If you want to grow your business, then you need to offer a seamless customer experience. This is what customer journey management is all about.
Customer journey management helps you understand your customers and the kinds of interactions they have with your brand. This is important for improving each customer touchpoint and ensuring their experience with your business is as positive as possible.
If you help your customers achieve their goals, then your business should also achieve success at the same time.
But what exactly does a customer journey management strategy look like? And how can you implement one?
We’ll explore this all in our guide below.
What is a Customer Journey?
The customer journey covers all the interactions a customer has with a brand. This includes the first moment a person contacts the brand to when they leave as a customer.
Customer journeys can be ongoing as long as the brand stays in contact with the customer. This journey only ends when a customer stops engaging with the brand completely.
There are various stages to the customer journey. First, there is the awareness phase. This is when the customer first discovers the business and learns about what they do. The customer then starts engaging with the business and looking deeper into what the business offers. Eventually, they decide to make a purchase. After this, the brand and customer can stay in contact with each other – through channels like email marketing or social media.
Of course, the customer journey and the customer experience can look totally different for different types of brands and industries. Some customer journeys can last for years, while others last a matter of minutes.
Whatever the case, it’s important that you carefully manage this journey and provide a positive customer experience at each stage. This is critical for growing your business.
What is Customer Journey Management?
Customer journey management is all about focusing on the entire customer journey and ensuring your brand provides an optimized and positive experience. Instead of focusing on single interactions at each touchpoint with the customer, customer journey management focuses on the journey as a whole.
A key part of this is understanding the customer’s goal and aligning the way your organization operates to achieve this goal.
The point of this is to create interactions that customers love, seamlessly moving them through the customer journey and maintaining long-lasting, positive relationships with them.
Benefits of Customer Journey Management
Getting customer journey management right can have many benefits for growing your business.
Here are some of the main reasons why excellent customer journey management can help your business and your customers.
Understand Your Customers
Any effective marketing campaign starts by deeply understanding your customers and their pain points. By focusing on customer journey management, you put yourself in your customers’ shoes. This means you understand their experience, which allows you to tailor your marketing efforts toward them.
Focusing closely on the customer journey helps you identify areas where customers might get lost or lose interest in your brand. This reveals the perfect places to make changes, test new CTAs, send different emails, and so on.
Helps You Find Gaps
Having a strong understanding of your customers’ journeys help you identify any gaps or missing opportunities within that journey. If there are any blockers or areas of friction that reduce customer engagement, you can identify these and find solutions to fix them.
Understand All Touchpoints
Customer journeys are often complex. In fact, the deeper you dive into customer journey management, the more touchpoints and complexities within the customer experience you will discover.
Focusing on this helps you understand the customer journey on a deeper level, and it gives you a better overview of the various touchpoints a customer might have with your brand. This helps you optimize each step for a smoother experience.
Customer journey mapping helps you take a complex customer journey across various touchpoints and view it in a single place. This can be especially useful for B2B marketing, where multiple key decision-makers interact with your brand in different places.
Understand What Your Customers Feel
You can always find the steps a customer takes when interacting with your brand, but doing detailed customer journey management helps you understand how customers feel during these interactions.
Looking into this can help you visualize how customers feel and what they think, which is important for optimizing your marketing campaigns to better target the customer.
Personalization is essential for any great customer experience. By focusing on the finer details in the customer journey, you’ll be able to gain deeper insights into your customers, their behaviors, preferences, and interests. The more you focus on this, the more you can fine-tune and personalize the customer journey.
Mapping out the customer journey is an excellent way to boost your ROI. This is because customer journey management can help you identify roadblocks, speedbumps, and anything else slowing down your customer’s journey.
By removing these obstacles and ensuring your business offers a streamlined experience, you’ll be able to improve efficiency with all customer interactions while creating a greater impact.
Keeps Your Customers Happy and Coming Back for More
Ultimately, customer journey management helps you enhance all touchpoints and experiences with customers. This boosts customer happiness, which can help you gain more value from each customer. At the same time, it can help you achieve more positive brand referrals and drive up repeat business.
A good customer journey equals happy customers. Happy customers equal stronger business growth.
Customer Journey Management Framework
There are three primary functions involved in customer journey management. These are:
- Journey mapping: A method of visualizing your customer journey across different touchpoints over a period of time.
- Journey analytics: The method of analyzing your customer behavior data over different touchpoints for a period of time. This lets you truly understand and measure the impact of customer behavior during their journey.
- Customer journey orchestration: An approach where you look at the entire experience of each customer to personalize interactions and improve the customer experience as a whole.
Each of these elements helps companies understand their customers deeper and gain more meaningful insights into the customer journey.
It’s important to use these different elements of customer journey management together to help you gain more meaningful insights and to make more impactful decisions.
How to Implement Successful Customer Journey Management
Focusing on customer journey management is becoming an increasingly important element of a brand’s success. In such a competitive online world, providing a carefully planned customer journey is vital.
Here are some of the best steps to take to implement a successful customer journey management strategy.
1. Understand Every Business Function
A good customer journey management strategy is essential for marketing a business. However, a successful customer journey can be used to guide every business function.
Here are the three areas of the customer journey your brand should evaluate:
- Peripheral touchpoints: Any points of first contact, such as hearing about your brand from a friend or seeing an ad for your brand.
- External touchpoints: Any direct interactions your customers have with your brand assets – like social media engagement or browsing your website.
