Using Customer Journey Maps To Enrich Your Museum Visitor Experience

Chatham Historic Dockyard

You think you might know what your museum visitors want when they come to you – but how can you be sure? If you want to get an insight into how your visitors think before they even step foot over your museum doorstep, then devising ‘Customer Journey Maps’ as part of your business and marketing planning can really pay off.

These mapping exercises have been long used by Marketing teams and in the hotel and travel industry and they can also help independent museums to get into the minds of their customers. But where do you start? Professor Paul A. Phillips, Founder and CEO of AIM Associate Suppliers, PitonsAnalyticsPlus, has written the following overview and top tips to help your museum make the most of Customer Journey Maps.

Using Customer Journey Maps to Enrich Your Museum Visitor Experience

One of the big takeaways from the excellent AIM conference was the viewpoint of seeing museums as a destination. The thinking is certainly apt, as museums have the potential to be destinations in their own right. Interestingly, hotels have been having this discussion for some time and many lessons can be learnt from their deliberations.

Prepared for the future museums will have shaped themselves around an agreed business model with the emphasis less on the actual collection and increasing more on the visitor experience. Product led attempts will not increase museum brand value, instead customer led attempts will be the route to continuous growth.

In today’s commercial environment, we know that a good brand provides the customer with a trust commitment, and employees with the direction and motivation around an agreed positioning strategy. Customers buy brands not products. So, there needs to be a gradual switch for museums to be looking for products/services for their customers, rather than looking for customers for existing products/services.

Museums now need different approaches, different sets of strategies and tools for different business models and purposes. We believe this is the winning approach. Moreover, such an approach will enable the museum to be at the heart of their community and empower them to become destinations in their own right.

However, there is no silver bullet. To become a destination, the museum must overcome the revolution that is taking place in destination marketing in the wider tourism domain. Such issues include creating a compelling brand with great visuals and making it easy for online bookings. More than ever, museum marketing will need to engage with visitors by providing rich and innovative visitor experiences.

Knowing the perceptions of your customers across all their interactions with your museum lies at the heart of the customer experience. However, to effectively manage customers, museums have to effectively visualise their customers.

This needs to be much deeper than solely tracking visitor numbers and using basic demographics. We have found that customers identify with a broad range of user tags, such as foodie’s, history buff, luxury traveller, urban explorer, like a local. These provide fresh opportunities to tailor products/ services for customer segments.

Museums of all sizes should develop customer journey maps to provide a compact visualisation of the end-to-end visitor experience. Such maps help to understand your customer’s point of view, how they interact with your museum brand and what they truly value (and dislike). When coupled with the results from your customer voice (Sentiment Analysis), such visuals enable museums to make better economic and societal oriented decisions about enhancing the customer experience. Instead of making decisions on internal gut feeling or the “usual way”, customer journey maps provide the external lens, which is needed to truly develop the insights for value creating strategies.

Customer journey maps will provide museums with a much richer knowledge base to understand visitor behaviour, thoughts and their gain and pain points. In addition to helping museums achieve their objectives, including growing revenues, customer journey maps will support your revenue forecasts more robust when writing proposals. Another benefit is museums can weave visitor experience policies into their training and onboarding procedures. For example, during the AIM conference the museum “front office” was mentioned as a key component of high- quality visitor experience and care.

So how do you create your customer journey map?

1: Identify the gap: During the AIM conference, museums had differing aspirations ranging from increasing number of delighted visitors, survival, growth; needing more financial aid and funding. Focussing on where you want to be and where you currently are will help you to plan straightforward actions. Aligning the mission and the values of your organization with the strategic goals will support the journey ahead.

2: Explore, know and create fresh customer segments: The key starting point is to know who your customers are. Then, segment your customer base in a meaningful manner. Ideally this should be beyond basic demographic categories with emphasis of fresh insights.

3: Conceptualise your offer for each segment: You should establish some hypotheses about your customers’ needs, which should derive from your internal customer records, and preferably external Data Analytics results. Your hypotheses should seek to delve into what would enrich the customer experience. This needs to be tested and refined with a distinct purpose and be actionable.

4: Craft the customer journey map: Museums need to focus on a holistic experience, as today’s customer certainly does. There is a need to map the customer journey and salient touch points. The map can be drawn on flip charts, which can be placed on tables or office walls. Different coloured Post-it notes are useful for identifying key points. During the discussions the team should seek to deliver a high-quality experience across salient touch points. Your results from our Data Analytics and Sentiment Analysis can significantly assist in this regard.

5: Identify appropriate performance indicators: Metrics other than financial (lag- backward looking), such as lead (customer-oriented metrics – forward looking) are becoming increasingly important to identify problems before they harm your bottom line. Data Analytics and Sentiment Analysis will measure the customer experience and can be incorporated into customer journey maps and help identify appropriate customer-oriented performance indicators.

6: Use your customer journey map to visualise success: Incorporate this into your decision-making, which should lead to delighted customers, and enable your museum to become a leader.

7: Update and improve: This will depend upon your strategic philosophy and market environment.

About PitonsAnalyticsPlus (PAP)

PitonsAnalyticsPlus (PAP) is a new start-up data analytics and business transformation consultancy consisting of Strategists, Data Scientists, Human Resource, Knowledge, Marketers, and Finance professionals who can assist enterprises to take full advantage of their customer voice by translating these largely untapped assets into meaningful information, knowledge, visually appealing reports and insights. We are also able to draw upon a range of deep experiences and expertise across tourism, hospitality, leisure organisations dealing with data analytics and business transformation challenges.

Email: paul@pitonsanalyticsplus.com

Web: https://www.pitonsanalyticsplus.com/

Twitter: @PitonsAnalytics

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