Why Map the Client Journey?

Consumers aren’t required to know what it’s like to run your company. But your company needs to know what it’s like to be your customer.

As a business owner, you’re tasked with not only creating a profitable model and ensuring efficiency, but also creating a meaningful and satisfying experience for your customers. Your business wouldn’t exist without them, so these considerations should be top priorities when planning and strategizing.

Mapping the client journey (aka customer journey) is a must for any business. Doing so helps you understand their perspective and how they may view your business, each step of the way. Without understanding what it’s like to be your customers, you’ll never be able to reach them effectively and in meaningful ways.

Why map the client journey?

The ability to walk in your customers’ shoes gives you visibility into their motivations, decision-making tactics, and behaviors. You already know why you started your business and the value your products and services offer. But customers won’t know right away—it’s your job to show them.

Even if your product is the best on the market, there are many factors along the customer journey that will impact whether or not they engage with you or make a purchase. According to a report from PWC, one in three consumers will walk away from a brand they love after having just one bad experience. And 73 percent of consumers say that the customer experience is an important factor when deciding whether to make a purchase.

This is why it’s crucial to view your business from the client’s perspective. What kind of experiences, thoughts, and feelings do they have when engaging with your brand? What surprises them or frustrates them?

You need to understand the full experience of being a customer to make more meaningful connections, which will ultimately strengthen your business.

Client journey map: Where to begin

Your client journey map starts by clearly defining each point of interaction between you and the customer. This helps you shift the focus from your products and services to how customers will actually be engaged, and what they will experience along the way. These phases of interactions can then be paired with what the customer feels, thinks, and experiences during each stage.

The client journey map will look different for every business. Factors that impact your map include things like whether you’re online or have a storefront, and your industry, target audience, location, and more. But the customer journey map must start tracking from the initial point of contact through engagement and action, and into nurturing the long-term relationship. Each point of contact with the client must be evaluated.

An example of a client journey map could be the following:

  1. Introduction to the brand (walking by the store, seeing an ad). How did they hear about you?
  2. Initial communication and connection (visits the store or website, calls you). How did the first point of contact take place?
  3. Bringing in the new client (onboarding to your company, teaching the process). Is it clear to the client how the process will work?
  4. Planning and checking in (coming up with the strategy and executing it). Are you catering planning to each specific customer? Are you following up and checking in regularly to ensure satisfaction?
  5. Ongoing communication and support (continued outreach, availability, feedback requests). Are you thanking customers and continuing to give them offers and information? Are you supporting them after their purchase?

Create a similar map that’s specific to your business, and each touchpoint that your clients are likely to go through.

While creating your map, customer experience points to consider include:

  • Motivation. What’s driving the customer’s choices at each stage?
  • Preferences. How do they prefer to interact with the brand?
  • Engagement. What are they most interested in throughout the journey? What questions do they have?
  • Emotion and behavior. How does a message make a customer feel, causing them to act one way or another? How do feelings and emotions drive customers to behave?
  • Roadblocks. What’s getting in the way of a customer’s ability to get what they want?

Gathering and analyzing information

Your customer journey map could take the form of an actual map, a graph, or a chart. For instance, you could have a row for each stage at the top of a table, and the client-experience considerations listed above on the left-hand side. You can then track each experience consideration during each phase.

You’ll need to harness a range of tools and techniques to gather this information, including online analytics that track trends and behavior on social media platforms, email campaigns, and your website. You’ll also need to ask your customers about their experience at each stage. This requires using a feedback tool, like a survey or a popup question, to gauge their satisfaction at different stages of the journey.

Take the customer journey yourself. Approach each stage as if you know nothing about the brand or product. What strikes you as welcoming or frustrating? What changes could you make to be more engaging? How do the messages make you feel?

Creating a customer journey map is an excellent step toward better engaging clients and improving the customer experience. But this is just one part of strategizing for growth. At Provident CPA & Business Advisors, our professionals are ready to help you create a growth and profit improvement plan that aligns all aspects of your business. Get in touch with our team to learn more.

