The importance of journey mapping in understanding a client’s long term digital plan

Steve Jobs once spoke about the importance of getting closer to your customers, so close that you’d know what they need even before they realized it themselves. In a way, that is exactly where customer journey mapping comes in.

Different companies have different strategies that help them to know their customer better; as a matter of fact, most companies have customer profiles. But here’s the twist — customer profiles are more often than not generalized. How is a generalized piece of information supposed to help you score brownie points with the customer?

What you must remember is that each customer is unique. A customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s individual needs. Interestingly, this information is presented graphically in the form of a story. Well, truth be told, storytelling has been an important tool of communication since time immemorial. In the same way, customer journey maps speak of a specific customer’s experience from the very beginning to the present.

What does the customer feel about the company? What do they expect from the company? It is their story; the totality of it all. But wait, customer journey maps and feedbacks are poles apart. A feedback is criticism, it is your customer telling you what they like or don’t like about you. In the journey map, the customer speaks about his feelings and motivations, his experience with you and what they are looking forward to. In simple terms, this map helps you understand your customer better.

Apart from that, a customer journey map could be of great help. Let’s see how:

  • Helps understand pain points — By pain points, we mean areas which could do with some improvement. Let’s say you run a company website. Now if the website isn’t user friendly enough, or isn’t compatible with phones, it might cause problems for some customers. Well, shouldn’t they get a chance to speak up? Through the customer journey map, you would be able to identify issues within your service, which in turn would make it easier for you to come up with viable solutions.
  • Customer becomes top priority — As a company, it is important that your long term goals should match with that of the customer. In fact, your goals should be conceived keeping in mind the customer and their ever changing needs. If you have a fair idea of how your customers feel about you, it would indeed be easier to chalk out both long term and short term goals.
  • Personalising customer service — This is all the rage now. Customers aren’t just satisfied with your average, generalised customer care. They want to be made to feel special; they want to be shown that you care. The only way you can do that is by personalising customer service. With customer journey maps pointing out individual customer needs, you’re going to be able to divide the customers into separate segments and provide service accordingly. Personalised service is ‘the’ key to forming long term relationships with your clients.
  • Cross departmental needs — It is a well known fact that an organisation functions as a sum total of different departments; yet, these departments are interconnected. Unless the marketing department has a thorough knowledge of what’s going on with the guys over in sales, no progress can be made. This is exactly what journey maps do. Since they take into account the complete experience of the customer as a whole, it becomes easier for departments to coordinate and work in harmony.
  • Filling the gaps — How do you reach out to your customers? Social media, advertisements, emails and so on and so forth, right? Well, it isn’t all that easy keeping a tab on all these channels. The easy availability of the different means of communication sure has made things easier for us, but without something linking them all together, it might end up haywire. The customer journey maps would serve as a link between all these different channels.

Usually, the customer journey maps either focus on only one aspect of the customer’s journey so far or the entire experience. It really depends on what you’re planning to get out of it. Before you start chalking out plans for your company, a customer journey map would sure remind you of where you stand in the present.