Customer Experience Maps
Customer experience maps are a collaborative way of allowing the business to represent complex customer interactions visually. Experience maps highlight possible pain points, enabling companies to find opportunities to ensure the best possible customer experience with their products and services. This brief guide gives you some high-level recommendations on what you should include when designing your customer experience map.
A customer journey map is a diagram or several diagrams that depict the stages customers go through when interacting with a company, from buying products online to accessing customer service on the phone to airing grievances on social media.
At first glance, a customer’s journey is pretty simple. You offer something; they buy it. But once you get into the detail, customer journeys are quite complex and come in many varieties. Your customers can come into contact with your business in a multitude of ways and from many different starting points, for example, marketing, referrals, search, social media, customer service enquiries and above-the-line campaigns.
No doubt you want to make every experience a customer has as good as it can be. So to make sure no interaction slips through the cracks, you need to map out every touchpoint or experience along the customer journey.
What are customer experience maps?
Customer experience maps are an incredibly useful way of documenting your customer experience from your customer’s viewpoint. They must be based on customer research; else they run the risk of becoming internally driven process flows.
They show how your current customers are using your products and services and typically break down activities such as the related phases of a purchasing journey, listing relevant channels or touchpoints. They can go by several other names including ‘customer journey map’, ‘customer touchpoint map’, and while there is no right or wrong way of labelling these, ‘customer experience maps’ are the way we refer to them here at Spotless.
Importance of a customer journey map
The reasons for creating customer journey maps include understanding the path and channels your customers take to get your product. It’s a valuable tool that can be used to forecast the way of future customers, as well.
Creating a customer journey map can provide insightful information for all levels in a department, from a sales rep who needs to figure out the best ways to interact with potential customers to managers looking for insight on which outlets customers use most. It can also highlight gaps or misdirection and can identify gaps in the customer experience, including:
Differences between devices, when a user moves from one device to another;
Gaps between departments, where the user might get frustrated; and
Gaps between channels, where the experience of going from social media to the website, could be better.
Perhaps the main benefit of a customer journey map is that it provides clear information on how customers move through the sales funnel. Maximizing the efficiency of that path means more sales at a quicker pace. Also, understanding the customer experience is vital for sales and marketing to understand the customer experience.
Why are they useful?
Customer experience maps give you a convenient (often one page) holistic view of your entire customer experience across multiple channels and, critically, they also identify opportunities on how to improve this experience. They show you the pain points and difficulties your customers are having, as well as things that you are currently doing well and should continue to do. Often stakeholders within a business look after a specific area or product and are not always aware of how other areas of that business work or interact to combine in one end-to-end experience, e.g. the web, mobile apps, CRM, and call centre. Having stakeholders discuss and review this visual artefact can be useful to stimulate conversations around customer improvement.
What should you include in your customer experience map?
While there is no set standard on what must go into a customer experience map, we have found the following to be areas that have come upon most projects. As with all of these things, it’sits essential to understand the overall business objectives of the project and tailor your experience map accordingly.
- Customer profiles – We strongly recommend using your customer personas in the customer journey map, as you can identify each of these on the map, and plot the experience each one has.
- Legend – while this may sound obvious, try and leave adequate space for any key or legend you are planning to use to explain various elements of the map. This document will often be circulated an organisation or printed and put on the wall, and not everyone will have had access to background discussions or walkthroughs of the map
- Phases of the journey – Each primary stage of the trip should be broken down and represented on the map. This helps stakeholders to visualise the process their customers are going through and the activities that sit in each phase.
- Pain points or barriers – Perhaps one of the essential things to put on your map are the areas where a customer is experiencing difficulties or issues with the product or service.
- Positive experiences – Let’sLet’s not forget that you should highlight what you are doing well on the map so that stakeholders understand that these activities are creating a positive customer experience and adding value.
- Channels and touchpoints – To align the customer experience and identify pain points in between channels and touchpoints, the map has to include which channels are in focus. It’sIt’s essential to detect these changes in channels, e.g. moving from mobile to email and then to the call centre, for example.
- Customer goals– It’sIt’s essential to document the customer goals throughout the map and also where the goals change throughout the process. A customer goal does not always remain constant throughout, and this should be identified in the plan. Changing goals offer opportunities to identify improvements in the service.
- Combining other customer data – You can enhance a customer experience map by bringing in customer data from different parts of the business, e.g. a Net Promoter Score that you have been tracking. Customer quotes from the research are also a brilliant way of elevating a Customer experience map. We will combine callouts and customer quotes from interviews to bring the plan to life.
Getting the most from customer journey mapping
To make your map as useful as possible, you need to include every point where your customer comes into contact with your business, from packaging and manuals to TV ads and Facebook posts. Maps can contain quantitative elements from things like your website analytics, CRM or call centre software. For instance, by overlaying data, a map might highlight that your call centre provides swift answers and satisfying service, but your live chat is causing frustration.
As your relationship with a customer develops, your map will also cover the long-term, post-purchase journey they take with you. Looking at the completed journeys of many customers can help highlight whether there is a clear route from research and enquiry to sale, mapping potential obstacles and opportunities for the business to improve the journey.