What is a customer journey map? A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer journey and creates a start-to-finish snapshot of customers’ interactions with a company. It helps tell the story of your customers’ experiences with your brand across all touchpoints and platforms. Compared to cold statistics, a map of the customer journey is more narrative, nuanced, and revealing about the customers’ feelings as they interact in different ways with a company.
Customer journey maps are often expressed as an infographic, which can reveal the how, why, when, and where of customers’ contact with a company. There are many benefits to mapping the customer journey, and contact centers are uniquely positioned to reap these benefits. Let’s explore the power of a customer journey map and how it can bolster your contact center’s ROI and productivity.
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Why You Need to Create a Customer Journey Map for Your Contact Center
What are the benefits of mapping the customer journey for contact centers?
A customer journey infographic showcases the various channels customers are using to reach out to your contact center and the overall flow of customer activity. As the saying goes, “seeing is believing,” and a visual can help contact center team members visualize the bigger picture — and see where they play a role in the grand scheme of things for your customers.
Examining the path followed by customers can show the order in which they are accessing channels and might help you determine preferences. The customer path can also provide insight into whether a customer is switching from one channel to another due to a potential roadblock or gap in service on a particular platform.
2. Pinpointing Resolution Sweet Spots
Mapping the customer journey can reveal the endpoints where resolutions are most likely to occur, helping your contact center agents understand which channels are most valuable, as well as the methods for successful resolution of customers’ issues.
Accordingly, your contact center can invest more resources into the channel or take steps toward improving neglected channels. This can help inform contact center staffing needs as well, so you can have the appropriate agents ready to serve where they’re needed most in the customer journey.
3. Recognizing and Resolving Inefficiencies
Organizing and displaying the customer journey can lead to insights about inefficiencies in your system that could be frustrating customers. For example, you can examine a representative set of end-to-end individual customer data to see how many times customers are transferred and how many times they are asked to verify information or re-explain their problem.
Ultimately, this will help your contact center reduce redundancies, resulting in happier customers. Furthermore, examining such inefficiencies in tandem with abandonment rates and times can reveal a lot about frustrations that your customers experience when they interact with your company. Bonus: You’ll identify where your contact center agents need further training!
Related Article: The Real Reason Why Customers Hate Your Contact Center
4. Manage Resources Proactively
Many contact centers wait until a service bottleneck prompts hiring or redistribution of team members. Having a customer journey map that displays the trajectory of customer paths and volume will help contact centers get ahead of the storm. A customer journey empowers your organization in workforce management and lays the groundwork for wise planning.
How to Create Your Customer Journey Map
Now that you’re aware of the importance of a customer journey, here are some tips for how to create a customer journey map:
1. Do the Research
Rather than starting at ground zero, begin by reviewing the customer data you already have. This data can be analytical (e.g. the average number of touchpoints before typical customers reach a resolution) or anecdotal, meaning stories culled from individual customers.
Your CRM software can provide a wealth of analytical data, and social media is a great source for candid anecdotes since many customers post freely about their service experience. Website analytics can also showcase the customer journey and identify key trends. And of course, the traditional method of soliciting customer feedback through surveys is also a great option.
2. Conduct Virtual Walk-Throughs
A brick-and-mortar store owner or manager has the benefit of being able to physically walk through their retail space and observe the customer experience for themselves. While this first-hand perspective might be a bit more challenging to achieve in a contact center, an effort to simulate a customer walkthrough could be worthwhile. Analytics can help point the way.
Recruit agents or managers to embark on a customer journey of their own (real or simulated) as a baseline for mapping the customer journey.
3. Determine Stages and Pivot Points
The research you’ve conducted should allow you to divide the customer experience into a series of stages that customers move through. It is important to remember that in the age of omnichannel customer support, the customer journey is often non-linear.
Determining these stages will allow you to begin developing a layout for your customer journey map. Perhaps even more important than these stages are the pivot points of transition from one stage to another. This is where you are likely to find narrative and emotional elements of the customer experience that can inform your contact center practices. And your contact center agents can see where they can move the needle too.
4. Get Creative
Now you are ready to create your map. But what does it mean to map the customer journey? Customer journey maps can take a variety of forms.
Start by looking for patterns in your data and use these patterns to determine the shape and form of your map. For example, if your customers tend to cycle back to your contact center, a circular layout with defined entry and exit points may be appropriate. If your customers tend to move through a semi-linear process, then a timeline-style graphic could work well.
Anecdotal evidence can be inserted at essential pivot points to infuse your graphic with narrative elements. Although this process can certainly be conducted in-house, depending on your budget, you might consider hiring outside of the organization to make the most of the information you’ve collected.
What is the story of your customers? Mapping the customer journey means tapping into these stories to reveal the habits and desires of your customers to provide them with the best customer service possible.
Interested in additional customer journey mapping support? Schedule a demo to see how Playvox can help.