The Customer Experience is a Journey – 4 Key Points to Have on Your Company’s Map

journey-mapA long time ago, in a galaxy far away, when a customer had a problem that needed to be solved, your business had a product or service that was the solution.

You sold. They bought. And life moved on.

Today, your customer still has a problem that needs to be solved. You still have the solution.

As does the store down the street, the company across the state and the guy running a similar on-line business.

Today, your customer expects to get not only the best product they can purchase but the best experience in decision making, purchase and follow up.

No longer are excellent functionality and usability of product or service enough.

Today it’s about the experience of interaction with your service or product and your company over time.

In an article published in Harvard Business Review, a customer journey timeline, or a journey map, includes “first engaging with a customer (perhaps with advertising or in a store), buying the product or service, using it, sharing about the experience with others (in person or online), and then finishing the journey by upgrading, replacing, or choosing a competitor (re-starting the journey with another company).”

Designing Your Journey Map

A journey map is a fluid, ever-changing diagram of your customer’s experiences at each touchpoint.

When designing a journey map your company needs to consider:

  1. Activities – what your customer does at each stage of the buying process and what they do to move to the next stage.
  2. Motivators – the feelings and emotions that move your customer to the next stage. Those things that make them care enough to want to investigate further.
  3. Uncertainties – those things in the purchase process or the usability of the product that would prevent them from moving further through the experience of buying from or working with you.
  4. Value added – the surprise and extras that would bring great satisfaction to your customer – and loyalty to your brand.

Your journey map should be a compelling visual story. A board or tool which can be used by each area in your organization to inspire new ideas for interaction with your customer.

How to Know What Your Customer Needs for the Journey

In-depth customer research will provide the answers to each of these pieces of the customer journey. A well-developed mystery shopping program can be a first step to understanding how your typical customer finds, approaches and interacts with your business. One on one interaction provides a deeper understanding of the motivating emotion of your customer at each stage of engagement.

Don’t just guess at what attracts and motivates your customers. Or assume you have answered all their questions. Do your research and know for sure what will have your customer talking about their great experience with your company!

Does your organization have a customer experience journey map? How did you get the information to understand how your customer moves through your sales process? Please share!

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