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Amit Thapliyal Author's Perspective
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6 Effective ways to help you start your customer journey map: Step in their shoes

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What thoughts hit your mind when you hear the word “Customer Journey”? Basically, it is a process of developing a map of the customer’s experience. It circumscribes all the processes that customers go through when engaging with your company- from initial contact with the customer during consideration, into a purchase and through your long-term relationship with them. The ideal result is that as a brand or company, you are offering a unique experience for your buyers- your specific customer experience.

In the era of digital and customer-centric marketing people don't make purchase decisions so easily and they go through a lot of processes to consider and purchase a product. There is an exponential number of possibilities that can be developed to provide personalized 1:1 experiences. Nowadays, customers expect their journey to be highly personalized and specific.

But this poses a great challenge to marketers as it is difficult to provide personalized experiences to all the customers with limited resources and time. As every problem has a solution so this one has a solution too. You can tackle this problem by consolidating the process by leveraging buyer personas to develop specific paths. We can develop customer journeys that allow for extremely different paths to awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, purchase and nurture by employing divergent and distinctive buying personas.

THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAP

Creating a customer journey map is a task in itself as it takes a lot of careful thought and effort. It is somewhat an overwhelming thing as you get to know so much about your customers and collect massive data about them along the journey. Intricate journeys are created over time and they get more complex as your company adds more capabilities through new marketing tools, communication points, and channels. You can streamline customer journeys as you get to know more about your customer's behaviour, wants and can also analyze the success of the journey.

#1 THE INITIAL STAGE - IDENTIFYING THE TRIGGER

The initial stage of your journey map will be a trigger that you have identified that alerts you when the buying cycle has begun. By understanding your business and feedback from your customers you can identify problems that your customer needs to solve, reasons that they may have to switch companies, or even an external trigger such as a new need that may begin the process.

#2 IDENTIFY YOUR CUSTOMER - NAVIGATES CUSTOMER’S PATH

Identify your customer path, the stages of your sales and marketing sales funnel. After the trigger, what is the most likely stage and identify the most likely points of entry for those stages. Digital or physical paths that customer goes through while navigating may be different. After having a thorough knowledge about the different personas, you will have a good idea about the process your customers go through from awareness to purchase and subsequent interactions. You can use this information effectively to know how your customers are guided to take their next steps.

#3 KNOW CUSTOMER’S GOALS

Align Customer goals and with the different stages. Study your customer's journey thoroughly and put thought into what they want to achieve as they pass through each stage and then you will see if you have the required information, content, support, and service to help them achieve their goals.

#4 CREATE A DATABASE

Creating a database will help you deliver a custom experience to your customers by capturing their particular behaviours in channels and acting on those particular interactions. You can categorize your channels based on these questions - Who are the experts? What are the communities where people go? Who influences them? What do they find and learn? What technologies and services do they use? What happens as a result?

#5 DETERMINE CUSTOMER’S TOUCHPOINTS

Touchpoints are really important in customer journey maps. Touchpoints are grouped under various pertinent stages in the customer’s journey. Touchpoints are basically points in a customer journey where your customers are engaging with you and where you can support the completion of their goals. Moments of truth are points in a customer’s life that are more important than day to day interaction so focusing on moments of truth can be a good start for determining customer’s touchpoints.

#6 FORESEE CUSTOMER’S CONCERN

Think through any questions or concerns that may arise. A well-thought-out customer journey exercise should be responsive. New content or processes could be used to develop responses in advance to eliminate concerns or potential gaps even before they surface. Customer experience could be improved based on what you discover by implementing concerned strategies, processes and technologies.

So by keeping these simple steps in your mind, you can start your customer journey map in no time! This will help you identify gaps, points in the customer experience that are disjointed or painful and will help in generating demand.

Amit Thapliyal VP - Marketing


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