Tech Insight : What Is Customer Journey Mapping Software?

  • March 27, 2024
  • News

In this tech insight, we look at what customer journey mapping is, its benefits, the challenges of using it, and also we look at some of the popular customer journey mapping software solutions available.

What Is Customer Journey Mapping?

Customer journey mapping refers to a strategic process (that’s used by marketers) to visualise and understand the complete experience of a customer interacting with a product, service, or brand from the customer’s perspective. It’s a visual representation of the different interactions customers have with your brand, product, or service until they decide to purchase it from your business (and what happens beyond).

Identifying Key Interactions 

The customer journey mapping process involves identifying key interactions that the customer has with the organisation, understanding the customer’s feelings, motivations, and questions at each step, and recognising opportunities for improvement.

The map typically starts from the initial awareness or need recognition stage, through various touchpoints such as research, purchase, and post-purchase experiences, ending with loyalty or advocacy.

Who Does It? 

Broadly speaking, it’s used by marketing teams because they are directly involved in understanding and communicating with the target audience. Also, customer journey mapping can give marketers the kind of deeper understanding of customers’ experiences that enables them to improve how they target and serve prospects, which can ultimately deliver increased sales and loyalty.

More specifically, customer journey mapping is also carried out by:

– Product managers and development teams who use it to ensure that the product or service meets the customers’ needs and expectations at every point.

– Customer experience (CX) professionals, i.e. those specialising in understanding and improving the interaction between an organisation and its customers, and who want to identify gaps in the customer experience.

– User experience (UX) designers. These focus on the usability and overall experience of digital interfaces and tend to use journey maps to visualise how users interact with a website or app and identify areas for improvement.

– Service designers / those involved in designing and improving entire service processes, who use customer journey mapping to ensure that every touchpoint is optimised for the best customer experience.

– Senior managers who may also be involved in producing and reviewing the customer journey maps to make strategic decisions that align with customer needs and organisational goals.

Why Use It? 

Some of the key reasons for conducting customer journey mapping include:

– Enhancing customer understanding, i.e. helping organisations to see things from a customer’s viewpoint, leading to deeper insights into their needs and preferences.

– Identifying ‘pain points’ and bottlenecks – where customers face difficulties or get stuck, thereby allowing for prioritisation of improvements.

– Improving customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy by addressing issues and optimising the journey.

– Aligning teams around the customer experience by providing a shared understanding across departments.

– Driving and informing strategic business strategies and decisions, such as for product development, and service improvements that align with delivering customer value.

– Optimising ‘touchpoints’ and channels – helping understand and optimise interactions and leveraging high-performing channels for a cohesive experience.

– Identifying gaps in the marketing strategy, e.g. by revealing channels and touchpoints that aren’t being used effectively, thus offering opportunities for optimisation.

Common Challenges

Although customer journey mapping can be very useful and deliver some important insights, it’s not without its challenges. For example, some popular challenges faced by marketers trying to use this type of mapping effectively include:

– Distinguishing fact from assumption. It’s crucial to rely on data to ensure the journey map accurately reflects actual customer behaviours rather than assumptions about how customers might interact with the company.

– Ensuring map accuracy. Inaccurate mapping can lead to misguided strategic decisions, potentially wasting resources and missing key opportunities to enhance the customer experience.

– Incorporating all touchpoints. For example, customers may interact with a brand through quite a variety of channels and actions, making it challenging to capture and understand every possible step in their journey.

– Dealing with the complexity of such a map. Comprehensive journey maps can become very detailed and complex, making them difficult to create, understand, and use effectively.

– Keeping maps updated. This is because customer behaviours and preferences evolve over time, necessitating regular updates to the journey maps to keep them relevant and useful.

– Tracking improvements. Once changes are made based on journey map insights, it’s important to measure their impact to ensure they’re driving the desired outcomes.

– Resource intensiveness. The process of creating, maintaining, and updating customer journey maps can be time-consuming and require significant effort from various team members, straining marketing resources.

– Adapting to digital tools. While traditional paper-based mapping can be cumbersome, transitioning to digital tools for journey mapping (i.e. customer journey mapping software), may involve a learning-curve and require additional resources.

Tackling The Challenges By Using Customer Journey Mapping Software 

As mentioned above, customer journey mapping software offers several key benefits to tackle the challenges of journey mapping efficiently, such as:

– Real-time data Integration, i.e. it enables accurate, live reflections of customers’ behaviour, facilitating quick strategic adjustments.

