What is a customer journey map? It’s a visual diagram that clearly depicts how prospects interact with your company across every stage. 

In the context of an ERP implementation, a customer journey map can help you improve your business processes before automating them. It can also help you define your must-have software capabilities.

Today, we’re sharing how a customer journey map works, why it’s important, and how you can create one in your own company.

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What is a Customer Journey Map?

Rarely is anything as simple or straightforward as it looks. This is especially the case with your customers. 

Any time someone interacts with your brand, they go on an individualized journey. At first glance, this journey might seem basic. You offer a product or service they like. They see it, learn about it, and decide to buy it. 

Easy enough, right?

Not when you consider that the average person now uses up to ten different channels to communicate with a business. Now more than ever, the customer journey is complex and multi-faceted.

The most successful companies are those that can keep track of these interactions and analyze them to create a positive customer experience. 

Considering the variety of ways a customer’s journey can begin, how can you make sure these touchpoints are seamless and user-friendly? The answer lies in a customer journey map. 

This might be one cohesive diagram or multiple different diagrams. Either way, it should clearly depict how customers interact with and experience your brand across all channels, including:

  • Website
  • Social media
  • Organic search
  • Paid search
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Live chat
  • Mobile devices

When you illustrate your customer interactions in this way, you can ensure every avenue is accounted for, and no prospect or current client gets missed. This exercise allows you to step into your customers’ shoes and view your brand from their point of view. As a result, you can uncover pain points and look for ways to optimize and improve the customer experience

How to Build a Customer Journey Map

Like most journeys, you won’t always follow a straight line to get from Point A to Point B. Remember those ten channels? Usually, buyers will go back-and-forth between channels, especially because most companies use an omnichannel approach to marketing and sales. 

In light of this complexity, you should aim to create a complete and comprehensive map rather than trying to simplify it.

Let’s take a look at the steps necessary to create such a map:

1. Outline All Customer Touchpoints

You’ll begin by mapping every potential customer touchpoint. This includes all the ways someone could interact with your brand.

For instance, they might visit your website or send you a message on social media. Alternatively, they might call your company and speak to a member of your sales team.

When outlining these touchpoints, we recommend involving stakeholders from across departments so you can capture each and every workflow that touches the customer.

2. Define Buyer Personas

For each channel, create a buyer persona that defines the type of person who is most likely to use that channel.

For instance, a tech-savvy millennial is more likely to find your product by using social media on a smartphone, while a retired individual may find the same content via a desktop internet search. 

3. Map Buyer Journeys

Often, companies will bucket customer interactions into distinct stages. While these can go by many names, a few of the most common include:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Purchasing decision
  • Customer service
  • Product/brand loyalty

Here’s a basic rundown of how the stages flow into one another: First, a customer becomes aware of your product. Then, they consider whether they should make a purchase. At this point, they may compare your product with competitors.

Once they decide to buy, they’ll progress into the service phase, wherein they can contact your company for assistance. Finally, if everything goes well and they’re pleased with the experience, then they can essentially become a brand advocate, championing your product or service and encouraging others to follow in their footsteps. 

4. Consider Customer Satisfaction and Other Metrics

Emotions play a major role in the customer experience and should be an integral part of your map.

How do customers feel at every stage of the journey? While you might not be able to understand these emotions with 100% accuracy, you can use historical data to guess how most people feel at each juncture.

Regardless of the action performed, your customers have a goal at every stage. If the action is successful and they reach their goal quickly, they may feel relief and elation. However, if they run into roadblocks, the opposite could hold true.

Your team can use this feedback to gauge where your customers are running into pain points and determine what steps you can put into place to mitigate them.

Not all of this feedback is qualitative. Much of it can be measured through concrete metrics gathered through advanced business intelligence functionality. You can learn more by reading our post, How to Measure Customer Experience.

Why Should You Map the Customer Journey Before ERP Selection?

It’s important to ensure the ERP system you select is well-suited to your business needs. This is why you should include customer journey mapping in your planning process.

As you map these journeys, you’ll find opportunities for improvement, and eventually, arrive at clearly-defined future state processes. This will guide you in evaluating ERP functionality and finding a system that meets your requirements with minimal customization and minimal third-party integrations.

What are the Other Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping?

Even if you’re not involved in an ERP project, it’s still important to take the time to map your customer journey. Without this step, it can be challenging to understand how your customers view your brand, what they expect from you, and how you can optimize their experiences moving forward.

Essentially, customer journey mapping helps you understand customer pain points and work toward customer experience transformation.

More specifically, it enables you to:

  • Create the personalized experiences your customers want
  • Identify gaps that could affect the customer experience (e.g., between devices, departments, or channels)
  • Compare the desires of your customers against what experience they receive from your brand
  • Visualize how your customers move through the sales funnel
  • Create a cohesive, logical structure for the buyer journey

When you maximize the efficiency of customer-related processes, you can move your sales funnel along at a quicker pace, which boosts your bottom line.

Arguably the greatest benefit of all is understanding your customers on a deeper level. With these insights, you can create personalized experiences that cater to their needs.

The Takeaway

What is a customer journey map? It is a diagram, or series of diagrams, that depicts how someone transitions from a prospect to a paying customer. It details how people interact with your company and the steps they take before and after deciding to make a purchase. 

Our ERP consulting company can help you incorporate customer journey mapping into your business process management efforts so you can prepare for software selection. Contact us below for a free consultation.

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