The economy is ever-changing. Competition is high. It is more important than ever to understand your customers and their journey with your products or services. This understanding paves the way to optimizing business strategies that can increase customer satisfaction and maximize business results. Also, this understanding helps you build a better brand and offer better products and services — all with the customer at the forefront.
The way to do it? Craft a customer journey strategy utilizing cx journey mapping and service blueprinting.
A CX (Customer Experience) journey map provides an illustration that highlights a customer’s current experience. It tells the visual story of your customers’ engagement with your service, product, or brand. By consulting a customer journey map, your organization will be able to put itself in the mind of the customer. This way it can bring clarity to potential changes that create a more positive and impactful experience for your customers.
Journey Map Foundation & Stages
By using CX journey maps, an organization begins to understand how customers experience its products or services from the very first touchpoint through their entire relationship with the brand, product, or service. They provide a visualization of the steps customers take, bringing alignment on where operational adjustments can be made to provide a more successful experience.
Over time, these efforts can bolster and support organizational goals such as increased revenue and reduced customer churn. Having a proper grasp on the customer experience journey will improve alignment between the customer and your business goals by recognizing Moments that Matter and identifying pain points and moments of delight.
By understanding these moments, a business can pinpoint upstream and downstream impacts in the customer journey and adjust strategies to capture the most value. For example, if our email communications team understands the calls driven to the customer service team as a result of their emails, they can adapt the content to address likely customer questions.
This allows the team to better empathize with customers, remembering similar frustrations and confusion when calling a customer service line. Customer journey mapping becomes an even more impactful and powerful tool for your business when it is used to establish a shared understanding and empathy for your customers. By anticipating their needs, customers’ expectations are set sooner, reducing the time spent downstream by the customer service team trying to obtain or retain them — a key benefit of customer experience strategy. Likewise, our marketing team may see an opportunity to clarify the messaging of our products or services, alleviating questions that develop upstream.
As you can see, the benefits of customer journey strategy are endless, however it doesn’t just happen overnight.
In creating a CX journey map there are two important functional stages:
Understanding the current state of the customer journey.
Mapping an optimized future journey.
Kicking Off the Journey
Before you can create your fully-fledged optimized customer journey map, you must first understand the current state of the customer journey. Typically, depending on your business, there are five stages an end-customer goes through from first identifying their needs to potentially leaving at the end stage.
Learn about your product or service.
Onboard by selecting, purchasing, receiving, and activating.
Use the product or service.
Support received when using the product or service.
Leave based on the experience.
The first step in understanding the current state of the customer journey map is to conduct internal information and learning sessions. During these sessions, stakeholders from across the organization come to the table to align on current customer touchpoints.
A touchpoint is any moment in time or along the customer journey when a customer interacts with your brand, service, or product. This can be anything from the first viewing of an ad to a ‘thank you’ note received after purchase.
These sessions can also be used to identify strategies and tactics needed for departmental success.
Employee perception is only a single piece of the puzzle, however. For a holistic perspective, it is equally important to consider customer perception. Customer feedback will then refine the current-state journey map. We guide our clients through this process in order to understand customer’s ongoing activities, interactions with the our products or services, points of frustration, and customer aspirations.
Given that customer and employee perception can differ, it’s common for team members to question which experiences add the most value for customers. A workshop can be a great customer experience strategy to bring everyone together to begin the discovery process.
At RevGen, we offer workshops to jumpstart the journey mapping process, helping organizations to outline their current state. We include existing customer feedback and apply it within the workshops to ensure the customers’ view is instilled throughout, increasing employee confidence, and leveraging Moments that Matter to lay the path towards an optimized, future state CX journey map.
Planning for The Future
How do you take all the information from the first stage and begin to plan for the future? Once the organization aligns on the current-state journey map, much of that same information can be used to optimize the future state. Those same departmental strategies from earlier meetings will be key, as will the customer feedback. Competitor intel and customer concept testing or focus groups are also good guides.
After outlining the current-state journey map and identifying customer actions, the next step will be defining the frontstage and backstage interactions that drive pivotal adaptations during the implementation of this optimized customer journey map.
The frontstage includes all touchpoints where the customer interacts with the product or service. In other words, anything the customer has visibility to — human-to-human or human-to-technology. For example, if our product is a mobile app, not only do we need to consider the customer touchpoints of the app itself, but the experience within the various app stores.
The backstage includes actions and tools the business uses or must create to produce and support the frontstage interactions. Together, both have an important role in driving the customer experience journey and must be reviewed carefully to ensure they support the optimized customer journey.
Also, consider building a service blueprint. Service blueprinting is the counterpart tool to a CX journey map that showcases step-by-step instructions in high detail. It allows you to take a closer look into each customer action within the customer journey map. By understanding customer actions first, it ensures all other company strategies and activities are optimized to be supportive for the customer.
Both the customer journey map and the service blueprint enable your organization to harness the value of CX journey mapping that can drive significant improvement with your customer experience strategy. To get started on your journey mapping or to define your implementation plan, reach out to RevGen to schedule a chat with one of our CX experts.
Evan Struke is passionate about helping clients drive meaningful value by keeping the customer at the heart of digital delivery and transformation.
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