November 10, 2022

Insights That You Can’t Get Anywhere Else: Using Customer Journey Maps

Today’s modern digital or information age has brought massive changes to the way companies do business. More importantly, it has also changed the expectations customers have.

Nowadays, customer experience is just as important (if not more) as the product or service itself. Understanding the experience your clients have at every stage of their journey with you may lead to a better buying process and improved customer retention rate. That's where customer journey mapping comes in.

So, how can you create a customer journey map? Read on for tips!

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What Is Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map is simply a visual representation, a diagram, or a storyline of the entire customer's journey with your brand or business. It's a tool used by business leaders in understanding customer needs to personalize customer experiences, which can lead to better service process.

The customer journey map tells the story of every engagement each customer has with your product, service, or brand across all possible touchpoints. These include interactions done through various personal and digital customer engagement channels, including websites, social media platforms, and other forms of advertising. Also included here are the various interaction points clients may have with your marketing and customer service teams.

customer journey insights

A buyer's journey map looks at your business from the customer’s perspective. It allows you to see your business’ strengths and pain points. Furthermore, it can highlight points of improvement across the customer lifecycle that you can then look into.

customer journey insights

What Is Customer Journey Mapping?

Customer journey mapping is also known as user journey mapping or simply CJM. It's the process of mapping the customer or user experience (CX), and ensuring that no customer slips through cracks. 

The customer journey typically begins with identifying the numerous customer touchpoints--how they first heard of your brand.

Next, customer journeys across those touchpoints are mapped out for every buyer persona. 

Millennial buyers, for example, typically become aware of products on social media. They then research those products or services on the mobile version of the company’s website. Finally, they make their purchase using a desktop computer. 

Those customer’s touchpoints should then be included in the customer journey map. In turn, the map should indicate what actions the customer needs to take and your brand’s response at every turn.

It then progresses to their direct interactions with your products and services. Lastly, it goes all the way down to customer feedback and their post-purchase behaviors.

Why Is Customer Journey Mapping Important?

Customer journey mapping is a crucial, strategic approach to gaining insights into customer behavior and understanding the emotions and motivations that drive their decisions. This exercise is a great way to see things from the client’s point of view, thus ensuring better customer satisfaction.

Customer journey mapping may seem like a daunting task reserved only for large corporations. However, it remains equally important for small and medium enterprises as well.

Some of its many benefits include: 

Understanding Your Customers Better

customer journey insights

Are my business’ online interfaces easy to navigate? Why do they move away from our website and product pages quickly? How often do my clients need to reach out to us? Is my support team able to address their needs promptly? What do the clients feel when they can’t connect with our team?

These are some of the questions you’ll be able to answer if you perform customer journey mapping. Having that ability to build empathy for your clients and know exactly how they feel at every turn is a critical attribute. It'll allow you to get to know your customers better and tailor fit the experience to meet their demands.

Ultimately, this results in you outperforming your competitors, and ensuring customer loyalty by providing interconnected, customer-centric service in all aspects of your business model.

Providing a Service Blueprint for Your Employees

Customer journey mapping also gives you and your employees a guide on interacting with clients. It acts as a tool in assessing your company’s practices and determining whether they meet customer expectations.

A customer journey map is easy to present in different company-wide meetings, allowing you to map your business objectives with ease. Additionally, your marketing team can also use it to strategize and minimize obstacles encountered throughout the customer lifecycle. You can then optimize your marketing strategy to increase sales and improve satisfaction.

customer journey insights

How Do You Create Customer Journey Map Templates?

Now that we know how important customer journey maps are, let’s take a look at how you can create them.

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as the process of creating a customer journey map templates differs from business to business. However, there are some essential steps you need to take:

1. Define Your Goals

The first step in creating your own customer journey map is to establish what you want to achieve with it. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Improve customer service? Encourage product usage? Or perhaps increase sales and conversions? 

