So far, we have covered retaining customers, building proactive relationships and finding ways to better listen to your customer needs. This time, we’re focusing on the mapping of your customer journey. To be clear, the customer journey is a map of what happens to your customer from when they become aware of your product, through the sales and early life experience, ongoing service and ultimately to re-purchase and advocacy. It helps you evolve your products and services to deliver a great experience and allows you to use the data gathered to predict likely customer behaviours in relation to changes you make to your product.
I’ve worked in many businesses, some with a clearly defined customer journey, others with more focus on the shareholder objectives. Without exception, the businesses with a well-defined and managed customer journey have more growth, longer customer tenure and more motivated and happy staff. When you know not just what you are delivering but why, it makes it much easier for the customer and the staff to value your product and your brand. So here’s where a well-defined customer journey comes in.
The single biggest mistake that most businesses make is to mix up the operational experience flow (what you do to deliver your products and service) with what happens to the user of your products and services. The most important place to start is mapping out exactly what actually happens to a user, and despite the fact that you will quickly see some low hanging fruit you wanted to fix urgently, keep going to map the end to end journey.
Here’s an example of Workshare’s customer journey. Of course, there’s more complexity to the model, but it’s how we track our customer journey at Workshare. To bring it to life, we’ve related the user journey to falling in love (you all understand that process, right?!)
So if there are 6 golden rules when mapping your journey that I’ve learned across various industries and different countries, stick with these and you will be on the right track.
- Understand and control the user’s experience of your product / service – a consistent experiences keep customers coming back and a well documented customer journey is a way to show what should be happening to your customer and where you can improve on it
- Map it simply and engage the execs – simple things are easy to understand and encourage habit formation. Underneath the simple flows, you will have more complexity, showing how the values reflect your personality, progress against improvements and critical moments in your customer journey
- Get the core customer facing stakeholders to champion each stage – this way, you write the experience from the CUSTOMER / USER perspective, and ensure that those closest to the customer uphold the journey your business agreed to deliver
- Make it visual – you can appeal to everyone in your business if it’s quick and easy to understand, and
- Drive constant improvement through measurement – standing still = going backwards, and without the numbers to support your customer journey, you wont know how well you are doing, or how your customer rates each stage
- Talk to others who deliver a great experience – learning from those who inspire make your experience better and inspire new ways to evolve the journey. There’s plenty of blogs and communities where you can make new contacts
Once the customer journey is mapped, and you’re sharing not just the journey, but how you are scoring against it with your whole company, you can really start to feel the excitement as your colleagues make it personal and deliver against your promise. It helps if you are an evangelist who is passionate about customer too, of course.
One of my challenges is always determining what metrics really matter – not too many, not too few, so next time, we’ll walk through some of the ones that help you stay true to the customer journey.