There is a saying- “Don’t judge a person unless you have walked a mile in their shoes.”
It means that you can only understand someone if you understand their situation and point of view. Similarly, businesses can only cater to the needs of their customers if they understand their customers well. That is why businesses must focus on the customer journey.
The customer journey is your customer’s entire experience while communicating with your brand. It covers the entire roadmap from discovering your brand, buying from your brand, and beyond. It is not about transactions but the way your customer feels after interacting with your brand.
So, how can you understand the customer’s viewpoint of your business? A customer journey map can help.
What Is a Customer Journey Map?
A visual overview of the process a customer goes through to achieve a goal with your brand is called a customer journey map. The goal could be anything such as buying something, subscribing to a newsletter, joining your membership program, and more. The customer journey map gives you deeper insight into the motivation behind achieving these goals.
When you visualize the emotions, thoughts, and actions that a customer experiences, you can understand them better. It can also help you find out the pain points they encounter when they interact with your brand.
A customer journey map outlines customer motivations, key events, and friction areas within their experience. All this information is incorporated into a visual that describes the typical experience a customer has with your business.
Buyers do not go through a straightforward customer journey, and that is why accurately visualizing a customer journey map can be difficult. For this very reason, businesses use numerous ways to represent the journey. They use spreadsheets, infographics, post-it notes and more. Whatever makes sense to you can be used to create a customer journey map.
Gartner says that 82% of all organizations create a customer journey map. However, only 47% make efficient use of these maps. Despite putting in a lot of time to understand their customers, nearly 50% of the businesses feel it is not giving them the return on time investment they expect.
That is why it is important for businesses to create a usable customer journey map that can be actioned upon.
Why Is Customer Journey Mapping Important?
Customer journey mapping is crucial because it helps you step into your customers’ shoes and look at your business from their viewpoint. It gives you a deeper understanding of customer expectations, which is an absolute must if you want to optimize your customer experience.
Customers have always wanted efficient, reliable, and friendly service. However, with access to new technologies, their expectations have also risen higher. They expect to receive even more efficient service than before. Being friendly does not cut it anymore. Your customers expect your services to be personalized for them.
Research shows that 72% of customers only engage with personalized communications. 84% of customers want to be treated as a human rather than a number. 91% of customers are more likely to shop with brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations.
Customer journey mapping can offer numerous benefits, including:
– Create an optimized onboarding process for your customers
– Understanding customer expectations and the experience they actually receive
– Understand different buyer personas as they journey from the prospect stage to the conversion stage of the sales funnel
– It helps you refine processes and improve the overall customer experience
Where Can I Use Customer Journey Maps?
Most companies create customer journey maps without having a clear idea of how to use them. If done right, customer journey maps can prove to be powerful tools allowing brands to identify key customer interactions to eventually better their experience in the future.
Here’s how you can use your customer journey maps:
– Improve Customer Experience
You can use customer journey maps to identify pain points and develop fixes for the same. It can also help you uncover opportunities for feedback that you can use to improve product or service quality. It can also be used to identify the root causes of the pain points in the customer journey. Customer journey maps can also be used for content and marketing messages to give customers a personalized experience.
– Create a Vision for Future Customer Experience
Brands can create future-state customer journey maps to share the vision of their corporate strategy. These maps can also be used to plan rollouts of future products or services. Creating a day-in-the-life customer journey map can help you identify opportunities for innovation.
With a future-state customer journey map, you will also be able to figure out the capabilities and infrastructure that you will need to develop to deliver on your vision.
– Drive Organizational Change
You can use your customer journey maps to align your organization around the customer’s point of view. By creating such an organizational culture, you can help your partners and employees develop empathy for your customers, creating meaningful relationships.
Types of Customer Journey Maps
No customer journey is ever linear, which is why it makes complete sense to have different types of customer journey maps. Customer journey maps can help you improve customer experience, provided you choose the right map that aligns with your purpose.
Here are three types of customer journey maps:
Current-state Journey Maps
Do you wish to understand what your customers experience when interacting with your brand? If so, you should consider using current-state customer journey maps. This kind of journey map is all about visualizing the emotions, thoughts, and actions of your customers as they interact with various touchpoints in your brand.
For instance, you have a huge number of visitors on your website who use Google Chrome to access your website. However, they leave your website without converting. On the other hand, your customers using Mozilla Firefox or Safari are making more purchases on your website. What does this data tell you? It could be quite possible that your website is experiencing some compatibility issues with Chrome.
In this scenario, you compared current-state customer journey maps of your customers using different browsers. The insight gained helped you uncover problems with underperforming browsers.
Future-state Journey Maps
A future-state customer journey map helps you visualize the emotions, thoughts, and actions of your customers when they interact with your brand in the future. It can help you visualize the journey that you would like your customers to go through in the future.
