How to map & measure the consumer journey
The consumer journey used to be simple. An ad - TV, billboard, newspaper, radio - would pique your interest. Ooh, I need that product. Some research, then off to the store to buy. Now? It’s a journey made up of multiple journeys. Offline. Online. Social media. Websites. Apps. Mobile. Desktop. How to measure the consumer journey that takes such a snaking route?
I'd Like To Measure The Consumer Journey
Consumer journey map - awareness, research, engage, convert, deliver, advocacy.
Consumer journey maps encourage collaboration across your organization. Aligning your teams with your consumer-centric business approach. Working towards creating a great customer experience, and increasing revenue. How?
Targeted and personalized engagement with consumers.
Consumer journey analytics help your marketing and customer experience teams find the most important journeys, while mobilizing actions for specific customers. Using their preferred channel and personalizing the messaging. Improving the consumer’s overall experience.
Action engagement with consumers at milestones in their journey. A thank you email for payment. An upsell opportunity following a positive review. A “sorry to see you go, is there anything we can do” email if they leave.
Real-time engagement triggered by real-time consumer behavior is more effective than any of your automated responses.
It’s said that you should walk in a consumer’s shoes to understand their needs and frustrations. Let’s go for a walk…
Table of contents
- What's a consumer journey map?
- Benefits of mapping the consumer journey
- 4 stages of a digital consumer journey
- Team benefits of consumer journey analytics
- What's consumer journey measurement?
- Why measure consumer journeys?
- How to measure a consumer journey
- Consumer journey metrics to measure success
- Driving consumers towards their goals
What’s a consumer journey map?
A consumer journey map is a visualization of a consumer’s experience with your brand, and the sentiment they’re expressing.
A consumer journey map is a visualization that shows you how a consumer converts into a customer. Demonstrating their initial interaction with your brand, and the steps they take to purchase.
Your map can represent at a macro level - a long-term relationship with a consumer, or at a micro level - a close-up look at a step in the consumer journey, such as signing up for a free demo, making a purchase, or raising a support ticket.
Mapping the journey includes every interaction a consumer has with your brand.
From awareness, interest, and desire, to action, and if you’re lucky… advocacy.
These steps are taken for offline and online purchases, but in e-commerce, the journey includes digital touchpoints. A consumer searching on Google, visiting your website, following your brand on social media, and more, on apps, smartphones, desktops.
Example of a consumer journey with touchpoints offering a positive CX and negative CX, when interacting with a brand.
A brand engages with consumers on their journey via multiple channels. From a handful to dozens. Each channel has several touchpoints, with the purpose of pushing a consumer along their journey towards their goal. Here are some of the touchpoints on a consumer journey…
Awareness, research, engage touchpoints
- Click an ad
- Find website via organic search
- View multiple web pages
- Click on links from other sites
- Start chat
- Download gated content from landing pages
- Watch ‘How to’ videos
- Read blog posts
- Receive email nurturing campaigns
- Email/phone call with sales team
- Sign up for a free demo
- Create an account
- Set up account and profile
- Receive onboarding
- Watch training videos
- Read documentation
- Raise customer support tickets
- Make payment
Delivery & advocacy touchpoints
- Use product or service
- Use advanced features
- Submit support tickets
- Recommend to peers
- Upgrade to higher payment program
- Post positive reviews
- Become a brand advocate
Your consumer journey map will help you understand consumers’ experience and needs, enabling you to create messaging that’s targeted and personalized.
Benefits of mapping the consumer journey
The consumer journey is way more complicated than it used to be. Mapping it will help you understand and share all the interactions that happen between a consumer and your brand. This can only lead to positive business outcomes...
If your marketing team understands the journey consumers are taking, messaging can be created for each step. Walking consumers through each stage of the customer journey with targeted content and personalization.
Can't be bad. You'll increase click-through and conversion rates, improving the ROI on your marketing investments.
Keep your entire company updated
The marketing team has one voice and message, the sales team another. Don't even talk to me about the account managers...
It's not untypical in a large business that messaging, tone of voice, language can differ between teams.
