Last updated: Creating your customer journey map to grow relationships

Creating your customer journey map to grow relationships


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In many ways, a customer journey parallels the journey of life. Life is a journey, not a destination, and the real fun lies in travel and exploration. How many times have you traveled and think you have it all planned out? But it’s the surprises and secret destinations along the way that you remember forever.

The same is true of customer relationships. Gone are the days of aggressive marketing being enough to hook and secure customers forever.

Cloud has given customers the flexibility and the prowess to evaluate and find alternative suppliers dynamically. Bringing customers on board and keeping them is an ongoing endeavor. Companies need to create a customer journey map and provide memorable experiences that keep customers coming back for more.

The transition from UX to CX

When companies ran on-premises applications, the main focus for any enterprise software was on the business process or the user. The emphasis was on who will finally use the solution to run their respective businesses, and the user experience.

Now, in the cloud era, customer relationships have changed. When a customer signs up for a license, it’s the advent of a shared journey.

So it’s critical that businesses look at all the touchpoints they have with a customer. This focus on the customer journey probably started the CX revolution we’re experiencing. It includes everything from marketing communications and the sales process to price, promotions, product delivery, and service.

If there’s one line that differentiates UX from CX, it’s the perception that while UX  takes care of the product, CX ensures that your brand is safe and blooming.

The moment of customer journey truth

In every journey, every experience, and every relationship there’s a moment of truth that creates a lasting memory. It holds everything together. Similarly, when we’re providing an experience to a customer, it’s important to seek that moment of truth that acts as a differentiator.

The KANO model for measuring customer satisfaction is a great tool for determining the elements of customer satisfaction and, dare I say, delight.

Image of Kano model graph

  1. Satisfaction: The area where needs are met or exceeded
  2. Fulfilled: Living up to a promise
  3. Dissatisfaction: The pit where unhappiness exists
  4. Absent: Not hitting the mark or even trying

The kicker is that it’s all subjective. There are “must-haves” that may be very critical, but they don’t help you differentiate from others. There are “could-haves,” which when absent may not matter, but if provided, result in customer delight.

My recent car purchase illustrates this. The fact that the car had all the latest safety features including eight airbags didn’t impress my wife. But when she saw a panoramic sunroof, she was delighted and that sealed the deal!

Safety may be the most critical aspect of a car, but from a customer’s point of view, it’s a must-have feature. At the same time, a panoramic sunroof is at best a good-to-have feature, but has the potential to become the deal-clincher.

The customer journey map

The customer journey map is not a deliverable, but a living document. It should continue to evolve as your relationship with customers evolves. It starts when a person begins thinking about buying your product. Ideally, it continues beyond the sale to after-sales support.

Customer marketing can play a pivotal role to keep the engagement alive through social media, interactive multimedia, and other remarketing strategies. Celebrate and share the customer’s success and capture the casual and candid feedback about their experience of using your product. This will ensure the customer becomes an advocate — the end goal of any successful CX campaign.

There are many tools available to create your customer journey map. Broadly, there are seven different stages in a customer journey, though you can have your own versions:

  1. Awareness: Create awareness of your brand in the mind of the customer
  2. Engagement: Devise strategies to engage them in your campaign
  3. Subscriptions: Entice them to subscribe to your product, even if it’s a trial version
  4. Captivate: Capture mindshare
  5. Conversion: Earn customers by dazzling people with your product capabilities.
  6. Elevate: Prioritizing the right services and communication can turn customers into advocates
  7. Promotion: As customers become advocates, they choose to wave a brand’s flag

With so much AI and machine learning in play, nearly every customer touchpoint can be monitored and, data captured, curated, and analyzed. While data helps to analyze and prioritize based on customer preferences, sometimes anecdotal research in the form of interviews, sound bites, informal conversations can help provide the missing human perspective.

After all, customers are real people with real emotions and expectations!

Is your brand house in order when it comes to customer loyalty?
The road to retention starts HERE.

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