The term “customer journey” refers to the sum of all of the interactions that a customer goes through as they engage with a brand. It starts with discovery elements such as interest, awareness, and research. It also includes the critical stage of conversion as well as the post-purchase customer experience.
Taken as a whole, elements such as these create the customer journey. Every business should take great care to map out the route that this experience takes. Here are a handful of upper-level considerations to keep in mind as you do so.
1. Maintain a Holistic View
The business world has never been more customer-focused. And yet, business leaders must resist the urge to over-prioritize this single (albeit essential) part of their operation.
Before you dive into the customer-centric activity of creating a customer journey, step back and take in the big picture. As you go about crafting an elite customer journey, remember to consider how it will impact your business as well as your customers.
According to customer journey leaders at MJV Technology & Innovation, having a holistic view from the get-go can yield positive benefits. It can help you set effective quarterly goals, improve onboarding, and discover shortcomings in your internal operations.
As you create your customer journey, make sure to ask yourself how each step can benefit your company best.
2. Walk a Mile in Their Shoes …Over and Over
If you want to map a solid customer journey, ensure that you intimately understand your customers at all times.
If you have a successful business, chances are you put plenty of time into studying your target customers when you started your business. This is good for a start, but if you want to truly map out an effective customer journey, you need to continue that research in perpetuity.
From updating buyer personas to ongoing market research to cultivating feedback loops, there are plenty of ways to refine your understanding of your customers as time goes on.
3. Remember The Customer Journey Exists With or Without You
Mapping out a customer journey can be an involved process. It requires research, time, and resources.
As with all involved work processes, this opens up opportunities to take shortcuts as you go along. When the desire arises to rush your research or skip steps in your planning, though, it’s important that you remember one critical fact: the customer journey is going to happen with or without you.
Survey Monkey points out that customers are going to notice their experience with your brand, whether you’re consciously mapping it out or not. So, short-changing your customer journey mapping isn’t just avoiding tapping into valuable potential. It’s also leaving any existing shortcomings in your customer experience unaddressed.
Don’t let that happen. Use this knowledge to stay thorough and focused throughout your mapping efforts.
4. Go Deeper Than Touchpoints
Most customer journey mapping guides recommend identifying customer touchpoints. These are any and every place where a customer can come into contact with your brand.
While this is important, the goal should never be to simply find every possible way a customer can interact with your brand. The truth is, each customer is going to interact in a limited and specific set of ways — and that’s where you need to focus.
Rather than creating a bland, generic omnichannel approach that overstretches your attention as you take every channel into consideration, embrace the concept of harmonized retail.
In essence, this transfers the emphasis from the touchpoints and channels of communication to the customers themselves. In short, the customer becomes the channel, and your goal becomes trying to meet them wherever they are.
By adopting this approach, you can create a flexible customer journey that is less formulaic and more about each individual customer experience.
Mapping out the customer journey is an important part of any business strategy. Make sure to take the time to approach the effort with the right mindset and objectives in mind. If you can do that, you can create a customer journey that is adaptive and effective at serving your target audience both now and far into the future.