“Customer journey” and “customer experience” are two of the hottest buzz phrases in the industry today. But what do they mean and what are the differences? And where are our customers going that both require maps?
We’ll take a look and see if we can clear up some muddy waters here. While customer journey mapping and experience mapping are similar, there are some distinct differences.
One of the most notable similarities is both involve focusing on customers’ emotions and experience. That way, it is possible to build empathy internally and help your company see things from the customer's point of view when identifying the bigger picture.
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When you visualize each step that customers go through when moving from the buyer cycle's first stage until after making a purchase, that is customer journey mapping. The purpose of customer journey mapping is to identify potential pain points they might encounter throughout that process.
As you go through this process, the map you create should look like a linear diagram outlining the stages of the customer journey and the emotions customers experience throughout those stages.
Creating a customer journey map means you are developing a visual aid to understand what your customer is doing from one stage of the buying process to another. These stages include:
When you take a holistic and all-encompassing approach to visualize the customer's experience, that is customer experience mapping.
You are looking at the customer's experiences from beginning to end without focusing on a specific department or product. Instead, the map focuses on a person's behavior by determining their experiences and thought processes during every stage of the buying process.
Compared to a customer journey map, this map analyzes the customer's experiences deeper. While this map could include information from the customer journey map, it emphasizes the experiences customers might encounter beyond that of a journey they take with a specific product.
Creating a customer experience map means you are laying information into the buying stages. For example, you are categorizing the customer's touchpoints and analyzing them. Here's a breakdown of what your customer might be experiencing at various stages:
Whenever you want to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer, journey mapping is optimal. These maps are also beneficial when you want to develop an understanding of the customer's experience as they interact with your business. If you have specific problems or issues that need resolving or another specific goal in mind, customer journey mapping is best. That way, you can zero in on a specific customer persona and develop a better understanding of one specific aspect of your business.
Compared to customer journey mapping, a customer experience map is optimal when you are not aware of where problems are occurring. You are aware that there is an issue, and, when creating this map, it is possible to identify your customer's pain points.
Taking this process requires an open-minded approach and honesty to help you identify problems that you may not have realized were existing previously. One thing you must not forget is that this map is not from your perspective or your business. Instead, it is looking at things from the customer's perspective. So, you are not going to be mapping out what you believe their experience should be, but, instead, you are mapping out what is happening.
Once you understand the difference between customer experience and journey mapping, remember that you are not using these tools just once. Instead, you must constantly evaluate and update them.
That way, you can measure the progress of each accurately. Your maps might not look like any other brand's, and that is OK because, when creating them, you are focusing on meeting your business's goals.
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As Vice President of Global Demand Generation and Field Marketing, Jen McAdams counts herself fortunate to work with an amazing team of event, digital, social media, channel, business development and campaign contributors spread across three continents. Together, the team does some amazing things to keep the funnels full. While she’s been in marketing for 25 years, she’s always eager to learn what’s new in emerging martech, and sales and marketing strategies. This Brooklyn native now lives in New Hampshire on a pumpkin farm, and her pride at being a Northeastern alum is rivaled only by Dave Pierce.
You can find her on LinkedIn or @jromcadams on Twitter.
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