– Dynamic viewing and filtering. It simplifies the updating process, allows for easy navigation of insights, and supports decision-making with filterable maps.

– It helps deliver personalised experiences / tailored customer journeys by segment, improving conversion and satisfaction rates through continuous optimisation.

– Efficiency and simplicity, thereby transforming previously time-consuming tasks into quick and straightforward processes, eliminating the need for physical mapping materials.

– Enhanced collaboration by facilitating sharing across the organisation, allowing teams to focus on relevant touchpoints and insights, promoting a customer-centric culture.

Popular Customer Journey Mapping Software

Here are some examples of popular customer journey mapping software options for businesses and organisations of different sizes, some of whose names you may already be familiar with (particularly Microsoft):

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights 

This provides an AI-driven customer data platform that combines customer journey mapping with actionable insights, predictive analytics, and personalisation options. Since it’s from Microsoft, a significant advantage is that it integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products that a businesses probably already uses. It’s perhaps most suitable for medium to large enterprises looking for a comprehensive solution that not only maps customer journeys but also leverages AI to drive decision-making and personalised customer engagements.

HubSpot

Features/benefits include integrating customer journey mapping with CRM, marketing, sales, and service hubs, offering a comprehensive view of the customer journey. Features include email marketing, lead management, analytics, and automation tools.

This platform is suitable for businesses of all sizes due to its scalable platform, while HubSpot is particularly beneficial for those looking to integrate their customer journey mapping with a broader inbound marketing and sales strategy.

Salesforce Journey Builder 

Part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, this tool allows for the creation of personalised customer journeys across various channels and devices. It offers powerful segmentation capabilities, real-time interaction management, and analytics.

Salesforce Journey Builder may be ideal for medium to large businesses already invested in the Salesforce ecosystem, seeking to leverage advanced customer journey mapping with extensive customisation and integration options.

Miro 

This is a collaborative online whiteboard platform that’s quite versatile, enabling the visual mapping of customer journeys, brainstorming sessions, and project planning. It supports real-time collaboration, making it easy to work with teams remotely. Miro is well-suited for businesses of all sizes, especially those that value collaboration and flexibility in their planning and customer experience design processes.

Smaply 

This software offers detailed journey maps, persona creation, and stakeholder maps. It’s designed to provide a clear visualisation of customer experiences, including pain points and emotions, with exportable and shareable maps. Smaply may be best suited to SMEs or teams within larger organisations focused on service design and customer experience improvement projects.

Adobe Experience Platform 

This is a robust platform capable of delivering personalised customer experiences at scale, with real-time customer profiles, predictive analytics, and cross-channel journey orchestration. It’s probably ideal for large enterprises that require a powerful platform to manage complex customer journeys and deliver personalised experiences across various touchpoints.

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

For UK businesses, the use of customer journey mapping (and popular customer journey mapping software) is helping to meet the need for a more nuanced understanding of the customer experience. By being able to clearly visualise the entire journey from initial awareness through to loyalty and advocacy, businesses can gain invaluable insights into customer interactions, pain points, and so-called ‘moments of delight.’ This strategic process not only helps businesses gain a deeper comprehension of customer needs and preferences but also highlights areas for improvement. In this way, it can help drive strategic decisions that enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty which, of course, can be of huge benefit to businesses.

Customer journey mapping software offers a way to address the common challenges associated with traditional mapping methods, i.e. it gives real-time data integration, dynamic viewing, and filtering capabilities, plus the ability to deliver personalised experiences. These software tools streamline the mapping process, making it faster, more accurate, and less resource-intensive, and facilitate collaboration across departments, ensuring a unified approach to improving the customer experience.

Businesses not currently leveraging customer journey mapping (software) therefore stand to gain a competitive edge by adopting it. The insights derived from journey maps can guide more effective marketing strategies, product development, and customer service improvements. Also, the use of customer journey mapping software can significantly reduce the time and effort required to create and maintain accurate maps, thereby saving costs, reducing risk, and allowing businesses to quickly adapt to changes in customer behaviour and market conditions.

In summary then, customer journey-mapping and the adoption of specialised software to facilitate this process offer businesses the opportunity to transform their understanding of the customer experience which can translate into greater business success. In a landscape where customer expectations are ever-evolving, the ability to swiftly and effectively respond to these changes is not just advantageous but essential.

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