A consumer journey map, shared with the entire company, keeps everyone talking with one voice. Singing from the same song sheet. In tune.
You'll be able to build a customer-centric culture across your organization.
Move conversions & increased retention
Mapping every single step of the consumer journey means you can create a marketing strategy that addresses and meets every goal.
A comprehensive mapping of the consumer journey will highlight any sticking points, so you can improve. You'll be able to find where consumers abandon their journey. or where customers churn.
Constant monitoring of the journey is crucial for a good customer experience.
4 stages of a digital consumer journey
A well mapped consumer journey ensures that every action leads to a positive outcome. No map, and consumers won't know where to go. They'll get lost. You'll lose them.
Each stage of the consumer journey considers what the consumer is thinking and feeling. Every interaction between the consumer and your brand should meet their needs, and gently nudge them along their journey towards their goal.
Consumers and the world have changed, meaning the steps taken in a digital consumer's journey have evolved. Billboards, TV and radio ads still play a part, but there are few consumers that aren't tech savvy, so digital consumers are following a digital journey...
Drive brand awareness.
First up, a consumer wants something, but may not recognize the need. They haven't started to look, but will pay attention to an ad.
We've already proved that consumers favor brands they love, or they're familiar with. Hence, your brand needs to be out there building awareness.
At this early stage in the digital consumer journey, you need to grab eyeballs. Showering them with social media posts, paid ads, blog posts promoting your product, etc. Anything that keeps you top of mind.
Pique the consumer’s interest.
Our consumer now recognizes the need for a product, and starts to research online.
52% of consumers in the e-commerce market start their research on Amazon. 51% hit search engines, followed by 20% on e-commerce sites.
Now's the time to show how your product can fulfill the consumer's needs. Remember, consumers trust their peers when it comes to choosing a brand, so share customer reviews - user-generated content is a biggie, client testimonials, customer case studies, comparisons, free demos, influencer recommendations.
Your product's great. Prove it.
Give the consumer a call to action.
This stage of the digital journey relies on a cracking customer experience. You're asking the consumer to hand over their hard earned cash, so you must provide a seamless path to purchase. Because... there's still time for them to change their mind and abandon their cart.
You want the consumer to convert, so ensure your brand's checkout page is easy to understand and user-friendly.
Create an emotional connection between your brand and the consumer.
The consumer's parted with their cash, but it doesn't end there. You must deliver on their expectations. Engagement has to continue.
If you give the consumer a superior experience, chances are they'll share their experience with others. Remember in the consideration stage, sharing user-generated content? It came from a satisfied customer. Your happy customer will post reviews, ratings, positive social media posts boasting about their new purchase.
A happy customer is also receptive to complementary products. Up-sells and cross-sells. A happy customer has a long lifetime value.
Talkwalker’s consumer intelligence platform will identify the emotions expressed after the purchase stage in the consumer journey.
Team benefits of consumer journey analytics
Does every team in your company know how consumers are behaving? Every team?
Having a consumer journey analytics strategy will ensure that every team in your organization has access to real-time insights into consumer behavior. A full-exposure approach means that your teams are working in alignment. Collaborating on how to streamline the consumer journey and provide the best customer experience.
Here’s some of the teams that’ll reap the rewards of consumer journey analytics…
Imagine if you knew how to engage with a consumer at every point in their journey. A consumer journey analytics strategy will show you how potential customers travel towards their goals.
This means you can personalize consumer interactions at every stage of their journey, and show that you know them, their needs, and pain points. Leading to up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, reduced churn, and increased loyalty.
Targeted marketing campaigns are proven to be more effective. Using consumer journey analytics enables your team to segment your audience. Yes, by demographics, location, and industry type. But also by behavior.
Fine-tuning your segmentation to ensure your campaigns strike their target, takes into consideration the customer experience and your business goals.
Personalizing your interactions with your consumers will inevitably lead to increased customer satisfaction. Consumer journey analytics will help you understand consumers’ goals, and which channels they’re using. Why they’re using those channels, and the reason behind a shift to an alternative channel.
