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First things to fix on a Customer Journey

Customer experience is the cornerstone of your product success. Customer journey map is a tool that helps you to measure customer experience. Which parts of a customer journey are the most important? Where should you pay the most attention?

Customer journey map

A customer journey map is a visual tool that shows how satisfied your customers are on every step of using your product. By looking at the map you'd quickly see where you're doing good (satisfying your users) and when you need to improve.

Here is an example of a simple customer journey map. You could see on the map:
  • The journey consists of 5 steps
  • It starts from a customer finding and entering the site
  • Browsing for hotels seems to be the most pleasant experience
  • While paying part causes most dissatisfaction

On your customer journey map what if you identify too many things that could be improved? Which journey points should be improved first?

Customer memory

How would a customer remember your product experience? Would it be the cumulative impression? Or the sum of both positive and negative experiences? Or only the "last words" matter?
It turns out that our memory is quite selective when it comes to remembering an experience. Curt Arledge, in his insightful Smashing Magazine article, outlines the most important points that will define a customer memory about an experience.

First impression

You heard about that before. The beginning is very important. If your customer types in the URL to your website and gets a 404 error there is a pretty big chance this customer would never return.
What does it mean for a customer journey map?
If your customer satisfaction at the beginning of a journey is low - fix it asap. You might not get a second chance.

Peak moments

We naturally remember either the best or the worst moments of an experience. Remember you own life. Do you remember boring Mondays or epic Fridays? Same thing happens with your customer experiencing your product. A customer would remember the highest or/and the lowest points of an experience.
What does it mean for a customer journey map?
Avoid the low points, maximize the high. If you have major dissatisfaction points in your customer journey - fix them at least to a neutral level. If you have (and you should) major delightful moments - optimize them to the perfection.
A tip: losses always stronger than gains. If you have the similarly high satisfaction and dissatisfaction moment there is a high chance your customer would remember a dissatisfying moment.

Happy ending

"Last words" make difference. Final moments of an experience are the major contributors to a customer memory of an experience. If after a delightful journey of picking products and making an order your customer cannot pay - the memory of this experience would be terrible. The ending must be a strong delighter.
What does it mean for a customer journey map?
Identify the ending of your customer journey. What is it? A success page? Email confirmation? A message?
Whatever the ending is - it should be delightful.

The formula

So it seems the formula for a delightful customer memory about your product experience is the following:
First impression + Peak moments + Happy ending = Delightful memory

Memory as a retention tool

Why a good memory of an experience is so important? Think about a problem you recently needed to solve. What was the first solution you thought about? I'd bet it was a solution that you have some good memories about. Or ... you remember the only solution to a problem even if it was a nightmare to use. If your product has a total monopoly then congratulations, if not - you need to care about good experience and good memories of your customers using your product.

In future articles, we'll see how the most successful products follow that simple customer memory formula.


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