You might have heard of a customer journey map, but are still wondering what it is and how brands benefit from it.
When done correctly, a customer journey or user journey map can be helpful in improving your brand’s customer experience and reputation. Think of it as a way to get inside the customer’s mind, understand their perspective and learn how they interact with your company from start to finish.
Read on to find out what a customer journey map is, why it’s important and how to create a customer journey map for your business. We’ll also tie in customer experience marketing and its relationship with customer journey maps.
What Is a Customer Journey Map?
A customer journey, or user journey, is your customer or prospect’s experience from the moment they first heard about your brand and purchased your product or service to when they receive after-sales marketing emails thanking them for their purchase. In essence, it is the entire customer’s experience in trying to achieve the goal of buying a product or service from your company.
So, what is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is the visual version of your customers’ journey when engaging with your brand. Customer journey mapping is used by many business owners to understand every detail of what customers go through when using their business services, purchasing their products or interacting with the customer service team.
Why Is a Customer Journey Map Important?
There are many reasons creating a user journey map is beneficial for your business. While not all customer experiences are the same, a customer journey map helps you provide the best possible customer experience with consistency. It takes time and practice to create customer journey maps that are clear and effective, but it’s worth the effort.
Building a customer journey map helps you better understand and empathise with your customer. You are able to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, so to speak. This is when you are able to find out what can make their journey with you more efficient. To achieve this goal, you need to illustrate the customer’s experience at every touchpoint until they accomplish what they set out to achieve while engaging with your brand. By doing this, you are automatically improving your customer’s experience.
What Is Customer Experience?
What is customer experience and why is it important in customer journey mapping?
Customer experience, or what is sometimes called the customer experience journey, refers to a consumer’s story when using or interacting with a business. If your business is a retail store, the customer experience journey starts from the moment the customer steps into the store until they leave.
Some customer experiences last long after purchase because of stellar after-sales services. Smart company owners keep in touch with existing customers to offer product upgrades, promotions and exclusive offers. They understand what is customer experience and how important it is to keep it going even after the customer has completed their interaction with their brand.
No matter the company or the circumstances, customer experience is essentially what happens to a customer when buying or using a product or service and how the customer felt throughout the process. Companies use customer journey mapping as part of their customer experience marketing strategy to effectively implement organizational changes that boost customer satisfaction and customer experience.
How To Create a Customer Journey Map
Before jumping into how to map customer journey, you need to understand what it takes to create a great customer or user journey map. You can take a look at some user journey map examples online and see that they all consist of similar elements. If this is your first time attempting to create customer journey maps, then you need to study these fundamental elements that should be the framework of your map.
Business leaders create customer journey maps that accomplish the following:
Have a Desired Outcome
Whether you want your customer to contact you for a free consultation or make a purchase from a specific product line, your user journey map should guide your customer towards that goal. Are you creating a buyer journey map to improve customer experience, generate more sales or eliminate customer pain points? Learning how to map customer journeys should start with a purpose. In this way, you’re addressing a pain point from the start and working towards eliminating it with the help of your map.
In the context of customer experience journey mapping, touchpoints are defined as a platform or location where customers first interact with a business. It can be a billboard, a social media post, a website or a Google Search results page.
Customers often go through multiple touchpoints in their user journey. For instance, they might have heard of your brand from a Yelp review before visiting your website. Being able to identify the touchpoints that your customer has gone through helps you understand your customer’s journey better.
Identify Customer Personas
Every customer is different and most often they come from diverse backgrounds, beliefs and expectations. For instance, a mom shopping for a birthday gift in a store might not be looking for the same product as a college student shopping for a friend’s birthday.
Part of a compelling customer experience journey mapping session is to identify different personas for your business. Creating a customer persona for a corresponding customer journey map ensures your solutions are personalized to that customer type. Personas are powerful tools to predict customer behavior and meet customer expectations.
Maximize Customer Experience
Other than helping customers accomplish their goals, another crucial role of a user journey map and customer experience journey mapping is to make the customer experience better.
