It’s always funny how the simplest of exercises ends up being the one thing that gives us the biggest benefit.
Now, customer journey mapping isn’t exactly easy. No, no. That’s not what I’m saying. But the actual process of a customer journey map? It’s really quite simple.
It’s empathy. Empathy in its simplest form.
Go through what your customers and clients go through with your brand and you will get a fairly crystal-clear idea of the pains your customers have and what you can do to make it easier / better / faster.
How many times have marketers and their teams been told, “if you would just sit down and create a customer journey map, you can achieve the digital transformation you’ve been dreaming of and snatch the idle revenue that technology has been promising you for decades!”
And I’m going to be very honest with you – just because you create a customer journey map doesn’t mean you’re going to get immediate ROI, but what it will do is pave the way for exactly that – ROI – even if not in explicit monetary form.
If you read this post, you’ll learn how I use customer journey mapping to drastically improve my client’s digital experience – resulting in happier customers, more streamlined teams, and a concrete path to digital transformation.
The Many Types of Customer Journey Mapping
Before we really get into my own experiences with customer journey mapping, I just want to quickly discuss the many different types of journey mapping you can do.
There’s literally a billion different ways to build it.
We could look at every single touchpoint a customer has with your brand – from the time they begin searching your organization on Google to when they convert on one of your forms or visit a few of your blog posts. Maybe they sign up for a free trial or just download a case study. Perhaps there’s some product reviews they pour through on your site before they buy. Creating an account and logging in is always a nice thing when they do it. They might even just buy the product outright and the steps that happen after that are all documented as part of the customer journey map.
Maybe your organization has a support system where customers can call in when they have problems. Perhaps there’s a big social or community component to your business and understanding the journey a customer experiences when they angrily tweet at you (or happily tweet at you) is very important to check.
Maybe you’re a publisher / content king and you just have tons and tons of pages on your website that help you win the SEO game.
No matter the channel, it’s important to at least consider adding it to your customer journey – especially if it’s all too common for a customer to experience your brand in that way.
I also want to note that some customer journey maps will also note sentiment – there’s a few journey maps out there for utilities industries where the customer’s positive or negative sentiment is tracked. If your organization, and ultimately industry, depends on customer satisfaction in any kind of way, tracking sentiment in your journey map will probably be important for you as well.
But most importantly, when we map our customer journies, the absolute bare minimum for creating the map is tracking five key facets – Moments, People, Processes, Tools, and Data – along some part of your marketing funnel – Awareness, Convert, Nurture, for example.
I also highly recommend starting off your journey by focusing on something very specific since it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with the many different types of journies a customer may have. Focus on a specific product line, specific campaign, or person, for example.
If you start more focused, you can branch out later to the grander scale of the customer journey (and will save you the feeling of trying to boil the ocean). Start with what you think you can affect the most today. That’s where you’ll see the biggest results.
Defining the Moments
Think of a moment as the instance in which a customer is engaging with your brand. Maybe you’ve sent them an RFP. Maybe they’ve just purhased your product and are currently reading their receipt in their inbox, patiently awating shipping confirmations. Perhaps the moment is the minute after they’ve searched for something similar to your services and your ad popped up on Google.
No matter the “moment”, decide the series of moments where the customer is becoming aware of your brand all the way until they buy.
For example, one particular high-quality sports brand realized that when a customer first discovers the brand and they venture off into the different sub-brands of the website, every sport had a completely different look and feel. It was all one big brand, but still, the marketing team knew that when a brand is strong and consistent, it resonates better with the customer.
This was just the Awareness stage, or “Decide” as they preferred to call it, and already realized there was a way to make the experience better – just by changing the design of some of the pages in the website and making them much more consistent with the homepage.
The People of the Customer Journey
Now, no good customer journey is experienced without the people behind the scenes helping the customer along their way! We always have to take a moment to recognize the teams involved in every part of the journey – including the teams you don’t control. For example, are there moments when a specific group or role has to step in? Who’s responsible for the Customer at this point of the journey, for every Moment?
A great example of an organization owning every part of the journey is a very well-known entertainment company. Think amusement parks, aquariums, and then some. Every single moment a guest has with every single park is extremely meaningful because some park employee or overall corporate employee handles the guest in some way.
When they visit the website to book a campsite or room, when they purchase tickets, when they decide to bring their children to one of the amusement parks, and all the way to buying season’s tickets for the year, they make sure to think about the internal groups handling the guest with every interaction.
