Here’s how you iron out the kinks in your sale process to boost customer satisfaction and retention – Customer journey maps

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could peer inside your customer’s minds and understand at what point they decide to purchase? If only you had a way to see what they were thinking, feeling and doing at each point in their journey to purchase so you could make it happen again. Thankfully there is. It’s called a customer journey map, which is an effective tool that identifies what opportunities you have to improve and an actionable way to enhance your customer's experiences.

What is a ‘customer journey map’?

A customer journey map is often a visual representation of every experience your customers have with you.

It is a strategy that helps to tell the story of a customer’s experience with your brand as a sequence of steps, as they move through the sales funnel. That means from a customer’s first interaction with you to their purchase, and up until their (hopefully) ‘long-term’ relationship with you, it extracts valuable information you can learn from.

This is what you need to know.

Customer relationships can be complicated.

At the outset, telling the story of customer experience with your brand might seem simple; you offer them something, and they accept it. However, once you realise the great number of ways a consumer can come into contact with your business (for example, through your marketing, referrals, internet search, social media, customer service enquiries and mass advertising campaigns) you begin to realise, that customers can fall through the cracks at different touchpoints, not upholding the same quality as others.

These hidden misalignments are what leave loads of opportunities to improve waiting to be discovered by a customer journey map.

Let’s have an example

Say your brand promises effortless customer service and to do so, it has trained a squad of trained salespeople that know exactly what your product is and how they should convert in-person sales.

With consumers shifting online your brand would then need to go on to spend time understanding how the ‘effortless’ experience can be recreated for online purchasing. If there is no clear way for an online customer to seek help and ask questions about the product, the quality of those two touchpoints would be misaligned.

This is the perfect example of an issue a business may be unaware of, that can be revealed with a customer journey map. It allows a business the opportunity to bridge the gap between the two touchpoints or safeguard itself from problems arising in the future from the risk presented by it.

Why customer journey maps matter

By stepping into your customers’ shoes and tracing their experiences from beginning to end, a customer journey map helps reveal issues with siloes in your business (like the example above). It allows you to identify what new processes should be put in place, and what old processes should be refined or eliminated.

Let me tell you how they build this deeper understanding of your customer.

The benefits

There is so much to learn from a customer journey map. Some of those benefits can include the following:

Helping identify where customers interact with your organisation;
Focusing resources on specific customer needs at different stages in the purchasing funnel;
Determining whether the customer journey progresses in a logical order;
Receiving an outside perspective on your sales process;
Spotting the gaps between the desired customer experience and the one being received by customers;
Highlighting areas for further development;
Allowing you to make educated decisions on where your organisation should be concentrating their efforts and expenditure to maximise effectiveness on what matters most;
Identify when a customer is most likely to leave you a positive review or share their experiences with others, so you can leverage that information).

Having an understanding of a customer’s general experience with your business is extremely valuable to its success. Customer demand for priority is a part of the reason why businesses must, stop, reflect and improve to succeed.

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