Why Customer Journey Mapping Is Now More Important Than EverAdd bookmark
A customer’s overall experience is tied to so many different factors; while it might end in delight, it does not always begin that way. And although it’s sometimes OK for a resolution to take a bit longer than anticipated, it won’t always go over well when a customer consistently encounters multiple roadblocks when expecting a quick and convenient experience.
These less than stellar experiences prove the necessity of customer journey mapping. Journey mapping allows organizations to understand their customers’ perspectives at a more granular level. Rather than focusing on the best result or the quickest rate of resolution, journey mapping analyzes the experience with a complete end-to-end overview. In understanding not only how customers are actually utilizing a service but realizing their thoughts and feelings throughout the entire purchasing process, we can identify glaring pain points or gaps in support on every level.
And while this strategy has always been a key differentiator in customer-centric companies, it’s become an urgent prerequisite for successful customer service in 2021. Adobe recently released its key findings in the 2021 Digital Trends report, outlining the need for better journey mapping to interpret ever-evolving digital customer behavior. By reassessing the customer journey, companies can work to attract a loyal customer base.
Here are a few digital trends that make a compelling case for enhancing the use of customer journey mapping:
The influx of New Digital Customers
According to the 2021 Digital Trends report, nearly half of customer-facing companies noted an influx of new customers that were previously unknown to them. Additionally, almost two-thirds of these brands saw a noteworthy rise in their digital and mobile visitors. This makes sense, with the introduction of a new generation of customers and the intensely high volumes and uncertainties that stemmed from the pandemic, we’re finding an unprecedented willingness to utilize digital channels. In fact, CCW Research found that 82% of customers say they are more willing than ever to engage digitally.
These numbers are obviously encouraging -- an increase in new customers is always a good thing -- but beyond the obvious benefits, they offer up a completely new perspective to analyze.
Understanding the customer journey from a fresh set of eyes can potentially uncover new insights surrounding how they might perceive your brand, what unique steps they may take, and what their ultimate goals are with each interaction. It’s also a unique opportunity for growth in both customer base and individual data, giving insight into the reason behind the sudden growth.
Additionally, it can be a critical tool in assessing the digital experience to determine the customers and/or issues for which this digital journey makes the most sense. Although we have seen unprecedented growth in the use of digital, it should never be mistaken as a “free pass” to force a digital experience on a customer who simply wants to speak to a live agent. On the other hand, we can also analyze customer journeys to uncover educational opportunities. If we can pinpoint the successes or intent of avid digital customers, we can work to inform skeptical customers of the value they can gain from digital channels.
The Customer Journey is Evolving
While companies have adapted to support this sudden influx of new customers, they are simultaneously seeing existing customers adjusting their behaviors. The report notes that 56% of customers reported using new paths to research and purchase familiar products.
This makes sense, customers' lifestyles have changed, they’ve updated their environment, they’re moving to new cities and trying new things, so they’re adapting their journey as a customer as well. They now find product recommendations on social media instead of hearing them from friends and with this, they’re spending more time researching these new products as their days online grow longer.
All of these lifestyle shifts have led to increasingly diverse customer behavior, which ultimately needs to be evaluated. Journey mapping is not as straightforward as it once was; customer behavior is evolving regularly and customers are consistently adapting preferences to meet their new needs. And this is unlikely to slow down -- as we regain some sense of normalcy customers will continue to deviate from their current patterns, making the regular assessment of your customer’s journey even more critical.
Empathy is Key
The report also underscores the importance of empathy as an under-utilized differentiator. It notes that empathy is completely accessible and can be identified by combining both customer and product knowledge at key stages of the customer experience. Emotion is a critical piece of the customer journey that is often overlooked; beyond the hardships customers have faced during the pandemic and throughout their everyday lives, the decision-making process, whether a purchase is big or small, can manifest anxiety and uneasiness. These anxieties can identify pain points in the journey and should be alleviated on the customer service front.
Additionally, this emotion can also be positive -- pinpointing that moment of excitement or happiness within the customer journey can be key in replicating successful customer experiences.