Customer Experience Mapping

Customer Experience MappingIn the modern world, it becomes quite difficult to track customer attrition at different touchpoints of a multi-channel interaction. The whole notion of customer experience (CX) is about the way your customers engage with your brand and company during the time in which they can be somehow related to your target audience (either to your prospective customers or the existing ones).

Nowadays, a website or a mobile app is not uncommonly part of a bigger service; they are often defined as digital products, and as time goes by,. the user interacts with more and more of these products. Customer experience may seem to be totally unpredictable, as individual customers may behave differently, especially in a cross-channel interaction (or an interaction with several digital products).

Still, there are special touchpoints in customer experience at which you can gain control over the situation. Touchpoints include not only digital, but also offline interactions.

One of the useful methods to control the touchpoints (as well as to increase your conversion rate and optimize your sales funnel and retention rate) is to map the journey of your customers or to do customer experience mapping. customer-experience-mapping-2Figure 1. CJM for Rail Europe

Customer experience mapping is used by product managers, CX specialists, UX/UI designers and data analysts to better understand the customer, to improve the existing interactions and invent new and useful ones, and to make a cross-channel design effective.

The method of customer journey mapping (CJM) helps to visualize the experience customers have with your product or service across 3 dimensions: locations, time and channels.

A customer experience map (CJM) is a diagram showing the steps your customers take to complete their journey as buyers. Completion there does not mean completing your business goals (such as buying from you or recommending your services to somebody else).

CX mapping often has multiple stages. It helps to answer such questions as “What activities do customers do in order to proceed through their buying process?”, “What difficulties do customers encounter during their journey?”, “What kind of emotions do customers have at each touchpoint? “, “To what extent and in which way is their purchasing behavior influenced by these emotions?”customer-experience-mapping-3customer-experience-mapping-4Figure 2. CJM as seen by the Australian design strategist Mel Edwards

With the help of customer journey mapping you can define what kind of touchpoints are most important to your customers. At this point, it is necessary to note that CJM is created from the customer's perspective.

From a business owner's perspective the sales funnel looks like this:customer-experience-mapping-5Customer experience mapping gives you an idea of what your funnel looks like from the customer's perspective:customer-experience-mapping-6CX mapping gives product/service improvement a visible structure. In terms of funnel optimization, CJM allows you to detect the weakest touchpoints or the weakest transitions from one touchpoint to another. Fixing problem issues at each of the touchpoints helps the customer browse and shop with minimal effort. Making the customer experience smooth, transparent and simple helps increase conversion rates for all types of conversion (either for additional or major calls to action).

In terms of retention optimization, CJM helps you start focusing on the weakest points of the customer experience, and recognizing and enhancing the good experiences. For example, if many users leave the funnel on the registration stage we should check this touchpoint (the registration). We may find that a link to confirm the registration is often either ignored or missed by the user, so we should email a new link after some time (or delete or change this step of the registration process).

Let’s take an example of a customer journey which doesn’t work well and see how customer experience mapping can help fix it. Consider a homeowner who would like to buy a home theater system. It takes a lot of time and effort to learn all the limitations and technical issues, and it can cause a headache for a potential customer up to the point of delivery.

A wise manufacturer of home theaters may consider taking a holistic view of the customer experience and create a comprehensive customer journey map, including in it the stages of awareness, research, purchase and even out-of-the- box-experience (in order to minimize the frequency of after-market customer calls to the help desk).

At each stage of CJM the manufacturer may research the customer’s actions and motivations to continue the journey, the questions which the customer may want to ask, and the barriers the customer may encounter on the way to the next step.

The manufacturer may see that at the first stage customers have many questions about the limitations of a home theater system. To help customers easily learn some technical issues, the manufacturer can create a FAQ database or offer a chat window. If customers have trouble dealing with sales staff, the manufacturer may check their work with ghost shoppers.

As you see, a good CJM definitely makes you take action. An experience map is never equal to some official report: it is more like a vivid explanation of your customers' behavior than a conclusion, and it should catalyze you into activity. For example, you may want to implement some new quality assurance procedures to check the work of the employees responsible for dealing with the touchpoint.

You don't have to be highly qualified to understand a good CJM. However, all future analysis and modifications based on the experience map should be done by professionals in CX and CRO.

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