Whether you’re new to business or are an experienced business owner, you may not have come across the term “Customer Journey Mapping”. What is Customer Journey Mapping? And Why Should You Care?
And Why Should You Care? Let me explain…
I’m sure you’ve heard many times that old saying, “The customer is always right”?
Well, I don’t believe the customer is always right. As you know from experience, there are times when they’re not right, and you wish they weren’t causing you so much trouble or that they went elsewhere!
However, what I do believe in is that the Customer is always a priority.
I’ll explain how it’s crucial in a short example:
Let’s say there is a shop in a town, two kilometres away from the main shopping street. There is a long winding path to the door with prickly bushes and a dog barking loudly next door. Then, as a customer opens the door to enter the shop, there is crackly music playing, dust on the shelves, and a cockroach runs under a cupboard as they walk in.
It is an extreme example, of course, but makes the point that the experience of a customer arriving in your business is something for you to consider. Because that experience makes them FEEL certain things, SEE certain things, and REACT to certain things – and these are mostly within your control.
Then adding to that scenario, imagine that as they tried to purchase the item, the credit card machine was out or order and they were asked to pay cash. And the person who served them chewed gum repeatedly with their mouth open and was constantly glancing at their mobile phone.
How important would you feel at this point? And how would this entire experience make you feel? Would you want to return? Or would you seek out an alternative source for that product in future?
I am guessing that you’d feel the way most of us would – that we would not feel important, the process was terrible, the overall experience was hideous, and you don’t ever want to return!
As a business person, you are already aware of the importance of excellent customer service, but you can see now that the entire customer experience is a priority. Without a customer, you don’t make sales, and without sales, you don’t have a functioning business.
If you look at the scenario, I described above; you can see that the journey the customer took to make their purchase, can be viewed as a series of steps in a larger journey.
Each small step they took before making a purchase added up to an overall experience; and the outcome of that experience, for them, will determine whether they ever return to that shop.
Furthermore, they may talk to their friends about the experience, and share this with others in the next 24-48 hours afterwards – especially if the experience left a big impression on them either positively or negatively.
The customer’s overall experience in your business should be a priority for you. As the owner, you want to ensure that their interaction with you, your products, the environment, and your staff leaves them feeling great and wanting to come back and buy again.
So that’s what I mean by the customer being your priority; you need to care about what they go through and design a process or experience for them that is far better than the sample scenario I described above!
Sadly, most business owners pay very little attention to the experience their customers go through.
Instead, they focus on product sales, packaging, positioning, operations, marketing, admin, and the myriad of challenges and demands they face daily in their business. Don’t get me wrong; ALL of these things are extremely important! Each has its place in the running and growing of a successful business.
However if you want to stand apart from your competitors, grow your business organically and naturally from word of mouth referrals and reputation to sustain your growth into the future, you will need to make your customer’s experience a priority, and the only way to do that is to start Customer Journey Mapping.
In my 12 years of working with small to medium businesses, I have come across so few business owners who cared about their customer’s experience that I could count them on one hand
And even fewer even knew what “Customer Journey Mapping” meant.
So if you care about your customer experience and are already making it a priority and you want to stand apart from your competitors, then you start with mapping your customer’s journey. Start from when they get in their car to drive to your business and continue until they make the purchase, and even beyond. If your business is 100% online, you map the entire customer journey from the moment they found you online.
Hopefully, you understand the importance of your customer’s experience, and how you can use Customer Journey Mapping to identify and create that experience, to not only demonstrate to your customer that you care, but that you are genuinely happy, they are your customer.
Remember that focusing only on the sales part of the journey is not accurate Customer Journey Mapping, and not does it show that you genuinely care about your customer.
Setting up your Customer Journey correctly is both an art and a science, and requires you to adopt the steps I’ve outlined here for your Customer Journey Mapping.
Your Customer Journey won’t be the same as your competitors, and nor will it magically create itself anew as a by-product of the everyday running of your business.
You’ve got to step back and carry out the steps to identify the journey, plan it properly, and then design it so that your customers know that you genuinely care about their experience with your business.
If you don’t, you’ll be ‘average’ like everyone else, and continue to get ‘average’ results. And ‘average’ is not what you want to aim for if you’re reading a blog like this.
So create your Customer Journey Map, and show your customers that you truly care.