A customer making a purchase is not a single act. Today, with competition fierce and a wide array of platforms and ways to make a purchase available to customers, there are a number of steps that go into that final act of purchasing. Customers are smarter and savvier today because of technology. Businesses who want to attract customers must also be just as savvy and intelligent, and that means understanding their customers and the journey they travel to make a purchase.
What is a Customer Journey Map?
A customer journey map is a tool you use to build customer trust and create a path to customer loyalty. It is a story of the typical customer and his or her experience from that initial contact through the establishment of long-term relationships. This kind of map will allow you to identify areas in the journey that work well and areas that need improvement. Areas that require improvement can be addressed to foster better customer experiences.
Depending on your purpose, a customer journey map can be constructed many different ways and can either hone-in on one or a few specific parts of the story or acquire a comprehensive view of the entire story. On the outset of developing a customer journey map, you should consider what it means in the journey and how a customer’s experience is connected to various value points, like:
- •First Impression: The pre-customer phase when the potential customer first comes into contact with your business.
- •First Value: The first deliverable and how successful it is with regard to the customers experience with you for the first time.
- •Intended Value: Connects the value of getting what you paid for and the customer’s experience. (Get what they paid for)
- •Extended Value: Connects the value of getting more than what you paid for and the customer’s experience.
What is the Benefit of a Customer Journey Map?
The primary benefit of a customer journey map is acquiring knowledge of the customer and using that knowledge to provide better experiences so that ultimately leads to customer loyalty (and better profits). More specifically, your map can inform you of two important points:
- 1. The Make-or-Break Moment in the Customer’s Experience
- 2. The Customer's Expectations.
When you can identify and assess the make-or-break moment, you can use that information to develop ways to ensure the moment is always a "make-it-great" moment. In other words, you can transform this moment into an epic standout event that will leave a positive impression on the customer. Furthermore, identifying and analyzing what customers expect from their experiences with your business will allow you to align your company’s goals with those expectations. You can develop real and transformative changes in the way you operate that benefits customer experiences and boost your sales. In that sense, the real benefit of customer journey mapping is an increase in profits for your business.
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Mapping Customer Success Criteria
In your customer journey map, you want to implement customer success criteria. This means (1) understanding the steps necessary to attain customer success and (2) making sure it happens. To make this happen, you want to outline the steps your customers take to having that “wow” or epic standout moment -- that very second they realize the value of their purchasing experience. Each step provides insight into what the customer is attempting to accomplish.
Part of this process should include collecting customer feedback. Feedback can be collected through various means, either online via social media or email surveys or in-person. Collecting this feedback and converting it to data that can be analyzed and applied to the customer journey map will go a long way to ensuring customer success.
Mapping Your Way to Success
It goes without saying: when a customer’s experience is a good one, the chances are he or she will purchase from you and then return to make another purchase. So long as those experiences continue to improve and provide exceptional quality, then that customer begins to trust you, and with more trust, a sense of loyalty is created. There’ll be no need for the customer to go someplace else to make a purchase when he or she trusts you. Plus, a customer is more likely to recommend your business to others, thus, fostering continued trust and loyalty. Your customer experience maps help you map out your path to success.
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