Customer Journey Map

Using Customer Journey Mapping to Create Your Brand’s Signature Experience

What is a Customer Journey Map, and why do you need one? Discover the importance of a customer journey map and how to build one, plus examples and templates to create your own.  A well-thought-out customer journey map will enable you to establish a signature brand experience that increases customer retention.

Certainly, you have experienced a few brands with a high percentage of customers who literally cannot live without them, and then, there is the rest of the competition. Few organizations that have become the brands that customers can’t live without.  These are the ones who have made price irrelevant.

Clearer Understanding

There is a fundamental difference between what a company thinks they provide and what a customer actually experiences.  We need to include the customer perspective.  The only way to marry those is by developing a CX blueprint, which is creating your non-negotiable standards that your employees must deliver at every customer touchpoint. This is accomplished during a customer journey mapping workshop.

Customer Journey Mapping an Experience that Builds Loyalty

The key to building long-term customer loyalty and customer engagement is not chasing prices or luring new customers with discounts. Rather, it is through an experience perfected in your customer journey map.  With this in mind, take the time to build a positive experience so engaging and memorable that your existing clients can’t stop talking about it.  What’s more is the results lead to repeat business and customer referrals. In brief, it is about creating your brand’s signature experience.

“Loyal customers are a different breed. They don’t just come back, they don’t simply

recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.”

—Chip Bell

Companies spend millions creating and advertising their brands, yet the customer’s experience drives customer perception, retention, and referrals. If you take really good care of your existing clients, they will generate more new customers than any advertising campaign ever could. Think about what might happen if you reversed your advertising and customer service budget.

Presently, is the level of experience your customers receive dependent on which employee they encounter? Are there certain employees on your team you hope your best clients don’t interact with? If so, then you have what is known as employee roulette. Employee roulette is a problem most organizations have. Just because you have a new employee in a customer-facing role in their first 90 days doesn’t mean the customer should suffer.

“The enemy of a great customer experience is inconsistency.”

Improve Customer Experience by Removing Employee Roulette

Customer experience inconsistency not only applies to employee roulette.  Similarly, it can be department roulette, location roulette, or franchisee roulette. In any case, you need to remove employee roulette. There is good news though: You can significantly improve your customer experience with your existing group of employees. 

“If your customer experience is not consistently great, you’d better be the cheapest.”

client success the dijulius group

Eliminate personal interpretations

What do the following phrases have in common?

  • “We Are a Customer-First Organization”
  • “Treat Customers the Way You Want To Be Treated”
  • “Exceed Customer’s Expectations”
  • “Going Above and Beyond Is Our Standard”
  • “We Deliver Genuine Hospitality”

Leaders love to throw around platitudes regarding customer experience and
all of these are great mantras. They don’t provide any concrete direction for their team members. You will get one hundred personal interpretations if you tell one hundred employees to exceed customer expectations or go above and beyond for your client. To deliver a world-class customer experience at every point along the customer journey to
potential customers and loyal customers alike, truly world-class CX organizations remove personal interpretations when training team members.

If you tell 50 employees to deliver genuine hospitality, you will get 50 interpretations based on their lives and past work experiences. You must remove personal interpretations in all aspects of your customer experience deliverables.

Uncover Micro-Experiences in Your Customer Journey Map

Customer Loyalty is less about outcomes and more about the Micro-Experiences Too many customer-facing employees are convinced that customers will be happy and loyal if they get the results they were hoping for when doing business. with them. That’s not true. If you go to a high-end steakhouse and order your filet mignon medium rare, which comes out medium rare, do you do backflips? Are you wowed if the package you ordered arrives within two days as promised? And if your accounting firm prepares your tax returns accurately and the IRS does not audit you, are you impressed? Not at all; that is what you pay for when dealing with reputable businesses. However, if that is all you get, there is a high probability you will not be a loyal customer. Why? You would have received those results from any company’s viable competitors.

“We are at our best when creating enduring relationships and personal connections. When we are fully engaged, we connect with, laugh with, and uplift the lives of our customers—even if it is just for a few moments. It’s really about human connection.”

—Howard Schultz, Starbucks

How to Achieve Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty results from the multiple positive micro-experiences a person has with a brand. It reflects the fact that not only is that business consistently brilliant at the basics, but also that it has taught all its employees to be present in the moment at each of its touch points.

Here are some examples of positive micro-experiences

  • A receptionist greets a patient by name when she arrives for an appointment.
  • The waiter remembers what you ordered the last time you were in.
  • Your customer service representative contacts you to let you know they are out of stock on one of the products you ordered. To compensate, he tracked the product down from another distributor so you would have enough to get you through the end of the month
  • Your consultant sends you a book on how to train for your first marathon because she remembered a conversation you two had last week.

Each of these examples will have a major impact on customer retention.

Our focus must be on providing a positive experience in EVERY interaction,

whether it is face-to-face, click-to-click, or ear-to-ear.

Sven Gierlinger, Vice President and Chief Experience Officer of Northwell Health, inspires his staff by reminding them of the common goal, “Every moment that we come into contact with our patients and customers matters. Never lose sight of the impact you make on other people in any given moment. The choice you make to smile (or not), to follow through (or not), to be empathetic (or not) makes a bigger difference than you will ever know. Choose wisely.”

Customer Experience is won and lost in the transitions

So often, when a client goes from a salesperson to operations or consultant, and there is no warm handoff, the client can be disappointed. Managing customer interactions is important during critical moments when they move from one phase of their journey to another. This concept emphasizes the transitions between different organizational departments and how they are managed, which can significantly impact a customer’s overall experience and satisfaction. Here are some key aspects of this idea:

  1. Seamlessness:

    Customers expect a smooth, seamless experience when transitioning from one part of their buyer journey to another, whether it’s from online browsing to in-store purchasing, from speaking with a sales representative to dealing with customer service, or from one department to another within the same company.

