Industry-leading CMOs take ownership of the customer journey. Knowing the ins and outs of how and why customers choose products helps them efficiently allocate their marketing spend and elevate the customer experience at the same time.

How often do you get excited at the prospect of going to the DMV? Never? Maybe it’s the long lines, the harsh fluorescent lighting, the hard plastic chairs, or the rude clerks. Perhaps it is the fact that you can only take one photo, and it inevitably resembles something less than frame-worthy.

 

No, you don’t dread the DMV because you can find a better product or a better price somewhere else. It’s because of the customer experience. While you don’t have a choice since the DMV has no competitors, imagine how the customer experience would be improved if the DMV did have competition.

 

Understanding the Customer Experience Has Become Priority Number One

 

According to a recent Forbes article, customer experience is the new brand. In fact, an overwhelming majority of companies, 89%, compete on customer experience. Not on price. Not on product. Not even on brand. But on how a customer feels when interacting with your company, your employees, your products, and your reputation.

 

How do you know if you are delivering exceptional customer experience? The first step is to map your customer’s journey. Download the Customer Journey Map Tool to get started.

 

With customer experience taking center stage, your approach to customer marketing becomes even more critical. Marketing’s ability to generate new leads is no longer enough to claim marketing excellence. When you meet with your fellow executives, they will be asking about more than leads (if they aren’t already). They will want to know what you and your team are doing to:

 

  • Retain your customers
  • Sell more to your customers
  • Turn your customers into advocates for your brand and your products

     

Customer experience is so essential that PE firms have even started to take notice of a topic that was once considered all fluff and no substance. Check out a recent article, Why Do PE Firms Care About CX, to learn more.

 

Use a Customer Journey Map to Learn How and Where to Elevate Your Customer Experience

 

A customer journey map is the key to knowing what is involved in a customer’s purchasing decisions. The who, what, where, when, why, and how that drives them to select one product over the other. It can also help you discover:

 

  • Unmet needs- Are customers looking for a solution to a problem that has yet to be solved?
  • Pain points- Are there points of friction throughout the customer’s journey? What can you do to alleviate them?
  • Are there ways to enhance the customer experience? Can you find the moments that turn a customer into an advocate?
  • Could you be maximizing your marketing budget to make sure that you are talking to the right customers in the right channel with the right content at the right time?

     

A Customer’s Journey Does Not Stop with the Initial Purchase

 

While mapping the buying process is an important step, it should not be your sole focus of the journey map. Understanding why a customer makes that first purchase can certainly inform parts of your marketing strategy, but it doesn’t tell you what makes them stay. And even more crucial, it doesn’t tell you what makes them become advocates. Where in their journey did they transform from repeat customers to customers who recommend you to friends, family, coworkers, and other companies?

 

And what about those customers who aren’t making repeat purchases? The ones who are ending their journey with you sooner than you’d like? What is causing them to find the answer to their unmet needs elsewhere? Is it your product, your process, your channel, your price, or (more likely) the customer experience?

 

Mapping the Customer Journey Is Complex – but It’s Worth the Effort

 

When you set out to map the customer journey, don’t just consider what the customer does throughout each step of the process. Go beyond the surface and consider

 

  • Channels – which mediums and on what type of devices are your customers using to find solutions, ask questions, learn more? Are you reaching them the way they prefer?
  • Touchpoints – who do your customers interact with and how often? This can include people both inside and outside of your company. Check out Touchpoint Analysis- Your Key to Unlocking the Secrets of the Customer Journey for a deeper dive.
  • Emotions – given the importance of customer experience, this is even more critical. Considering how your customers feel throughout their journey can help you discover additional unmet needs, pain points, and areas to turn customers into advocates.

     

You’re no longer competing for the best product or price. You’re fighting for the best experience. And if you haven’t taken the time to understand the type of experience your customers prefer, your competition will. Download the Customer Journey Map Tool to get started.

 

And once you have it mapped out, put it to good use. Check out I’ve Mapped My Customer Journey, Now What to learn how to turn yourself into a customer-centric company. Or visit us at our studio in Dallas where we can help you learn how to operationalize the journey map.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Winkle

Combining customer-driven insights and strategic vision to help clients unlock revenue potential.

Prior to joining SBI, Sara spent her career in several customer-facing roles in technology, media, telecom, business services, and hospitality. She has an innate ability to connect the dots between strategy and execution, ensuring that the end goal is never derailed by overlooked details.

 

While her industry experiences have varied, Sara’s passion for understanding the customer has not. She has always been keen to know who they are, what they need, and how they buy. She uses this curiosity to drive a deeper customer understanding, enabling executives to unlock untapped revenue with market-driven decisions. Her client portfolio includes Software, Retail, CPG, and Banking.

 

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