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:
- Introduction to the brand (walking by the store, seeing an ad). How did they hear about you?
- Initial communication and connection (visits the store or website, calls you). How did the first point of contact take place?
- Bringing in the new client (onboarding to your company, teaching the process). Is it clear to the client how the process will work?
- 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?
- 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.