Mapping and managing the customer journey

July 11, 2018

A customer experience map offers valuable insights to help you improve, refine, and focus your efforts, resulting in a better experience for your customers. Customer journey management has become a popular way to visualize a customer’s experience from start to finish. Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes is the key to genuine customer satisfaction, and the only way to do that is with a well-thought-out customer management system. Using Quickbase, you’ll be able to create a customized customer management app. But first, it’s important to understand the particulars of process management mapping and improvement in regard to the customer service experience.

What is the customer management process?

The customer management process consists of strategies aimed at forming and preserving relationships with customers. Analyzing and improving the customer management business process increases efficiency and helps you better understand what your customer service offerings are like from the customer’s perspective. Process management mapping and improvement can help to inform a developing customer management system and improved workflow. Common tools used to perfect these processes are customer experience mapping and customer journey mapping.

Customer journey mapping vs. customer experience mapping

These two concepts may sound very similar, but they are two different things.

  • Customer journey map: This map is used to outline the main points of a consumer’s experience from pre-sale to post-sale.
  • Customer experience map: This map examines the big picture and analyzes behaviors and interactions with the brand across different channels.

Creating a customer journey map

A customer journey map will show a progression from a customer’s first interaction with your business to their last, no matter how much time that may encompass. This map can be modified to your purposes using customer journey management software.

A customer’s journey is broken down into four basic phases:

  • Discovery
  • Research
  • Choose
  • Purchase

To develop your customer journey map, follow these steps:

1. Define the stages

These stages could be different depending on your industry. Each business also has a unique customer management process. A good starting point is to recognize what the stages are like for your customers. One way to do this is to create a few customer personas and send them through each stage. You’ll have a good idea of what your customers go through after this exercise.

2. Match customer goals with stages

This step is critical and often requires the most work. You’ll need an understanding of what your customers' goals and expectations are of each phase and to make sure that you are providing a clear, easy way to satisfy those expectations. This step hinges on the collection of accurate data on the customer experience, expectations, and satisfaction.

There are a few different sources of data that can give you the information that you’re looking for:

  • Survey answers
  • Feedback from user testing
  • Interview transcripts
  • Transcripts from customer service emails and support calls
3. Plan out touchpoints

Touchpoints are the places your customers interact with your company and where you can support them in achieving their goals. Different touchpoints should be identified at their appropriate phase in the customer journey. For example, a retail website touchpoint could be a product description page, a contact form, or a pricing page. You can create two different reports to help you organize your touchpoint data.

  • Behavior flow report: This report can show a visual of the ways your users move between events or pages.
  • Goal flow report: Track whether or not users are completing their goal or yours. If they leave in the middle of their journey, you’ll be able to identify at what point they did so.
4. Find out if customers are achieving their goals

This is the step in which all data comes together and you figure out how easily customers can achieve their goals and whether or not their expectations are being met. At this stage, you should be asking where the roadblocks are and whether people are abandoning purchases and services at the checkout page.

Using all of the reports gathered as part of previous steps will help you determine the precise points at which issues are popping up and preventing you from making sales. Your analysis will help you find these points, while your qualitative research should help you understand why these problems occur.

5. Make a recommendation for change

With all data collected and analyzed and problems identified, you can start deciding what changes should be made to address issues within the customer journey. Prioritize what issues should be addressed first. You can rank them based on cost-effectiveness or even the simplicity of the task. Changes may be best thought of as tests. When something is modified, continue testing and gathering data to measure the impact of the change.

Here are few more tips for creating and using a customer journey map:

  • Set realistic goals with a well-informed timeline for project completion.
  • Invite organization influencers and people who understand the customer journey into your process.
  • Don’t make a map in isolation. Work as a team. Small groups usually work best.

How to make a customer experience map

A customer experience map can be a strong follow-up to a customer journey map, since it takes a look at the larger picture and further analyzes touchpoints. To make one, follow these steps.

  1. Identify the reason for the creation of each touchpoint. Every touchpoint should serve a purpose in your overall buying process.
  2. Identify ownership of each touchpoint. Determine who is responsible for each touchpoint, whether this is a team, individual, or department.
  3. Collect data. It’s crucial to collect data from employees and customers. Data to be considered may come from surveys, Web analytics, social media, blog comments, buyer personas, and forums.
  4. Identify the purpose of the touchpoint from a customer perspective. After analyzing a touchpoint in terms of your business, you must examine customer interaction with it.
  5. Analyze how effective each touchpoint is. Determine whether you are meeting expectations at each touchpoint.

After these steps are finished, you can begin creating a map. There are a few ways to lay out your map at a micro and a macro level.

  • Customer lifespan: This map examines points in a customer’s life when they have a need for your products and services. This will better direct your marketing efforts.
  • Customer brand life cycle: This is similar to the lifespan map, but it focuses on the customer’s time spent interacting with your brand. This is helpful if you plan to create a sales funnel visualization.
  • Customer journey: The customer journey map falls under the customer experience umbrella. You may choose to use the methods we discussed to build your journey map at this stage.
  • Customer moment: This is the most focused map and will pinpoint a single interaction between the customer and your brand. This could be your checkout experience or the process of making a return. Whichever area you identify as a concern can be further analyzed using a customer moment map layout.

Now that you understand the steps and processes involved with building a customer business process map or customer journey map, you have to decide what platform you will use to create and manage the tasks involved. The most convenient way is through use of a custom app tailor-made for your business by those that are intimately involved in the mapping processes.

Creating process management software and solutions using Quickbase

Our low-code development platform is an effective app-building solution. We’ve made the power of app creation more accessible by using point-and-click simplicity. Since you’ll be able to build apps without coding knowledge, it’s easy for those involved in the customer journey and mapping processes in your organization to learn how to use our platform or contribute their ideas.

We empower business professionals driven to improve their customer experience by supplying the app-building platform needed to create the most effective app for your business. Avoid burdening your IT team with requests by working with our flexible, low-code platform. It’s possible to build your own customer management app that’s unique to your team and its needs without being a professional developer.

Beyond using our solution for customer experience mapping, our platform can also assist you in other customer service areas, including customer service automation, service request management, and tracking software.

Try Quickbase free for 30 days

The best way to discover how well Quickbase can work for your business is to try it for yourself. That’s why we offer a free 30-day trial with no obligation, during which time you’ll have access to all of our offerings.

Contact us today to learn more and begin creating your own custom applications with Quickbase.