Customer journey mapping allows you to foresee potential problems and visualize how customers feel at every point of their journey.
However, as innovators, how can you use customer journey maps for innovation?
In this article, we will discuss how you can create customer journey maps effectively and how the mapping process relates to the innovation process.
What is customer journey mapping?
A customer journey map visually represents a client’s interaction with a brand or a company, including the steps they take from initial contact to post-purchase evaluation.
Following these steps will help you understand the customer experience from a customer’s perspective, making customer journey mapping a strategic method for evaluating and optimizing your brand’s customer experience.
In other words, this process helps you put yourselves in your customers’ shoes and see things from their point of view.
Why is customer journey mapping important?
Every customer journey mapping effort will allow you to gain the following customer data:
1. Needs, pain points, and expectations
Creating customer journey maps allows you to develop a holistic understanding of three things:
- Your customer’s journey. How and where does their experience with your brand end?
- The touchpoints where they interact with your company. Where did they start engaging with you? How did you get them to interact with you in the first place? What part of your brand captured their attention?
- Their needs, pain points, and expectations. What factors made them choose or abandon your products, processes, and services? What considerations did they have in doing business with you? What do they want to get from dealing with the things you offer?
This understanding can lead to informed decision-making and working strategies for the organization.
Furthermore, understanding the customer’s entire journey allows you to develop new products and services that better meet their needs. In effect, you will gain improved customer journeys, leading to increased customer satisfaction scores and revenue possibilities.
2. Areas for improvement
Customer journey mapping can also help organizations identify areas where technology can improve poor customer service and increase efficiency.
- For example, suppose a customer journey map reveals that customers have difficulty navigating the company’s website to find the information they need. The organization could implement search functionality or chatbots to make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.
- Similarly, if the map shows that customers are frustrated with long wait times on the phone, the company could implement an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system. This virtual queue allows customers to stay in line and be notified when it’s their turn to speak with a representative.
- In the same way, if the map reveals that customers are having issues with the checkout process, the company could consider implementing a one-click checkout or a mobile wallet integration.
These solutions can help streamline the checkout process and make it more convenient for customers.
How are customer journey maps related to innovation?
A customer journey map relates to innovation in three ways:
1. By dictating the purpose of a company’s innovation efforts
Understanding customer journeys can play a key role in shaping the organization’s innovation efforts.
By providing a comprehensive view of your customer’s experience and the steps customers go through in transacting with you, you can recognize which parts of your operations need to innovate.
For instance, if the mapping process, as an incredibly insightful procedure, shows a recurring challenge, your organization may focus its innovation efforts on various stages that address issues and drive positive impact.
2. By improving organizational processes
Customer journey maps can improve organizational processes in two ways:
Identifying inefficiencies and bottlenecks
By visualizing the entire customer journey, organizations can identify areas where processes are not working as efficiently as they should.
This can include bottlenecks in the customer journey that slow down the process or areas where customers are dropping off due to a lack of information or poor user experience.
By knowing which areas need improvement, organizations can streamline their operations and make them more efficient — not only for their customers but also for their employees.
3. By increasing the organization’s innovation skills
Making customer journey maps enhance certain innovation skills. The more complete the map becomes, the easier it is for organizations to improve skills like collaboration, research, and empathy.
Customer journey maps bring a common understanding of the customers’ experience, bringing different teams and departments to work together towards the common goal of achieving better customer satisfaction.
Finally, when different teams and departments work together to create a customer journey map, they can get to know each other’s roles, responsibilities, and how they work — leading to better communication, understanding, and collaboration.
Additionally, customer journey maps can facilitate research by providing a centralized location for teams to access customer insights and data.
To gather information and generate insights needed to take advantage of innovation opportunities, innovation teams would have to be skilled and resourceful in studying post-sales analysis and other social data and factors driving revenue for the company.
In mapping customer journeys, every distinct point where the customer engages should be carefully studied.
By highlighting the customer’s needs and goals throughout their journey, customer journey maps also help to remind teams and individuals of the importance of meeting those needs and goals to ensure a positive customer experience.