Creating future-state customer journey maps can help you focus on the customer and develop strategies for the same. It can help align your teams with the customers’ viewpoint. You will also be able to identify future pain points that you need to eliminate or optimize.
Day-In-The-Life Journey Maps
Sometimes it becomes extremely important to know what a customer’s pain points in real life look like. You need to look beyond their interactions with your brand to discover more about their behaviour. Day-in-the-life customer journey maps help you visualize the journey of a customer in their day-to-day activities in real life.
This journey map is different from the others as it is more about insight rather than optimization. It can help you identify your ideal customer touchpoints beyond your brand.
Mapping Out Customer Journey
The significant milestones that a customer encounters in their journey are visualized in a customer journey map. Before you start, you should align your customer journey map with a customer persona and identify the stages that are beneficial for your brand to measure.
A customer persona is a semi-fictional character that represents the key traits and characteristics of a large segment of your target audience. After you have chosen a customer persona, you need to determine what you want to measure. As you begin to design your customer journey map, you will need to organize the touchpoints on your map.
– What Are the Touchpoints in Customer Journey Mapping
Touchpoints in customer journey mapping are all those instances where your customer could form an opinion about your brand. You can define a touchpoint as any way that a customer interacts with your brand. It could be through a website, an app, person-to-person, or any other medium of communication.
Touchpoints exist at places where you come in direct contact with a customer or prospect. Even Google reviews, ads, and interaction with a staff member could be considered a touchpoint.
Your brand is not limited to your marketing materials or your website. It goes beyond. That is why it is important to consider different types of touchpoints in your customer journey map.
– How to Create a B2B Customer Journey Map?
Your customer journey map is a roadmap that should include all possible stops of your customer’s journey.
These steps will help you in creating a B2B customer journey map:
1. Review Company Objectives
You should be very clear about why you are creating a customer journey map in the first place. What are the objectives that you want to achieve? Who is the map for?
2. Create Customer Personas
You should create customer personas based on research and the objectives of your company. You want to gather feedback from people genuinely interested in buying from your company. These people have already interacted with your brand and may want to do so in the future.
3. Focus on Target Customer Personas
When you go about creating customer personas, you will end up having a lot of different personas. However, you want to focus on just one or two of them. Grouping too many personas in one journey will not be a true reflection of your customers’ experiences.
Picking the most common persona can help you create a more positive customer experience for a large group of your target audience.
4. Define Customer Touchpoints
A majority of your customer journey map consists of touchpoints. You should create a list of all touchpoints that your customers are using. The type of touchpoints and the number of touchpoints may vary from business to business.
For instance, the customer’s journey in an e-commerce business will be different from that of a coffee shop. Once you have defined your touchpoints, you must plot them on your customer journey map.
5. Map Your Current and Future State
You will first need to create the current state or the experience your customers are currently going through. When you map your current state, you can identify problem areas in the experience.
Your current-state map will show gaps in customer experience, overlap in information, and other significant pain points. Use these to design potential solutions and compare the current state with your ideal future state.
A customer journey map is always a work-in-progress. You should review it regularly so that you can further streamline the customer experience.
Optimizing Your Current Customer Journey Map
The following steps can help you optimize your current customer journey map:
1. Set a goal so that you are clear about what you want your customer journey map to tell you.
2. Gather feedback directly from customers so that you have a genuine and accurate view of the customer’s journey.
3. Consult with your customer service team to understand customer pain points and fill in the gaps.
4. Create different customer journey maps for different customer personas.
5. Review and update your customer journey map after every significant event, such as a product release.
6. Share the customer journey map across the organization to gather feedback and ensure that they prioritize the customer at all times.
Customer Journey Map Examples
Spotify is an incredibly popular audio streaming platform. The company created a customer journey map to improve its music-sharing experience. The goal of the map was to determine the best music-sharing features that can enhance the customer experience.
Based on the map, Spotify could identify and address the pain points, creating a smooth and seamless music sharing experience.
Amazon is the king of e-commerce. The platform uses AI and other cutting-edge technology to take a customer through the buying journey. It has one of the most complex customer journey maps in the world.
The map contains Amazon’s conversion funnel and how its products enable the customer journey to maximize engagement. Amazon also includes its success metrics at every step of the customer journey. The key metrics included are CTR, reach, impressions, conversion rate, add to cart, and more. Every e-commerce business should measure these key success metrics.
Customer Journey Mapping Tools
If you need to create a customer journey map, you could use a simple flowchart to make one. However, it could be challenging to handle multiple personas and multiple maps. That is why you need customer journey mapping tools.
Here are some of the best customer journey mapping tools:
– Microsoft Visio
– Adobe XD
– Axure RP
When you fully understand the experience a customer has with your brand, you can delight them at every step of their journey. A customer’s journey could be affected by many things, such as pain points, touchpoints, emotions, and more.
A customer journey map helps you visualize this information, optimizing the customer journey and serving unrecognized needs.