Real estate is a business that relies on maps: plat maps, neighborhood maps, comp maps, flood zone maps. But there’s one map most real estate professionals don’t have. One that shows them the information they need to improve and grow their business.
It’s called the Customer Journey Map.
A customer journey map is a diagram that tells the story of your client’s experience: from initial contact, through the process of engagement and completing their deal, and – hopefully – onto a long-term relationship.
This diagram identifies touchpoints, the key interactions your client has with your organization: an online experience, an in-person experience, a product, a service, and so on.
Though it’s tempting to just create a diagram that lays out how you ideally want clients to interact with you and your brokerage, a customer journey map is built from the client’s point of view. Instead of thinking about the journey from a business perspective, the journey is based on the client’s personal experience: what they do, think, and feel. What is the client doing at each stage of the process? What motivates them to keep going? Why do they care? What questions, jargon, or issues preventing them from moving on?
Short answer: for broad and deep insight into your clients.
Though you may have a good grasp of how your clients experience your brokerage, you might still be missing the bigger picture.
Creating a customer journey map will give you an overview of your clients’ experience. Like getting a drone shot from a thousand feet up, you’ll be able to see how and why they move through your sales funnel. This, in turn, will help you see opportunities to enhance their experience.
Having high-level insight is important for businesses built on relationships — and especially so if you have different team members interacting with clients at different parts of the process.
This graphical depiction of a customer’s journey can be as simple as some columns on a table or boxes of text joined by a line.
Creating the map is something you’ll want to do as a team exercise, preferably with a white board.
First, identify your brokerage’s touchpoints with your clients – for instance, the first time you meet your client or important emails or phone calls. Then go back and add in these four elements to each touchpoint:
1. What actions were your clients taking at each stage? And what are they doing to move themselves to the next step?
2. What are their motivations at each point? What makes them want to take the next step? What are their emotions and why do they care?
3. What questions might be keeping clients from moving to the next stage? What are their uncertainties?
4. What barriers are they having to overcome? What process, cost or other factors do they feel are blocking their progress?
As you get your agents’ and staff’s perspective on these questions, you’ll start to see areas that you’ve been overlooking, but that are very important to the people making the biggest purchase of their lives.
Simply creating your customer journey map can be an enlightening experience for everyone in your brokerage. It may show you that the path you intend your clients to take is very different from the one they actually take.
The completed map can serve as a training tool for new agents and staff, as well as a reminder for everyone else that client’s needs should always be at the forefront of whatever they do.