How To Improve Customer Service with Customer Journey Mapping
Let’s clear up the confusion once and for all – there’s a heck of a lot more to a customer journey than just, “Step 1: add to cart, Step 2: click ‘purchase.’”
How often do you hear brands boasting about their “customer-centric practices,” yet you know from shopping with them that their CX leaves much to be desired (cue eyebrow raise)?
Well, we’re here to help change that – today, we’re exploring customer journey maps and how you can create and optimize one for your brand to improve your overall customer experience.
What is customer journey mapping, and why is it necessary for your e-commerce business?
Customer journey mapping is crucial for any business because it serves as your brand’s playbook for providing a superior customer experience. A customer journey map outlines the steps a customer will take during their experience with your business, from initial contact to purchase.
Creating a clearly defined customer journey map puts your brand in a better position to retain loyal customers and establish your reputation as a customer-centric company, both of which will increase revenue.
In fact, 86% of customers have said that they are willing to pay more for a greater customer experience, and in 2023, an Emplify study showed that 56% of consumers feel that the quality of the customer service they receive has a higher impact on how positively they view a brand than any other criteria.
However, as you begin investing in CX this year, you may be throwing up your hands and wondering where to start with creating or better defining your customer journey.
How to create a customer journey map in 7 steps
In true TalentPop style, we’ve put together our seven steps for creating a customer journey map – what, did you think we’d leave you hanging??
Stick with us as we dive deeper into the best practices for customer journey mapping.
1. Establish a clear objective for your customer journey map
You wouldn’t scribble out a treasure map that doesn’t lead to actual treasure, right? So why would you create a customer journey map without a logical objective?
Before you begin outlining your journey map, you need first to identify the goal your business is trying to accomplish with it. Is your objective to attract more new customers to your website or to increase the CLTV of your existing customers with re-engagement efforts?
Establishing these goals upfront will make it easier to keep the rest of the customer journey on the right track.
2. Define your customer personas and targeted audiences
Customer personas are fictional profiles representing a particular target customer, so you’ll need to decide which persona your map will target before you can create an accurate customer journey.
If you don’t yet have clear personas, we’ve also got tips on that.
Our favorite ways to gather feedback and data to build your customer personas are to conduct surveys or in-person interviews, run reports in Google Analytics (you can also gather analytics from your website and social media platforms), or run user tests with your products or services.
When creating surveys or questionnaires to gather data, focus on customers who’ve already expressed interest in or purchased from your brand and be sure to ask unbiased questions.
Here are a few of our favorites you can steal!
- What competitors did you research before choosing our brand?
- What problem encouraged you to reach out to our brand?
- Was our website easy to use and navigate?
- Have you ever had to contact our customer service team? Describe that experience for us.
- What made you choose our brand over a competitor?
When defining your actual personas from the data and feedback you’ve collected, don’t be afraid to use detailed descriptions.
Trust us – “32-year-old Amber, who needs a healthier yet yummy alternative to a morning coffee before her corporate job,” will always be more accessible to target with your customer journey and outreach efforts than “woman who drinks caffeinated beverages in the morning.”
3. Outline each stage of the customer journey with corresponding goals
Once your customer personas are established, you’ll need to outline the steps and goals for each customer journey stage.
Though customer journeys will look different for every brand (and every customer persona), the four typical stages consist of the awareness stage, the consideration stage, the purchase/decision stage, and finally, retention.
Let’s elaborate on these together.
The Awareness stage is the first step in your customer’s journey with you. They’ve identified an issue they’re having in their life, and in addressing it, they’ve sought out your brand.
Let’s say a customer is listening to a podcast episode where the hosts review Kitsch, a women-owned beauty brand specializing in eco-conscious essentials for hair. Hearing the benefits of the brand’s satin pillowcases (reduces acne, encourages stronger hair, eliminates frizz) triggers the customer’s awareness of issues they’ve been experiencing. Lightbulb moment = goal achieved.
In the Consideration stage, the customer is researching your product and your competitor’s product to find the best fit. During this stage, they’ll browse reviews from other customers and the resources and information available on your website’s product descriptions, FAQ page, and other high-traffic web pages.
So, sure – a customer might like the satin pillowcases on Kitsch’s website, but they’re likely taking a peek at other brands to compare fabrics, styles, colors, and prices. The FAQ pages, case studies, and resources available will play a huge role in which brand they choose (as well as the podcast from which they originally heard of it – hello, branded promotions).
During the Decision stage, your customer has gathered all the information they need to feel comfortable and confident purchasing from you. Because this stage revolves around the customer deciding to buy your product, it typically includes post-purchase experiences.
And here comes the moment of truth – are the brand’s purchase and post-purchase processes up to par? For example:
- Was it easy for the customer to place their order?
- Did they need to speak to customer service at any point? What was their experience like?
- How did shipping go? Was the satin pillowcase delivered when Kitsch said it would be?
- What is the packaging like?
- How is the final product?
Each evaluation question shapes the customer’s experience and, ultimately, their opinion of your brand.
Ah, Retention – the final stage. Your customer now has a solid opinion on their experience with your brand and is in the retention phase where they receive loyalty content to keep them nurtured. You’ll want to make retention a major goal within your customer journey because a quality follow-up experience will increase the likelihood of repeat customers.
When Kitsch sends its nurture emails, the brand will typically encourage customers to share their experience, update them on additional products they may enjoy, and include information about their rewards program – all of which will keep them on the customer’s mind for their next purchase.
4. Make a list of touchpoints throughout the customer journey
A touchpoint is any time a customer interacts with an aspect of your brand, such as your website, an ad, a Google review, or during the customer service process.
Being referred to your brand by a friend or receiving a “back-in-stock” email alert about a product counts as a touchpoint and should be considered and included in your customer journey map as well!
5. Walk through the journey and collect customer feedback
Once you’ve completed the first four steps, you’ll want to walk through the journey map yourself to get a feel for the flow and ensure there are ample opportunities for your customers to provide feedback.
Check out our recent blog post on top customer satisfaction metrics to learn how to implement surveys and questionnaires in your customer journey map.
6. Identify the pain points along the journey
Your customer journey map will only be somewhat perfect the first time – but honestly, that’s to be expected. Reviewing the customer feedback and data collected in step 5 will give you direct insight into how your customers feel at each step in the journey and an opportunity to optimize your journey map to increase customer satisfaction.
Using both the customer feedback as well as your own experience of walking through the customer journey map, keep an eye out for the following:
- The pain points or areas of friction and where they occur in the map
- What triggers the pain points
- How your customers react to these difficulties
- Which departments and processes are involved in stages where pain points occur
7. Note areas of improvement and create a plan to tackle these areas
Finding the problems in your customer journey map is the key to optimizing it and improving the overall experience for your customers.
Once you’ve identified your gaps, opportunities, and areas of improvement in each stage, work together with the departments involved to brainstorm solutions. Often, the team members who interact with customers daily will have insight into how the friction points can be smoothed out within the map.
Outsource customer service to TalentPop to improve your CX with a customer journey map
As an e-commerce brand, it’s unlikely that your customer journey map will always remain the same after you’ve created and implemented it. As your business grows and adds more products, services, or processes, your map must be updated to reflect these changes and maintain a high rate of customer satisfaction.
With a smooth customer experience, your business will successfully retain existing customers and drive new leads.
Optimize your brand’s customer journey map if you’re ready to start putting your customers first by investing in CX. At TalentPop, our qualified, friendly customer service agents are experts in gathering data and feedback to help you create a customer journey map that will set you apart from your competition.
Schedule a call with our team today to learn more about how we can help you make the most of your CX.