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Customer journey management (CJM) is a method of optimizing your online and in-store customer experience. 

Sometimes referred to as 'experience optimization' or 'journey mapping,' customer journey management is far more panoptic and extensive than the common practice of customer relationship management (CRM). 

CJM combines technology and behavioral science to show you how to develop plans for every step of customer interaction. It uses science to encourage behaviors from customers, like taking action on content, filling out forms or purchasing suggested items. 

Key takeaways:

  • Businesses can benefit from developing a detailed customer journey map to better understand their company’s interactions with their customers.
  • Discover some of the top benefits and facts of customer journey management.
  • Find the necessary tools to evaluate your customer interactions to develop strategies for improvement through an omnichannel strategy.

Top benefits of customer journey management 

Modern customers are looking for more than a product. People are far savvier with their shopping habits – and if you want to keep their attention, you need to give them the experience they seek.

Studies have shown that 66% of corporations believe they are coordinating a successful customer-centric experience, but the hard truth is that 44% of industry leaders say it is not enough. Customer journey management incorporates behavior analysis to discover areas in which your business can improve. 

Today’s shoppers are looking for more than simply the lowest product price. Marketing research demonstrates that 64% of shoppers will switch brands for any number of reasons per customer data. Number one being customers want an effortless shopping experience, and if they think they can get it elsewhere, they will. 

When you engineer your customer interactions from beginning to end and optimize your customer experience, you will see benefits that include:

  • More Referrals: Customer behavior suggests they help spread the brand message, and referrals can increase by up to 10%.
  • Increased Upselling: Upselling and cross-selling are increased by 5%.
  • Marketing ROI: Initiating customer journey management delivers up to a 10% increase in marketing ROI.
  • Engagement: Brands that manage customer journeys get more than happier customers. These brands also experience a 25% boost in employee engagement.
  • Growth: When companies provide a positive emotional experience, customer retention increases by 2%.

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Best practices in customer journey management

Companies of all sizes are looking to increase the quality perceived by their customers. Nearly two-thirds of companies today are using customer journey management to try to edge out the competition. An increase in revenue is experienced by 84% of companies that focus on their customer journey. 

The customer journey is the defining piece of the puzzle to outperform your competition. If you are unsure how to implement customer journey management and want to start or learn more, here are the best practices used in customer journey management:

1. Re-imagine your customers’ experience as a journey

Companies often make the initial mistake of focusing their efforts on marketing. Unfortunately, this viewpoint doesn't include the whole picture. A good customer journey map will cover every area within the business and all who have interactions with the brand. This journey includes employees, vendors, suppliers, management and the customer. 

To create a successful customer experience journey, you should think holistically. Ensure that every person and business interacting with your company is considered in telling the entire story. These ideas and functions should be included:

  • Peripheral Contact: What is the point of the first contact? Peripheral contact areas could include both direct and indirect contact. For example, a customer may see an ad or be referred by another customer.
  • External Contact: These contact points include your brand's external assets like social media, website or store location.
  • Internal Contact: This includes any interactions with an employee or process within your brand. Internal interactions could be with your vendors, suppliers, customer service centers, or anyone representing your business. Treat vendors and suppliers as you would customers to maintain a uniformly positive customer journey.

2. Understand your customer better 

You have only one chance to make a first impression. Trying to discover and map your customers' path to interact with your business is only part of knowing who your customers are. Take time to pinpoint your core customers and learn about their own goals when seeking your services or products by developing customer personas. 

Personas help you find behavior patterns and visualize the entire approach to creating your customer journey map. If your customer base is other businesses, and B2B marketing is a top priority, understanding each type of customer still matters – and you can develop customer personas based on the types of businesses you serve. 

Studies demonstrate that among companies that focus on clear, documented and fully-researched customer personas, 71% exceed revenue. 

3. Be clear in your goals

In setting your goals for mapping and developing a customer journey strategy, first consider the motivation for what set you on the path of creating your customer journey map. If it’s just being done because it’s a new suggested marketing strategy, you’re missing the point.

It is essential to set goals and objectives when creating your map to help discover areas that need improvement. Some plans you might consider when in the development stages are:

  • Solving known problem areas or pain points
  • Improving customer engagement.
  • Finding ways to increase revenue.
  • Developing a better brand image.

This video explores creating a customer journey map in detail.

Top tools used in customer journey management

To build the best customer journey experience, you need the right tools. Journey mapping tools collect and create data about how customers interact with your brand, and help you better understand the customer persona. 

Some easy-to-use customer journey mapping tools include: 

  • Optimizely: A digital experience platform that helps companies make data-driven decisions for developing their customer experience and site content.
  • UXPressia: This application builds visual customer journey maps and includes helpful product templates.
  • Smaply: Smaply is a cloud-based tool that builds both basic and complex customer experience maps. It includes a free version.
  • Miro: This is a versatile, digital whiteboard application for creating customer journey maps, retrospectives, mood boards and much more.
  • Gliffy: Gliffy creates workflows, diagrams and customer journey maps.

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See the gains with customer journey management

Depending on the product or service, customers are willing to spend up to 18% more on businesses that provide them with the experience they expect. For almost 80% of American consumers, the most important elements of positive customer experiences are convenience, speed, knowledgeable help and friendly service.

Getting on board with building a quality customer journey experience begins with the right tools, analytics, and a thorough understanding of how your company interacts with the public. When you add a solid customer journey management program for your brand and employees to follow, you’ll see gains in multiple areas like sales, customer referrals and upselling.  

Your business is more than just a product or service. Customers see it as an entity that creates an experience – and how you manage that experience is demonstrated in customer spending and customer satisfaction.