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A customer experience map helps brands focus and refine the experience that they deliver to their customers by enabling brands to identify strengths, shortcomings, and opportunities to better serve and retain their customers for longer.
In essence, a customer experience map helps to outline every channel, each variable and all possible paths that a customer may take to purchase or have a customer service query resolved. This guide will help brands build their customer experience map and run through how it can maximise conversions and customer retention.
Customer experience maps vs. customer journeys
A customer journey maps out the interactions and touchpoints that customers travel along throughout their sales journey with the company. Customer experience maps take this one step further by examining the entire picture of the customer’s brand experience and outlines their interactions and behaviour along the channels and touchpoints before, during and after their transaction.
Instead of a straight path from one point to another, a map outlines the processes that each customer goes through, across every job that they are trying to do with the brand.
A customer journey map is best when a brand is focused on a specific area e.g. the buying journey for a focus group of consumers with a specific product or service line.
On the other hand, an experience map is used when brands want a fuller picture of the experience that they are delivering to customers and they want to optimise how they are selling, serving and supporting their customers in the long term.
Why is a customer experience map so useful?
Customer experience maps can give brands a holistic view of the entire customer experience across multiple touchpoints and channels. Also, it identifies crucial opportunities for brands to improve their customer’s experience. It shows companies the difficulties that their customers may be having while interacting with the brand. Additionally, it also shows the areas that are working for the customer.
Business owners and marketers often look at how a customer interacts and engages with the brand on an isolated basis (sales journey, customer service) but this can result in a disjointed and misaligned end-to-end customer experience. With the help of a map, decision-makers are given a visual representation of every interaction that a customer has with the brand which can enable businesses to optimise how their experience performs for the customer on a holistic basis.
Tips for Creating a Customer Experience Map
- Gather the right team – spend time to gather and build a collaborative and cross-functional team to build a completely integrated customer experience map.
- Gather data about the ‘voice of the customer‘ – Gather data across all business functions that outlines where and how the customer is interacting and responding as they engage with the business.
- Produce the draft customer experience map – make sure to have in place a process to capture, consider and arrange insights as well as data points to fill out the customer experience map.
- Take note of any variables – consider any variables that may be important to the customer experience and factor these into the map to ensure that the map is truly accommodating how all customers interact with the business.
- Be open – defend any insights revealed through this customer experience research but also be open to any ideas.
- Keep discussion at a consistent level – focus all discussions based on the goals set on the map. When you have a curious team they may want to consider other details or some other aspect of the customer experience. While this may be a good learning practice for the team, make sure to keep returning to the overarching objective of refining and optimising the customer experience.
- Invite a discussion with decision-makers – encourage discussion with decision-makers and walk them through the experience map.
- Finalise the experience map and launch the optimal customer experience – After finalisation, prepare a roadmap to progressively upgrade, integrate and innovate the customer experience as a fully integrated customer-focused team.
The purpose of a customer experience map
The goal of a this kind of map is to know every conceivable way that a customer may potentially interact with a brand. This means when creating a customer experience map, every channel and medium must be reviewed. Some of the questions that should be addressed are:
- Is the customer trying to learn more about your product or service before they buy?
- Is the customer comparing your products or services to competitors before they buy?
- Is an existing customer reaching out to different customer support channels to help them solve problems that they may be experiencing from your products or services?
Each of these interactions is unique and they may not be the only type of interaction that a customer will have with your brand. You may also find more of these interactions when you compare across a variety of channels with different customer segments (enterprise customers versus direct to consumer for example).
Customer experience maps can also help with:
- Informing the customer loyalty strategy.
- Pinpoint important touchpoints and experiences that contribute to customer churn.
- Learn more opportunities to improve customer retention.
- Understand the areas where customer experience is already working.
- Identify opportunities for innovating the customer experience and develop competitive advantage.
Customer experience maps are an amazing tool to help brands understand their customers more and identify opportunities to improve customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty by providing a fully integrated and seamless customer experience. With a customer experience map, businesses are armed with a detailed illustration of the different opportunities, challenges and shortcomings that their brand delivers.
Upgrading and integrating the customer experience
Too often, these maps become corporate wallpaper rather than being actively implemented. To fully optimise, integrate and innovate the customer experience, consider answering these questions:
- Is the brand able to map the end to end customer experience of all customer types?
- Is the brand measuring satisfaction and brand perception of the end to end customer experience?
- Is the brand measuring employee satisfaction in the same way as customer experience?
- Is the brand measuring the performance of internal processes such as logistics, customer query resolution time and stock replenishment ensure satisfaction in the customer experience?
- Are programs in place to address or improve high priority issues with the customer experience?
- Is the customer experience reviewed as part of the brand’s planning cycle?
- Does every employee understand the role that they play in delivering the best customer experience?
A customer experience map is vital in defining and improving the customer experience strategy. It helps outline what a business must do in order to make sure every customer has an excellent experience when interacting with a brand. When done right it is an effective way to align stakeholders so that there are no cracks that customers fall through when they are moving across different channels.