Customer journey map: one of the most important assessments your business can do
When client-side marketing teams or marketing agencies are delivering a rebrand, reviewing the messaging for existing communications, or trying to find ways to minimise spend, they can find clarity, cost-savings and better customer engagement simply by mapping the customer journey. It’s only by doing this that marketeers can put themselves in the customer’s shoes. They’ll see which groups are being spoken to too much and which not enough. Plus, they’ll learn when is the right time to communicate with them and when is not.
These days, customers expect to choose which channels they want to receive marketing from. They know that they will be given consistent messages across these channels. Essentially, mapping the customer ensures that your communications are efficient and effective. It will give the customer the right information, at the right time, and in the right way.
What is a customer journey map?
A visual tool for assessing the various customer touchpoints across a business and then mapping them out. This may sound straightforward, but the reality is that for most companies, all communications are not managed by the same department. While marketing send out most comms, customers services or finance may send out others. This may take a different tone, use inconsistent branding or contradict the marketing message.
What are the benefits for customers and your brand?
- Improved customer experience by combining communications so customers receive fewer communications – and save your brand money
- Increased customer loyalty thanks to a more consistent experience
- More successful cross-selling activity
- More referrals to friends and family
- Streamlined and more effective internal processes
- Lower call centre volumes thanks to more consistent customer guidance
8 key steps to conducting an effective customer journey assessment
Start by talking to every department including Finance, Customer Service, Legal etc. which sends any information of any kind to the customer. How often are they sending it? Over which channels? What does it look and sound like? Map every communication on a timeline to understand everything that the business is sending out. Is there an overlap of communications or messages?
Understand whether customers are communicated to by email, direct mail, SMS, in-app, text message etc. Can some messages be sent by a more cost-effective channel? Can an email be sent by SMS or in-app message? If direct mailings are currently sent, what format are they, how many inserts, what type of print and paper quality, what is the current cost, restrictions, which suppliers are used?
The timings of some communications are governed by regulations or a key business date, so be mindful of these restrictions. Check that there is no danger of communication crossovers which damage your brand image. You wouldn’t want a communication telling customers they are overdue with their payment, or their bill is significantly increasing landing on the same day as a marketing campaign that is encouraging customers to purchase additional products!
4. Customer segments
Colour code your customer groups and see if customers, prospects or dormant customers are receiving too many communications in the same month or week – or too few. Ask yourself what you want the recipient to know at each point on the timeline. Often the most valuable customers are bombarded with communications. This makes them opt out or leave completely!
Check that every communication from every department is on-brand, up-to-date with the product offering. State the most compelling message for that point in their journey. Whilst communications may come from different departments, the tone of voice and visual branding should be consistent. If not, flag it for a rework.
Check what your competition are sending out. Most marketeers have already signed up to their competitor’s newsletter, are following them on social and have either enquired or become a customer. If you haven’t yet, then now is a good time to start. Competitors may have found an opportunity to communicate with a customer that your company hasn’t yet.
7. Cost savings
Is it financially beneficial to send out fewer comms. It’s good to A/B test every so often to check if sending fewer communications would give a higher return on investment. Could any be sent in a cheaper media or at a more timely part of the journey.
8. New technologies
Is your company making the best use of technology? Would a chatbot to replace FAQ customer enquiries such as registering a warranty or resetting a password improve the customer experience or make it less personal? A typical customer journey is unlikely to be a straight, linear diagram. This example of a cruise brand from Mark Davies and Tina Catling’s ‘Making Waves’ book demonstrates what a customer journey might look like. It shows how annotations and colour coding will make this important internal document easy for each stakeholder to understand.
The mapping the customer journey will be different for every business. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. But following the key steps above should allow you to effectively map your brand’s customer journey. It’ll highlight some interesting opportunities to maximise efficiency, improve customer experience and make cost-savings. If you need more help, the team at ThinkOTB are always on-hand.