Maybe one of your channels provides a better user experience. A faster route to purchase. A more user-friendly language.
Having these consumer insights means you can improve your digital channels. Your marketing, customer experience, and customer service teams can streamline the journey. Increasing customer satisfaction, and potentially reducing costs.
Proving the impact consumer behavior has on business results has always proved difficult. With the pandemic causing consumer and customer behavior to change so dramatically, the problem of measuring the impact is exacerbated.
But, your customer experience - CX - team still needs to prove ROI, otherwise justifying next year’s budget will be a struggle.
Consumer journey analytics will help your CX team measure and understand the customer journey. The team will be able to monitor and analyze throughout the journey. Start to finish…
- The route a consumer takes towards their goal
- If a consumer is going to achieve their goal
- Whether the CX is a help or a hindrance in a consumer reaching their goal
Your CX team will be able to identify which journeys are failing, or which segments of a journey are proving to be stumbling blocks for consumers. As well as the journeys that are driving revenue.
Boom! With these insights your CX team can improve and have a rock-solid case for next year’s budget.
If your customer support team knows the goals and journey a consumer has taken to reach them, the support provided will be targeted and more effective. Improvements can be made to customer service that’ll lead to a reduction in call volume.
The result? Fewer calls. Less time and effort. Increased customer satisfaction. Reduced costs.
To prove how successful your customer support team is, your consumer journey analytics strategy can collect insights from conversations, using text analytics and speech analytics tools, customer feedback, and sentiment analysis.
What’s consumer journey measurement?
Measuring your customer journey is a process that allows you to evaluate and improve the customer experience, by monitoring the success of each journey.
Effective customer journey measurement is only achieved once you’ve determined the customer and business goal for each journey. Along with the customer’s milestones throughout their journey, if a customer will achieve their goal, whether the CX works towards them reaching their goal.
All these elements will help you measure current and future performance. You’ll also realize how customer behavior affects customer experience and business outcomes.
Why measure consumer journeys?
Aaargh! My air fryer stopped working. I tweeted the brand for help, but didn’t receive a response, So I rang customer service. Spoke to a very nice person, who didn’t have a clue how to solve the problem.
They transferred me to another agent who tried to help, but failed. Transferred me to the technical team.
Phew! Problem solved, but I’m not 100% happy with being bounced around. Probably won’t buy from them again.
How is your company measuring a customer experience like this? Your social media manager - aside from needing a wake up call - may report the social media engagement. Customer support has a record of the issue being raised and transferred. IT can happily report a successful resolution.
While your company as a whole is tracking, it’s recording three separate journeys. Whereas for the consumer, it’s a single journey. A single, complicated journey.
Do you think the customer was satisfied with this journey? Was it a pleasant experience?
Measuring the consumer journey from a single source, enables your brand to improve the CX. Create a streamlined journey for the consumer to reach their goal.
I just wanted to cook some fries!
Consumer journey measurement will help you improve the customer experience…
A consumer journey map is only beneficial to your business if it provides actionable insights. Using customer journey analytics, you can ensure your map works in real time, is measurable, and reflects how consumer behavior influences your brand KPIs…
Measure ALL consumer journeys
Your team has drawn up several example journey maps, covering the most common routes taken by consumers to reach their goal.
But - and it’s big - if there are 5000 consumers traveling towards their goals, that’s 5000 potential journeys.
While the end goal on a consumer journey map is, let’s say, purchase, consumers don’t always follow the route you’ve predicted.
Not all consumers are the same.
Your journey map will pigeon-hole consumers. Assume that they’re all the same.
For instance, a segment of consumers - 25 to 35 age group, female, in the US - start their journey at point A, all with goal Z. Your journey map will assume they’re all going to take the same route. That they can be interacted with in the same way.
Assuming this is true means you’ll miss opportunities to engage with individual consumers. Consumer journey analytics enables real-time engagement, so you can nurture consumers with personalized content.
Living in a digital world, consumers are now able to follow a journey that moves on and offline. A consideration your journey map could miss.
