We’ve touched on a wide range of customer experience considerations companies are using to meet the fast growing expectations of customers, but there’s one part of the equation brands commonly pass over: your customers’ actual connection with the brand from channel to channel.
Investing in reorienting your customer experience strategy can mean implementing some very big changes to your brand. Getting it right the first time requires a detailed understanding of where your customer touchpoints lie, which of those touchpoints are garnering more activity than others, and what kinds of customers are using specific channels to find and purchase what they’re looking for.
Creating a customer journey map is a particularly effective way to visualize the way customers flow through each of your brand’s channels. Journey maps can help you solve three significant problems related to the quality of your customers’ experiences:
- Your existing touchpoints aren’t having an effect on customers’ decisions about what to purchase
- Poor customer retention
- Disinterest among customers in any one of your channels’ buying environments
Let’s look deeper at what goes into creating a detailed customer journey map as well as the best ways to use it to note your company’s strengths, diagnose weaknesses, and plan for the future.
Distill your company’s goals and begin gathering intelligence accordingly
The quality and completeness of your map will directly reflect how much you do in regards to data collection and targeted intelligence gathering. A good way to start defining what type of information you’ll need is to take stock of your broader business goals. Use these goals to create a framework to run customer scenarios, define touchpoints, and follow the various paths your customer takes from initial brand discovery all the way to purchase.
With an informational framework in place, go to work gathering your data. Use everything at your disposal in terms of past surveys and reports as well as transactional data tracked over time. To get a better picture of your current customer experience effectiveness, conduct internal research in the form of customer interviews, mystery shopping programs, customer satisfaction surveys, and online analytics evaluation.
Creating your customer journey map
With a trove of data now at your disposal, it’s time to start thinking like a customer. Compile and compare data from each of your sources corresponding to each of your company’s touchpoints in order to get a three dimensional model for how they operate and their effectiveness relative to one another.
Create summaries describing what each interaction is like for the customer. Record relevant customer perceptions about products and service, the paths they tend to take after the interaction, and whether or not that interaction was equipped and capable of addressing their issues when raised.
Note any inconsistencies, barriers to service, or any other opportunities for improvement.
Draw out an ideal plan for the future and create a practical process to achieve it
Idealism can prove to be problematic when trying to identify the weaker points within your company. However, envisioning a perfect journey for your customers to take as they engage with your brand can define the kinds of goals your reorientation plan can tackle.
Use your analysis data to create a smoother path at each touchpoint, paying extra attention to those consumers tend to frequent most often. Questions to keep in mind during your planning process should include topics such as:
- Where are the most opportunities to improve customer experience, and what will it take to make those changes?
- Are any weaknesses impacting customer acquisition?
- Are we conveying our brand the way we intend to at each touchpoint? Is the message the same throughout every customer journey?
When you’ve settled on a new set of goals based on improvements you can start to work toward, its time to develop a plan to bring your new customer experience strategy into fruition. Begin prioritizing what needs immediate improvement and what requires a more gradual approach. Design your plan with clear objectives in mind and be careful not to shift your perspective away from the customer point-of-view.