Customer Journey Mapping: It Should Feel Like Candy Land Rather Than Twister
Written By: Sabina M. Pons, Annie Stefano, & Emilia D’Anzica
According to Mark Jefferey, Author, and Professor at the Kellogg School of Management, less than 20% of companies leverage customer data to make business decisions. Leaders are frustrated with either not having customer data or overwhelmed by spreadsheets they can’t piece together into a customer story. Successful customer journeys can be a daunting task as a result. New customer trends and needs emerge when companies understand what drives stickiness, renewals, and expansion levers. Additionally, companies often have only one chance to make the first impression, resulting in the first 90 days being even more critical in determining whether customers will stay and renew or churn dissatisfied.
Where Does One Start With Understanding The Customer?
One strategic motion to ensure that a customer’s needs and wants are met is to have a defined and agile customer journey map. Customer journey mapping is a critical step where all organizations should invest time. However, without a clear mission and an agnostic facilitator, the internal exercise can feel like a team-building exercise gone wrong: the intentions are good, it may be an exciting team exercise, but the outcome falls flat, similarly to how participants in the famous physical skill game Twister can come crashing down to the colorfully dotted mat. Conversely, when executed well, with a tried-and-true methodology, the experience for mapping your customer’s experience should feel like the Hasbro game of Candy Land: imaginative, collaborative, with a winding, yet linear track. Sweet snacks in the room for participants can be an added plus!
The Importance of Customer Journey Mapping
You may be wondering why your customers take a long time selecting a product or moving from one place to the other. The root cause of customer confusion may very well be when you have an unclear customer journey map: internal teams lack alignment, which can contribute to a negative and confusing customer experience. A Harvard Business Review article by Adam Richardson highlights that customer journey maps clarify:
1. What customers are trying to achieve with your product or service.
2. What barriers customers face in their experience with your product or service
3. How they feel during each interaction with your product or service
With these considerations top of mind, you can now start improving the customer experience.
Building a customer journey map will also indicate your client stages as they interact with your business. It’s a high-impact framework meant for aligning your internal teams’ roles, responsibilities, metrics of success, and even compensation incentives, with your clients’ needs. The multi-team exercise will help establish clarity and understanding of how teams ultimately serve the customer and lead them to success.
A customer success journey map can be applied to net new customer acquisition motions and revenue expansion and customer retention initiatives. An effective customer journey map can help increase conversions, improve customer experience, or boost customer retention. Keep reading to learn essential steps to building your customer journey map.
“Customer Journey Maps are agile. They are built in a platform you can review and update regularly, by segment and product as your customer needs change and your company expands its offerings.”
~ Emilia D’Anzica, Founder, Growth Molecules
How to Build a Customer Journey Map
Whether your business is a newly formed “start-up” or a publicly-traded Fortune 100 company, a strategic customer journey map can be built following the four steps below.
1. Understand What Your Clients Term As “Success”
The first step of developing a customer success journey map is identifying how your customers define success. Your customers’ meaning of success depends on their brand experience with the products or services you offer. For example, for B2B businesses, customer success means helping your customers protect and grow their revenue. Why would they renew if they don’t see the impact on their own business through working with you?
Once you understand what success means to your customers, how you and your team enable your customer. An example is documenting customer personas who represent your ideal customer and how they ultimately use your product. Then, you can start working towards achieving those intended outcomes. It is essential to educate your team on the different personas, their value, and how they can achieve expected results with your product or service. After all, your team is who is executing the steps in the relationship.
2. Understand Your Customers’ Lifecycle
A customer lifecycle outlines the different stages a customer goes through as they interact with your products. The customer lifecycle is an integral aspect of developing a clear client success journey map from learning how the product can ease their pain, purchasing, adopting, and renewing the product. Depending on the different stages of customer interaction with your products, you can go for a customized model or based on specific characteristics that those customers share with your product.
Be prepared: this exercise will also highlight opportunities for improvement, or product deficits, that hinder your customers from true success using your product within their life cycle. Adding pain points to your customer journey map can help you identify which stage your customer is experiencing negative emotions and deduce the reason why. Adding these emotions to the journey map can help you mitigate negative feelings about the journey, so they don’t become negative opinions about your brand. Consider asking, what problems are they solving and how does the customer need your product to do it? Do they have everything they need to do it? If not, why? Time to discuss this friction point with Product.
3. Point Out Specific Touch Points In Each Stage
A touchpoint is an area where your customers interact with your products or business. Some common touch points include your company’s web page, social media, sales calls, product trials, demos, customer support, and the renewal process. These key moments can enhance the customer experience and become intentional supporting materials within the customer journey. You may also want to include what’s known as conversion events that officially graduate or move the customer from one stage to another or one experience to the next.
For example, if you operate an online self-service business, you need to point to areas where your customer may visit for additional support. Consider how customers may go through the sign-up page, quotation page, and the appreciation page during the purchase. Where are they dropping off? Why? If you don’t know, it’s time to find out and fix the issue. Maybe you need additional in-application guidance, maybe the page is broken, or perhaps information is confusing.
4. Understand The Customer’s Milestones
Now that you have developed a robust understanding of your clients’ success journey, focus on aligning each stage of the journey with your customer goals. Ensure you understand what your customers want and what goals your customers want to achieve with your product. You can then tie the milestones to other factors to ensure your clients get the desired value. Measure the impact of each milestone in your customer success platform.
Are You Ready to Get Started on your Customer Journey Mapping?
Understanding what a customer success journey map is, how it can help mitigate churn and the levers that lead to customer expansion is the first step in realizing company growth. Our team offers a unique approach to building Customer Journey Maps. Customer success is an evolving process and what works well for one business may not work out well for another. We partner with teams to customize and build for your future customer growth.
Contact The Growth Molecules Team here to get started on your Candy Land adventure. Your team will not only grow together, but you will also develop a journey you will be proud to lead your customers through