These days, most buying decisions are made during the digital customer journey. What’s the digital customer journey, you ask? It’s the journey your would-be customers go on digitally. Digital includes your website, your social media channels, etc.
That said, mapping your digital customer journey is crucial to customer experience (CX).
Here are our best suggestions for mapping your digital customer journey.
Identify WHO Is Taking The Journey
You already know this, but marketing often starts with who! As in, who are the types of buyers that will be entering and exiting your customer journey online?
Take a walk in your customers’ shoes.
- Where do they go when they identify a product-related problem?
- How do potential customers discover your brand?
- Which website pages do potential customers visit before making a purchase decision?
- What do new customers do after they make a purchase?
What are the goals of my customers; do we understand their pain points before, during, and after each stage?
Encourage your customers to give you feedback. One of the easiest ways to quantify this besides quality assurance surveys is through social listening.
Finally, when you know WHO purchased your project/service and HOW they perceived the digital experience, you’ll better understand who to target next.
Digital Customer Journey Touch Points
First, think of every interaction would-be and current customers have with your brand online. Perhaps the first time your potential customer sees you is through an online ad. Or, maybe a friend recommended your product and shared a link to your website.
The digital customer journey ranges from pre-purchase to post-purchase. And this is important because it means your online channels are helping you both acquire and retain customers.
Here are few digital touch points to consider:
- Your website (i.g., Live Chat)
- Email marketing
- Social media channels and messengers (direct or private messages)
- Paid online advertising
- SMS/Text messages
- Reviews and other customer feedback
Second, the goal should be to optimize the customer experience by making sure users have what’s needed to communicate with you, no matter which channel they prefer. A quick audit of your existing digital touch points can help you understand where this happens the most.
Additionally, you can create surveys for new and existing customers that pinpoint the digital channels they most prefer. For instance, when Sprout Social asked which communication channels give brands the best opportunity to connect with their customers, survey respondents ranked social media as number one.
Furthermore, ask yourself the following questions when it comes to your touch points:
- Who interacts with the touch points you’ve identified: Customers or potential customers?
- Which types of interactions do the touch points entice from users? (Requests, complaints, or positive feedback?)
- What are the next touch points in the customer journey? How can we determine what triggers each stage of the journey?
Lastly, you’ll need to plan for who will own each touch point. For example, who is interacting with the user at each touch point? Someone from customer support? A bot?
What Are The Stages Of Your Digital Customer Journey?
For starters, don’t do this exercise in a silo! Bring together marketing, sales, customer service, and even actual customers to define the stages of your digital customer journey.
Think about the different steps a potential customer may take from awareness through purchase.
Let’s pretend the image above represents your digital customer journey. Below are a few touch points that may happen in some of the key areas.
- Online ads
- Social media
- Digital content (inbound marketing)
- Digital events (for example, webinars)
- Live Chat on website
- Social media mentions or messages (what we call ‘customer care‘)
- Product reviews
- E-commerce sites/experience
And then, skipping ahead to loyalty, you should think about post-purchase touch points.
- Post-purchase thank you
- Reviews or surveys
- Loyalty Program(s)
- Social-First Customer Care
Finally, apply this exercise to your own digital customer journey. Layout and explain each digital touch point in sequential order.
Test Your Digital Customer Journey
Once you have a digital journey created, it’s time to test! If you need buy-in from the C-Suite, explain the test as “quantifying customer purchasing behaviors online.” That ought to get their attention. 😉
Then, for each stage of the journey you’ve created, analyze the following data sets:
- User Outcomes: Which actions did users take during each stage of your journey? Examples include: customer acquisition or support questions on social media, live chat questions (acquisition or retention), email support ask, downloading content, etc.
- Pain Points: Next, describe what users were feeling at each touch point. Are there areas of your digital journey that are creating friction? For example, long wait times for a reply on social media, delayed email responses, or limited bot support.
- Iterations: Understand what’s working now as well as what’s not — and how to improve. Make iterations as needed.
- Rinse & Repeat. Continue to refine your digital customer journey over time. We recommend updating continuously with anecdotal and metric-based insights to quantify what your gut says about your journey.
Remember, the customer journey is nonlinear. And unfortunately, the success of a few digital customer touch points doesn’t necessarily mean crazy success for your business. That will take time, patience, and a lot of data to back you up.
Ultimately, curiosity will be of the utmost importance as you take on your own journey of mapping the customers’ journey. Good luck!
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