How to create a customer journey map?
Creating customer journey maps involve six steps:
1. Define your customers
To create an accurate and effective customer journey map, it is essential to clearly understand who your customers are, including their demographics, behaviors, needs, and pain points.
This information can be gathered through market research, surveys, customer interviews, and other data analysis methods.
Once you understand how they interact with your business, what motivates them to engage with your brand, and what pain points they experience during their interactions with you, you can optimize the journey to meet their needs.
In effect, not only will you be able to create a customer journey map that precisely demonstrates their experiences. You will also be able to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
2. Discover the experience they have before, during, and after the purchase
Discovering the experience customers have before, during, and after the purchase helps you identify the emotions and decisions made at each step.
Before the purchase, customers typically go through a process of research and discovery, gathering information about products or services and comparing options.
This phase is critical in understanding what motivates a customer to engage with a brand and what pain points they experience during this stage.
During the purchase, the customer goes through a process of evaluating and making a decision.
This phase is important in understanding what factors influence the customer’s decision, what obstacles they may encounter, and how their experience can be optimized to make the process as seamless as possible.
After the purchase, customers go through a post-purchase evaluation process, where they assess the value of their purchase and consider future interactions with the brand. This phase is important in understanding customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
3. Find out their pain points
Pain points refer to the difficulties or frustrations that customers experience during their interactions with you. These can be related to the product or service, the customer service, the purchasing process, or any other aspect of the customer experience.
Identifying pain points is essential because it allows you to understand where the customer’s experience is falling short and identify improvement areas.
For example, suppose a customer is frustrated with long wait times for customer service; you can address the issue by increasing staffing or investing in technology to improve response times.
There are several ways to find customers’ pain points, such as customer interviews, surveys, and data analysis. You can interview customers to understand their experiences, frustrations, and needs.
Surveys can gather customer experience feedback and identify pain points, while data analysis can identify trends and patterns in customer behavior and feedback.
4. Study their behavior and decision-making patterns
Once you discover what factors influence your customers’ decisions and how they evaluate different options, you will figure out what makes them tick.
Hence, you’d be able to tailor your marketing, communication, and service offerings to their specific needs and preferences, resulting in a more personalized and effective customer experience.
5. Gather ideas
Once you clearly understand the customer experience, you can gather ideas to improve it. This could include new features or changes to existing processes.
To gather ideas, you can:
- Conduct brainstorming and ideating sessions with your employees.
- Gather feedback from customers through surveys and interviews.
- Observe customer interactions and gather feedback in-person or through remote methods.
- Run hackathons and innovation campaigns.
- Crowdsource ideas from diverse stakeholders, including customers, employees, and partners.
- Look at customer complaints as a source of suggestions for improvement.
- Engage with customer communities and forums to gather insights and feedback.
- Carry out A/B testing of different solutions to see what works best.
6. Find alternatives and patterns
Identify different variations of the customer journey and understand the underlying patterns that drive them.
This phase aims to uncover opportunities for enhancement in the customer experience and discern the factors that drive customer choices and actions.
By utilizing this information, it is possible to devise different versions of the customer journey and pinpoint optimization possibilities. Evaluate the alternative scenarios and identify the most promising ones that would impact the customer experience.
Then, put the chosen scenarios into action and monitor the results. Don’t forget to monitor and improve the changes if necessary.
Use Accept Mission to implement your customer journey map data
The customer journey map provides a detailed understanding of the customer’s experience and identifies areas for improvement.
These improvements can be made via innovation platforms like Accept Mission. With our platform, you can drive innovation by providing a collaborative space for teams to brainstorm and test new ideas.
By combining customer journey mapping with an innovation platform like Accept Mission, organizations can take a data-driven and user-centered approach to identifying and implementing new ideas to enhance the customer experience.
This approach allows organizations to stay competitive in their industry.
Improve your products, processes, and services with Accept Mission today. Download our free innovation ebook today to learn more.