Your goals will serve as the foundation for the entire mapping process, so be sure to involve all key stakeholders in this discussion. This'll ensure that everyone's on the same page and working towards a common goal.

2. Identify Your Buyer Personas

The next step is to identify your buyer personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer or target audience based on market research and real data points about your existing customers. 

When creating your buyer persona, be sure to include information such as customer pain points, demographics, interests, and goals. This'll give you a better understanding of who they are and what they’re looking for.

3. Gather Customer Data

Once you have defined your goals and buyer personas, it’s time to gather data. There are many ways to do this, but some of the most common methods include:

  • conducting surveys
  • interviewing customers and employees
  • analyzing customer behavior data
  • reviewing support tickets and call logs

This data will be essential in understanding your customers’ needs, pain points, and how a customer interacts with your company.

4. Plot the Customer's Journey

The next step is to plot the customer's journey. This means mapping out all the steps your customer takes, from their first interaction with your brand to becoming loyal customers.

Start by creating a list of all the touchpoints your customers have with your company. Then, map out the emotions and experiences they feel at each stage. Finally, identify any pain point they encounter and what you can do to address them.

5. Create the Journey Map

Once you have all the data, it’s time to create the customer journey map itself.

There are different customer journey maps available online, so be sure to find one that best fits your needs. Once you have your template, simply fill in the information you gathered in the previous steps.

Alternatively, you may create a flowchart. Start by creating a list of all the customer touchpoints on one side and the buyer persona on the other. Then, connect each touchpoint to the corresponding stage in the buyer’s journey.

6. Analyze and Optimize

The final step is to analyze your customer journey map and identify areas for improvement. Take a look at the buying stages of the journey and ask yourself how you can make them more efficient or enjoyable for your customers. 

Once you have identified areas for improvement, it’s time to start making changes. Remember to involve all key stakeholders in this process so everyone's on board with the changes.

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What Are Some Tips in Making an Effective Customer Journey Map?

There are a few things you should remember when making your customer journey map. Here are some tips to create an effective one:

1. Represent Your Customer’s Perception of Your Brand

Great customer journey maps represent the way your customers see your brand. It's not simply the way you believe they see it.

Often, this means including a lot of aspects that are not within your control. Examples of this include web searches, social media influences, and the steps they take even before they enter the picture. 

The insights that this'll create will help you avoid wasting resources on efforts that don’t produce new customers. Instead, you'll be able to focus more on the goals that'll help you build relationships.

2. Do Your Research

Internal staff alone isn't enough for you to establish an accurate and realistic customer journey map. You’ll have to do your research to make sure that your map is thorough.

This'll include interviews, surveys, ethnographies, and other types of marketing and customer research that'll help you understand your clients better. Qualitative research is often a good starting point. 

customer journey insights

Your customer’s touchpoints typically involve emotional responses and interactions that may be a surprise to you. Afterward, you may then use quantitative surveys to verify the results of your initial research.

Some companies even bring customers into work hand-in-hand with them in building the customer journey map. However, this may present the risk of bias that can result from having only a small sample. 

Regardless of your approach, it's best to do customer research first to lay the foundations of your map. Later on, you can build on the information gathered from your research.

3. Recognize and Represent Different Customer Personas

Different customers have different needs. Effective customer journey mapping involves the ability to distinguish customers based on their demands. 

The solution: Identify these distinct qualities and separate them into segments. Afterward, build fitting customer personas that represent those segments.

A fitting customer persona is a fictional character that's representative of your average customer. Of course, this should depend on market and user research, not just on gut feel.

Make sure to have a profile of this persona. This should include his age, personal goals, job function, and many more. This'll help you step into the customer’s shoes better and create a more thorough story. 

Start with about three personas at most to help you narrow down your design and character focus. Later on, you can add more personas for more complex market environments. 

Additionally, you can also include the customers “that got away” or those who chose to bring their business somewhere else. This'll also shed light on the differences their experiences had with those who you were able to convert successfully. 

