A customer journey map is planning how a person goes from learning about a product or service and converting into a customer. Each brand has a unique journey that can be defined based on the demographics, user’s medium, and their product. B2B and B2C customer journeys are vastly different but each have opportunity to define their customers into a buyer’s journey for success.
A good customer journey is defined so that you have a great customer experience in each phase of their buying process. Creating that experience requires planning, creating, and implementation. The following is a quick guide and outline to what it takes to ideate and create a journey.
To identify what great characteristics of a great customer journey are, we have to determine what leads to a good experience:
All of these things impact how a customer not only uses your service, but their outlook of your brand. Individual elements may vary from customer to customer, over time, or different life cycles of the product. What is the most common to them is that they are all determined by the business process.
A modern customer expects to find what they want within a few clicks of a mouse and get what they want with a few more. They expect detailed information about the product, compare it against other products, and then see reviews from previous buyers. Once they’ve chosen a product they expect an instant confirmation that they can be set up and helped right away.
So as listed in the five points above, a successful customer experience depends on the effectiveness of the journey that the customer travels on the way to converting to buying your product. The best-in-class of an industry has a great influence on its customer’s expectations. Using that information can greatly aid in defining a solid journey map for customer experience success.
After we design the process with great experience we have to create a plan for the journey itself. The customer’s perception of the journey is not just dependent on objective judgements of your product, but also on some non-measurable factors around what they are feeling, their perception of your brand, and previous experience. Issues out of a brand’s control like the customer’s internet speed should also be considered but they can be used as a baseline as most companies in the same space will face them. As mentioned above, a customer will want to be treated like the best company in that space. Often, these companies just have the biggest marketing budget rather than the best product. If the customer encounters an organization that provides them with a different approach, they are likely to be frustrated. This also gives opportunity to see the strengths of those companies’ processes and improve upon their weaknesses.
As marketers, we want the customers most likely to purchase to convert. This requires designing, modelling, simulating, and testing to find the ideal customer and journey: online and offline.
The customer journey is complex in part because it involves most divisions, departments, and functions within an organization. For example, Conductor’s Customer journey involves Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success. Each has a different success metric within the company but they also have a success metric on keeping a customer happy.
In layman’s terms, a customer journey map is a schematic for teams in an organization to refer to for improved customer experience. It shows the journey through the customer’s eyes and helps teams understand how a customer is interacting with the brand and what improvements can be made in the future. Data driven research should be a cornerstone of any good map. They can identify each phase of the experience based on many different metrics like brand outlook, goals, interactions, and conversions.
Traditional marketing funnels generally consist of linear progression of customers jumping from one phase to another. Customers make certain conversions or interact at certain points and sometimes they can skip them entirely. A marketer’s job is to track and understand those metrics and then insure that that customer converts through good visibility, education, and consideration.
When we talk about the definition of a customer journey or the definition of client journey we automatically think that it should templated. While this is great for having an overarching map for big data, niche maps are great when thinking of granular demographics. Marketers generally get on-boarded with funnels and processes that companies have created over great lengths of time. These funnels are at times based on historical data that doesn’t make sense in the digital age.
A great customer journey in the digital age should be based on modern research through search marketers or up to date simulating or testing. This way, new customer needs and information can be mined for improving the map. To say it again, a customer journey map exists to improve a person’s experience and outlook on your brand. You have at your fingertips information that shows information you can use to make the most unique journeys for your unique customers. So define that journey as niche as possible.
B2B and B2C have vastly different customer journey marketing. A B2C company may have customers that convert with one visit where as a B2B customer could require many visits and multiple team interactions
B2B companies face a challenge of defining an entity rather than a customer. There are influencers and decision makers. The influencers would generally know a product and speak to the value of having it. The decision maker has the budget and must determine if the efficiency brought by the product can prove a return of investment. Companies will have to convince the influencer to convince the decision maker in most cases.
B2C companies have to digitally optimize for customers in the internet age. Ninety percent of the time a person will research a brand in many different places online before making a decision. Content has to be created for each user on each part of his journey. Conversions are great a source to look as to why a user is blocked when making their journey through a website while traffic should be generated to build interest and awareness. Both are key in creating a great journey.
Within a customer journey, you are cross examining and defining phases versus personas. Each phase should be a positive step towards gaining a customer. There is no specific formula to retain a customer, it has to be unique to your brand so when looking at examples below, use them to create your own best practices.
So what are some key elements to include in the map?
First, you need to make sure you know who you are targeting. These personas will go a long way in putting faces to your ideal customers. You can separate them by all types of demographics: position in a company, age, location, salary level, etc.
Next define your phases in which you want your customer to convert through in their journey. These phases can be overarching or niche as mentioned above. Are you a solution provider or selling a product? What is a process that an ideal customer would follow? A great example of this is Google’s model: See-Think-Do. See includes any customer that are finding your brand or getting information about your brand that have no thought of buying it. Think has customers that are given reasons of why a product can help them. Do is a phase a customer is considering buying a product and is ready to make the conversion to buy it. At conductor, our marketing efforts all three of those phases. The more they learn about us and how we can help them, the deeper they get into our journey. By outlining the phases we have a solid foundation to take our customers through.
Lastly, set up the customer for interactions. How can you track what a customer sees and uses? Do you have web analytics set up for tracking their conversions? A customer’s interactions are key in determining how they are going through the journey. Adding tracking to your content or setting up gated pages can show you how your customer is using your resources. Additionally it can make unknown customers known and generate leads for other teams to reach out. Track these interactions and assimilate them into the map so you can identify pain points and future improvements.
A testing environment should give you things to work on to improve the map. Use other employees, friends, family, and a sample target audience to see how they go through the journey when presented with different phases. This is easier done for a B2C company that has users navigate online to their product. B2B companies should implement the journey and measure long term based on customer response and measured goals.
You have a journey built out, now what?
Your customer journey map can provide insights on how they wants to be treated. Each team’s goals within an organization can use that data to optimize their delivery of service. The teams should be well versed on what the customer is asking, what they need, and what their pain points are when going through their journey. Putting the data at the heart of conversation for company goals and pillars can give the customer a seamless transition through the experience they encounter.
You now have a small guide to a customer journey map that you can integrate into your company’s process. You could be in a company that has been around for a while or a budding start up, both can benefit from a defined customer journey. It can create an environment within a company for improved communications and align teams for a successful process.