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You might be asking yourself, “What is a Customer Journey Map?”

A Customer Journey Map (CJM) is a powerful process that tracks a customer’s experience, from beginning to end. The results provide a company with valuable insight into their customers’ experiences and interactions through customer channels, such as call centers, websites and mobile apps.

When it comes to creating a well-executed CJM, a company must first forget about how the process should work and starting looking at how it is working.[pullquote]a company must first forget about how the process should work and start looking at how it is working.[/pullquote]Although a CJM is a departure from the standard process mapping approach, this critical and modernized process helps us understand what the customer experiences at each point of the transaction. These experiences must describe “moments of truth” for the customer – what they are doing, feeling, thinking. Not only does this help us learn more about a customer’s experience, but it also helps identify specific pain points and customer expectations for which appropriate fixes can be implemented.  More often than not, these fixes can help improve financial performance and customer satisfaction all at once.

But in order to better understand the process of a CJM, you should put yourself in a customer’s shoes.  Better yet, let’s have you – as the customer – buying shoes.

Phases of a Customer Journey

Now, imagine you’re the customer and you’ve forgotten to buy a holiday present for a close female friend.  You remember hearing her say something about wanting a new pair of shoes, so that’s where your journey begins.

  1. Research: Let’s say you decide to look at a nearby department store. Instead of going into the store, you decide to first check out the store’s website.  Once you’re online, you do some research.  As a customer, you’re pleasantly surprised by the store’s website.  It’s incredibly easy to navigate, thanks to a set of detailed search filters.   You know that your friend wants boots, so you search for “Boots.”  What color did she want?  Black, so you search for “Black.”  What style?  Ankle boots, you remember, so you check the square-box marked “Ankle Boots.” But after thirty-minutes of listless scrolling, you become frustrated.  Shouldn’t there be a way to sort by top-rated or customer recommendations?  Most of these boots aren’t hitting the mark.  Where is the variety in style?  Eventually, though, you find a pair of black, ankle boots that look, well, perfect.  Finally.
    • CJM Rule #1: A company must first identify customer pain points to assess the health and reality of the Customer Experience. At first, the customer is pleased with the department store’s website because of its easy navigation. However, as they continue to Research, the customer grows increasingly frustrated because the website does not offer a means to narrow the list of products in a way that’s easier to consume.
  2. Evaluate: Now that you’ve found the perfect pair of boots, you decide to evaluate the customer reviews.  As it happens, the boots are newly-listed, which means there aren’t any customer reviews posted on the website yet.  This annoys you.  Shouldn’t a department store as large and respected as this one have an up-to-date website?  Shouldn’t there be at least a couple of reviews, if not from customers then from somewhere else on the Internet?  Still, annoyed, you decide to search elsewhere on the Internet for customer feedback.
    • CJM Rule #2: Assess the impact of pain points. The customer’s frustration is mounting because the website lacks information critical to the customer’s decision to buy. As a result, the customer is forced to navigate away from the department store’s website, which not only lengthens the transaction cycle time, but increases the risk of losing a customer (and revenue) as the customer may decide to purchase elsewhere.
  3. Acquiring: Now that you’ve found the perfect boots for your friend, you’re ready to purchase them.  But after you’ve selected the right shoe size and clicked “Add to Shopping Cart,” you’re met with a line of text reading “OUT OF STOCK.”   Upon reading this, you become annoyed.   Didn’t the website say “IN STOCK” five-minutes ago?  Is something wrong with the website?  Agitated, you call the nearest store location and ask if they have the exact same pair of shoes in stock.  Luckily, they do.  Phew.
    • CJM Rule #3: Quantify the frequency of pain points. The website displaying inaccurate or stale information poses another pain point for the customer. In this example, the customer is ready to make the purchase online, but instead must call to verify product availability. Because the online ordering system did not accurately reflect or provide up-to-date information, the customer experience is again negatively impacted. Not to mention, adds call volume. Understanding how often this issue occurs, will help in prioritizing the customer experience process improvements that are necessary.

This is just the first half of the customer journey. Find out how the journey ends in my next post.

To learn more about Customer Journey Mapping, please contact us.