Customer journey mapping is crucial to creating a good cross-channel customer experience. Customer journey maps should take an empathetic point of view, delving into customers’ pain points so organizational leaders can understand the customer experience and solve service issues.
Best practices for customer journey mapping have been well documented, however, many brands continue to struggle with their CX design. In fact, studies show there is a massive perception gap between how well businesses think they are performing and the actual customer’s experience.
With these five tips, you can help close that perception gap:
1. Treat the customer journey like a cross-channel experience.
Too many enterprises treat the customer experience like it exists in silos. They prioritize minor optimizations in each channel or department without considering the larger long-term strategy.
Brands with superior customer experiences remember to optimize the journey as a cohesive experience, instead of improving disparate parts. Customer journey maps are such a valuable tool for this exact reason - when used properly, they can eliminate silos and create a consistently great experience regardless of the channel.
To see this concept in action, see top online retailer Amazon, which keeps this priority at the center of its entire customer journey design. Every channel is optimized and treated as part of the overall experience, not like an island with its own stand-alone pain points. Whether the customer is researching a purchase, using multiple channels for support or revisiting an item in his cart, Amazon’s entire customer journey delivers the ultimate seamless experience.
2. Identify success outcomes for each customer journey step.
Success outcomes don’t just belong at the end of the customer journey. They should be identified at every step of the customer journey mapping process. For example, the ultimate success for an online transaction is the completion of the purchase, however, there are many small successes along the way.
Success after a customer sees a pay-per-click advertisement would be the customer clicking on the ad. And success after a browsing session would be adding products to the virtual shopping cart. This tactic allows CX designers to predetermine the little steps that ultimately get the customer to the purchase no matter where the customer left off in the customer journey. That way, he or she can easily pick up the next step later (even on a different device).
Back to our Amazon example - Amazon syncs the browsing history and shopping cart across devices. If a customer browses for an item on their desktop, then adds to the shopping cart, but fails to complete the purchase, they can revisit the item later to complete the purchase.
3. Plan for multi-tasking customers.
In today’s world of time-pressured lifestyles and frequent interruptions, completing a task in one sitting is rare. So, why are customer journeys mapped as if customer focus is centered only on the interaction at hand?
Customers have a range of channels where they can complete an interaction. In fact, the more devices a person owns, the more he or she tends to juggle them to complete a task. Neglecting this reality can have major impacts on the effectiveness of customer journey mapping process. Everything from cart abandonment to brand engagement could be critically impacted.
Customer experience designers should include triggers to help identify when a customer is multi-tasking during an interaction. For example, this could be a time threshold in the chat channel. That means a certain length of time has passed since the customer’s last message that indicates a shift in his engagement.
Whether a customer is active or passive status should determine how they should be engaged, if at all. Remembering last completed steps for passive customers can help them pick up their transactions again easily. For example, a retailer could remove the time limit that an item can be left in a virtual shopping cart, in hopes that the customer will eventually complete the transaction. The retailer could also send an email communication reminding the customer that the item was left in the shopping chart.
4. Integrate empathy maps and service blueprints.
Empathy mapping condenses information about personas into one knowledge-base for UX teams to understand user needs and aid in making business decisions, including experience design. Integrating empathy maps can make the customer journey more well-rounded and holistic by helping UX teams keep the needs of each persona top of mind throughout the customer journey mapping process.
Many brands struggle attaining customer loyalty, and it could be because they’re so wrapped up in solving problems that they forget to focus on what matters to the customer. Empathy maps can provide the constant reminder UX teams need to remember that what’s good for the customer is often good for the business.
Customer loyalty leader, T-Mobile, is a great example of the results brands can realize by keeping this mentality at the center of their experience strategy. In fact, one-quarter of T-Mobile’s customers say they’ll never switch to a competitor’s service, which is much higher than the single digit-figures of the other four major wireless carriers.
5. Customer journeys are the product.
Customer journeys are becoming just as important as product offerings in terms of competitive advantage. In fact, experts anticipate the customer experience will overtake price and product as the main brand differentiator by 2020.
Gartner’s Global Research Director, Brian Manusama explains that the brands that win are those with the easiest, most valuable, enjoyable customer journeys: “It cannot be a series of necessary evils, euphemistically named sales process, transaction process and support process, all of which are neutral to negative experiences – to be justified in the end by the value and enjoyment of the product or service. Those days are long gone.”
If there’s one brand that understands this concept, it’s Disney Parks and Resorts. Since their first park opened in 1955, the Disney philosophy has been to make even the most mundane details magical, and its dedication to this philosophy has never wavered. For example, its ‘language certified’ employees wear pins which indicate what languages they speak, making it clear to guests who can assist them.
Another example: Every Disney Parks employee, from actors to rides operators, are required to pick up trash if they see it, to preserve the magical ambience of the parks. For Disney, the entire customer experience is the product of its parks and resorts, not just the rides, and this outlook results in intensely loyal customers and enormous revenue.
While customer journey mapping is a common practice, traditional methods often don’t go far enough to help companies empathize with customers. Using empathy maps, treating the customer journey like a product, and planning for multi-tasking customers, you can close the gap between customer expectations and the current journey state. By doing so, the customer experience can outperform product and service as the brand differentiator and take the customer journey to the next level.
Another way companies can take their customer journeys to the next level is through real-time monitoring of the customer experience with omni-channel reporting. The Aceyus reporting platform integrates and generates insights from any mix of data sources, so businesses can adjust their operations to build better customer and agent experiences. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.