When you take a new road or path, your experience isn’t limited solely to the literal path beneath your feet. Smaller details, like scenery, traffic, pit stops, and fellow travelers, can all influence how much you enjoy your trip. The client journey is similar; in order to provide a quality service, you have to walk through your services with your clients and take note of the small (and large) details that impact the trip.
Creating a client journey map allows you evaluate each stop in your client experience and measure the impact of your company at each stage. When a client clicks on your website, you need to know what that experience feels like. Is the page hard to navigate? Is the text hard to read? Once you focus on the client experience, you can identify these minor pitfalls and do your part to improve them. You can start that process by mapping out your client journey, outlining each step on your client’s path through your services, and taking action to resolve each bump in the road.
Mapping the Path
While it’s important to have a company vision and mission, it’s even more important to know just how each of your client touch points, or client interactions, fulfills that vision and mission. By literally mapping out your client experience step by step, you can more easily evaluate whether each step is leading toward your larger goals and values or if they are falling a little short.
To begin your client journey map, you first need to take time to evaluate your vision and values. This will help you to refine your goals and steer your path in the right direction. After you’ve reflected on your goals, begin to think about your client experience. Make a list of each of the stages and milestones your client experiences with your company, starting with service investigation and ending with your ongoing support for contracted clients. Beneath each stage, list each relating touch point you or your staff has with the client (e.g. inquiry calls, website, invoices), whether or not it’s face to face.
As you’re outlining, you may notice areas where your services are lacking, where you could either add or improve your current touch points. Start to fill in these gaps and repair any missing places on your map as you go. The more complete your map is, the better you’ll be able to implement necessary changes after you’re finished. Once you’ve identified every touch point you have with your clients, you can then begin to take action to improve your implementation of these steps.
Overcoming Road Blocks
Creating your client journey map is only a starting point for improving your client experience. After all, what good is a map unless you use it to direct you? Your finished map should serve as a guide as you monitor and improve your services, and it serves as a perfect complement to client feedback from satisfaction interviews. While your map allows you to see what your services should look like, your client feedback helps you to know whether or not you’re delivering on that plan.
Satisfaction interviews with clients provide accurate and up-to-date data on client ratings of various touch points. As you track satisfaction benchmarks, you can easily quantify your progress in each touch point, and you can monitor the impact of your solutions. Detailed feedback also helps you to identify gaps and obstacles in your client journey that you didn’t initially recognize, which allows you to update and perfect your map. By continually tracking your satisfaction and refining your client journey map, you’ll gradually smooth out your clients’ path and create a fine-tuned system for identifying and meeting your clients’ needs.