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customer journey mapping

How Customer Journey Mapping Can Boost Loyalty

Rhys Williams
By Rhys Williams — May 29, 2024 -

Read time: 4 minutes

Mapping the customer journey helps you pinpoint specific moments where customers get frustrated or become dissatisfied when interacting with your brand. 

Complicated site navigation, lack of support at key moments, or lack of meaningful incentives can all hamper your ability to build customer loyalty

By identifying and addressing these pain points, you can create a smoother, more satisfying experience and create the space needed to nurture your customers.

 

What is customer journey mapping?

Customer journey mapping is a visual representation of the process a customer 

goes through when interacting with your brand. This includes all touchpoints and channels, from initial awareness, through after-sales care, to re-engaging and repurchasing.

One of the most important things to understand about this process is that it is a map of your customers' emotional responses as they move through various interactions with your brand. 

If you create a positive response, you are building a stronger relationship. If customers’ experience is negative it makes them more likely to churn or drift away from your brand. Each coordinate on the map represents a crossroads. The outcome determines how well you’re moving customers through the journey, and how well you’re building loyalty. 

Mapping out the customer journey is a way to create a template for your loyalty-building efforts. 

You can use journey mapping to build customer loyalty in several ways:

  • Identify pain points.
  • Improve customer support.
  • Eliminate redundant steps in your journey.
  • Understand your customers’ experience and feelings.
  • Build personalised experiences

 

The stages of the customer journey

We’ve touched on these stages in a previous post on how to build loyalty. Here they are in brief: 

  • Awareness: Potential customers discover your brand and products
  • Research: They gather detailed product information
  • First-time customer: A big step, and a time for customers to evaluate your product and experience.
  • Repeat customer: use the opportunity of repeat sales to build trust and loyalty.
  • Client: By this stage, your customers are consistent repeat purchasers.
  • Advocate: Finally, you can convert quietly loyal fans into enthusiastic brand promoters.

Understanding these stages is a good starting point, but this outline could apply to pretty much any business. If you want to use your knowledge of the customer journey to improve loyalty-building efforts, you need to get into specifics, with a solid process and the right data-gathering tools: 

 

Step 1: List all the points along your customer journey

This means creating a physical map of all the touchpoints where you meet the customer. 

Having everything from initial awareness to brand loyalty mapped out visually in front of you provides a great vantage point for observing customer interactions. 

So brainstorm with your team and get all the points where you interact with your customers down on paper. 

 

Step 2: Put yourself in your customers’ shoes

Itemising touchpoints is only half of the equation. The other half is understanding how your customers feel at each of these touchpoints. 

You want to understand how interactions at specific points along the journey influence customers and change how they feel. And you also want to have a handle on their motivations and inclinations before they start interacting with your brand.

To do this, you need to get inside the heads of your customers, so again, get your thinking caps on and rally your team to flesh out the thoughts and feelings of your ideal customers.

Now you’re in a better place to tell how each point on the journey will affect them.

If you have several buyer personas you can repeat this process for each one.  

 

Step 3: Identify obstacles and opportunities

At each point on your map, how your customers feel will change. If they’re coming from a search to a product page, their mental state will change with the new reality. 

How does it change? In a positive or negative way? Either your customers will get more of what they want, positively progressing them along the customer journey, or they’ll be frustrated, negatively throwing them back and harming your relationship with them. 

 

Step 4: Look for ways to incubate loyalty

If you make a good impression with personalised, easy-to-use content, messaging and navigation, then customers will start to like you more, becoming more loyal as they spend more time hanging out with you. 

Based on what you’ve found out about your customers by building your map, you could:

  • Prompt customers to refer a friend right after they’ve left a five-star review when they’re feeling very positive toward your brand.
  • Offer incentives such as discounts or exclusive content when customers engage with your brand at critical points, like signing up for a newsletter or following you on social media.
  • Strengthen loyalty programs so they reward customers for reaching different stages of their journey, encouraging them to move forward and deepen their relationship with your brand.

 

Step 5: Drop in moments of delight

To really strengthen those bonds of loyalty, identify stages in the journey that have the potential to turn into moments of delight. For example, celebrate important milestones, such as anniversaries of first purchases, with bespoke thank-you gifts and messages.

 

How advocacy tools can help 

Advocacy marketing can help you build loyalty into the customer journey in some key ways: 

At the start of the journey, when you’re raising awareness with customers, having that awareness come from recommendations from friends is a powerful way to lock loyalty into your relationship right from the start. Recommendations attract higher-quality customers. Referred customers are 11% more likely to purchase on their first order and are 5X more likely to recommend you themselves.  If initial awareness comes from a trusted source, the journey to building genuine loyalty will be a lot less arduous. 

If you can develop a customer advocacy marketing strategy, you’ll have a wealth of positive reviews, social mentions and recommendations to rely on when attracting high-quality new customers.  

When you’re doing the work to build stronger ties of loyalty, advocacy tools that allow you to understand how your actions are affecting your customer base, like Propensity to Refer and Predicted ECR,  can help you see which customers are the most likely to become long-term clients or customer advocates, you which customers are going to become loyal clients and where to focus your efforts.

Mention Me’s Customer Advocacy Intelligence Platform was built for exactly this purpose: to identify your brands’ biggest fans, nurture them to become excited advocates, and allow you to build strong, sustainable organic growth. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about how an advocacy marketing strategy can help you, talk to our team today



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