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Our Guide to Uncovering the Customer Engagement Path

Posted By: SGK May 30, 2017

Customer journey mapping is the process of defining, documenting, and describing all the experiences that customers have as they encounter a service or set of services.

Really, it’s about taking into account two types of experiences:

  • Intellectual
  • Emotional

The journey map includes not only what happens to the customer, but also their responses to the brand experience.

Recently, our Rachelle Sokan, engagement manager of Client Solutions at SGK presented a BrandSquare webinar, where she shared data and best practices of customer journey mapping.

Watch the entire webinar: 4 Insights You Can Unlock by Mapping the Customer Journey  

4 Insights You Can Unlock by Mapping the Customer Journey

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.” – Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Let’s ground ourselves with the facts in journey mapping, and what the research is showing. Bain and Company found that 80 percent of CEOs believe they deliver a superior customer experience, while only 8 percent of their customers agree.

How can we be this off?

Perception and reality is distorted. In fact, according to SiriusDecisions, 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done online, digitally. This means customers are experiencing the brand with no human interaction whatsoever. As a brand, work towards engaging with consumers in the digital space and leverage content where you know they’ll be.

As brands create seamless experiences, customers are more likely to return for purchase. Another study by SiriusDecisions notes that 94 percent of customers who have a low-effort service experience will buy from that company again. This is why 86 percent of senior-level marketers agree that it is absolutely critical to create a cohesive customer journey.

Gone are the days of brand loyalty — consumers are more concerned with their immediate needs and what a brand can do for them ‘right now’.

“Everything is about the micro-moment,” says Sokan, “and brands must ensure their content and messaging is relevant in the exact time and space consumers are interacting.”

Here are four steps to successfully map the customer journey:

Step 1: Determine the original intent. With an end-consumer focus, start at the point of client need before any interaction with the brand. Keep in mind; there may be several starting points for each consumer, so it is important to think about where you can find a place to have conversations. Look at the content you have to best determine the original intent of why they started the journey in the first place.

Step 2: Track the actual path. Many times a brand’s perception of where their customer’s journey begins is not reality. Think about all the variables and possibilities for your customer, whether that is through the brand site, word of mouth, in-store, or mobile. This will differentiate based on the each consumer.

Step 3: Consider the customer’s thoughts and feelings. Create a shared understanding of your customer’s wants and needs as they interact with your brand. It’s really important to think abut the thoughts and the feelings your customers are having leading up to interacting with the brand. This may have an impact on how they perceive their experience. 54 percent of consumers share negative experiences with more than 5 people, while only 33 percent of consumers share positive experiences with more than 5 people. Measure these thoughts and feelings — positive, negative, neutral — within your customer journey to track any changes.

Step 4: Benchmark your progress. Benchmarking is the comparison of one’s business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and best practices from other companies. When it comes to journey mapping, there is a lack of public benchmarks to work from. Oftentimes, companies are mapping in some form or fashion, but there’s no body of knowledge or template that can provide example journey maps for specific industries and brands. Start with a baseline and benchmark from where you currently stand to make measurable improvements.

“Nobody knows your customer like you do,” says Sokan.

To start customer mapping, first, identify the journey. When you’re thinking about identifying a journey, look at two variables:

  • Does this add value to the company?
  • Does this fulfill a customer need?

To be successful, you have to be somewhere in the middle of those variables. Secondly, utilize personas; a semi-fictional representation of the ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. Depending on the brand, you may use a different method of segmenting customers, however, this needs to be fact-based, on real people.

If you’re not already mapping the customer journey, you are missing out on valuable insight about your customer and the opportunity to unlock improvements to your product or service.

To learn more about customer journey mapping, download: 4 Insights You Can Unlock by Mapping the Customer Journey