4. Consider Customer Goals 

customer journey insights

Customers rarely purchase something just for the sake of it. There's always a goal that they're trying to achieve. Understanding this will help you create an effective customer journey map.

First, you need to establish what these goals are. Afterward, figure out which customer touchpoint will allow you to achieve them smoothly and with fewer obstacles. This'll ensure a more positive customer's experience overall.

Some companies use marketing automation software or CRMs to monitor their customers’ progress in meeting their goals. You can also try using these platforms to create automatic notifications for your team whenever a customer reaches a certain milestone or encounters an obstacle.

5. Highlight Emotions

Emotions function as the key motivator behind consumer or user decisions. Because of this, they should play a central role in your customer journey mapping exercise. After all, even in the largest organizations, decisions are still made by human beings. 

Be visual. Don’t be afraid to use different styles, colors, and graphic elements to depict how your customers feel throughout their journey. With the amount of graphic tools available today, it seems lazy to use smileys and emojis to convey emotions. 

customer journey insights

6. Enumerate All Customer Touchpoints

Touchpoints are the moments where your customer has an interaction with your brand. These include advertisements, thank you letters, and even post purchase concerns.

Every time a customer engages your brand, remember that customer actions are goal-driven. Break these down into different stages or phases depending on the need of the customer throughout the journey. This'll also allow you to understand better the order and type of every touchpoint. 

Make sure to include even those which you have little control over. Examples of these are referrals from friends or the customer’s personal online research. These touchpoints are often crucial, and will help you show how much your brand is able to generate organic interest.

7. Pay Attention to Moments of Truth

While all touchpoints are important, the results and impact they produce can still vary. Those interactions that have a greater impact on the customer’s overall perception of the journey are the so-called “Moments of Truth.”

Identifying these Moments of Truth will allow you to pinpoint key opportunities in the customer journey. In these opportunities, your efforts for improvement will produce the greatest return.

The outcomes of these crucial customer interactions may spell the difference between a customer no longer engaging your brand and them acting as ambassadors who'll recommend it to their friends and relatives. 

8. Evaluate Your Brand Promise 

Customer journey mapping should reveal how your brand’s promises align with the actual customers' experiences. It'll also highlight any issues if you're falling short of those promises.

Effective customer journey maps show whether your customers believe that you are delivering. If not, it will also show how much their disappointment means in terms of increased expenses or lost sales.

9. Measure Time 

The length of time a customer spends in each stage of their journey will also be shown in a successful customer journey map.

Does an average call take 15 minutes, or is it done in an hour? How long did it take for a customer to decide to purchase your products from the first time they interacted with your brand? 

Great customer journey maps recognize the importance of time in the customer experience. They build solutions with these considerations in mind. 

10. Ditch the Powerpoint

The overarching story that a customer journey map is telling should be obvious at first glance. An effective map, however, should also be designed to be studied with its nuances revealed once poured over.

Unfortunately, too many people make the mistake of creating a customer journey map for the sole purpose of presenting them on a screen. They would support this with bullet points about the information the map holds. Customer journey maps should exceed these norms. 

A customer journey map that truly holds customer lifetime value should allow you to dive deeper into the story. It should be rich in detail as it conveys freely, clearly, and effectively the entire customer journey and experience.

If possible, you can even weave the words of your clients in the map. Add in what they actually said about the experience. This'll help add dimensions into the map and help your stakeholders relate to the story better.

Final Thoughts

The success of your business depends on your ability to give customers what they need and want. Your ability to do this will be influenced by how much you understand their journey. Creating a customer journey map is the first step in achieving this goal.

Following these tips will help you create a customer journey map that's both informative and visually appealing. It'll help you communicate the story of your customers’ experience better, allowing you to improve your processes accordingly. Furthermore, you can ensure that every stage of the customers’ journey is smooth and their experiences are optimized.


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