In this article a theory about Customer Journey Map (CJM) and its practical implementation would be considered: why customer journey map is needed, how to build it and where to use, moreover we would analyze popular approaches, methods and instruments of developing CJM: their advantages and disadvantages as well as the examples of implementation.
Customer journey maps (CJM)are visuals or graphics that depict the customer relationship with a company, their service, and their product over time. At the core of a great customer experience is the customer journey, and how an organization's processes, systems, and people interact with its customers.
In fact, CJM is a state diagram - a directional graph, the vertices of which shows the contact with the consumers, and the edges indicate the probabilities of the transition to the next interaction (Fig. 1).
For raising the informative value this graph could be marked or painted, for example, if it is necessary to show in one picture several customer or product segments (fig.2)
CJM can be used not only in the classical marketing sense, to lead the consumer to purchase or increase user loyalty. With the help of this visual tool it is convenient to plan the organization of mass events, marking the points of interaction with visitors in advance (Fig. 3).
A customer journey map is a visual representation of every experience your customers have with you. It helps to tell the story of a customer's experience with your brand from original engagement and into hopefully a long-term relationship. Thus, CJM is a marketer's roadmap that helps determine a marketing strategy and develop tactics for its implementation: the objects of the proposal, the frequency and channels of interaction with the consumer, as well as plan the advertising budget, paying more attention to the most effective episodes.
Several main tasks of creating CJM could be highlighted for improving interaction with customers:
If it is necessary to solve one or several tasks at once, than CJM is required. The task can be brought about if there are the following facts:
We can use the following ways of building CJM:
The choice of approach will depend on the task in terms of business and initial conditions, where is an explored interaction with customers:
Advantages and disadvantages of each approach with examples would be considered below.
This methos is based on expert knowledge of the subject area and is suitable for those cases where the history of interaction with the consumer is not too complicated, i.e. can be described by a person independently without the use of additional automation tools. Moreover, to build CJM you don’t need any complicated techniques and special support: you only need expert knowledge and the simplest formalization tools - a sheet of paper and a pencil or a spreadsheet editor - Excel, Google spreadsheets, etc. (fig. 4). You can also use various plotters for diagrams, charts, and mental maps, for example, XMind and similar services.
The manual CJM development algorithm is described in this article using the Pult.ru store as an example. The main advantages of the manual method are its speed and simplicity - the absence of special requirements for methodology and tools, which makes it applicable to almost any business. However, these positive qualities are associated with the following disadvantages:
Nevertheless, despite the above disadvantages, the manual CJM development method is convenient to use in conditions of limited time, when it is necessary to quickly display the main points of interaction with the consumer. Also, the manual method is useful either as a primary material for more complex approaches, automated and hybrid, which would be described later.
This method is perfect for a large volume of the product range and many consumer segments, when the trajectory of the customer’s interaction with the product or brand is known exactly or can be objectively tracked. For example, traffic on a site or mobile application, visitor paths inside a shopping center, etc. By collecting this information from user log files or recording cameras, building CJM can be reduced to the task of text analysis. In this case, each client’s action is encoded by a letter from a previously developed alphabet (Fig. 5), then the words are clustered and the consumer segments are further classified based on similar behavior.
The practical example of approach implementation is described in the article.
The undoubted advantage of this method is its objectivity - independence from expert opinion. It also scales well - when a product or sales policy changes, CJM will rebuild automatically. However, this approach is quite complicated from a technical point of view (knowledge of Data Science is required) and its results strongly depend on the selected alphabet, the development of which takes a lot of time and effort.
This method, combining expert and automated approaches, is applicable for the tasks of predicting consumer behavior and shows excellent results in the case of a single-brand business with a wide, but the same product line (manufacturer of mobile phones, car dealer, etc.). At the same time, the task of building CJM is reducing to segmentation of the target audience based on client preferences that are not known in advance and are not explicitly regulated in any way.
Having collected data on consumer behavior from formal sources (log files of site visits, videos, profiles, etc.), they should be clustered according to the principle of maximum similarity. Further, on the basis of this information, the subject expert identifies consumer segments (Fig. 6), and the marketer develops a strategy for improving interaction with customers of each category.
It is advisable to use a system of clear rules or machine learning algorithms (Machine Learning, ML), as described in this article, in order to determine automatically whether a user belongs to a particular consumer segment.
This approach to building CJM allows you to create a very detailed portrait of each segment of the target audience and predict the needs of customers. It also scales very well and is applicable for single-brand businesses as well as for a wide product line. Among its shortcomings, it is worth noting some dependence on expert opinion, high requirements for the initial level of automation and formal presentation of data on consumer behavior, as well as the need to attract expensive ML-specialists.
Ready-made CJM allows you to develop an effective marketing strategy and a detailed plan for its implementation, which, step by step, will lead the customer to a purchase based on his needs and consumer behavior. In particular, this will help to obtain detailed answers to the following questions of the marketer:
From the point of view of optimizing business processes, CJM visualization will help to identify organizational or technical barriers that impede the further movement of the client towards the goal. For example, crowded places in a narrow entrance zone, an excessive number of required fields when registering on the site, etc. Thus, CJM is an excellent working tool not only for a marketer. A client interaction map is needed for the business as a whole, so that each participant in the application process sees his role in achieving the overall goal of the organization.
Having analyzed the essence, features of application, advantages and disadvantages of the basic methods of building CJM, we will draw the main conclusion about the choice of approaches to improve interaction with the client. First of all, means used are determined by the applied problem statement from a business perspective. It is important to choose the approach for building CJM that will achieve your goal as quickly as possible and with the least effort. For example, if in a small business with a small number of products or services sold, it is necessary to increase sales conversion as soon as possible, a manually built CJM will help to draw up a detailed plan of targeted activities. In the case of a large online store with hundreds of thousands of different products, an automated approach is suitable. A hybrid method will show excellent results in the segmentation of visitors to the shopping center or users of the site with monobrand products. In any case, no matter what method of CJM development you prefer, you should remember that this is just a business planning tool that simplifies the work on the strategy, but does not execute it on its own.