What is a Customer Experience Map?

Although you may not want to admit it, your customers have probably at one time or another experienced some type of pain while doing business with your company.  It could’ve been a minor inconvenience, rather than a huge deal-breaking issue, but any way you look at it, it’s pain.

So, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can you clearly pinpoint where the customer pain points are in your organization?
  • Do you and your employees have a clear picture of the process different types of customers go through when interacting with your company?
  • Have you recently asked your customers if and where they experience pain?
  • Are you addressing the pain they experience?

A Customer Experience map (or journey map) is a tool that can help you answer YES to all of these questions.

A quick description…

A Customer Experience map visually identifies and organizes every encounter a customer has (or could have) with your company and brand. These interactions are commonly referred to as “touchpoints.”

Creating a map is one of the best methods for understanding how customers interact with your company and uncovers opportunities for where and how you can improve a customer’s experience.  An Experience map provides a framework that can set you on a path to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention and ultimately greater profits.

Creating these maps is not a new phenomenon.  The process has been around for years, but it’s gaining traction as companies increasingly delve deeper into and place more emphasis on customer experience initiatives.

What does an Experience Map look like?

Using graphics, pictures, and other visual cues, an experience map plots out each customer touchpoint so you can see the journey a customer takes from the first moment they become aware of your company to when they purchase your goods/services, receive after sales support and all the way to the point when they recommend you to others.  A map not only displays the journey, but it also shows you how different departments within your company work together (or fail to work together) to strengthen or weaken a customer’s experience at each touchpoint.

Touchpoints can be mapped in a variety of ways (an arrangement of sticky notes, elaborate flow charts, etc.), and no two will look exactly the same.  But, regardless of what they look like, they should all include (at a minimum) the following elements gathered from both employee and customer feedback.

1.) Touchpoint Inventory:  A list of every way a customer can touch or is touched by your company (ads, website, letters, bills, sales or service reps, phone calls, retail stores, social media, etc.)

2.) Point of Relationship:  At what point in a customer’s relationship with you do they encounter each touchpoint?  What touchpoints are present during the awareness, information-gathering, consideration, selection, satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy stages?

3.) Business Reason:  Why does each touchpoint exist at each relationship stage from an operations perspective (educate, provide support, receive payment, etc.)?

4.) Customer Impact:  Why does each touchpoint exist from a customer perspective (set you apart from a competitor, garner repeat sales, build loyalty, etc.)?

5.) Touchpoint Owner:  What department(s) is responsible for each touchpoint?

6.) Effectiveness:  Does each touchpoint enhance or weaken a customer’s experience?  What does a customer expect at each point?  Do you meet their expectations? How do they feel?  How do you want them to feel?  Are there any redundancies or unnecessary touchpoints? Which touchpoint are most and least effective?

In going through this mapping and customer journey discovery process, you are sure to derive priceless insights into your customers, your processes and overall operations.

The challenge associated with this mapping is organizing all of the data and insights into a format that doesn’t result in piles and piles of paper.  The best kind of map is one that keeps things simple and streamlined.

The Best Kind of Map…

The best kind of map provides an at-a-glance dashboard view that quickly shows executives and key stakeholders where pain points (and best practices) exist in a process.  It summarizes customer feedback for each touchpoint and calls out which departments are involved in any flawed processes (and successes).

It’s something that can be easily shared with employees throughout the organization so they can see how they can make an impact and drive change.  It also shows how a customer’s experience varies depending on where it is they “touch” your business (i.e. website purchase vs. retail store purchase vs. phone order).  The best kind of map provides these things for all product lines or lines of business.

The best kind of map will help you better understand your customers and your business.  It will help you strengthen customer relationships and see how all of your touchpoints affect your bottom line so you can ultimately improve it.

That’s the kind of platform we’re building at Touchpoint Dashboard.  One that will empower your organization to achieve these results.

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