Your Own Internal Processes
Now, of course, when we talk about People – the teams behind the madness – we also inevitably start thinking about what they do. What’s the process that happens when someone converts on a form or they visit your booth?
Because we’re doing our best to think small – just think one single campaign – it will make the Process section of your customer journey way easier to manage. It’s also possible you’re not sure what happens after the next steps pass to another team (which is probably a red flag, to be honest). That’s okay for now.
There’s another example from a client of ours where the Process for the Marketing Team was very clearly defined in their campaigns, but it was less clear from the Sales perspective since they were primarily focused on selling to completely different customer segments. This resulted in leads being tossed ovver the fence to Sales, but without proper Technoloy and Processes in place, Sales never knew who was priority and who wasn’t! You can imagine the fallout from leads. But the Process section for each Moment was clearly defined for Marketing, at least:
- Promotion to a landing page for a webinar through three channels: email to one massive list, all of the brands’ Twitter and Facebook pages, and website feature on the Homepage.
- Any one who does not convert on the landing page will be remarketed to using Google Adword’s remarketing services
- Conversions on the landing pages will be sent a follow-up email confirming the registration. There will be a few links throughout the email to view the actual confirmation.
- A reminder is sent automatically one week before the event.
- Another reminder is sent before the event.
- Attendees are sent a Thank You email and a link to a survey.
- Cancelled registrations and those who did not show will be sent a link to view the recording.
- After the automatic responder emails happen, leads who are qualified by information only are sent to the Sales team for follow-up.
Pretty simple, right? This was just for one campaign, but after leads were sent to the Sales team, the Process ultimately stopped and there was no visibility into who became clients, who remained a lead, and who was ultimately disqualified.
But even asking the Process question was enough to better influence overall Marketing and Sales practices.
The Tools and Technology
Understanding the technology and tools behind every Moment, Process, and the People making it all work together is completely fundamental and required.
But sometimes, it’s easy to forget just how crazy it can all become. The Technology / Tools section can be easily diagrammed for this section, but don’t hesitate to write out what actually happens behind the scenes.
Some of you are accustomed to doing this anyways – especially if you’re in a corporate setting.
A great example of this section of the customer journey really working for a client of ours was when they decided to purchase Hubspot in an ecosystem of Sitecore and Salesforce. Because Sitecore and Hubspot both have the ability to create landing pages, it was a challenge to decide exactly what features of Hubspot would be used for the Marketing team and which parts of Sitecore were to be used for the Marketing team – and then, of course, what integrations to setup between all three technologies to ensure everyone had the data they needed.
In the end, it really depended on the campaigns they were planning on running.
The customer journey exercise that we led them through focused almost entirely on the “flows” between the three systems in several scenarios, so we ended up discussing several customer journies, but the consensus was crystal clear at the end of the day. The best part? The customer would never notice – which is a good thing.
Thinking About The Data
Wyanoke is a great example of a company using the big, magical thing that we’ve been told for 10 years to collect: big data.
When you get to this last part of the customer journey, it’s time to start thinking about the Data the flows between all of the Moments, Processes, and between Teams – the People – and the Technologies that end up collecting the customer data – the databases supporting your marketing infrastructure.
The Wyanoke Group was able to figure out exactly what Data they needed to collect along the customer journey, what they could ultimately do with it, and where it was going to be at the end of the day. Using their Technology, Moments, People, and Process, they were able to use all of these in conjunction with Data to charge a premium for their services.
This resulted in an increase of digital revenue by 300%.
Once they started collecting Data, they were able to start using it to find patterns in their user behavior and began studying how to offer personalized content based on what the user does on the website.
Since they are able to offer personalized and highly targeted experiences on the website, they’re able to charge a premium for their services. All because they went through the process of determining what minimum viable data they were going to need to make business decisions.
But it’s also important to note what kinds of Data your organization collects at different points in time. By now, you’ve probably already thought about what information goes where and to whom and what gets done with it (People, Process, Tools, etc.).
You also might see some pretty complicated practices that could be made more efficient or you might notice gaps altogether. Either way, make sure to take it from the perspective of the customer.
Are your platforms automatically remembering form information for customers so they don’t have to re-enter their information every time? That’s a Data issue to be solved. How about when they call the Support company and are transferred a billion times, having to re-explain the situation and give their information every time they speak to someone new? Another Data issue.
Little Moments like this can have a HUGE impact. Make sure to make the most of it!