The apparent benefit of customer experience mapping is getting to know your customer more intricately—and with that knowledge, finding better ways to support your customer and bring their satisfaction ratings up a notch. But even with a developed customer experience map, are you sure you’re using it correctly?
To improve your customer experience map, start by finding useable data in your CSAT, NPS, and CES survey responses (but know that the picture painted by those metrics is never a complete snapshot of your customer’s entire experience). According to a Harvard Business Review Report, 86% of respondents agreed it’s challenging to understand their customers thoroughly from analyzing metrics alone.
Since metrics aren’t going to illuminate the entire journey, we’ll give you some guidelines on how to improve your customer experience map, along with practical examples you can follow to implement each step. Your customer experience map should be a shared, living document, collaboratively viewed, amended, and developed by every department in your company—from marketing and sales to UX design and customer support.
First, focus on the correct type of map.
If you’ve already developed a customer experience map, look at it again.
Does it plot all touchpoints (any instance where your customer can form an opinion of your business, interactions with employees, a chat interaction, transactional error in-app, etc.) of a user’s interactions with you?
You might have created a customer journey map—not a customer experience map.
The customer journey map will show the different pathways these touchpoints may take and help develop a comprehensive visual of what your customer has to do to reach a specific goal with your brand. It does not focus on customer feelings about their experiences and mainly gives a broad overview of the customer’s transactional interactions.
A customer experience map starts similarly but focuses on pain points in the customer journey and asks, “How does your customer feel at each particular touchpoint or pain point?” The end goal of a customer experience map is to help a business optimize touchpoints and identify pain points they can address at a higher level than any specific channel.
Make your map a shared, living document.
For forward-looking brands, creating a shared map for all departments to collaborate (and agree on) together will develop cohesion and consensus on what to do next for the customer.
Suppose there’s a pain point at the sales stage, for example. In that case, a shared customer experience map will allow the marketing team and customer support team to collaborate on the challenge and offer solutions or constructive feedback. They can then combine this information into a comprehensive visual that describes a customer’s typical experience with your business.
Important note: Do not keep the map siloed to your department. Use a mapping template (like the ones from MURAL) to create a collaborative, digital customer experience map that all departments can share. When all departments have the same customer map, it makes it easier to identify pain points and create empathy for the customer’s experience. Allow every department to contribute suggestions and feedback—it may be that someone else has a solution to a customer’s pain point that another department can’t see.
Segment maps to define one goal or objective you want to analyze.
Some experience maps show too much and get too confusing. A customer’s experience map could take you down many different avenues—a broad experience map may have as many as a thousand touchpoints. Use a separate map to show only one goal or objective so that they’re easily digestible by all departments that share them.
For example, let’s look at what a customer experienced through the process of releasing a music album. A broad experience map like the example above will show every touchpoint—from creating a targeted Instagram ad campaign and releasing a music video to building engagement with the audience and releasing the LP.
But marketing wants to know about the customer’s experience before making the purchase. An extensive map can be broken down into smaller maps that define one objective for easier analysis—when the customer needed something, how they decided what to get, and what they felt when they went to obtain the product. This is a best practice when you want immediate and helpful feedback on just one segment of your brand experience.
Prioritize influential pain points.
You have to prioritize which pain points are more critical to address to gain the most insight into your customer and not waste resources on trivial pain points.
There are three kinds of pain points—journey, interaction, and relationship.
Journey pain point
A journey pain point means the customer encountered a negative experience in their journey. For example, they ordered something online and didn’t receive it when it was scheduled. They’re told there was a delay in shipping, so they want a refund, but you can’t refund the order until they receive the package. This is a journey pain point.
Solution: In this shipping delay example, you have to prioritize according to impact (how much will this cost?) and feasibility (can we even fix this?). If the impact is low (we could fix this without additional resources) and the feasibility is high (we switch shipping carriers), then that journey pain point should take priority because it’s a quick fix that brings immediate customer satisfaction.
Interaction pain point
An interaction pain point is when your customer has an adverse reaction to an interaction with your sales or service staff. The most common interaction pain point is when the customer is shuffled from one representative to another during a service call. Or it could also be when a customer complains about a negative ad campaign or a rude sales agent. In either case, they feel their interaction with you had a negative outcome.
Solution: Interaction pain points are usability issues, so you must prioritize them based on user discomfort, item popularity, and frequency. Did this pain point only occur once? Is it an outlier? Is this item a low priority in your catalog, and does it make fiscal sense to correct the issue?
Relationship pain point
A relationship pain point is when the customer doesn’t like something about your brand that affects their relationship with you. You have terrible hold music. They hate seeing ads on your streaming service. They don’t like your payment options.
Solution: These are more complex and harder to fix than the other pain points—because they’ll require total cooperation from all departments. You will have to consider the impact, churn, and loyalty when deciding which relationship pain point is more important. Impact: How many customers does this affect? Churn: Are we losing customers because of this? And Brand loyalty: Will customers be less likely to promote us because of this pain point?
Your map should have a visible level gauge to show which touchpoints are a priority and which you should place on the back burner. This will help others who use the map determine if their response should be critical mass or okay to pass.
To improve your map, take the customer journey yourself.
The best way to improve the map is to experience what the customer is experiencing and take your own journey through your brand’s process. Empathy is becoming the number one factor for a customer-first business, and 2022 will be a trying year for many—unemployment, inflation, the pandemic, and more will be a source of great stress among your customers. Edelman found that 83% of customers are looking for brand messaging that includes empathy and support for those struggling.
You’ll quickly realize where a customer gets frustrated, can experience further delight, or is not being helped correctly. Miro also has empathy map templates to help you chart out a deep and shared understanding of your customer.
Customer experience mapping used to be associated solely with UX teams, but in reality, it’s essential for every member and team in your company, from clerks to chief executives to marketing to design, to see what the customer is going through with your product or business.
Empathy builds trust, trust establishes loyalty, and loyalty increases revenue. But according to Gartner, 82% of organizations say they created customer experience maps, yet only 47% are using them correctly.
Don’t include yourself in that statistic—use your customer experience map to truly understand your customer and see where your brand or service can improve across the board.
For more on creating a great customer experience: