Optimising touchpoints through customer journey mapping
By x Manager at SAS
Customer behaviour has changed significantly in recent years. Adaptive mobile technologies have enabled customers to interact with organisations
through several very different channels.
The way customers interact with a brand or business through these channels is called a 'touchpoint'. These touchpoints could be anything from a customer arriving on the organisation's website and reading a blog, to making a purchase online or in store. Touchpoints are essentially points of contact and interaction that customers have with a brand or business.
Accurate tracking of these touchpoints - and how customers interact with them - enables organisations to understand customer behaviour and context. When analysing the data drawn from these touchpoints at scale, organisations can build a customer journey map to visualise these key customer interactions.
We call these interactions "moments of truth" as they can be used to build a comprehensive understanding of how, why and when customers engage with the organisation or purchase a product.
What is a customer journey map?
Traditionally, customer journey maps are easily understood, high-level diagrams and flowcharts that show where a customer is in a marketing or sales process. They enable organisations to plan and deliver more timely and relevant interactions with customers, improve the vendor-customer relationship and capitalise on the moments of truth.
This is important because, more so than price, today's organisations are competing on value. Winning the modern customer often requires much more than a price reduction. Customers want an enriching and seamless experience across all touchpoints that enables them to readily engage with a business, wherever, whenever. They want more than just a product or service, they want an experience.
However, as many organisations are structured around functional siloes and segmented departments dedicated to specific purposes, the customer journey is often fragmented and inconsistent. They may read something on the organisation's website, only to talk to a customer service representative and find out that the information they have read is incorrect.
With such misalignment across the business, customer frustration begins to mount, and their desire to do business with the organisation wanes.
And this is where customer journey mapping can help.
What are the benefits of customer journey mapping?
Increased ROI through better targeting and more personalised messaging
As customer journey maps enable organisations to better understand customer context and intent, they can begin to optimise each channel based on real, quality data. Targeting can be refined based on specific customer interactions and deliver more personalised messaging.
As organisations deliver more meaningful interactions with customers that provide real value, those customers will respond in kind, becoming advocates for the organisation: advertising it to friends and family and writing positive reviews and delivering cost-effective ROI.
Quicker sales cycles
Another benefit of customer journey mapping is an improved sales cycles. A key aspect of customer journey mapping is ensuring a seamless experience across channels. As the organisation begins to optimise each channel and ensure that every department is unified in their approach to customer engagement, the sales cycle is streamlined. Customers no longer experience roadblocks at different touchpoints or receive inconsistent information, as every department is working in unison to deliver a seamless experience and the information provided to each customer is based on their context and interactions. With these inhibitors removed, customers can comfortably progress through the sales cycle, receiving the right information at the right time, helping them to make a decision sooner - rather than later.
Unified customer data and continued engagement
As mentioned previously, many organisations have departmental siloes. From a data governance perspective, this leads to inconsistency where data management is concerned - one department may not have the customer information it needs to make informed judgements for example. If an organisation's data was misaligned previously, customer journey mapping presents an opportunity to unify it and build a holistic view of customer interactions. It also allows organisations to build comprehensive customer profiles based on engagements across channels; even after the customer has made a purchase, the data can be used to continue engagement and cross-sell and upsell relevant products and services.
As the number of channels available to customers and organisations alike show no sign of decreasing, the necessity and benefit of customer journey mapping will continue to grow.
Every customer is unique in the way that they engage with an organisation, so having a framework in place to optimise each touchpoint and capitalise on customers - moments of truth is essential to generating more revenue and new business alike.