  2. Communication:

    Effective communication during transitions is vital. Customers should be kept informed about what to expect next, any requirements they need to fulfill, or actions they need to take. Poor communication can lead to confusion and dissatisfaction.

  3. Consistency:

    Maintaining a consistent level of service across all touchpoints and transitions in the customer journey ensures that customers do not experience a drop in the quality of interaction at any point. Consistency builds trust and reinforces a positive perception of the brand.

  4. Empathy:

    Understanding the customer’s needs and emotions during transitions can help in crafting responses that are empathetic and allow for personalized experiences. This can make the difference between a good and a great customer experience.

  5. Feedback and Adaptation:

    Gathering feedback specifically about transitions can provide insights into areas that may require improvements. Adapting processes and interactions based on this feedback is crucial for minimizing friction and enhancing customer satisfaction.

So what is the solution to reducing employee roulette, eliminating employees’ personal interpretation, focusing on the micro-moments of your customer’s experience, and improving the clients’ handoffs? The answer is creating your brand’s signature experience.

Creating a Signature Experience through Customer Journey Mapping

Your business must have a unique signature experience to stand out from your competition. A signature experience is your organization’s distinct customer experience that your customers can only get consistently from you. Creating a signature experience has nothing to do with the type of industry you are in, B2B or B2C.

Every world-class customer experience brand builds their signature experience through a customer journey mapping workshop. Customer journey mapping is a powerful tool used by businesses to visualize the path their customers take from initial contact to the final sale, and beyond. It allows you to improve each of your customer touchpoints.  This process helps organizations understand customer experiences at various touchpoints across different channels, allowing them to identify areas for improvement and enhance overall customer experience. Customer journey mapping is not a one-time task but an ongoing process that can significantly impact your strategic decisions and help deliver a better customer experience.

The “CEC”

Your customer journey mapping will result in a training tool which The DiJulius Group calls a Customer Experience Cycle (CEC). Replace the word ‘Customer’ with whatever you call the person buying from you, i.e. client, patient, guest. The CEC dramatically increases your customers receiving a consistent high-level customer experience, regardless of who they come in contact with.

How to Create the stages of your Customer Journey Map / Customer Experience Cycle

Every stage of the CEC needs to be looked at from the ‘customer’s eyes’, what the customer experiences. All customer touchpoints should be covered in your stages.  A simple CEC to use as a customer journey map example that we have all experienced is a sit-down restaurant. The following circular customer journey map image is a restaurant’s customer journey stages::

Restaurant Customer Journey Map, The DiJulius Group*note- complex journeys may mean you need multiple user journey maps. Your internal teams or product team may have their own cycle vs a single stage in the entire experience. Be sure to look who affects the sequence of events in the buying journey. You will ned input from your sales rep, cross-functional team, service teams, customer service reps, etc. Representation from all departments should all participate in your customer journey mapping workshop.

Customer Journey Process

Once you have your effective customer journey map stages figured out, you then break each stage down into four components:

Service Defects – What things can go wrong at this touch point that can negatively impact your customer’s experience?

Operational Standards – Record what things employees need to do in order to get the job done quickly and reduce service defects from happening.

Experiential Standards – How can you make this stage a positive customer experience?  What can your employees consistently do to build rapport, make an emotional connection?

Above & Beyond Opportunities – List opportunities you can train your employees to be aware of to surprise and delight a customer.  Once agreed to, provide employees the autonomy to perform these.

Customer Profile

At this point, you may want to consider adding your customer personas at the far left on your template. This can help your team identify demographic expectations to guide the journey.

It’s important when completing each column of each of the journey stages that the participants keep the buyer persona in mind. Who is your average customer? While completing the entire customer journey be sure to consider customer pain experienced. Consider the current experience and any negative emotions that occur and how those can be prevented.

customer journey map templateAt the end of the day, it is about giving your teams a tool.  This tool that enables them to deliver a great experience.  And- do so consistently—across employees, shifts, departments, or locations.  A customer journey map is how you build that.  This clear diagram can help any department understand where they will fit into building a better user experience.

The image below shows what a finished stage can in your customer journey map will look like.  In the case of the restaurant, this would be stage 1: reservations.

Customer Journey Mapping Examples:

Customer Journey Map Example, The DiJulius GroupThe benefits of creating your signature experience through a Customer Journey Mapping / Customer Experience Cycle exercise:

  1. Maps out each of your organization’s touch points where a customer typically interacts with you.
  2. Analyzes how similar or different your organization’s customer experience is from that of most of your competitors.
  3. Examines the most common service defects that can negatively impact the experience at each touch point.
  4. Creates processes to reduce or eliminate those service defects
  5. Standardizes and documents your brand’s signature experience processes at each touch point. These then need to be delivered consistently to separate you from your competition.
  6. The end result is training materials (manuals, videos, etc.) that every existing and new employee is trained on. Once trained, they are tested, certified, and held accountable for executing.

Your Signature Experience Advantage

In today’s world, you need this to stand out and make your customer experience your single biggest competitive advantage.  You must create your signature experience. A signature experience is your organization’s distinct customer experience that your customers can only get consistently from you. Once you do, you are making price irrelevant and becoming the brand your customers cannot live without.

Schedule a call today to discover different the ways we can help your organization with customer journey mapping and your customer experience business strategy.

For more information on how The DiJulius Group can help you conduct a customer journey mapping workshop to build your signature experience, contact claudia@thedijuliusgroup.com

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Video of the Week: Having existing employees retake new employee orientation.

The Customer Service Revolution Podcast, Episode 153: Improving Customer Service Reps Productivity Through AI

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27 June:      Tearing Down Silos by Building Collaboration Across Departments

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About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.