yes, there is! But the truth is, they can be easily mixed up. The confusion is given because both maps are usually divided into similar lanes: phases, actions, thoughts, and emotions. So, visually, companies tend to think they are interchangeable concepts. Fact is, there is a silver line between both concepts. Let’s review them.
The Customer Journey Map represents a client’s path in their interactions with the company.
The latter allows the customer’s relationship with the company to be understood, identifying goals, objectives and activities they carry out along their journey.
The tool helps us understand the business from the customer’s point of view, aligning the teams to prioritize actions after the experience.
Having introduced both concepts’ definitions, the main difference is that the customer journey map is way more detailed and focused on a specific business or product within the company.
In comparison, the experience map is wider and instead of focusing on one specific buyer persona, it goes through the whole customer experience in a more holistic view.
Companies usually trace the experience map first and then the customer journey map. We get the general vision of what our customer’s experience is
The experience map is characterized by:
- Representing events in chronological order
- Not tied to a specific product or service
- Offering a general human perspective of their experience with your brand and other businesses
On the other hand, the customer journey map is:
- Tied to a specific product or service
- Reflects on the customer perspective (including the way of thinking, thoughts and emotions)
- Creates a map for each buyer’s persona
- Connects to a client’s objective achievement
What’s the importance of an experience map?
If we want to provide a better customer experience, the best way to know what they need will be through the collection of information in the form of:
- Customer surveys
- Focus groups
You can view and use our sample customer survey templates in your organization; they are ready to use.
It is essential to learn how to do a research market study, since it will give you the necessary tools to learn more about this type of function. To create a customer experience map, research is vital.
That is why old assumptions and what we “think we know” about our client (without reviewing) are two things you should leave behind. Only then will you be able to create an ideal customer experience.
Learning to make a customer experience map is crucial since you will be able to execute the following actions:
- Reduce satisfaction gaps
Making a customer experience map will allow you to identify gaps between what you offer as a company and what your customers expect from you. If you don’t, your competition will likely improve and, before long, you’ll wonder: where did my customers go?
- Empathize with the client’s needs
When you conduct market research on your customers, ask them about the experience attributes they value most. This is key to offering your customers the WOW effect in the consumption experience.
To conquer customers, the idea is to learn to create experiences that leave them speechless.
Remember that there are also pain points. These unsatisfactory moments must be analyzed through a customer experience map as part of the customer touchpoints.
This helps to prioritize solutions depending on the level of influence they have on the overall experience.
- Find out how customers feel
Using a customer experience map, you will know how they feel at each point of contact with your company. This will enable your team to work on common issues and build unforgettable moments.
- Identify the customer touchpoints
The touchpoints are moments when the client communicates with the company before or after consuming your articles and services. They are fundamental elements in designing the customer experience map.
What should you consider to find the points of contact with your client?
This is what any company should keep in mind:
Contact before locating your business: at this point, ask the client how they found your business.
Contact while they are in your business: here, you should inquire about why they are visiting your business. That is, the reasons he had to approach and the need that led him to that point.
Contact after buying in your business: the final meeting, in which you find out how the customer’s buying experience and their encounter with the business was. Dig into whether they were able to resolve your issue or if they provided good customer service, for instance.
Keep in mind that customer loyalty and the recommendation of your brand to more people (word of mouth) will depend on these points of contact.
If you like reading about what is an experience map, you might find it interesting learning about customer journey vs customer experience: the difference.
What benefits does the customer experience map provide to a company?
We cannot discuss the customer experience map without evaluating this type of resource’s benefits for the company in question.
According to recent studies, if you analyze the impact that managing the customer experience has had, companies can obtain:
- 24.9% average year-over-year increase in progressive revenue from marketing campaigns
- A 21.2% reduction in service costs
- 16.8% of the sales cycle
This is what managing the right customer journey produces. But, beyond the figures, drafting this type of plan offers endless opportunities for your business, such as:
- It can increase the degree of commitment and customer loyalty by optimizing channels.
- You can eliminate the friction located in customer touchpoints.
- Transition from a company-focused perspective to a more customer-focused one.
- Close any type of interdepartmental gap that exists in your company.
- Target average users of specific customers, having appropriate marketing campaigns for their identity.
- Understand the circumstances that could generate irregularities in some specific quantitative data.
- Develop an ROI evaluation of future investments, in terms of the consumer’s user experience.
These are some of the advantages offered by having this type of resource at hand. If you want to see your customers’ emotions about your company improve, bet on creating a customer experience map.
Read about the consumer decision journey.
What elements should the customer experience map have?
First of all, certain events can happen before, during, and after a customer’s interaction with your brand. So, the customer experience map can vary in the contact points and channels and not have the same duration length.
Several aspects of the customer experience map are vital, as they will help better understand how this tool can serve your business. Let’s review them:
This element of the customer experience map will help you understand the consumer, according to the actions they take or intend to take concerning your product or service.
To further understand this point, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your client doing?
- What makes the customer not advance to the next stage of the purchase process?
- What are the actions that a client needs to move forward?
Answering these questions is crucial to understanding the role of this element in the experience map.
This point of the customer journey map is based on what is behind the action: the intention, the feeling that drives the public to make a decision or, at least, consider executing some activity.
In other words, it is about what could drive a customer to move to the next point on the experience map. It is also important to give reasons for this decision’s objective.
Is it about solving a problem or need of this client? It is imperative to know what they are experimenting with your brand, to help them fix their issue or enhance an already good experience.
It is related to the previous points of the customer experience map. Questions are key to knowing the matter to be addressed and the target to be aimed at.
Some of the questions to which we are referring are the following:
- What are the doubts and questions that the client has?
