Customer Journeys Are More Jungle Gym Than Funnel

by Jeannie Walters

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customer journey jungle gym

Humans like things that make sense.

Math. Logic. GPS Directions. Customer journeys are often represented in the same way.

The sales funnel is so simple, in theory. We put the many prospects in the top, they travel willingly and orderly through the funnel, and POP! They exit into a converting customer. Bravo!

But customer experience travels on, past the prospecting and sales phase and well into the relationship with the customer. And while there are many ways to map out the journey – awareness through advocacy – many still rely on thinking the experience itself is linear. It is not.

customer journey map

When considering your customer’s journey, consider all the many ways they can leave you.

They leave without warning, without giving second chances, and often without you even noticing! They often leave without telling you, but are more than willing to share their reasons for leaving with whomever will listen. Consider how much effort is focused on acquiring new customers. Marketing, advertising, social media, and even the way we incentivize our employees are all focused on getting those new customers to walk in the door. And yet when they take that step and the door closes behind them, they are often left with nothing more than an invoice and a bad feeling.

The journey your customers take with your organization is full of potential ups and downs. And yet a satisfied customer is only loyal until they aren’t. If you aren’t paying attention to these ups and downs, you’ll likely only find out when your competitor woos them away from you. 60% to 80% of customers who defect to a competitor said they were satisfied or very satisfied on the survey just prior to their defection, according to an Eisenberg and Eisenberg study.

So How Can You Help Your Customers Through The Journey?

Provide Relevant Information

For most organizations, this is a shift from being reactive to proactive. How often do you reach out with relevant, personalized communications? Very recent research on loyalty programs showed how customers are looking for more communication that’s relevant. But more than 40% believe the communications they’re receiving is NOT relevant today. That’s a huge opportunity. Look at all the ways we bombard our customers with communication that makes them say “Meh.” Experiment with proactive communications and track what’s working and what’s not. Invite your customers into the process! Ask for feedback often and leave some of this open-ended.

Actually Track What’s Happening

The linear customer journey map looks great – and like what should be happening. It’s a good feeling to know everyone is getting the emails they receive. But are they, really? Test the process with yourself and trusted peers. Processes break all the time – both due to technology and people. If you aren’t testing the process, your customer journey map is nothing more than a wish list.

Reward Investments In Customer Loyalty

People will do what works for them. If your employees are only rewarded based on customer acquisition and sales, they will invest their efforts there. Rewarding employees on customer loyalty and proactive participation in that will help them see the need to focus on current customers. Doing so will help everyone participate in the process and the rewards will be immediate.

What do you think? Is it best to keep the customer journey focused as a linear process? Or do we need to rethink how we consider customer journey mapping?

This article was written for and a version was first posted on Sensei Blogs.

Photo credits: GetAmbITion and HobbiesOnABudget

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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