To do this, you need to be empathetic with your customer’s emotions while going through their journey. What is the motivation behind them checking out your website? What questions do they have about your products? What is stopping them from buying your product?
When you get into the mind of a customer, you’re able to come up with strategies to improve your customer service processes from the beginning to the end. Some things you can do to improve customer experience include:
• Address pain points (website loads slow, tech jargon, difficulty contacting customer service, etc)
• Understand motivation (personal, professional, social)
• Acknowledge emotions (curiosity, frustration, excitement)
When you take all these aspects into consideration, you’re able to accomplish user journey mapping that’s geared to improve customer experience. If you still want to understand some of these concepts better, then looking at several user journey map examples for your industry might be helpful.
How To Map Customer Journey for Your Business
If you’re new to creating maps, you can start with a simple customer journey map that tackles one scenario you think needs to be improved. Now that we’ve looked at what makes an effective customer journey map, let’s see how it looks in action.
Step 1: Assign a Goal for Your Customer Journey Map
User journey mapping should first address a specific problem or challenge that you see is happening with your customers in their journey.
An example would be getting lots of traffic to your eCommerce store, but not getting many sales. In this case, the purpose of your buyer journey map is to figure out why customers are clicking on your eCommerce site but not going ahead with the purchase.
Step 2: Collect and Analyze Data
You won’t have anything to put on your user journey map if you don’t know the first thing about your customers. Here is some information you need to be able to complete a customer journey map successfully.
• Customer reviews
• Customer survey results
• Website traffic sources
• Conversion rates
• Customer touchpoints
These are just some examples of data you need to create a user journey map. Focus on getting data that is relevant to your buyer journey map’s purpose.
Step 3: Get Your Team on Board
Creating a customer journey map for your company is a team effort. Get your customer-facing crew involved in creating a simple customer journey map that they believe best benefits a customer or prospect. Also, take the time to answer questions related to what is a customer journey map and why you’re drafting one.
Talking to your team also gives you insight into their experiences of interacting with customers on a buyer journey. These are valuable insights you can use to fill out your user journey map.
When discussing your map, you can use customer journey mapping tools to organize your insights and collaborate with your team to effectively illustrate your points. Customer journey mapping tools provide specific features for creating visual assets like flowcharts and diagrams. Some popular customer journey mapping tools include Microsoft Visio, Adobe XD, Figma and Sketch.
Step 4: Create Your Customer Journey Map
Now that you have completed all the other steps, you’re ready to draw your map.
There are many customer journey map templates available online to get you started, so you can use one of these and revise the content as you see fit.
However, if you don’t feel like using a user journey map template, you can start with a simple customer journey map like this customer journey example below:
|Customer’s Goals||None||Find the best plumber service in her area||Contact plumbing service company for an appointment|
|Customer Touchpoints||Social media, Google reviews||Websites from Google Search results||Plumbing company website|
|Problems||None||Too many options||No contact information or contact form on the website|
|Ideas/Insights||Increase awareness with appropriate marketing methods||Boost SEO to rank on top 1 of Google Search results||Add contact form on the website|
If you want to take a look at more customer journey map examples, these resources offer them for free:
There are many online resources for customer journey mapping templates and some have specialized templates for specific industries. Using ready-made customer journey examples saves time, but you want to ensure that you are using the right customer journey mapping template that meets your objectives. Otherwise, make sure the customer journey mapping template can be edited to suit your purpose.
Take Your User Journey Mapping To the Next Level
Indeed, using a customer journey mapping tool or a customer journey map template can be an exciting yet overwhelming task. Creating a successful buyer journey map is one of the best initiatives you can take for your business. You can learn a lot about your customers, your staff and the entire customer experience with detail and accuracy.
Thrive’s digital marketing services can contribute significantly to improving your customer experience marketing efforts while driving exceptional results from your customer journey mapping initiatives.
Contact Thrive today to boost customer experience and achieve the goals on your customer journey map.