Focus on the customer when choosing your digital direction
Want to get a handle on your digital directions? Think customer journeys. How often have you asked, “Is the direction I should take?”
When you step back and view the complete customer experience picture, you can see how you are sometimes micro-focused on the wrong things. Take a step back and map out the journey you put your customers through. Maybe you’ll find it is a great experience, or maybe there are some opportunities.
Investing time in mapping the customer journey will help identify the high value areas in need of your focus. For example, you might be focused on creating a whiz-bang interactive selling experience when what is needed is a better return of ecommerce transactions in-store.
How does one map out a customer journey? What examples can you find? What is the standard format? Searching “customer journey mapping” on Google yields no less than 133,000 results. It can be overwhelming.
Here are 10 customer journey mapping tips to get you started:
- Just start. Worry about format later. Your brand has an internal language that may only make sense to you. The customer journey should be expressed in that language, and just starting will naturally make it happen.
- Remember, the customer IS the main character. Remove the tendency to think in departmental structure, and boil the steps into verbs using the customer’s voice.
- Be real, not wishful. Sometimes the truth hurts. The customer could care less about intention. If you require a customer needing support to call a phone tree that takes 20 steps of navigation, do you really give good support in the customer’s eyes?
- Journeys are not linear. There are usually many routes to a destination, not just the intended path you have laid out. This is the one area where format starts to impact your map and evaluate format for flexibility.
- Think of the worst experience possible for a customer because of your systems and people. Integrate the worst experience touch points into your rough draft to flush out the missing pieces.
- Realize the map is a living document that should be updated regularly.
- Leverage both external and internal data. Leverage outside customer research and feedback as well as internal insights.
- Limited on time? Pick a specific area of the journey on which to focus, realizing the power of the map is in the holistic, macro view. Pick this specific area, but get enough detail to truly understand the pain points of the customer.
- When the map is done and you have reviewed the journey, you can evaluate the directions your digital efforts go into.
- Share the work with your organization. You will get free help in fixing or identifying missing pieces. The customer journey map is something that no one ever wants to start, but everyone will have input and want to leverage it.
One last note – a map is only good with a clear destination. If your brand is in flux or on weak ground, then the destination may be unclear. Clarity of your brand essence is paramount before attempting a customer journey map.
In the coming months, the ICX Association will be creating content in a variety of mediums, from live events to webinars to papers and infographics, to help you understand and apply customer journey maps to your operation. In the meantime, RetailCustomerExperience.com speaks into this topic, and Forrester has a wealth of content from their Customer Experience practice. I also recommend reading Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business and Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.
The digital experience is about the human experience. For the customer journey map, think human.
Irv Cassio is the Program Manager for Luxottica’s Omni-Channel & Digital initiatives and serves on the Executive Board of the ICX Association. His expertise spans IT, Marketing and software development, just to name a few. Currently, Irv is writing a book on the nuances of creating digital experiences. Follow him on Twitter @irvcassio.