- Internal touchpoints: Any interactions a customer has with members of your organization – such as reaching out to customer support.
Understanding each of these areas of interactions can help you develop a more detailed and meaningful customer journey management strategy.
2. Have a Goal
What do you want to achieve by following and mapping out your customer journey?
By establishing clear and specific goals, you’ll be able to achieve a lot more from your customer journey management strategy. This is because you end up taking action instead of just following insights.
For example, you might want to reduce bottlenecks and points of friction, boost sales of certain products, or improve customer engagement. Laying out these objectives at the start helps you achieve more with the information you find on your customers’ journeys.
3. Know Your Customer’s Paths
Once your objectives are clear, the first step is to understand and map out your customer’s paths. To do this, lay out each marketing function your business uses and establish how a customer might discover your brand and what kind of path they take from there.
Using marketing automation and tracking tags can help you monitor the customer journey online. However, sometimes customers will start their journey by seeing a chalkboard for your local business or hearing about you from a friend.
This is why it’s important to use your intellect here. Think of every way a customer could discover and interact with your brand, and create a path with this. This could include multiple touchpoints, from your inbound marketing strategy to running ads, promotions, and more.
Make use of your marketing analytics tools, like Google Analytics, to help you monitor customer journeys in more detail.
4. Know Your Customers
Understanding your customer’s paths is only the first step. The next important thing is actually understanding your customers themselves.
Understand their interests, pain points, and what would motivate them along their customer journey. To do this, you’ll need to create detailed buyer personas for your ideal target customer.
The more you understand your customers and what’s important to them, the more you can visualize and enhance the customer journey for better results.
5. Get Everyone On Board
Customer experience is important for more than just marketing teams. Instead, all aspects of an organization are affected by the customer experience, so everyone in an organization should get involved.
Every department that has some kind of interaction or touchpoint with a customer should be caught up with your customer journey management goals and strategies. This helps to create a more well-rounded and impactful strategy that aligns with the brand’s overall goal.
Customer Journey Management Best Practices
The steps above form a rough guide to monitoring your customer journey and getting an actionable strategy in place. However, there are various ways that you can refine this.
Here are some of the best tips and tactics to implement in your customer journey management strategy.
Define Success Metrics
To optimize your customer’s experience, you’ll need to be able to define success for them. What do you or they need to achieve in order to reach your goal?
Understand what success looks like for your customers, and understand what success looks like for your business. Establishing clear KPIs at each stage of the customer journey will help you keep your strategy on track and achieve your goals more efficiently.
Use Journey Scores
A key part of customer journey management is aligning your business outcomes with your customer goals. A good way to do this is to identify high-priority objectives that help you measure success at a broad level.
Then get more granular. Take the goals and success metrics you’ve already established and consider what outcomes will make your business more successful. Ensure these outcomes align with what your customers want to achieve.
Customize your journey scores and business metrics so that your customers and your business achieve success for the same goals.
You’re not going to map out your customer journey 100% from the start. Customer journey management is all about continually optimizing and refining your customer journey.
It’s important to monitor this carefully and adjust as markets and behaviors change. Customer journeys will always evolve, so it’s important that your journey matches this.
By always going back to your customer paths, you’ll be able to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of customer actions and interactions with your brand. This is important for always providing a relevant, impactful experience for the customer at each stage.
7 Customer Journeys Your Business Can Manage
When establishing your customer journey management plan, it’s important to understand that there are various journeys your customers can take.
To help you get started, here are some journeys that you can manage and map out.
1. Discover, Shop, Buy
This is a classic customer journey, particularly for eCommerce businesses. In this journey, the customer discovers a brand, shops on their website, and eventually completes a purchase.
Within this journey, there can be multiple tactics and steps – such as running a social media giveaway, sending the customer email marketing messages, or targeting the shopper with strategic popups and discount coupons.
It’s important to realize that the customer journey begins before the customer actually makes a purchase. This is where having a solid content marketing plan in place helps to build trust and nurture customers.
2. Setup or Onboarding
The customer has completed their purchase, and now they want to get started with their new product. An essential journey here is the setup or onboarding process.
Ensure this is swift and efficient and that customers don’t have to wait around before they can get started.
Payment experiences form a critical part of the customer journey. Ensure this is not a difficult process for your customers – especially if customers have to set up recurring or automated payments. A bad payment experience can impact customer loyalty.
4. Product Use
One of the most critical parts of the customer journey is when they actually use your product. Of course, you’ll want this to be as positive an experience as possible and ensure the use of your product aligns with your customer journey goals.
Some key metrics to consider here include customer satisfaction, retention, and engagement with your business.
Even with the best product, customers still need help with issues at some stage. Offering great support is important for dealing with this.
Try to minimize customer frustration by providing clear and accessible support whenever it’s needed. This can go a long way in boosting customer satisfaction and retention.
Customers often need to make a change. Maybe they want to switch to another one of your products or plans, or maybe they want to leave your business entirely. Whatever the case, ensure it’s a smooth process.
Even if a customer is leaving, make the process as seamless as possible. This will help the customer leave with a positive experience of your brand.
Customer journey management involves understanding your customers on a deep level and making sure you provide the best possible experience for them. Meeting customers’ expectations is essential for any successful business, and these days, customers expect a lot from brands.
By meeting your customers’ goals and aligning these with your business goals, you’ll be able to boost customer satisfaction, enhance your brand image, and ultimately drive more sales.