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Customer journey maps are a top investment priority for brands worldwide as they are indisputably important to creating the best customer experience (CX) possible. When creating one, every conceivable touchpoint must be addressed to satisfy customers and foster loyalty.
Customer journey mapping is a top customer experience (CX) investment priority. When it comes to creating a rock-solid customer journey, remember one thing: the more thought and care that goes into it, the better it will be. That might seem obvious, as any good CX specialist should take steps to prepare for as many customer journey-related pitfalls as possible. With that said, the best approach to mapmaking is to inject a little personal experience and intuition into the process with a simple parallel.
Think of your customer journey map as a guide for a visiting friend who’s unfamiliar with your area. You obviously want to make sure this friend has a good time and comes back to visit again. Therefore, as a good host, wouldn’t you want this guide to anticipate every reasonable want and need, as well as the way to get there easily by creating a workable map for them? Of course, the more details you provide, such as where the nearest pharmacy is or on which side of the street to catch the bus, the more useful it is. The twist is that, when making a customer journey map, you’re making it for your brand rather than a friend.
However, treating the goal of delivering a satisfying customer experience as your friend will help put you in the right mindset to make the best customer journey map possible. A brand only gets one chance to make a good impression, so the customer journey you create must do all it can to provide value for the customer persona you craft on the first go-round.
Major aspects of customer journey maps signpost critical paths and stops in the customer journey. It’s important to be mindful of the fact that not all journeys start in the same place, so identifying as many starting points as possible for customers is a must. All the same, the object is to illuminate the manner in which something gets done. Like your visiting friends who are looking to do something exciting, your customers are looking to satisfy a want or need, like complete a purchase or take care of an issue.
A guide for a friend should provide the route, the means, and any special information required to make getting what they want easier, not harder. Therefore, a customer journey needs to predict what a customer thinks and feels, discern their browsing habits and actions, and how to ensure that their journey ends in a satisfactory purchase or solution.
A touchpoint is any place on the customer journey map where the customer can form an opinion after coming into contact with your brand. They are the important spots where impressions are formed, whether they’re memories with friends or opinions about your brand. Just as how a bad experience at a neighbourhood restaurant could spoil your friend’s visit, a broken link in the checkout process may lead to an abandoned purchase and a negative opinion about your buying process that could spread through word of mouth. However, if these touchpoints are properly addressed to make the customer journey smoother, you boost the chances of your customers having memorable experiences and positive associations with your brand.
Touchpoints come in different shapes and sizes. They could take the form of painful transitions between channels, such as when customers have to explain problems to a contact centre agent via phone that they already did via the chat function on the company website. They could also be the aforementioned website issue, or even something as simple as not fully disclosing all the fees associated with purchase and shipping until the end of the shopping experience.
If these examples of touchpoints make you cringe at the thought of going through them, that’s a good enough reason to address them. Moments of dissatisfaction are a strong motivator for customers to relate their experience with your brand, whether via a survey (which leads to an unfortunate customer effort score), or an unfavourable rating on Google as our hypothetical friend might do.
The road to creating better maps starts with the persona, as touchpoints can be persona-dependent. Just as you probably wouldn’t recommend dinner at your favourite steakhouse for a friend who’s a wildlife conservationist, the customer journey for an elderly patron of an online pharmacy storefront usually won’t be the same as one for a tech-savvy gamer. Less frequently used customer journeys likely mean diminishing returns for profitability, as well as a waste of investment. Don’t waste time and money — get an accurate profile of your customer base and then plan accordingly.
In all likelihood, customers will interact with your automated systems before an agent, so focus on making that touchpoint as painless as possible. Self-service options are still very useful to customers for certain requests. Automation enables contact centres to be more reactive, handle increased call flows and offer better (informal) SLAs, which frees up contact centre agents‘ time and resources. This cannot be emphasised enough, as agents can focus on areas where their expertise truly matters and make a difference for your brand. After all, the evolution of customer relationship management has been toward focusing on helping with complex issues and demonstrating empathy, putting the focus on people and interactions.
It’s equally important to remember that no single department should be responsible for the start-to-finish of your brand’s customer journey map alone. Jason Mitchell advocates for the breaking down of information silos through closer inter-departmental data sharing. He cites crucial data as being information like traffic flows, speech analytics, and even testing existing customer journey experience templates to be sure they accurately depict how customers actually behave. Data visualisation dashboards can be of equal help for those willing to drill down on data to analyse not-so-obvious touchpoints that your map isn’t otherwise covering.
Whether customers or friends, careful planning shows that you care for the people that matter most. Customer journey maps are key in the early stages of planning to provide customer experiences that build trust and brand loyalty. Odigo leads their clients through the CX planning process, supporting them in the customer journey map creation process to make the most of the solutions and strategies our experts provide.
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