The first time I worked with one of my clients in an effort to understand their customers’ experiences, I started from the point of view of the business. It told me a lot about why my client was facing financial complications. Lack of collection protocol, failure to properly track inventory and lack of accountability where some of the things that we found through tracking the customer process.
However, what we failed to capture was the customers’ point of view. Surveys are great, but they do not tell you how a customer moves through every part of your business. What happens when your customer makes initial contact with your company? What happens when they buy? What happens after they buy? What happens when the experience is over? What are your customers’ feelings, motivations and questions during each of these moments?
What is a Customer Journey?
A customer journey shows how a customer engages with a business. Specifically, it characterizes the experiences of a customer's engagement from beginning to end. It measures that experience across time and channels, which shows you the multiple things may be happening for and with your customer at the same time.
Most customers have multi-level interactions with a business. Customers come through various channels and events with a business. Many of those same customers may experience a business through more than one (i.e. online and brick and mortar store). Before you think that your business is not “big enough” to follow a customer journey, think of all of the ways that your customers make contact with your business. Email, mobile, social media, website, brick and mortar store, or a conference are all ways that a person can interact with a business.
After the entry, how do you communicate with your customers? That is part of the journey. No matter how big or how small your business is, there are multiple touch points and experiences of your customers. That is why you need to follow it.
Why your customers’ experiences matter.
Many business owners only care about their customers' experiences through their own point of view. However, it is not the business owner’s point of view that matters. Every example I have heard of great customer service, has begun with personalization. “They made me feel special.” So how can you make your customer feel special if you do not know what they experience when they work with you?
A customer journey map will help you understand how your customers move through your sales funnel and understand what they experience when a customer may get frustrated or excited. It puts the customer in the forefront of the organization, and everything revolves around the customer. Happy customers mean repeat customers. Your business will benefit from creating an amazing experience for your customers.
Where to start.
You don’t have to map every aspect of the customer’s experience. The map should focus on the customer’s needs. You should be able to look at it and see a simple story that hits the points of contact that a user passes through. Start with “discovery.” How does a customer discover you and where do they initiate contact? Once you understand that process, you can move on with engagement. Emails, phone calls, notifications are all a part of the journey. Next, you can follow the process of conversion. How do you drive people to your store to purchase? What things do your customers’ want when they interact with your business?
Customer journey mapping is the next evolution of a growing business. Learn how to better interact with the customers you do have in order to attract new ones.
Shahara Wright is an experienced and highly sought after business law attorney and business strategist. She is the author of From Entrepreneur to CEO and host of the CEO Collaboration Circle. Shahara founded The CEO Effect, LLC to work with small business owners who want to implement strategy to build capacity.
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