Customer Experience Mapping Vs. Customer Journey Mapping: What's the Difference?

23 Mar 2021
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Posted by Crownpeak

The proliferation of channels and the move toward digital experiences in recent years has made it increasingly important for businesses to map customer behavior. Doing so enables businesses to determine where they are meeting customer expectations. Tracking customer behavior also helps businesses identify issues that are negatively impacting the customer experience.

There are two main approaches to tracking customer behavior: customer experience mapping and customer journey mapping. Both can play a vital part in helping your business analyze and optimize its consumer-facing activities. In this post, we’ll examine the two approaches in detail. You can also download our quick reference guide for an overview guide to these important tools:

Get the guide: Customer Experience Mapping Vs. Customer Journey Mapping At-a-Glance

Customer journey mapping

Mapping the customer journey typically focuses on tracking a single, specific path a customer takes through the marketing and onboarding process. For instance:

  • Customer notices online ad
  • Customer clicks on ad and visits landing page
  • Customer asks for more information about the product
  • Customer purchases product
  • Customer calls customer support with questions about the product purchased

Notice that this process is centered on the path related to a single product. It tracks how the customer first came into contact with a specific product or service offered by your business and how that contact developed from there. This is typically known as the customer nurturing, or funnel process, whereby a first contact progresses to a sale of your products or services.

Customer journey mapping extends beyond just the funnel process to consider your marketing and customer service efforts as well. It can be helpful when performing A/B testing, letting you know which of your online ads had the best results so you can optimize your marketing spend.

While mapping the customer journey is an excellent way of analyzing a particular element of your marketing or customer acquisition and retention process and identifying any problems with it, it is not intended to cover the entirety of your consumer-facing activities. Journey mapping can show you why a particular product marketing effort did well or poorly, or identify a problem within the customer journey for a particular product or at a specific department, but it doesn’t pinpoint areas of interest related to the customer experience as a whole. For that, customer experience mapping is required.

Customer experience mapping

Where customer journey mapping follows a particular customer persona’s interaction with a particular product or service, mapping the customer experience encompasses tracking and analyzing all customer interactions with your business. This process is not limited to a particular department, product, or service. Instead, it takes into account every possible touchpoint between your business and the consumer.

A customer experience map might track the following:

  • Is a prospect matching your products and services against your competitors’ prior to making a decision to buy?
  • How are prospects learning about your company?
  • Is an existing customer contacting you via different customer support channels regarding problems with your products or services?
  • How successful are your customer satisfaction initiatives?
  • What touchpoints are contributing to attrition among your customer base?
  • What opportunities are available to improve customer acquisition and retention?
  • What opportunities exist to boost brand loyalty?

Customer experience mapping is designed to look for systemic issues within your organization that might not be apparent from simply mapping a particular customer journey. Because it incorporates all touchpoints between your business and consumers, a customer experience map is typically much more detailed than a customer journey map. Rather than tracking one persona, for instance, it would look at all customer personas and generate information about their interaction with your business at various touchpoints.

Taking this approach enables you to identify issues that apply across your business as a whole. For instance, a customer journey map might show that prospects fail to convert at a particular touchpoint along the customer acquisition funnel. However, this alone doesn’t explain whether the problem is with the marketing approach or with your company’s processes. It might be that your marketing didn’t properly explain the product, and thus potential customers dropped out as they learned more about it. Alternatively, the problem might be that the design of your website’s call to action (CTA) confused prospects.

Performing the more comprehensive customer experience mapping process could help determine whether the problem in this case was with your CTA design or with your marketing. If you find that prospects drop out at the same point during other marketing campaigns, this likely indicates a problem with CTA design, rather than your marketing efforts. On the other hand, if this only happens with one campaign, it probably signals that inaccurate targeting is the problem. Your ad may have been too general, resulting in prospects losing interest by the time they reached the CTA functionality.

Mapping the customer experience can be used to find issues of all types, not just with marketing. For instance, you can track your customer service efforts across all products or services similarly. If your customer retention numbers are below your goals, mapping the numbers by each product or service can reveal whether the problem is with a particular product or service or if it is more systemic.

If one product or service has terrible retention numbers that drag down your average as a whole, it would indicate the issue is localized to that product or service. On the other hand, if all products or services have low retention numbers, the problem is likely generalized, requiring a look at your customer service as a whole instead of just with regard to a single product or service.

Using Web CMS to optimize the customer journey

Regardless of the approach you take, the insights generated from these processes often highlight changes that can be made in the way you engage your buyers and customers. The ability to adjust your digital experiences in a highly agile fashion is essential. You can achieve this using a web CMS.

Traditional, monolithic web CMS, which are built with tightly coupled back-end programming functionality and front-end content delivery mechanisms, are not ideally suited for the omnichannel content delivery opportunities available today. Deploying content across multiple channels and devices requires a delivery mechanism that is flexible to accommodate the technical and presentational requirements of these different formats.

By eliminating front-end restrictions on content distribution and using APIs instead as a delivery mechanism, headless CMS enables developers to use their favorite tools to design content, rather than being restricted to legacy CMS coding. However, simply dispensing with a front-end can limit the ability of non-technical team members to make changes to the presentation of content, which, in turn, limits the ability of first-generation headless CMS to respond quickly to change requests.

That is why Crownpeak has pioneered a groundbreaking hybrid approach, we call Headless 2.0, which combines the speed and agility of headless, with the enterprise marketing capabilities of traditional or decoupled CMS. Crownpeak’s Digital Experience Manager (DXM) features a decoupled front-end that provides complete omnichannel flexibility, while enabling marketers to preview content in WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) format and make presentation changes directly without having to submit change tickets to the IT department.

Thanks to its superior agility, DXM helps businesses test, iterate and optimize the customer experience at market speed. Marketers are empowered to quickly make changes in response to issues identified in the customer experience or journey mapping process and capitalize on identified opportunities. Rather than taking days, weeks, or even months to make changes like legacy CMS, DXM is built for speed and agility. It makes bottlenecks that slow content design and presentation disappear and helps marketers remain responsive to consumer demand and market opportunities.

Crownpeak’s DXM: The power and flexibility to optimize digital experiences

Crownpeak offers the flexibility of headless CMS with the improved customer experience delivery potential of a decoupled, hybrid approach. Give your customers the digital experiences they deserve, all while saving valuable time and money by using your development and marketing resources wisely.

Request a demo of Crownpeak today to fast-track the delivery of engaging digital experiences for your customers.