Figuring Out Your Customer To Improve The Customer Experience
If you found this blog, you were probably researching why you are losing customers in your pipeline. What could be the cause, and where are you losing people? To figure this out, you must first understand everything a customer goes through when interacting with your business. Next, you are looking to grasp your customer journey, and eventually, you are looking to use it to improve your customer’s experience with your business.
Related Link: Don’t Stop at Customer Support, Think Bigger
A customer journey map is a diagram (or a series of diagrams) that illustrates all the touch points your customers go through while dealing with your business. It shows everything from making online purchases to calling customer support to sharing a post on social media.
Gather your teams in sales, marketing, customer service, logistics, and R&D. The map needs a lot of input from groups across your business directly or indirectly connected to your customer’s decision-making. Don’t worry when you get started on how the map looks. Your customer journey map will be messy and take several drafts before it is readable.
Remember that customer journeys are not linear. The customer journey can rarely be represented as a linear line from point A to point B. Instead, customers often take a back-and-forth route, cyclical, multi-channel journey.
Use New Digital Tools To Creating A Customer Journey Map
One of the easiest ways to get started is to use customer service mapping software such as Totango, Smaply, and UXPressia. This software will help your teams put all their ideas into one platform. With enough tweaking, eventually, a clearer 360-degree image of your customer journey will arise.
But before you begin, prepare by gathering the people and information you need. Then, with this dream team, go through these 9 steps to creating a customer journey map:
Step 1: Set Goals
Before starting, ask for a consensus on why the business is creating a customer journey map. This process will take a lot of effort and time from many people. Please make sure that they are aligned with the goals the team puts forth.
Some questions to ask:
- Why are we doing this?
- Who is this about specifically?
- When we finish this exercise, what should we have learned?
- Where is the information we need being held?
- What can hold us back from our goals?
- How can we use this to improve ourselves and our work?
Step 2: Understand Your Buyer Personas
Gather information on your customer and create personas. Create profiles on your top-tier customers and detail the different stages of interactions between your customer and the business. The deeper your understanding, the better. The use of questionnaires, surveys, and interviews may be necessary to understand customers from the top of the funnel to the bottom.
Some questions to ask customers are:
- How did you first find out about our company?
- What in our marketing caught your attention?
- Can you describe to us what you went through before making a purchase?
- What do you think about our sales efforts?
- What do you think about our after-sales services and support?
- What would make you continue to be our customer in the future?
Step 3: List Out All Customer Touchpoints
You should now understand a few of your favorite customers from the buyer persona exercise. Combine and create a few general profiles of customers to dive deeper.
List all the touchpoints these customers will have with your business for these select personas. Use the marketing and sales funnel to get a complete picture of prospective, in-market, current, and repeat customers. Some common touchpoints are:
- Social Media
- Paid Ads
- Sales Pitches
- 3rd Party Reviews
- Service Calls
- Customer Visits
Step 4: Detail Your Customer’s Actions At Each Touchpoint
Now you have a lifetime estimate of all the touchpoints a customer has with your business. At each node, describe the actions that drove your customer to this touchpoint and what are the expected outcomes. For example, a customer did an internet search of a keyword and found your business.
Some questions to think about are:
- What would be their reasoning for doing this search?
- From the search results, what would be the likely and desired outcomes?
- Will the customer click on your website or a competitor’s page? Why?
- What will the customer do if they land on your homepage?
- How does this action affect the actions that follow?
Step 5: Detail Your Customer’s Motivations And Emotions
Go even deeper and try to understand your customer’s hearts. At every touch point, what are your customer’s motivations and emotions? For example, did the customer make this action because they encountered a problem or pain point? Find out their reasoning at the beginning of the action and afterward. What emotions did the customer feel during this process, and how did these feelings change?
Step 6: Identify Obstacles And Pain Points
Now that you comprehensively understand your customer, it’s time for some analysis. What obstacles can obstruct your customer from the outcome you desire? Can you identify some issues that may divert from a positive interaction? Could it be issues with poor communications, high costs, bad training, or time delays? There is no need to find resolutions, but use this time to list and target problem areas. Know where the friction is occurring.
Step 7: Take Internal Inventory
The map you created should touch almost every department in your business. Take inventory of what resources have gone into making this customer journey.
Some questions to ask:
- How many people, time, and money went into creating these interactions and touchpoints?
- If flaws are identified, what actions can the business take, and how much would this improve the customer experience?
- How much will it cost in terms of resources to make the change?
Step 8: Test Your Customer Journey
The last step is to see if this customer journey map makes sense. Try to follow the reasoning and actions a customer may take. Follow the flow and test if you dropped off or made it to the end. Notice that customers take different actions at many touchpoints that would loop their experience.
Step 9: Make Plans For Improvements And Test
All customer journey maps are not fixed, nor are they exact. The map you have created is the current state of your customer journey. Use it as a tool to better understand and improve your customer experience strategy in the future. Create a future state customer journey map once you identify areas for change. You can test different scenarios on different customer groups and record the results before implementing them fully.
Extra Tips To Make The Effort Worth It
Tip 1: Make The Goal About The Customer
When setting goals, understand that the ultimate goal is to improve and exceed customer expectations. Improving the product, marketing, sales, and other pieces of your business should be a happy side effect.
Tip 2: Double Check Your Goals And Planned Actions
Look at the list of actions and improvements you would like to make. Compare them with the goals you set at the beginning of the exercise. Will they make an impact on the customer experience?
Tip 3: Find The Pivot Point
Look at the map closely and pinpoint areas where small changes will make the most impact. As resources are limited, find where you can make the smallest changes and get the most significant returns.
Insights For Building Better Customer Experiences
In summary, in the beginning, you wanted to know why you were losing customers, and we asked you to do a lengthy exercise to understand your customers better. Creating your customer journey map will be challenging, but it is one of the best tools you can use in customer experience management. Putting the map together is just the beginning; use your newfound understanding to find where you can make changes and positively impact how your customer interacts with your business.