How to Use Customer Journey Mapping to Transform Frustration Into Conversion

How to Use Customer Journey Mapping to Transform Frustration Into Conversion

One of the biggest problems faced by businesses and brands is that they see their product from their own perspective; they’re too obsessed with the bells-and-whistles of the backend, and neglect to consider customer experience.

Customer Journey Mapping is fundamentally designed to address that – to give companies the ability to get a customer’s eye view of the user experience and to heed off problems as a result. This has two main benefits for business:

Tailoring your UX more for the consumer, giving them a better all-around experience.
Losing fewer customers as they engage with your brand (and therefore increasing profit).

Building a physical Customer Journey Map is important for knowing how your business works, spotting potential weaknesses and allocating resources effectively. It will help you to constantly improve and streamline your customer service, as well as identifying (and removing) weak links.

According to Forbes, there is a critical disconnect in the use of Customer Journey Map, as 63% of marketers believe them to be important, but only 55% of senior marketers do not think their company fully understands their customers’ journey.

Things like bounce rates provide important metrics to quantify a Customer Journey Map, although a true map is broader than just that. It’s important to also consider all channels for your brand. Therefore, a journey map should take into account social media accounts, the function of your website, your app, as well as any email/phone communication you undertake with customers.

Identifying and integrating each of these will streamline your customer service (potentially saving money, but certainly improving customer experience). 

Building a Customer Journey Map doesn’t need to be a complex process, involving external consultants, or multi-page documents. Instead, you need to truly engage and empathize with the customer’s experience through all five stages of engagement with your business:

Discover
Research
Purchase
Delivery
Aftercare

In creating a Customer Journey Map for your business, there will be some variance on what specifics to include (for example, a service company will require different information than a B2B software company). However, there are five key rules to follow if you are to produce a meaningful and useful template for assessing, then improving your UX.

1. Look from the outside in

As stated above, the danger with any assessment of a business is that those who work in the business are often too close to the ‘coal face’ to see the true nature of a user’s experience. The most important part of creating a Customer Journey Map is thinking like your customers, not like someone who works in the business. This is one of the most obvious, yet the most difficult aspects.

Here is one example of goal setting from a customer’s point of view:

Customer journey mapping - image 1

Image Source: Tandemseven

It’s extremely difficult to forget aspects of your business (such as that new easy order feature on your website) and to approach your brand with fresh eyes. However, this is critical if you are to anticipate a customer’s needs and potential areas of weakness. As this article states, you need to build your customer map for your ideal customer, which may not be the customer type you have at the moment (or may only be one segment of your market).

What this means in practice:

Research websites similar to your own. See what they do. You will engage with a customer’s eye view. Then, revisit your own website. See what’s different, what’s the same, what works, what’s easy to find. Count how many clicks it takes you to find a particular piece of information, and compare that with other websites. 

2. Be holistic

When you’re creating a Customer Journey Map it can be easy to ‘segment’ the process. However, in order to truly replicate your customer’s experience, you need to be holistic. For example, if a customer experiences three points of annoyance in the ordering process, they are unlikely to proceed with the purchase. Each of these points of annoyance may seem small when you add them into the map. However, they are cumulative in the customer’s eyes.

This Customer Journey Map shows how detailed and segmented it may be, still holistic.

Customer journey mapping - image 2

Image Source: Chris Risdon  

What this means in practice: 

Segment when you’re collecting information (for example by subdividing work between teams). However, when it comes time to display and analyze information, be sure to display the information holistically. This will give you the chance to evaluate and think holistically about your customers. 

3. Identify ‘pain points’

Identifying ‘pain points’ is the core rationale for creating a Customer Journey Map. Find areas where your business is performing below expectations (perhaps where customers are reporting a negative experience or even areas where their experience is neutral). In other words, find out why people are leaving your website. These may not necessarily be where you expect them to be (after all, presumably if you knew where they were, you’d have already removed them).

What this means in practice:

Create a line graph of ‘customer satisfaction’ through the process of engaging with your website. Where the line drops below a certain threshold, you’ve found a ‘pain period.’ Another metric you can use is the stage at which potential customers leave your sales funnel. Finding these points is the first stage in addressing them.

Customer journey mapping - image 3

Image Source: Plusnet Community

4. Quantify 

One of the difficulties of creating an effective Customer Journey Map is that you are dealing with fundamentally subjective and often intangible concepts, such as customer emotion, decision-making, and overall perception of your brand. However, you can mitigate these difficulties by using metrics wherever possible, and, once you have your information, by testing and quantifying it. Treat this research as the opportunity to develop a hypothesis; once you’ve done that you can measure whether it’s correct.

Customer journey mapping - image 4

Image Source: Paul Boag

This visual above shows how the Samaritans were able to integrate more social media use into the way they serve their users. The application of a Customer Journey Map for an organization like the Samaritans shows that they are applicable in all forms of institution.

What this means in practice:

Take your results and give yourself a set of goals to test (for example, what if we reduce the number of clicks required to order from 5 to 4). Then, make that change and see what impact it has on sales. If your sales increase, further reduce the number of clicks. Eventually, you will reach an optimal number as your customers are fully satisfied with their experience. Then you can move onto a different factor. 

5. Implement

Once you have your results, you need to amend your website, your app, and your overall social media and content strategy to work out how best your customers can enjoy an improved experience. You will need to think in terms of both micro and macro simultaneously. The macro is the overall sense of wellbeing your customer has when they engage with your brand. The micro refers to the tiny details you provide to shape that experience.

What this means in practice:

Develop an overall, one sentence strategy for how you want your UX to be (for example, ‘luxury branding with a high premium on customer satisfaction,’ or ‘efficient and intuitive to use.’) Then work through each aspect of your Customer Journey Map and determine how you can make each step better reflect this overall goal. You can look to successful examples from other companies to get a sense of what works.  

Key takeaways

Creating a Customer Journey Map is often easier in the abstract than in practice. Businesses (and customer experiences) are complex, often driven by multiple factors. Remember the following tips to keep on track:

Keep it simple. Remember, you are using a macro view to identify micro problems. If it can’t fit on a single sheet of paper, it won’t work as a diagnostic tool.
Think like the customer. You need to truly understand how and why a customer interacts with your brand. Don’t rely on what you think your company does – ask the customers. Market research is the first step in a Customer Journey Map.
Find the areas you can improve. Define a standard of quality you want to instill in your business. Start by removing the negative parts of a customer’s experience and then turn the ‘neutral’ parts into positives. This is the fundamental reasoning behind a Customer Journey Map, so this goal should supersede all others.

Guest author: Melissa Burns is an independent journalist and business consultant. Marketing, business innovations, and technology are central topics of her articles. She started writing with a single goal of sharing her expertise with other people. Melissa also provides workshops for start-ups and small businesses.

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