How to Create A Customer Journey Map- And Why They Are Important
Last week I introduced you all to customer journeys and explained how they are used to benefit brands. Today, as promised, I will discuss how to build an effective customer journey map.
Effective Customer Journey Maps
I am fully aware of the many challenges marketers and company’s face when trying to get into the minds of customers. I often wonder why customers add several items to their online shopping cart just to exit their browser without making a purchase, or why they make various other decisions that are not in favor of my brand.
Whatever the challenge may be, it is likely due to the fact that you don’t have a full understanding of a customer’s journey with your brand. But have no fear, today I am here to help you solve these problems by teaching you how to create an effective customer journey map. But what is a customer journey map?
Customer Journey Maps
A customer Journey Map, according to Salesforce, is “a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.” Customer journey maps are visual representations of a customer’s journey (aka a buyer’s journey). These maps help brands to understand the experiences customers have with a brand across all touchpoints to ensure that no customer gets lost along the way. Do your customers interact with your brand on social media, by email, or on other channels? You may not know the answer to that question now, but you will by mapping out your customer’s journey.
Why is Customer Journey Mapping Important?
Customer journey maps are essential to a brand’s success because of the strategic approach utilized by brands to fully understand their customer’s expectations. Not only do these maps allow us as marketers to understand what a consumer expects from their experience with a brand, but they will enable us to optimize the customer’s experience to meet their expectations and improve customer retention rates.
Customer journey mapping also enables omnichannel marketing and enhances a customer’s experience with its customer service. In today’s digital world, it is vital to engage with consumers in a highly personalized manner. The crucial role that customer journey mapping plays in this process is that it allows marketers to reach a single prospect across multiple touchpoints and channels, keeping the prospect engages and aware of the brand. Customer service initiatives are enhanced by mapping because brands have more capabilities for providing customer service; they can service a customer on almost any platform the consumer chooses, such as social media or messaging apps.
How to Create A Customer Journey Map
By now, it should be no surprise that a customer journey map can help improve many areas of a company, including customer retention rates, inbound marketing tactics, zeroing in on new target audiences, customer service initiatives, and more. So now you are probably wondering how to create a customer journey map. Therefore, I have listed below the steps.
1. Set Objectives
Before diving into creating your customer journey map, you must first determine your intentions behind making this map. What goals are you seeking to achieve? What is your desired outcome? What is the exact customer experience you are going to map?
2. Create Customer Personas
After selecting your objectives, you will begin developing customer personas. Understanding your customer persona will allow you to direct all initiatives towards pleasing your ideal customer base. To understand your customer persona, you should conduct research to determine the demographics and psychographics of your ideal customer.
After creating your personas, you must highlight your target persona and focus on the most critical customers to track the experience of these types of customers. Grouping too many customers into a single journey will inaccurately reflect their experience.
3. Ask Questions
In this stage of the customer journey mapping process, it is imperative to conduct research on your actual customers and ideal prospects. The best way to do this is to ask questions and gain insights and feedback through questionnaires. How did they learn about your company? How long does it take them to make a purchase on your website or in your stores? What was the deciding factor for them to make a purchase from your brand? How easy is it for them to navigate your website?
These questions will help you to understand what your customers think and feel about your brand and will provide insights into enhancing their experience.
4. List Your Touchpoints
Touchpoints are all the locations that customers are able to interact with your brand during the customer journey. These small touches significantly influence their experience and perception of your brand. By determining all the locations in which your ideal customers have touchpoints, you can capitalize on these opportunities and optimize their experience on their journey. Touchpoints include social media platforms, paid advertisements, email marketing, mentions, reviews, and more.
5. List Your Customers Actions
Next, you need to list out the actions your customers take when interacting with your brand. Do they conduct a Google or social media search? Do they click on your email newsletter?
This step is vital because it will help you identify if your customers are being asked to take too many actions. Sometimes a brand needs to reduce the number of actions a brand needs to take to make a purchase.
6. Determine the Emotions and Motivations
Like all things in life, all actions are motivated by emotion. It is your job to learn and understand what emotions motivate your customers to move along their customer journey. Understanding the emotions behind their decision making will help you to cultivate content that is relevant to their emotions and drive their purchase patterns.
7. Get to Know the Pain Points
What is challenging for your customers? What actions are making them drop off the sales funnel and steer away from the end goal? Is it your pricing? Is it the responsiveness of your website?
Getting to know the pain points your customer’s experience can help you eliminate the cause behind their disappearance. For instance, if I discovered that my customers were closing their browser with a cart full of unpurchased products because the check out experience was glitching or too lengthy, I would mitigate this issue. Which would result in more customers following thorough with the purchase process.
8. Identify Map Elements
When mapping out your customer journey in a visual format to display hour your customers are obtained and how they experience interactions with your brand, you have three choices:
- Current State Mapping- Which is created to understand how your customers are interacting with your brand right now.
- Future State Mapping- Which focuses on how your customers will act at a certain point instead of how you would like them to act, and then you determine the best way to achieve the desired result.
- Day in The Life Mapping – Which is used as part of the sales process to understand your buyer’s personas. This type of map can also be used post-sale to improve your customer satisfaction and retention rates.
Identify the mapping type you intend to use based on the overall goals you have for your mapping experience.
9. Take Your Customer's Journey
To understand what drives your customer’s decisions and how they think and feel along the customer journey, you need to experience the customer journey yourself. While taking the journey, determine what needs are unmet, how the emails and posts are being perceived, and what drives customers to walk into your store or visit your website.
10. Make Changes
Now that you have collected all of this data and information, make sure you put it to good use. Make the necessary changes you discovered along the way of your customer journey mapping experience, improving your customer journey experience. With the help of your newly crafted visual customer journey map, you can address all concerns and pain points your customer’s experience when interacting with your brand.
There are many excellent customer journey mapping templates available to you on the internet. Some of my favorites are:
Now its time to apply your customer journey map to your business and take all that you have learned throughout the process and put it to good use. It is my hope that you will take this information and make meaningful business changes to create positive business opportunities. Remember, all businesses are about the customer experience, so use these insights to focus on the customer’s perspective and develop more effective and satisfying experiences for them to drive your customer retention rates and increase your brand awareness and transaction numbers.