In today’s world, customers are increasingly demanding, and don’t hesitate to switch brands after a single poor experience. To retain customers and maintain their competitive edge, companies need to evaluate themselves from their customer’s points of view to understand what their customers want and how they want to do business. More and more, businesses are accomplishing this through customer journey mapping.

But what is a customer journey map? At its core, its a story.

A customer journey map is a living document a roadmap for the entire organization that tells the story of customer motivations, experiences, and interactions with a company. This is usually accomplished through an infographic that includes both major and minor touchpoints across the customer-brand relationship. These maps uncover ways to create more connected and personal customer experiences that encourage customer success and engagement.

This process is an opportunity for businesses to better identify disjointedness between touchpoints in the customer experience. For instance, there might be competing deliverables or gaps in communication across social media platforms, customer devices, and departments. These gaps inhibit efficient customer service and frustrate customers. Whether simple or sophisticated, rough or streamlined, customer journey mapping is a valuable diagnostic activity for any business.

Above all, a customer journey map strives to capture and improve genuine customer engagement. In a mobile world where likes, views, and shares often determine the validity and drive the latest trend, the human touch tends to be forgotten. Genuine customer engagement hinges on personalization and creating a relationship from which both the customer and business can benefit. While exceptional experiences may be difficult to create, customer journey maps lend direction to these endeavors and push beyond quantifying metrics prevalent in social media.

While customer journey maps will vary business to business, there are fundamental components to consider, like personas, timelines, emotions, touchpoints, and channels. These components from customer and business perspectives are brought together in a customer journey map to identify service opportunities and improvements that can benefit both sides through savings in time, money, and frustration.

For example, if a customer is on a web page and can’t find the information he needs, he is likely to generate a chat, email, or phone call to get his question answered. Each channel is more expensive than the last in terms of agent cost. Real-time dashboards and near real-time historical customer journey reporting can point out trends in channel hopping the same way traditional Call Transfer Analysis and First Call / Contact Resolution reports uncover training inadequacies or a need for agent coaching. The map can show areas in which you can improve your customer journey and lead customers to feel more connected to their brand.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a customer journey map. They can be as varied and diverse as the organizations that incorporate them. What is universal is that the customer-brand connection has a clear and definite result on net profits and Net Promoter Scores and that the data collected via a properly executed customer journey map can give you clear insight into how to strengthen this connection. These efforts won’t go unnoticed, and businesses will soon find they have connected customers that are loyal, anxious to engage, and emphatically promote their favorite brand.

This Aceyus blog post is co-authored by: Ben Vesta, Vice President of Product Development and Cristofo Romani, Application Consultant.

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