Customer journey management is a never-ending process.
It requires a lot of work to smooth out the kinks and make sure your customers have the best experience with your business.
This piece is for the marketers and product managers who are looking for the best practices of customer journey management and the tools that can make it easier and more effective.
What is Customer Journey Management?
Customer journey management is the process of overseeing and optimizing the customer interactions at each of the customer journey stages in order to move customers through the marketing and sales funnel.
As we know, the customer journey extends from initial awareness all the way to post-purchase customer service.
The purpose of customer journey management is to study and understand customer needs, preferences, and pain points at each of these stages and make improvements to enhance the overall customer experience.
Effective customer journey management requires collecting and analyzing data on customer behavior and customer feedback to identify areas of improvement.
Once these areas are identified and potential solutions brainstormed, marketers implement these changes to test them out at the different customer touchpoints.
Whatever proves to increase customer satisfaction will stay and whatever does not will need further adjustments, and so the cycle continues.
Why Is Customer Journey Management Important?
Customer journey management is one of the most important processes at any company because it enables the business to better understand and plan from the customers’ perspective — to embrace customer centricity.
This has a number of benefits for the company and will allow the company to grow their customer base sustainably.
Here are four key ways in which customer journey management can greatly benefit a business:
1. It Grows Revenue
Customer journey management can help grow a business’s revenue by improving customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
By managing the journey a customer takes with a brand, marketers can identify pain points that may cause existing and potential customers to abandon an interaction and make strategic changes to prompt them to convert instead.
This process can grow revenue by accelerating the customer flow along the customer journey.
More importantly, the unique customer insights that businesses can generate from this exercise can help improve the chances to upsell or cross-sell and increase revenue per customer and overall business growth.
2. It Optimizes Customer Experience
Customer journey management is an exercise that should ultimately result in an improved customer experience.
A key part of the process is collecting the customer data that is being generated at each touchpoint and analyzing these pieces of data for the different wants and needs of each customer.
These insights enable marketers to better define their customer personas and engage in the customer segmentation of their audience pool.
All these steps empower companies to make changes to their customer journey that will create a more streamlined, consistent, and personalized customer experience in order to truly meet customer expectations.
3. It Improves Customer Service
Customer journey management is as important for customer service as it is for customer acquisition and conversion.
Since the process includes collecting and analyzing both direct and indirect feedback from customers, it identifies and addresses pain points, improves customer communication and experience, and promotes customer success.
Take, for instance, a customer’s call to customer support about an issue they are having with a product they purchased from your company.
Once the call ends and the issue is resolved, it is logged into the system so that when the relevant stakeholders in the company are managing the customer journey this becomes a lesson to improve the user experience.
These customer stories are a source of insights for marketers. The more they listen to them and adjust the journey accordingly, the more this feedback loop helps to improve the company’s customer service and its overall customer-centricity.
4. It Accelerates Digital Transformation
Customer journey management not only helps to accelerate digital transformation, but it does so in the right customer-focused direction.
In recent years, many companies have been undergoing digital transformation to improve their business operations, cut down on costs, and improve customer experience.
Market research on the modern customer’s behaviors and preferences has made companies double down on their digital transformation efforts because a majority of customers are now browsing and shopping online.
As marketers manage and optimize the customer journey, they are tweaking the user experience and user interface of their multiple websites, social media accounts, and other online and offline channels and touchpoints.
The process opens businesses up to adopting new marketing tools on the market such as customer data platforms, conversational marketing software, and marketing automation solutions that make the companies more efficient and competitive.
Understanding the Customer Journey Management Framework
To better manage your customer journey, you must first understand the customer journey framework.
The framework is a systematic way of approaching customer journey management and the various steps that it involves.
Below is our take on the three key steps of customer journey management; feel free to tailor this framework to what works best for your company.
The first step is mapping out the customer journey.
Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a visual representation of the customer experience, also known as the customer journey map.
This involves laying out the stages of the customer journey, the touchpoints at each stage, and all the interactions and corresponding goals between customers and brands at these touchpoints.
Woopra has written extensively about the customer journey mapping process, the many customer journey map examples and templates available, and relevant customer journey mapping tools.
This is an easy step that only requires the knowledge your business already has about the customer journey you have envisioned.
The next step is analyzing the customer journey.
Customer journey analytics is the process of analyzing and understanding the interactions at each touchpoint on the journey a customer takes with a brand.
Once the customer journey is up and running, marketers should be collecting and storing all the data that is being generated from every engagement and interaction.
Through customer journey analytics, marketers can figure out what works and what doesn’t work with the customer journey they have designed.
Which touchpoints are converting well? Which touchpoints are losing steam?
