Customer Journey Mapping: Why it’s essential for a competitive business

Customers now-a-days go through a myriad of steps before they make their final purchase and this can all be collated into something called a Customer Journey Mapping.

Customer Journey Mapping is a visual flowchart of everything your customer experiences throughout the sales funnel. Think of it like a story that breaks down each element of a customer’s journey with your business. Sounds simple? That’s because it is, at least to get started. It can grow into a big, complex beast if you spend enough time on it, and the benefits are substantial.

Quick customer journey mapping pros

Salesforce put together a really helpful write-up to explain this type of mapping in simple terms. What you should take away from it, though, is the benefits to you directly, namely it:

  • Helps reveal where and when customers interact with your business.
  • Shows you where specific customer needs appear – which you can then apply to your digital strategy.
  • Organises the customer journey into a logical flow.
  • Reveals any gaps in your current strategy.
  • Allows you to concentrate on what’s most important for maximum effectiveness.

That’s all well and good, I hear you say. But why is it so important for you to understand the customer journey? After all, if customers want to buy something from you, they will – right?

It ensures your brand is across any potential behavioural changes

Customers come and go, but the most important ones give you repeat business. This shows that they love what you’re doing, and it probably means your digital sales funnel is smooth and easy to transact with. If you’re lucky, some of those repeat customers will turn into brand ambassadors– singing your praises on social media and bringing in new customers they’ve referred.

But it’s easy to sit back and forget about those customers – especially when you start expecting them to come back to your business time and time again. Without nurturing them, those customers can quickly drop off.

A customer journey map can reveal exactly when something changes in the sales funnel, and most importantly it can show you where any behavioural changes have occurred. Maybe there are bugs or purchasing issues with your online store. Maybe you’ve dropped off social media and people are no longer engaging with you.

When you map it out, you’ll be able to see everything loud and clear – and then you will be able to rectify any issues.

It puts you in the customer’s shoes

Sure, you’re a business owner. But you’re also a customer. You’re a customer every time you go to a store, buy something online, use a service – you’re a customer far more often than a seller.

That means you already understand how frustrating it can be to hide roadblocks in the purchasing funnel. Customer journey mapping puts you – the business owner – into the customer’s shoes and allows you to mimic every step they take.

And the results speak for themselves. Research from McKinsey shows that businesses that address key problem areas in the customer journey – whether that’s design fixes, making it easier to contact customer support, or offering discounts for new buyers – see a 50% increase in customer satisfaction and a 15% decrease in customer-service cost.

It reinforces your brand promise

There might be several reasons you started your business in the first place, but one thing that’s remained constant throughout has been your brand promise. It’s what sets you apart from the competition and helps you stay on course whenever things get challenging.

In order to retain your place in the market and continue delivering what your customers expect, you need to always keep your brand promise in mind. When walking through your customer journey map, ask yourself whether or not you are always delivering on the brand promise.

It reveals missed opportunities

Finally, customer journey mapping not only reveals potential business opportunities, but it reveals the ones you’ve missed. This ensures you never miss out on them again.

A couple of common missed opportunities include:

  • Failing to up sell or cross-sell: Is your sales funnel doing enough to keep your customers interested so they shop around for other products or services? Is your customer service team asking the right questions so they can solve customers’ problems with business solutions?
  • Not offering enough to on-the-fence customers: Maybe that customer would not have abandoned their cart if they’d received an automatic pop-up for an additional discount or bonus.
  • Forgetting about the customer as soon as a sale is complete: Just because you’ve won a sale, that does not mean the transaction is complete. Turn a valued customer into repeat business (or maybe even a brand ambassador) by going the extra mile, whether that’s offering free shipping on their next purchase, helping them set up their product, or anything else that might give them that ‘aha’ moment.

Putting together the customer journey map for your digital strategy is the easy part. The real challenge arrives when you spot all the holes you now have to plug. But once you finally get your customer experience up to the level you deserve, you’ll start seeing benefits.

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