- Do you need or are you looking for a particular product/service?
- Are you confused about the purchase process or the product in question?
The secret is in the fact of beginning to recognize the phase in which the consumer may have more questions and can answer them more clearly.
- Critical points
These elements are essential to designing and executing the customer experience map needed for your business. Pay attention to the little details, and don’t miss the opportunity to devise the best plan.
The critical points we refer to include elements related to the company and the ease you can offer the client during their experience. For example:
- What are the obstacles that prevent clients from being able to advance to the next phase?
- What is the buying process like for them?
- Is the price accessible?
Those are the elements of the customer experience map that you cannot miss when designing this project.
How to map the customer experience?
Being a versatile tool, its use has diversified. The idea is that the means for customer experience management adapt to your company and not the other way around.
The following are the essential steps to designing your first customer experience map:
- Identify your customer
At first, you should analyze who your client is. And the truth is that your company can have multiple types of customers. However, with the experience map, you should be focusing on one overall generic customer profile.
Focus on understanding, in-depth, what their motivations and expectations are. You must go so deep that you must know how your customers think and feel.
Once you’ve identified your customer’s general profile, it’s essential to understand their motivations and expectations.
If you are planning on creating next the customer journey map, we recommend this customer journey canva template if you want to know what questions you should ask your customers to segment them.
- Be aware of the critical moments of the experience
To understand what your customers think and feel, you need to know what touchpoints they experience before, during, and after purchasing your product or service. The customer experience map can comprise multiple points of interaction, which you must identify and manage.
A key issue is that you identify the level of influence of each point for the client. For example, if we’re talking about Starbucks, a customer might be forgiven if there were no napkins on the table. On the other hand, the entire experience could be ruined if the barista doesn’t give the customer a smile or the coffee isn’t what they expected. Imagine if they have the name of someone else on it?
- Empathize with the customer
Once you have identified the moments within the customer experience map, it is time to ask yourself: what causes the customer stress or annoyance? In that sense, you must have a deep understanding of what your client expects, thinks and feels; with the aim that you can design a value proposition that exceeds their expectations.
As we have discussed, the construction of the customer experience map is based on research and insights, not assumptions.
- Record the touchpoints
Just as you identified the WOW moments, it is time for you to record each of your customers’ interactions with your company’s products and services. Continuing with the Starbucks example, the first customer will order through the coffee app and go through the drive-thru.
In contrast, the second could walk to the cafe and order directly from the store. If we make a complete list of your contact points, it will look like this:
- The arrival at the place
- Waiting in line
- The interaction with the barista
- Placing the order
- The payment of the account
- Receipt of the order
- The use of bathrooms
- The use of the internet
- Coffee outlet
When making a customer experience map, it is advisable to map the entire experience to have a clearer view of all the customer touchpoints. Not all clients may request Wi-Fi or use the restrooms, but it is essential that you know what their experience would be like if they decide to use them.
- Design the customer experience map
Once you have identified all the previous elements, it will be time to design your customer experience map. When doing so, you must include:
- Contact points
- What the customer expects
- What the customer receives
- The way the customer feels
- Evaluate the WOW moments vs. your company’s performance
Identify the most critical moments for the client, those to which they give the highest priority when analyzing their satisfaction. In that sense, it will be key to identify which ones you are doing well and which ones are not so much.
Based on this, you will be able to define action plans for each improvement opportunity identified.
- Identify key processes
Although it is not exactly a part of the customer experience map, it is essential that you know, in-depth, the processes and the areas that participate in each point of contact.
If you want to take your knowledge to the next level, you should know another CX tool: service blueprint, which works as a strategic tool to design the service of companies and, thus, have a complete description of the parts of the provision of a service. (visible and non-visible elements).
- Define the metrics and KPIs
If there is something you should not forget is the measurement. To do this, you should consider the following points:
- What will be measured?
- How will it be measured?
- How often will it be measured?
- Who will be responsible?
This is the only way to find improvement opportunities in a customer experience map. For example, if you detect pain points and define action plans to improve the situation, measuring is the only way to know if you are on the right track and if your plans are working.
How do I know how many customers I have retained and how many will not buy from me again? The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a management system that will allow you to measure customer loyalty based on a post-purchase action: the recommendation. This system is complemented by the customer experience map and is based on a single basic question:
How likely will you recommend our service/product to a friend or family member?
The customer has the best possible shopping experience should be your priority as a company. Not only to ensure an immediate sale but also to continue being a regular consumer of your products.
You are now ready to start creating your customer experience map
We covered a lot of things, so let’s go through all the key points:
- An experience map it’s used to understand customer behavior in general
- Customer experience reaches all interactions: from attraction to loyalty
- The customer journey map is focused on the phases, actions, thoughts, and emotions of buyer personas or customer archetypes. In contrast, the experience map focuses in the overall broader experience of a generic customer profile.
- An experience map helps reduce satisfaction gaps, empathize with your customer, and identify the touchpoints your customer goes through.
- Your map experience’s main elements are actions, motivations, questions, and critical points.
- Mapping your customer’s experience is a crucial part of developing your CX program, and helpful to have before jumping into a customer experience management platform software.
In conclusion, if there is a bad customer experience, users will not only refuse to return but will also influence others not to buy from you. So designing the best possible strategy with tools like the experience map could be the key to improving your customers’ experience with your company.
But that’s only the start. Once you have your experience map and customer journey map set, you can start using a customer experience management platform such as QuestionPro CX, to send your customer surveys, collect their feedback and close the loop while tracking the sentiment of your customers.
At QuestionPro CX we offer you the best tools to monitor the customer journey benefits in your organization. Contact us! We would love to team up with you to help you achieve better customer experiences!