Customer journey map are no stranger to large organisations and enterprises. It helps the organisations understand the ways a customer uses its products or services and have been always revisting what their customer desires from them.
However, customer journey maps are often overlooked by small and medium businesses and they missed out on the value it can bring to their own customers and business.
The benefits of a customer journey map are numerous as we can see from the following list:
A customer journey map provides a single platform, which brings together all the business operations of an organisation for a wider view and better understanding. The map strives to answer all the questions about a customer’s expectation and experience, and leaves no doubt about the place of a customer in an organisation.
A detailed study of a customer journey map reveals the type of experience customers get at each stage of their interaction with an organisation. It also reveals the buying history and preference of the customers, and the type of feedbacks and suggestions they give after each experience. This information forms part of the basis on which the public determines the organisation’s reputation with respect to its products, services, and business practices.
A customer journey map can offer a wholesome insight into a company’s mission, vision, ethics, processes, and human relationships. It gives more exposure to the way a company handles issues such as recruitment, training, staff motivation, research, and product improvement and development.
A customer journey map contains customers’ feedbacks – both positive and negative. These feedbacks are products of customers’ expectations and experience, and are the primary information on which any company that intends to make improvement in its products and services, with the aim of increasing work efficiency will rely.
In as much as customers want the best experience and look forward to the latest innovations and improvements in their favourite companies, they will be quick to reject any innovation that does not meet their expectation and needs, no matter how sophisticated the innovation may be. The customer journey map will assist a company assess how its customers accept innovations and new processes, and either drop them, continue with them, or find ways of making them better.
As a company grows, the different internal departments may not grow at the same rate. Some departments may have faster growth rates than other departments. This may be due to the different levels of satisfaction customers experience with different departments. The customer journey map can reveal this significant information, and enable the organisation make changes that will give more exposure to the lagging departments. This will also help strengthen the company’s position with respect to its mission and vision.
A customer journey map helps portray all the company’s branches, or any other organisation that has a part to play in customers’ interactions with the company. This enables the company to be aware of the quality of its customers’ experience at each touch point on the journey map. The company will have a better assessment of customers’ interactions with all the elements and components on the map, which prompts the customer to make a buying decision.
Customer journey map is not just a wall art; it is more than that. It is the key to a company getting to the next level. It is the difference between a company and its competitors. The design must be clear and simple so that each value proposition stands out clearly and easy to understand. This will help the organisation and its internal departments have a clear focus on satisfying and meeting the customers’ needs and expectations.
The use of a customer journey map for the improvement of business processes cuts across different sectors such as banks, non-governmental organisations, auto industry, hotels, restaurants, airlines, schools, construction etc.
An engineer needs a customer journey map in order to understand customers’ experiences and expectations. If you are a writer, the customer journey map becomes a useful tool in the quest to determine the level of satisfaction customers derive from your writings. The need for such a map becomes very important when you want to know whether your customers like your style of writing, or they would have preferred you to write with another style. It also gives you an idea of how they use your writings.
If you are a manager of a fashion goods retailing company, a customer journey map will help you understand what drives seasonal sales, the impact of seasonal sales on purchases, and customers’ response to such periodic sales. You may discover that your customers love your sales, or they are not happy with the quality of products on sale, or they may feel that the products you have on sale though of good quality, are of no use to them.
Every company needs a customer journey map in order to identify the various deficiencies or inefficiencies within its service delivery platform. For instance, what happens when a customer is travelling through the journey map, and a service device fails? Is there an adequate alternative the customer can use to complete the buying process or does the customer leave frustrated because he or she does not know how to continue with the buying process?
For instance, a customer that prefers a particular product suddenly discovers that the product is no longer in stock and picks a second choice. If he feels that the second choice was not as good as the preferred one, frustration may set in, therefore giving the customer a bad experience.
In the scenario above, a customer journey map will reveal the inefficiencies in the service delivery system, and provide the necessary customer feedback for the company to improve its offerings.
A customer journey map also becomes a necessity when evaluating customers’ interaction with different internal departments of an organisation. The map will help an organisation determine if there is synergy among the departments, or if the departments function mostly independently. Bad customer experience in one department can change a customer’s perspective about the entire organisation. For instance, a customer may have a wonderful experience in a particular department, but experience a very different and negative reception at the payment point. This is a huge turn-off for many customers and only a customer journey map can reveal and address this type of system failure.
Another example of the need for a customer journey map is in social media marketing. Companies should endeavour they remain truthful to their words across all service channels. Customers will get confused and disappointed when they find out that contrary to a company’s claim, the company does not have any social media presence. This will affect the company’s reputation. When an organisation has a realistic map with the different service channels, it will stay more focused.
Organisations strive to make the customer a focal point in the customer journey map. They develop all products, services, mindset, strategies, etc., with the customer in mind. Therefore, the map enables an organisation evaluate how customers interact with these offerings, and the role of social media in affecting the mindset of a customer towards the organisation. A customer journey map helps a company identify any department that needs some improvement both from the customers’ perspective, and from the organisation’s perspective.
The use of customer journey maps by organisations helps the organisation develop better customer management practices. The map helps organisations evaluate customers’ current experience, and predict future buying decisions. It draws attention to areas that need more development in order for the company to retain or surpass its current level.
Customer journey maps can prove useful when a company desires to develop or improve on its marketing strategy. The map helps the organisation in communicating the proposed strategies to the customer. In addition, a customer journey map can be a platform for the creation of awareness whenever a company develops new products and services.
The importance of customer emotions and experiences
Many organisations are realising that the actual competition environment starts in how an experience determines the way a customer feels. They recognise that emotions are key components of a customer’s experience. Different degrees of emotional engagements give rise to various customer behaviours, which in turn affect customer retention and loyalty.
Emotions form a large part of any customer experience. More than fifty percent of customers’ actions have connections with the way they feel. Decisions are products of feelings; therefore, a customer journey map that considers only pricing and customer expectations without any thoughts for the customers’ experiences and emotions, has failed. Organisations must try to assess the emotions responsible for the buying decisions of customers.
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