For instance, I’ve started a journey because I have a problem with a recently purchased product. Not a biggie, but I have questions. My goal is to resolve the problem. Done.
Your journey map simulation completed.
But, just suppose, while I’m chatting with customer support, the agent suggests another product. It’s a bit more pricey, but does the job. I agree.
Your journey map did not predict my behavior. Consumer journey analytics predict more routes that I could have taken, across multiple channels. Your metrics - customer satisfaction, up-sell, cross-sell, etc., - help you identify the most relevant journey.
Machine learning-enabled consumer journey analytics track patterns to find sticking points in journeys, and can predict consumer behavior in real time. Meaning you have the insights needed to engage in the most effective way.
Find REAL consumer journeys
How did you create your customer journey map?
Let me guess.
You gathered a bunch of people in a room - marketing, sales, CX, R&D, product, finance, customer support - and brainstormed various scenarios. Then put pen to paper. Done.
This is not a consumer journey map. This is guesswork. Assumption.
Hmmm, let me think… maybe you should collect REAL consumer data from different sources. Find the REAL journeys that consumers take.
Consumer journey analytics will collect data from your website, call center logs, point of sale system, apps, customer support tickets, emails, and more. Once all this consumer data is collected, it segments the consumers into buyer personas performing the same interactions with your brand. Revealing the - potentially - millions of different journeys they take.
Collect and analyze data from your call center logs to have a clearer picture of your customers across different channels.
Including data from consumer journey analytics ensures your journey maps are actionable.
Create PERSONALIZED consumer journeys
Consumers are demanding a personalized experience. Customer expectations demand that you know their preferences and remember how they interacted with your company. Consumers are in the driving seat, and they know that if they drop your brand like a hot potato, there are many other brands they can turn to.
It’s crucial that you provide a top-notch customer experience, throughout the consumer journey. Start to finish, and all the wiggly twists and turns in the middle.
Analyzing consumer journeys in real time, and collecting consumer insights from recent interactions across multiple channels helps you provide a personalized experience for each consumer.
Not only will you be able to catch consumers that are about to abandon their journey, you can receive real-time consumer feedback on updates to the customer experience.
How to measure a consumer journey
Okay… I know I said that there are hundreds of possible consumer journeys, but when starting up, don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Choose several key journeys, and once you’re confident, add more.
This consumer measurement strategy will work across industries, you just need to tailor it to fit your business processes.
Four steps is all it takes…
1. Decide which journeys to measure
A consumer journeying towards becoming part of your customer base can go in many different directions on the way to their goal.
Their journey starts when they realize a need for something. From visiting a landing page and downloading a case study, to signing up for a free demo. From requesting a quote, to choosing a payment plan. To using your product.
Here’s a list of typical consumer journeys, as they move towards their goal…
- Becoming a customer… need => research => shop => purchase
- Onboarding to use a product
- Payment process
- Using a product
- Customer support
- Product, service, payment plan update
- Customer waves goodbye
Which journeys work for your business, with regard to how they impact your business goals?
- Is onboarding new customers a priority?
- Is your customer support effective in resolving issues quickly?
- Does your payment process cause cart abandonment?
- Do you need to improve these customer journeys?
When it comes to measuring a journey, include every channel - website, app, social media, etc. - in a single journey. How is each channel performing? Any issues that you should fix?
2. What consumer data do you need?
I know, you’ve a ton of consumer data. The data you need for journey measurement depends on the journey you choose, and how many channels your business operates on in that journey - website, social media, mobile apps, chat bots, etc.
How many ways can a consumer achieve their goal in the journey you want to measure? Which channels could they use? Consumer journey data captures when a customer interacts. It drives analysis and actions to further optimize a journey.
Suppose you choose to look at the customer support journey. Straight off, there are multiple entry points - chat bot, raising a ticket on your website, calling customer support on the phone, asking for help on social media…
The consumer journey can visit several teams in your organization, so you’ll need to align with these teams to break down data silos, so you can collect their data.