The Vital Role of Customer ROI and Customer Experience

The customer is always right, and in the age of social media, their feedback has a big impact on your business—good or bad. That’s why every business strategy should focus on customer ROI

The proliferation of and dependence on the internet has brought many pros and cons for businesses large and small. You can more easily connect with your client base and benefit from positive reviews, recommendations, and discussions. Yet when a customer has a negative experience, a bad review can mean that a lead will opt for a competitor after researching your brand.

A report from Forrester indicates that customer experience drives revenue growth, and customer-experience leaders outperform laggards by 24 to 26 percentage points within the cable and retail sectors.

Because customer impressions have a lot of control over your business’s performance, customer ROI is one of the most important strategic considerations. The value of your offerings to the customer needs to align with cost—otherwise, customers certainly won’t be satisfied with their experience.

Learn why the customer experience and customer ROI should be top priorities for your business:

Customer ROI: An overview

Customer ROI is what your customers get out of your products or services; the value of what they paid for compared with what they actually paid for it.

You’re likely all too familiar with assessing ROI for your business, including marketing costs and how much impact they’re making. But how often do you take a step back to assess the ROI for your customers?

Focusing on the customer experience means that you’re assessing and updating your products and practices based on what the customer wants and what will satisfy them. It’s not just about making money—any successful business owner knows how important quality is to keep the lights on. But going farther than quality is providing a unique service that a customer can’t get anywhere else, even if it’s taking one extra step to show that you care.

Asking your customers for feedback is a good first step to assessing whether or not they’re happy with your business’s offerings. Send out a survey. Or implement a feedback pop-up on your website so that consumers can interact immediately when interacting with your brand—or when they’ve just purchased something.

It’s then wise to follow up after the fact to make sure they’re still satisfied. This gives you valuable data while making your customers feel valued. When this is the case, they’re more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend you to their friends and family.

Feedback and customer ROI

When you have happy customers, it strengthens your relationships with your audience while providing you important opportunities to improve aspects of the business. Satisfied customers may leave positive reviews and start good discussions about your business online, which will impact referral and recommendation rates.

In Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Report, 83 percent of respondents said they trust recommendations from friends and family. One happy customer could lead to a domino effect and win you a lot more business.

In the same report, 66 percent of respondents said they trust consumer opinions that are posted online. While that’s great news for your business when you get a stellar review, it also means that negative reviews can have a major impact.

So where does customer ROI come into play? The fact is, your customers will only be satisfied if they feel that they’ve made a valuable purchase. If they feel like they paid too much for a product or service that didn’t meet their needs, they’re likely to talk about it. But if they felt they paid a reasonable price for outstanding service, then they’ll feel satisfied with their investment: the ideal customer ROI.

Customer experience and business performance

Focusing on the customer experience is directly related to performance. According to the State of CX Management report from Temkin Group, 73 percent of companies that have above-average customer experience maturity show better financial performance than their competitors.

Another report from Temkin Group showed that if customers have a “very good” experience, they’re 3.5 times more likely to make additional purchases than if they have a “very poor” experience. They’re also 5 times more likely to recommend a business if they have a very good experience.

If customers aren’t satisfied with their ROI, they’ll simply stop spending with the same brand or product. Qualtrics report entitled “What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience” showed that 22 percent of customers decrease their spending and 19 percent stop doing business with the company they had a bad experience with.

Not only do you have to worry about a blow to your reputation after bad feedback is posted and shared, but you also have to worry about the negative effects on your business performance. As a small or medium-sized business owner, you just can’t afford to ignore how important customer ROI is to your business strategy.

The team at Provident CPA & Business Advisors is here to help you with growth and profit improvement. We help entrepreneurs achieve financial freedom by putting together the business’s building blocks along the way. Contact us today to learn more about our services.