Posted on May 12, 2017 in - App Development, - Mobile Apps, Best Practices

The Importance of the Customer Journey for App Strategy

The Importance of the Mobile Customer Journey for App Strategy

As technology advances and the app ecosystem continues to grow, the power in the marketplace has shifted towards the consumer. Retaining and acquiring new customers poses a significant challenge for businesses. In order to stay competitive, businesses must offer a flawless customer experience by understanding the unique mobile customer journey.

Companies that create exceptional customer experiences can set themselves apart from their competitors  – McKinsey

The high cost of acquiring new customers has made engaging and retaining customers a crucial aspect of mobile strategy. With customer experience now the key differentiator, it is essential for businesses to include customer journey mapping in their app strategy. According to Forrester, 63% of marketers use customer journey mapping to guide their customer experience strategy.  

It is important to implement mobile customer journey mapping in order to better understand your customer’s experiences, feelings, and motivations for interacting with your brand. Mapping the customer journey helps businesses capture their customer’s behaviours and preferences. It illustrates the customer experience and highlights any areas for improvement. Therefore, monitoring and understanding the customer journey is essential for app strategy and ensuring app success.

Related How to Improve User Experience and App Retention 

The New Customer Journey

Mobile adoption has transformed the way customers are moving through their journey. Consequently, the traditional sales funnel is no longer useful for understanding and predicting customer behaviour. Where traditional marketing funnels are linear, mobile customer journeys are anything but.

Funnels left very little room for interpretation and understanding of true customer behaviour. As a result, the linear path of the traditional funnel does not convey the realities of what the customer journey looks like today. The customer journey map, on the other hand, allows for the representation of individual experience and how customers are really engaging with your mobile app.

Mapping out the customer journey allows you to understand how your customers interact with your brand, with a focus on the progression of touchpoints. It illustrates the steps customers go through when engaging with your company, identifying the full end-to-end experience from the customer’s perspective.This offers unique insight into your who your customers are and how they experience your brand.

Essentially, customer journey maps build off of user personas. User personas represent the needs, goals, feelings, expectations and pain points of a particular user. For each user persona, map the end goal for that user and the actions that are required to achieve it.

So why is it important?

Here are three key reasons why understanding and leveraging the mobile customer journey is important for your app strategy:

#1 It can help you build a better product

Customer journeys exist to explore behaviour within your mobile experience. The more you understand how your customers engage with your app, the more awareness you gain of their experience, pain points, and where satisfaction is lacking. This offers invaluable insights and learnings around how you can improve your app to drive acquisition and retention.

#2 It puts the customer at the centre of strategy

Understanding your mobile customer allows you take a customer-first approach to your app strategy. The better you know how customers use your app, the more you can personalise their experience and build an app ‘just for them’.

Related A People-First Approach: The Future of Enterprise App Development

#3 It ensures your marketing efforts are in the right place

Your mobile customer journey allows you to drive your marketing efforts based on the customer. The insights this offers is invaluable to core strategy and can help shape your app’s product roadmap. It is imperative to learn from your true customer journey in order to provide the best mobile experience possible.

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The Ultimate Goal

Ultimately, the goal of customer journey mapping is to enhance the customer experience and satisfaction. With every 10% increase in customer satisfaction, businesses can increase revenue by 2 to 3 percent (McKinsey). It is important to implement a customer-centric strategy to ensure a smooth customer experience and to build long-term brand loyalty.

 When a customer is satisfied with a company, they are also lower in the cost to serve, but also have a higher potential to be more loyal   McKinsey

The mobile customer journey is unique because unlike any other customer journey, it provides personalised communication opportunities. Customers now expect a level of respect and personalisation from their mobile experiences and the brands they engage with. Delivering the right type of personalised content is crucial and provides an opportunity to engage and encourage customers to move forward in their journey.

Mapping your Customer Journey

When mapping out your mobile customer journey, it is recommended to follow these 4 main steps:

#1 Identify Customer Behaviours

It is important to start by identifying your customer’s behaviours across your mobile experience. These behaviours will serve as the basis for the rest of your customer journey. Consider looking closely at recently new customers and trace each of their journeys step-by-step in order to fully understand their experience. Focusing on real and individual customer journeys will offer invaluable insights beyond what surveys can tell you.

#2 Understand Customer Goals

Customer behaviours in the mobile customer journey are usually driven by a common goal. It is important to understand this and the real drive behind customer actions within your mobile experience. Keep in mind that goals at the beginning of the journey are generally much broader than goals at the end.

#3 Identify Touchpoints

Touchpoints are where you engage and interact with your mobile customers. Start by putting together a comprehensive list of all marketing and sales activities. Then, assign each activity to the customer behaviour it is meant to encourage. Afterwards, you can list each touchpoint below the behaviour it is intended to drive.

#4 Gather data and make changes

Once your mobile customer journey map is in place, it is important to continually gather data and understand how customers move through their journey. Set up recurring reports and information gathering techniques and generate baseline data for your customer journey. In doing so, you can monitor the customer journey and continue to identify potential gaps in the customer experience.

What device your customers use, how long they’ve had your app, and any demographic data associated with their login is already known. It is important to take this further by gradually asking your app customers for explicit data, in order to create a comprehensive customer profile. This will allow you to associate customer data with their behaviour and actions, ultimately improving your app strategy in the future.

A Customer Journey Framework

When mapping your mobile customer journey, consider implementing the following framework.

  • Actions: What is the customer doing at each stage of the customer journey? What actions are they taking to continue to the next stage?
  • Motivations: Why is the customer motivated to keep moving forward with their experience? What emotions are they feeling? Why do they care?
  • Moments of truth: What emotional responses are generated during each stage? Does this deter customers or keep them engaged with the experience?
  • Questions: What are the uncertainties or concerns preventing the customer from moving to the next stage?
  • Barriers: What structural, process, cost, implementation, or other barriers stand in the way of customers moving on to the next stage?
  • Interactions/touchpoints: How is the customer interacting and engaging with the brand?

It is best to ground this framework in customer research such as analytics, surveys, interviews, observations and focus groups. Additionally, embrace techniques like customer diaries, codesign and continual user testing. This research will help you understand the customer experience and level of your app’s success.

Related How to Get the Most out of App Analytics

It is extremely important to understand and leverage your mobile customer journey. Ultimately, these insights will help improve your app, personalise your marketing strategies, and enhance the customer experience and satisfaction.

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