3. Determine the steps in a consumer journey
The steps - milestones - in a journey are taken as a consumer travels towards reaching their goal. Each step can be taken, regardless of channel. Defining these steps means that you can track a consumer's progress, measure the performance of the journey, and predict the outcome of the journey.
If a consumer changes channel - social media to customer support call - chances are they’ve hit a sticking point in their journey that you need to address. If the consumer bounces out of the journey, it’s vital that you analyze their experience.
Research showed that when surveyed, 80% of respondents said they would end the relationship with a brand if they had a poor customer experience.
The success metrics that you choose can include customer satisfaction - CSAT, Net Promoter Score® - NPS®, customer effort score - CES, task completion, customer lifetime value - CLV…
Simulated consumer intelligence dashboard - Net Promoter Score® showing spikes shadowing online mentions around the beverage brand.
Check out 19 customer experience metrics vital to measuring your consumer journey effectively.
4. Scoring your consumer journeys
Not all journeys are equal, which means you’ll have multiple journey performance scores to demonstrate how consumer journeys are performing - good or bad.
You’ll need to use a mix of CX metrics, depending on the journey, to understand the consumer experience during their journey.
- A streamlined experience towards a goal will score high
- A goal reached, but following a painful journey, will score low, regardless of the fact that the goal was met
For instance, I raise a ticket because my streaming platform isn’t performing. My goal - obvs - is to get it fixed. The customer support team eventually fixes the issue and the ticket is closed.
That’s the A AND Z of the journey. Seems cool?
If you’re not monitoring journeys efficiently, you’ll miss the fact that I had to chase a response to the ticket. There were several backward and forward emails as the issue went unresolved. My comments express dissatisfaction, and I requested a refund for all the downtime. Issue fixed and ticket closed.
Now you see the A TO Z of the journey. Apparently, not so cool.
Your journey scores will highlight when a journey is failing and find the reasons behind. Journey scores are also crucial to reporting your results across your entire organization, working towards improving the customer experience.
Consumer journey metrics to measure success
While a consumer journey map will show you all the touchpoints a consumer has with your brand, on and offline, you need metrics if you're looking to improve your performance. The metrics you use will depend on your business' journey map. Here are some consumer journey metric examples...
This first stage is where a consumer becomes aware that they need a product and they start researching. Your metrics for this initial stage could include
- Number of visits to your website
- SEO ranking
- Social media engagement - likes, retweets, shares, comments, impressions, reach
- Video views
- Subscriptions to newsletter, free demo, etc.
- Conversion rate
You're going to need to refer to your marketing team’s content strategy for the consideration stage. Blog posts, email marketing, videos, social media campaigns. Depending on your product or service, this stage could involve multiple engagements with the consumer.
Therefore, your metrics will be marketing KPIs...
- Click through rate - CTR
- Open rate - OR
- Cost-per-click - CPC
The conversion stage is where a consumer becomes a customer, so we're looking at conversion metrics. But, you'll also need to count cost per lead and cost per conversion, so you understand how much you've spent converting a consumer.
- Conversion rate
- Cost per lead - CPL
- Cost per conversion
The retention stage is all about keeping your customers happy and minimizing churn. Metrics include...
- Customer loyalty
- Net Promoter Score® - NPS
- Customer satisfaction - CSAT
- User feedback
- Customer support tickets
- Customer lifetime value - CLV
If your customers are satisfied, the advocacy stage will see customers become brand advocates. Metrics include...
- Customer reviews
- Guest posts
Usually on a scale from one to five, customers are asked how satisfied they are. Very satisfied or not satisfied.
Here's Amazon’s rating system...
Amazon's customer satisfaction survey.
Driving consumers towards their goals
Never stop monitoring, measuring, and improving the consumer journey. Never.
- You'll be able to find the customer touchpoints and sticking points that are driving or killing your conversion rate
- Make informed business decisions by analyzing real-world consumer behavior, to improve performance and ROI
- Engage, personalize, encourage, and ensure each consumer becomes a customer
Ready to put those shoes on and test the consumer journey?