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Mapping the customer journey

Customer journey maps are an important first step in understanding the experiences of customers. From initial contact to final purchase it highlights the key interactions the customer has with the brand, identifying gaps or pain points in the customer experience. All too frequently, however, the exercise fails to drive positive change within the organisation.

A common problem with customer journey maps is that they are mapped out internally.

Chris Luxford, Director of Experience Innovators, observes that companies have a tendency of having a “inside looking out” view of the customer journey that doesn’t align with the “outside looking in” view. He says, “Organisations need to involve customers, partners and objective 3rd parties to ensure a true picture is built. Though it may be used as a starting point, feedback from employees and managers is likely to be biased”.

Putting the customer at the centre

A customer journey map is meant to put the customer at the forefront of the organisation’s thinking. It is a blueprint for how the entire enterprise needs to adapt to the changes brought by digital disruption.

Mobility, social media and the web have completely changed customer behaviour, where digital channels need to seamlessly integrate with more traditional and physical channels .According to Google, shoppers use an average of 10 sources of information to make a purchase decision. Customers use multiple devices to access online reviews, company websites, TV ads, recommendations and more.

Understanding the various touchpoints is important in mapping the customer journey. However, as Luxford advises, “All too frequently companies build a touchpoint map rather than a customer journey map that provides insight into their experience. A customer journey map is meant to encourage people across the organisation to focus on the customer’s needs and feelings. ”

Understanding different touchpoints

For each stage of the customer journey there may be numerous touchpoints. For example a customer may find out about a product from a TV ad, or been referred to by a friend, or saw a review in a magazine. The experience, which needs to be mapped, involves awareness. Just mapping the various touchpoints will not help the organisation understand the needs of the customer.

Vital to designing and creating exceptional experiences Customer Experiences is the process of mapping the customer’s journey. The map tells the story of the customer’s experience. It’s not meant to be a static document or infographic or whatever you use to build one. It needs to be able to adapt and change as your customers and their behaviour evolve over time.