Create a Customer Journey

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Explain the benefits of mapping a customer journey.
  • Create a customer journey.
  • Identify opportunities to improve the customer experience.

Create a Customer Journey

Planning your data architecture can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be—especially with guidance from the experts at Salesforce. In the first unit, you learned that focusing on your customers is a great starting point. You also learned that this involves mapping out a customer journey, which represents a typical customer experience with your company.

Let’s catch up with Pia Larson, the enterprise architect at Northern Trail Outfitters (NTO). Pia’s working on a project to get NTO in a better position to retain customers and attract new ones.

Get Familiar with the Benefits of Customer Journeys

Pia wants to create a customer journey as a first step in her data architecture planning, so she can have a holistic picture of her technology roadmap. Having that picture can also help Pia engage her stakeholders to get their buy-in. She learned that with customer journeys, you can:

  • Start conversations with stakeholders, who certainly have opinions about your specific journey. That’s great, because you can fine-tune your journey to better capture and plan for the experiences you want customers to have with your company.
  • Place your customers at the center of your company’s vision for the experiences you intend to deliver.
  • Better understand your customer engagement touchpoints, as well as employees’ or partners’ roles and their needs.
  • Refocus teams on what matters most: your customers. Often, companies get hyper-focused on other initiatives, such as mobile app development or search capabilities. It’s best to develop and evaluate your customer journeys first. That way, you identify and address gaps in offerings and services, which can have a positive effect on other later initiatives at your company.
  • Bring to light any changes in customer purchasing patterns.

Map a Customer Journey

Pia’s eager to start working on this project. For now, she knows better than to boil the ocean. Like with other projects she manages and implements, Pia likes the idea of starting small, and then making incremental improvements when her busy schedule allows.

She plans to follow these Salesforce recommendations for developing a journey.

  1. Keep your customer journey realistic. Specifically, keep it:
    • Simple. Focus on one type of customer, such as a consumer, a partner, or a business buyer.
    • Comprehensive. Include multiple functional views, such as Marketing, Customer Service, and Sales.
    • Real. Focus on defined engagement channels, such as social media, email, and your ecommerce portal.
  2. Identify your stakeholders and subject matter experts. Include executives and people who have vested interests in the engagement touchpoints so that you learn about their experience and get their input. Conduct workshops, interviews, and user studies.
  3. Take inventory of your customer engagement touchpoints. Specifically,
    • Identify how a customer engages with your company. For example, customers can engage with service agents or sales associates using a live chat feature on your company’s website.
    • Identify whether any key transactions take place, such as when a customer signs up for promotional email.
  4. Highlight any pain points and roadblocks that leave your customer uncommitted to your company. Examples include a restocking fee for returned items or expensive shipping rates.

Review the NTO Customer Journey

To map her journey, Pia focuses on Carla, a returning NTO customer who’s shopping for a backpack that she needs for a camping trip next month. This map shows the simplified journey that Carla experiences.

Simplified journey that represents what Carla experiences

  1. Carla reads an online review about a backpack, and then clicks a link that sends her to the NTO website.
  2. She leaves the site without buying anything. You’ve likely done this yourself, maybe to compare prices elsewhere or to address an urgent matter at work.
  3. A day later, Carla sees an online ad with a coupon for that same backpack. Score!

    The coupon entices Carla to buy the backpack from NTO. Keep in mind that she does so without logging in to her account. Even as a guest, though, she enters her email address so that she can get her receipt and order status, which arrives quickly. Typical flow of events so far, eh?

  4. The backpack arrives, but not in the color she ordered. Time to call NTO’s customer support.
  5. After a lengthy wait time in the Customer Service queue, the agent, Olaf, looks up Carla’s order and notices that she’s a rewards member.

    Based on artificial intelligence (AI) tools available to NTO’s agents, Olaf sees that NTO offers a backpacking class near Carla. She reserves a spot!

  6. At the end of the service call, Carla receives details for returning the wrong backpack and getting the correct one.

    And that class that she reserved a spot for? When Carla arrives at her local store for it, the greeter says, “Glad you’re attending, Carla!” Nice touch.

Learn from Mapping Your Customers’ Experiences

Mapping the journey reveals opportunities for improvement, which Pia can then use to refine NTO’s data architecture. The mapped journey helps Pia and her stakeholders recognize:

Customer journey that includes what Pia and stakeholders identified as areas for improvement

  1. Difficulties identifying customers. Even though Carla created an account on the NTO website long ago, she didn’t use it to check out her order.
  2. Inefficient processes and handoffs from one system or department to another. The company’s Customer Service center consistently ranks low in terms of queue wait times. That’s partly because many of the service agents’ tasks are ones that are good candidates for automation.
  3. Problems resulting from poor data quality. Without clean data, NTO can’t provide customers meaningful and personalized recommendations for other products and services.

Pia and her stakeholders see opportunities to improve Carla’s journey. Specifically, they’d like to:

  • Help service agents easily identify customers who check out as guests, and connect those customers to the accounts and rewards programs that were established earlier.
  • Improve the sales process using AI to cross-sell and establish NTO as a valuable leader in sporting gear and education.
  • Delight and engage customers by enabling NTO to better target products, services, and educational classes and workshops.

Together, Pia and her stakeholders take the important step of identifying disconnects and other shortcomings in the company’s products and services. That’s critical for determining the changes necessary for NTO’s data architecture.

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