You’ve gone digital and invested in eCommerce. Already, you are poised to offer great value to your customers while increasing your market share. But is your digital presence fully responding to your customers’ needs?
Enter : Customer Journey Mapping – a practice that allows teams to draw out and better understand how customers interact with their company. In B2B, this form of analysis uncovers complex dynamics.
As a savvy B2B company, your strategy should always consider how you can make your customers’ lives easier. The following questions will help you consider where your strategy is thriving and where you might have room to grow.
1. Is your approach too simple/linear?
In their personal lives, consumers plug in and interact with brands at all times of the day. Someone might be shopping online while waiting for a coffee. In retail, the customer journey is no longer linear as it includes touchpoints through mobile at any time of the day or night.
Same goes for B2B; the customer journey is not fully linear. The start of your customer’s journey does not begin with a call to your support desk. Rather, it begins when a part malfunctions, for example. Likewise, it does not end once the necessary product has been shipped and received. Instead, it finishes once the part is installed and functioning. When drawing a customer journey map for B2B, think outside of the constraints of usual touchpoints by fully considering what your customer is trying to accomplish.
2. Are you factoring in customer-side workflows and the long list of stakeholders?
Customer-side workflows include a whole slew of people with varying roles. The business analyst researching software options may have been requested to do so by their manager’s boss. A product researcher might need three people to approve of their product choice before the purchase can be made. To fully understand these dynamics, it can be really helpful at this juncture to create a stakeholder map to draw out the different players. With more clarity on who is involved, you can smartly respond to the different goals and needs at play.
3. Are you providing value at the right time and the right place?
A repair person on top of a roof might need to read a barcode with their mobile device in order to identify a product and order its replacement. But does your company provide that barcode-reading capability? Customer Journey Mapping provides the opportunity to collectively gather information on who is interacting with your online presence (through desktop, mobile or app) to then figure out how to best serve their needs. There is room for creative responses to help establish your company as an innovative pace setter.
4. Are you promoting transparency and communication throughout the journey?
Best practice includes creating a personalized customer portal where your customers can access all of their information such as pricing quotes, invoices, shipping notifications, credit, contracts, warranties and more. This portal should definitely provide your customers with a simple way to re-order products. People crave transparency and a customer portal allows you to centralize critical information.
5. Are you testing your assumptions?
Without a feedback loop, your assumptions could completely miss the mark. In Forrester’s recent article, The Top Five Challenges For Mapping B2B Customer Journeys, the authors reference one firm that received awards for its CX (Customer Experience) work. After speaking directly with customers, the firm discovered that half of the assumption-based journey maps they had created for one engagement were wrong (p. 4). The authors suggest finding creative ways to speak with customers (what they call “guerilla customer research tactics”) to test assumptions and make appropriate changes.
With the understandings gleaned from the Customer Journey Mapping process, it is up to you and your team to then make informed changes that will enhance the customer’s experience.
Looking for help optimizing your customers’ experiences? We’d love to help your company become the next case study for fantastic B2B execution. For more insights, visit our B2B Insights Page or contact us directly to talk about how you can make use of Customer Journey Mapping.