A customer journey map is an illustrative example of the overall customer journey process. It can be used as a blueprint for sales reps and customer satisfaction agents to get a better understanding of the acquisition process.
No matter what kind of a product or service you’re selling, it’s always beneficial to have a well-thought-out customer journey.
In order to correctly set up a beginning of a business story, you need to take a long, hard look at your customer preferences, needs and the way they can acquire them.
To get this kind of deep insight, you can create a map that will incorporate all specifications from our customers. We should be asking ourselves:
“How can we help customers achieve their goals while helping the company achieve its own?”
This type of focusing and targeting customers is called Customer Journey Mapping, and it’s important to design a positive CJ map if you want to boost your sales and profits.
Phases of the Customer Journey
We use an illustrator diagram to compose a map of our interaction with customers. Each company has a different target group, which is looking for a different experience. In other words, customer journey mapping cannot look the same for the hotel industry, for example, and telecommunications.
Using an individual approach, we create an interactive map that we will use to determine the next steps. However, there is no universal way to attract interactions.
Each company needs a customer journey map, not only for targeting but to be able to improve things that are not functioning at optimal success and to set higher operational standards.
To start designing a positive customer journey map, first, we need to define several steps in order to illustrate the diagram. A CJ map can be a simple table or a step-by-step illustration, depending on the company’s preferences.
We can create a customer journey map both for the macro and micro phases of the customer’s experience. Also, we can isolate particular problems and customer complaints in order to understand them better and solve them.
Macro customer journey phases relate to the entire life cycle of a customer with a single brand, from the first moment they hear of the brand to the phase where a customer becomes a loyal brand ambassador.
The most important phases of the customer journey are:
This is the point when a customer becomes aware of the brand and its services or products. This happens when products or services are noticed and advertised. There are so many options for good advertising: social media, promotional products (such as customized socks, pens, cups), influencers. However, very often awareness is onset by word of mouth. In this phase of the customer journey, the goal can be to increase audience reach and brand awareness.
In this phase, it’s important to compare and evaluate possible alternatives to your product. An alternative doesn’t necessarily mean direct competition but solving an issue with a different approach.
“You can observe the consideration phase as the do-or-die moment between the customer and your brand. It implies standing out, proving reliability and desirability and presenting as a better choice than the competition”, says Martha Johannsen, a user experience expert at SupremeDissertations.
This phase considers all the possible decisions of customers, which have to be aligned with the first two.
The decision phase can later be further separated into sub-phases, depending on the customer’s decision or action points for increasing sales.
- Delivery & Use
In this phase, the customer has purchased the product or service and is using it. This phase can be broken down into its components:
- Delivery – how does the customer receive the product? Is it easy to get a hold of your product or service? How long does it take for the customer to go from the decision to use?
- Use/consummation – finally, the customer starts using your product or service. In this phase of the customer journey, it’s important to predict all possible user experience drawbacks and respond to them.
- Customer support – how efficiently does your business handle refunds and returns? How do you communicate with your customers?
- Loyalty & Advocacy
Loyalty is the final customer journey phase that connects all others and creates a conclusion that encompasses the entire customer journey. Here is where we end the cycle.
This phase, even though it’s the last one, is very important because we use it to find out how to solve existing problems and which novelties to introduce.
Micro phases refer to smaller sections within the general phases: for example, in the consideration phase, the customer searches for comparison and information at different places: on social media, websites, forums and store catalogs.
It’s desirable to set KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) throughout each phase in order to establish high-quality journey tracking.
In summary, customer journey mapping is the process of documentation of all contact points between a customer and a product. We work on CJM in order to understand the customer better.
To create a positive customer journey map which will result in great customer experience, it’s important to be aware of all the phases included in the map and know how to approach each one.