October 13, 2016
As contact center professionals, we strive to provide our customers with the most convenient and pleasant customer experience possible. Whether through the interactive voice recording (IVR), self-service web form, social media, or by phone, customers can pick and choose their preferred method of contact. However, simply offering these different channels of communication does not provide insight into how your customers actually use them. A multi-channel or omnichannel strategy gives options, but it does not tell a story. Without that story, it’s a challenge to understand how your customer service strategy actually functions in the real world.
For that, you need a customer journey map.
What is a Customer Journey Map?
A customer journey map charts the entire buying process from the earliest inquiry to the establishment of a long-term relationship. Generally speaking, it usually takes the form of some kind of infographic or timeline. A customer journey factors in all aspects of your contact center strategy. Every social media account, online resource, and phone interaction is graphed to illustrate the journey a consumer must take before they become a customer.
Beyond established contact channels, a customer journey also incorporates the emotional experience. Points of confusion, elation, and anxiety in the buying cycle are pinpointed and identified along the way.
Once combined, the contact center team can begin to understand a three-dimensional account of what kinds of strains and motivators their customers are under. With that information in hand, they can approach each call with a new level of insight and empathy.
A Customer Journey Map Closes Gaps in Your Buying Process
One of the most beneficial takeaways from this exercise is a bird’s eye view of your customer experience. At this height, you can find gaps in your process. You can find those disconnects where the customer experience is at its worst, and you can fix them.
- Gaps between devices: Moving from the phone to the computer may not always be a seamless transition in the buying process.
- Gaps between departments: The user can easily get frustrated trying to navigate your organization just to have their questions answered.
- Gaps between channels: Moving from one channel to the other could create a disjointed, disconnected experience.
Mapping the Customer Journey
- Write a Customer Persona: The first step towards mapping your customer journey is to create your customer personas. A customer persona provides a generalized snapshot of who your average customer is. By understanding the life, needs, and challenges of your customer base, you can better predict their path through your customer service system.
- Walk through the Customer Experience: The key to developing a comprehensive set of customer journey maps is to approach the buying experience from all angles. Walk through your customer journey from every direction until you have identified every touch point.
- Meet with All Levels of the Organization: A proper journey map takes into account the impact other departments in the company have on the customer experience. A business is more than the sum of its parts. Try to understand how everything works together.
- Onstage and Offstage Interactions: There are two kinds of incidents in your journey map: onstage and offstage. The onstage interactions happen directly in view of the customer. This could be a phone call, a sales meeting, or an installation. Alternatively, there are also offstage incidents that happen behind the scenes like credit checks or internal communications. Onstage and offstage interactions are intertwined and one will inevitable impact the other.
- Rate Your Touchpoints by Importance: Every interaction with your customer is important, but some are more so than others. Browsing a website could lead to a sale, but a sales call should lead to a sale. Rate each touchpoint by its importance to achieving your goals.
Picking Your Customer’s Brain
Knowledge is power, and taking your customer’s point of view, you can learn how they think, what their issues are, and where you can impress them. The first step to improving something is to understand its flaws. A thorough customer journey map provides that level of understanding.
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