There’s no doubt that customer journey maps are a powerful tool for visualizing and digging deeper into the customer experience. But how can you be sure that you’re making the most of yours? Here are three trends transforming the future of journey maps that you won’t want to miss.
- Using Digital Diaries
The best journey maps help us to see things through our customers’ eyes. Qualitative research is a powerful way to do this. Conversations with our customers help us to understand their journey stages, tasks, needs and touchpoints in great detail. One of the best ways to do this is to elicit stories from customers to understand these things from their perspective.
Moderated digital diaries are a great way to engage with customers. They are fantastic input for any journey map and are only growing in popularity. Diaries typically last up to a week, and customers can participate from their laptop or mobile device when they have the time. Customers log into their online diary several times a day to find new questions, tasks and probes. They could be asked to type out an answer to a question, make a video during their next shopping trip or to take a photo of a particular product in use. Digital diaries allow us to get in-depth with customers about their individual needs and experiences. They are a great forum for questions that may be sensitive in nature or that you fear garner a socially acceptable answer. In the case where follow-up one-on-one interviews are scheduled, diaries are also a great way to get a baseline knowledge of respondents before speaking with them in person.
- Leveraging Machine Learning and AI
We know that customers are increasingly interacting with our brands and voicing their opinions online. They’re sharing on social media, leaving comments on review sites and talking with others in forums. In 2017, there were over 3 billion active social media users, well over 100,000 online forums and more than 60 million adults posting online reviews about products or services. It’s no surprise that companies are overwhelmed with how to listen and interpret it all.
Increasingly, this available goldmine of “big data” is finding its way into customer journey maps. Machine learning is a powerful tool that can help us reduce this massive amount of information into a representative sample from which to mine customer insights. Machine learning and AI can help us learn what customers are saying about our products, brands and competitors during their individualized, most important moments of truth. Including this type of data in our customer journey maps makes them more real and actionable.
- Linking to Quantitative Data
At its core, journey mapping is a methodology and framework that allows us to move from this “fuzzy” notion of value to a tangible, structured, actionable understanding of what customers really want, when they want it and how to give it to them. Quantitative data strengthens this. When a journey map can be tied directly to a company’s CRM database, we can understand exactly where in the journey customers are delighted or where they’re dropping off. Further, when we can quantify the importance and performance of various customer needs along the journey, we can more confidently identify the most important areas to focus on for product and experience innovation.
A good journey map defines what kind of experience customers want and expect, and how well current solutions fulfill these expectations relative to the competition. Recognizing the importance of these three trends will allow you to improve your journey maps, and ultimately, your customer experience, products and services.
To learn more about journey mapping, including critical factors for success, watch my recent webinar, Using Journey Maps to Transform the Customer Experience.