What is customer experience mapping, and why is it important for achieving success as a business? Find answers to these important questions here.
A consistent, high-quality customer experience matters
Have you ever called a company’s customer service team and felt that the interaction was a far cry from the enthusiasm they display on social media platforms? Or perhaps you decided to stop by their physical store and got much better service than when you shop on their website?
Often, there is a significant difference between the experience a customer gets across different service mediums of a company. But what you may have noticed is that high-end brands like Apple, Macy’s, and Hilton maintain a consistent customer service experience via all their interaction channels (aka touchpoints).
Companies that prioritize smooth customer connection are consistent in their approach, from their emails to how staff meets you in person. Yet nothing about this harmonic technique occurs by chance. Their ideal customer journey has been thoroughly researched and thoughtfully applied in creating the customer mapping experience.
Customer journey mapping vs experience mapping
The terms “experience mapping” and “journey mapping” are sometimes used interchangeably, and there are components of both that overlap. However, there are a few significant distinctions to consider when determining whether a journey or an experience map will best fit your organization’s objectives.
Simply defined, a customer experience map is a comprehensive representation of the broad picture, accounting for everything that might influence a customer’s experience. On the other hand, a customer journey map is more concentrated, focusing on a single region of the company, a single transaction, and a single consumer persona.
One of the main differences between experience maps and journey maps is that a customer experience map plots the omnichannel experience. A customer journey map is more linear, depicting the exact touchpoints where a potential buyer interacts with a business on their way to making a purchase.
Customer experience maps are a more coherent and comprehensive strategy towards recognizing the many channels through which customers interact with a company during the purchase cycle.
Why is customer experience mapping an integral part of business success?
Imagine a business with no customers. You could claim that it’s absurd or implausible. Well, a firm that ignores its consumers’ perceptions and expectations throughout its strategic planning process is acting as if they don’t exist!
Unfortunately, this is a more prevalent problem than many people realize. Several organizations have lost consumers because they fail to listen to their concerns, instead of relying on team members’ intuition and expertise in determining the customers’ demands. Many might say, “I’ve spent decades in this industry, I know what our customers want.”
According to the well-known Bain & Company research, when top executives are asked if they feel their company provides great customer service, 80% say yes. Customers of these same organizations were asked the identical question, and the study found out that they think the same just 8% of the time. This disparity highlights an insight that businesses must address right away. That is that managers’ opinions of the quality of the experience provided to customers are not necessarily the same as their customers’.
Suppose you own or manage a brand and haven’t established a customer experience map. In that case, you’re losing out on crucial information that may help you improve and concentrate the consumer experience and generate outcomes for your business.
If you’re starting out with a customer experience mapping program, it’s a great way to figure out where you are and identify existing flaws, strengths, and possibilities. Doing so can create a significant difference that leads to desired results.
This process can appear daunting because it tries to consider every variable, channel, and path a consumer might take to make a purchase. Taking massive amounts of data from multiple sources and processing it into crucial, actionable information that maps out the customer experience may seem overwhelming, that’s true. But following the right steps and working through the process puts experience mapping well within the realm of any marketer or brand.
Components of a customer experience map
While there is no clear standard for what to include in a customer experience map, the following are topics that have come up in most projects. However, note that discussing the many components of a customer experience map extensively is beyond the scope of this post.
With your customer profiles in the customer journey map, you can identify each one on the map. Then, plot the likely experience a persona receives.
While this may seem self-evident, try to allow enough room for any key or legend you want to use to explain various aspects of the map. This document will frequently be passed around an organization, and not everyone will have had access to the map’s background talks or walkthroughs.
Deconstruct each significant stage of the journey and depict them on the map. Journey phases help stakeholders in visualizing the process their consumers are going through and the actions that take place at each point.
These are the areas where a potential buyer faces difficulties with the product or service. They are perhaps one of the most critical items to include on your map. Only by addressing the issues and determining how to overcome them can you build long-term relationships with consumers. Loyal customers are those who return to your brand again and again.
Don’t forget to emphasize what you’re doing right on the map so that stakeholders can see how these activities improve customer satisfaction and add value.