Customer Journey Mapping, “Convert or Die!”

Patrick Petersen is working hard on the new edition of the Online Marketing Handbook and the new Conversion Handbook. The Conversion Handbook is a lot thicker than its predecessor, among other things due to its thorough attention to Customer Journey Mapping.

Customer Journey Mapping

Customer Journey Mapping, or CJM, has been given a prominent place in the new handbook. The concept is now also part of the book’s full title: Conversion and Customer Journey Mapping Handbook. Why? “The Customer Journey and Customer Journey Mapping were already part of the previous version of the conversion handbook. Now however, an even greater focus is being placed on the Customer Journey and Customer Journey Mapping in the conversion-oriented approach. They deserve some extra attention and space in this new edition of the Conversion Handbook, because every touch point (customer contact) simply has to convert in terms of a predetermined goal with regard to the right feeling — i.e., the right customer experience during the journey.”

Conversion

The concept ‘online’ has disappeared from the title of the Conversion Handbook, which Petersen considers a very logical move. “The book is more cross-media, and therefore more targeted to existing cross-channel behavior. Offline brings customers online, and sometimes we purchase products online, which we then collect offline. We’re doing more and more online, and making ever more purchases online; online makes it a lot easier to analyze, but in the virtual customer journey, we can’t overlook offline! Failing to consider offline can mean a deathblow to the customer experience! Consider a customer who acquaints himself with a product online and checks the store’s stock level before visiting, only to discover that the product isn’t in stock at all. I recently experienced this myself with an order from a large sports store. Collecting the product in-store saved on postage, but when I arrived it turned out that my order wasn’t actually at the store, despite the confirmation! That was a big disappointment, and the impact of such a negative offline experience isn’t something you can easily put right online,” author Patrick Petersen reports.

The connection between Customer Journey Mapping and CRM

The classic CRM system mainly provides classic insights into the Customer Journey, but doesn’t map out the whole process. It is a time-honored assumption that the classic CRM system possesses all the necessary touch points to map out the Customer Journey, but the classic CRM system is often a database that contains standard — or outdated — information about customers, and none about not-yet-customers or vital touch points that CRM (users) just can’t register. In modern CRM systems, with real-time links to e.g. social media and information providers, this disparity is addressed.

That makes a lot of sense, because the Customer Journey includes the process that takes place before someone becomes a customer, while they’re a customer, and while they’re using the product or service. Today’s customer relationship has a lot of depth. We increasingly want to map out the entire process, including the steps people take before they become customers, and the influencers that pop up in a customer’s journey but can barely be registered in a classic CRM system. Mapping out the entire cross-channel Customer Journey demands a different approach, as well as close cooperation between the various disciplines within an organization. Combining knowledge from the CRM system, database marketing *and* real-time tracking of the consumer with insight into the influence processes is something that deserves more attention.”

The history of the Customer Journey and Customer Journey Mapping

Customer Journey Mapping is often seen as a new concept, but it’s really just the concept that’s new. Customer Journey Mapping is a lot older than we think: “Mapping out the customer journey is old news, but inventing the wheel 2.0 is still a common occurrence. We’ve been mapping out customer behavior and the various customer journeys for thousands of years, ever since the dawn of selling. Sellers analyzed the customer’s literal journey, the path through the local market, to find the ideal position for their stall. Customer Journey and Customer Journey Mapping may be new concepts, but they’re not new practices. What is new is the fact that we now have to measure the customer’s complex journey and influences in a cross-channel way. Organizations are making little use of the touch points available in social media and other online channels. Never mind the service-oriented messengers. There are companies that do file phone calls and emails neatly in CRM, but the majority of customer questions via WhatsApp disappear… into a non-converting black hole inside the customer profile.”

The complex customer journey

The Customer Journey and Customer Journey Mapping have however become a lot more complex since the evolution from local markets to multi-channel and cross-channel. We also can’t forget about the concept of multi-screening in this context. The customer is simply looking at multiple channels and screens simultaneously during his journey. At the moment when a seller approaches me in the store, I might already be viewing an offer from a different (online) store on my phone. So analyzing every facet of the Customer Journey has become a necessity. Mapping out all touch points improves insight.

The digital consumer and his complex customer journey

Organizations still often lack the means to fully map out today’s fast, scanning, and often digital consumer — and his behavior. CRM systems don’t always have links with email, messengers and social media, and organizations aren’t always able to map out relevant influencers.”
How can offline organizations (physical stores) profit from the Conversion and Customer Journey Mapping Handbook?
Good question. The book has several different layers. You can pick up the various relevant tips for increased conversion while scanning the pages. Another option is to compose a plan — on the basis of the book — to optimize conversions from all channels. It all depends on what the reader is looking for in the book. The most important insight I’d like to give readers with this book is the following: conversion optimization isn’t an isolated area. Customer Relationship Management, Business Intelligence, database marketing, online optimization and conversion-oriented (online) marketing have to form a very logical whole in order to map out the Customer Journey and optimize conversion cross-channel around all touch points.