A customer journey describes all the customer touchpoints a potential customer has before, during, and after their purchase.
They include those aspects of the journey directly influenced by your organization as well as those influenced or controlled by third parties. This is an important distinction as, while you may not be responsible for a particular part of the journey, it still affects the experience your customer has.
Identifying your Customer Touchpoints
Before – how did they find out about you? Your customer may find out about you through adverts, billboards, social media, online reviews, or good old-fashioned word of mouth.
During – which channels and what did they do? This is your point of sale (POS). It could be your website, branch, store, or delivery. Customers may interact with sales assistants and call centers.
After – what happens after the sale? These include invoicing, queries, returns, product support, product or service lifetime, newsletters, and customer feedback surveys
Once you understand and map every touchpoint in your customer journey and collect feedback from each, you will be able to spot ‘pain points’ along the way or areas that need improving.
How it Works
Let’s take an example here – a customer looking to take out a mortgage. The customer touchpoints in our example below.
Your customer has seen an advert for an attractive interest rate and their brother recommended your mortgage.
Your online mortgage calculator said the repayments were affordable, so the customer has a helpful face-to-face meeting in a branch, and goes home to fill out the online application form.
They instantly receive an email with a decision in principle, telling them it has been accepted, inviting them to complete the full application.
The customer takes a few days to fill out the application and receives an ‘application received’ message.
Some of the information was missing, so a contact center agent calls them to explain what information they need to provide.
Finally, the mortgage is agreed and the customer receives a letter with a binding mortgage offer.
Once the customer has then gone through the house buying process, had their surveys carried out and confirmed their exchange date, they receive final confirmation of the mortgage including direct debit details, terms and conditions, etc. The process is now complete.
So that’s a total of 11 touchpoints – and for many home buyers there will be much more back and forth too – up to the point of purchase.
Following completion, there may be more, like annual or monthly statements or interactions with the customer if they want to increase or decrease how much they pay each month.
What to Fix and Where?
But how many other customers started the application form, gave up filling it in because it was too complicated and went to another provider? Or received a mortgage in principle only for the full application to be rejected?
This is where journey mapping is essential. By gathering feedback at each touchpoint, you can start to understand how each one contributes to the overall experience. Was there a stage that was particularly difficult? Where did the service they received fail to match up to their expectations?
Being able to pinpoint specific pain points along the customer journey means that you can step in and make improvements at the moments that matter.
Using customer experience data and mapping it back to specific touchpoints is how you start to understand the key moments that influence customer behavior. By analyzing this feedback side by side with your core CX metrics, you’re able to identify the improvements that will have the biggest impact on your customers and their overall experience as well as the impact on organization metrics like win rates, sales, and customer lifetime value.