Journey-MappingSome recent business trends have displayed how almost all businesses these days are trying to become customer-centric. In this quest, they consider the customers' feedback to be one of the most important factors to determine their future business strategies. The customers too are leveraging contemporary digital innovation and getting involved with their chosen businesses using different mobile devices. No wonder why businesses consider customer experience management a crucial factor in their growth and expansion plans in an increasingly complex and competitive business landscape. In this scenario, customer journey maps have emerged as a popular element of the customer experience puzzle.

What is it?
A customer journey map is one of the most helpful tools to understand the reaction of your customers. Using it, you can understand what your customers exactly think about your offerings by tracking, observing and describing their interaction with your product. When well researched customer journey maps are prepared, they can provide you with a perfect outside-in analysis of your customers' perspective and what their desired outcomes are. However, you should remember that such maps need significant client insight-driven inputs and internal buy-in to be useful.

Factors to consider
In case you are planning to use customer journey maps to get useful insights that drive action, eventually leading to concrete improvements in your business, these are the certain factors that you need to consider:

Be clear about your objectives: Customer journey map is an excellent tool to know the gaps between what your customers expect and what their actual experience is. It also helps you to find avenues of improvement so that you can work on those. Like many other projects, in customer journey mapping too, you need to begin with the end in mind. Hence, it is important to know exactly what you want, after which you should set the goals and act accordingly.

Know your customers well: A journey map effectively shows how a customer thinks and what he/she feels about your product. In order to understand this properly, you need to look from the perspective of a single customer. It is considered to be the most effective if you can look at the situation from the perspective of a research-based customer personality that represents the needs, objectives and desires of a broader section. It is one of the most important aspects of representing the relationship effectively. Also, know what your customers want or require from each of the interactions while they are moving through the journey and how they can move from one stage to another with ease and speed. You should also be able to understand what the customers feel or think and what they expect from you at each step of the journey. Unless you have a clear idea about the needs, wants and objectives of your customers, the map would fail to characterize the relationship effectively.

Interact with your employees: Once you know exactly who your target customers are and what they want, consider building a personal view of the relationship. Create a customer-centric, cross-functional group that will be able to map out the customers' view of the journey. This should include important aspects like transitions, opportunities, issues and touch-points. Maps that are driven internally help you analyze the relationship between you and your customers to a great extent. It will also help you to identify the inputs, outputs and the key interactions.

Interact with your customers: A majority of businesses don’t focus on gathering a detailed customer perspective. But it gets quite difficult to proceed with your goals without a thorough view of what is important to your customers and what isn't. If you can't figure out what works and what doesn't, your journey map will lack the perfect view of what your customers think. This will, in turn, lead your employees to make decisions depending on flawed or incomplete information.

Opt for a customized map design: There are various ways of creating a journey map based on your brand, your objectives, the depth of facts and figures displayed, and the span of the journey mapped. Since this map will be a widely shared piece, its design should feel and look important to your people. Therefore, design it by using a language that your business and people understand and work with. Such a customized map will make it easy for the people who have to use it.

Use these factors to create customer journey maps that will help you take specific actions to improve your customers’ experience, thus giving a boost to your ROI. However, make sure not to get lost in the vast details that these maps bring to the table. Else, you will fall prey to analysis paralysis.