These are a couple of the questions that customer journey analytics aims to answer, thus providing marketers with the insights they need to make improvements.
While this task may sound time and labor-intensive, it doesn’t have to be.
There are plenty of customer journey analytics tools on the market for marketers to leverage as we wrote about in our guide to customer journey analytics.
With so many options, what marketers need to focus on is making the right choice that helps them accomplish their goals.
The final step is connecting and optimizing all the touchpoints along the customer journey to create one cohesive customer experience.
After going through the steps above, marketers will have a solid understanding of how to improve the customer journey.
This can include more automation, personalization, and relevant promotions.
Customer journey orchestration is the step that adds all these elements into the respective touchpoints of the customer journey and makes sure the resulting experience is one that seamlessly guides customers from one point to the next.
In a way, this is also customer experience management, which is why the customer journey and the customer experience are inextricably linked.
3 Tips for a Successful Customer Journey Management Strategy
As you roll up your sleeves to start managing your customer journey, we have three overarching tips for you to send you off on the path to success.
These tips are meant to be general principles that can guide you as you make decisions about your customer journey.
Follow the Cross-Functional Test-Learn-Repeat Cycle
In business, a test-learn-repeat cycle is one where companies test out a new idea in the market, learn from how it performed or didn’t perform, and return to the drawing board with the market’s feedback to repeat the cycle.
A cross-functional test-learn-repeat cycle follows the same steps while adding an extra element: the involvement of different functional teams.
Even though a company may have a designated team to manage the customer journey (the marketing team, for instance), the customer journey is still the end product of collaboration across the company’s different teams and departments.
To create a customer journey, companies need to involve their product management, marketing, and sales teams, to name a few.
As such, a cross-functional test-learn-repeat cycle is crucial to customer journey management because each team will have their unique perspective on how to approach the market and improve a touchpoint for maximum conversion.
The Journey Should Be Customer-Centric
Since it is a customer journey, it makes sense for the journey to be customer-centric.
After all, putting oneself in the customers’ shoes is the best way to ensure that the customer journey is a success.
Customer-centricity is the result of taking the time to speak to and understand your customers.
Once you have a better understanding of your customers, you can manage your customer journey to ensure that no matter where they are in their customer lifecycle, they are having a good experience and moving forward with your brand.
It Is a Never-Ending Process
This is so important that it bears repeating.
Customer journey management is not a one-time task. As your potential customers become existing customers or as your customers develop new consumption behaviors, you need to grow with them.
And the customer journey needs to reflect such growth.
It is therefore a must to be managing your customer journey on a regular basis by setting up standard operating procedures and recurring meetings so that customer journey management becomes a mainstay of your business operations.
Tools That Can Help You With Customer Journey Management
We have already mentioned in specific sections of this piece that there are many tools available to help you with the various aspects of customer journey management.
Some popular tools that experienced marketers use for customer journey management are:
- Customer Journey Mapping Tools: to visualize the customer journey and its many touchpoints and pain points.
- Customer Analytics Software: to analyze the interactions that take place at each touchpoint of the customer journey.
- Customer Data Platform: to unify customer data from different sources for one singular, comprehensive customer profile.
- *Customer Relationship Management Platform: *to manage relationships with potential and existing customers.
- *Customer Feedback & Survey Software: *to create and distribute surveys and questionnaires to customers and gather valuable insights.
No company has the time or resources to fully leverage all these tools, so understanding what your team needs to best optimize your customer journey management is the first step to figuring out what tool to adopt.
Mistakes That Marketers Can Make In Their Customer Journey Management Strategy
The flip side to what we have been addressing is the mistakes that marketers should avoid in their customer journey management.
Even the best of us make mistakes, so use this list of common mistakes as a guide to ensure you are not overlooking anything in your planning and strategizing.
- *No Clear Objectives: *Failure to set out clear goals for customer journey management will lead to ineffective changes and adjustments that do not optimize the customer journey or experience.
- *Lack of Customer Knowledge: *Collecting customer data and understanding customer needs and preferences are key to making sure that how you manage your customer journey is in line with what your customers want.
- *Too Touchpoint-Focused: *Customer journey management has to do with both the individual touchpoints and the overall journey. It’s important to know that each touchpoint is only as valuable and effective as how they work together to move customers forward in their journey with your brand.
- *Failure to Monitor & Measure Performance: *How will you know whether your customer journey is effective if you are not actively monitoring it and measuring its performance? Having benchmarks, goals, and spending the appropriate resources to track performance is key to making sure that you are managing your customer journey the right way.
Now that you know the do’s and don’ts of customer journey management, it’s time to put the knowledge to work.
The key takeaway is that this is a never-ending, customer-centric process, one that is intensive but that can be made easier by the many tools that are available on the market.