With businesses becoming more and more customer-centric, customer journey mapping is something you can’t afford to leave out of your CX strategy. This is especially true if you want to keep your customers coming back to you instead of your competitors.
Customer journey mapping is invaluable. The reasons? Mapping helps you get inside the minds of your customers, learn what their preferences are, and find out what motivates them to engage (or disengage) with your brand. Ultimately, customer journey maps provide insight into the customer experience that will help you make better business decisions.
Additionally, a study by the Aberdeen Group found companies that participate in customer journey mapping enjoy the following benefits over companies that do not:
- Better return on marketing investments (ROMI). 54% greater return on marketing investment by being able to reach more of the right customers more quickly.
- Customer service savings. Over ten times improvement in customer service costs.
- Social media influence. 24% more positive social media mentions.
- Boost in referral revenue. 3.5 times greater revenue from customer referrals.
- Improved sales cycle. 18 times faster average sales cycle.
- More up-sell opportunities. 56% more cross and up-sell revenue.
- Employee engagement. 200% more employee engagement.
In short, customer journey mapping will help you refocus your company with a customer-centric approach and target your customer base more effectively.
If you are creating a customer journey map for the first time or fine-tuning your current process, this article is for you. This post will present five tips every market researcher should consider when making a customer journey map.
What is a customer journey map?
Before getting into best practices for making a customer journey map, it’s essential to understand what a customer journey map is.
A customer journey map is a visualization that tells the story of a customer’s particular experience with your brand. The map includes perspective into the customer-organization relationship starting with the initial contact, moving through the process of engagement, and continuing through a long-term relationship with your organization. It’s not a snap-shot of a single interaction like a CSAT or NPS survey, but a more in-depth look into the customer’s feelings, motivations, goals, and expectations.
Since customer journey maps are so involved, most organizations will only create one customer journey map for each of their primary audiences. A customer journey map will also focus on the overview of the entire journey, as opposed to digging into the minute details.
Customer journey maps can take different forms, but the main point of every customer journey map is the same. The point is to teach companies more about their customer base from the perspective of the customer.
Now that you know what customer journey mapping is, let’s talk about five essentials of the customer journey mapping process.
1. Create an overall objective and scope for your customer journey map
It’s easy to get lost when it comes to customer journey mapping if you skip the goal-setting step. This is especially true, considering there are several personas and experiences where a customer journey map would be valuable.
To define a goal, ask yourself why you are making a customer journey map, and what you are trying to understand. Questions you can ask yourself during goal setting include:
- What am I trying to learn?
- What customer persona am I trying to understand better?
- What experience will this map outline?
- What business practices am I looking to improve?
- What do I want this map to tell me about my business?
Once you have answers to these questions, you can write down your objective.
Keep in mind that the purpose of customer journey mapping is to tell an overall story of the experience of a single persona, not to detail every nuance of the customer experience.
Without defining the scope of your customer journey map, it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole and get lost in the details.
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to defining the scope of your customer journey map. The scope of the map will often depend on your overarching objective. Your objective will tell you how much detail you need to go into and if you need a “zoomed out” or “zoomed in” view of the customer experience.
2. Define the customer persona
Before diving into customer journey mapping, everyone on your team must understand the customer persona you want to focus on during the mapping process. This is especially important, considering you probably have different target audiences.
Creating customer personas involves pulling together data, including CRM data, market research data, and customer feedback. Then, you use the data to create a fictional character that represents your customers. Buyer personas should include any or all of the following information:
- Job title/role
- Income range
- Relationship status
- Social circles
- Behavioral patterns
The more detailed your customer personas are, the more accurate your map will be. When mapping the customer journey, clearly communicate to your team which persona you are modeling.
Once you have decided on a persona, you’re ready to build a map based on real behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and experiences of customers that fit this persona.
3. Identify the stages of customer interaction and customer perceptions and emotions
Creating a reliable customer journey map also involves identifying all the potential stages of interaction your customer may have during the designated experience.
For example, if you are creating a customer journey map based on a specific persona’s interaction with your website, touchpoints could include:
- How visitors got to your website
- Search terms used to get to your website
- The first fold of your website
- Newsletter subscription bar
- Contact form
- Product demo
- Live chat
- Comments section
- Social media sharing buttons
- And more!
These are just a few of the touchpoints that may be relevant to a specific customer experience related to your website.
Once you’ve defined the touchpoints, it’s time to get into the meat of the map—describing what the customer does, thinks, and feels during their journey. Things to include are:
- Customer actions. Write down everything your customer persona does while they are interacting with your touchpoints (e.g., Google search for product page, clicks on a particular product, adds a product to cart, abandons cart, closes out of website, etc.).
- Emotions and motivations. You also need to identify the feelings or motivations that cause your customer to complete a specific action (e.g., the customer got frustrated and abandoned their cart).
- Obstacles and pain points. This step of the mapping process includes finding the roadblocks your customer’s experience (e.g., your customer got frustrated and abandoned their cart because the discount code didn’t work).
Identifying the relevant touchpoints for your customer’s experience means your map will be comprehensive. Identifying customer actions, emotions, and obstacles across these touchpoints show you what the customer persona is doing, feeling, and encountering from their perspective when interacting with your brand.
4. Illustrate the customer journey across multiple touchpoints
Let’s say your favorite brand is Nike. When you think of Nike, you probably don’t think of each part of Nike’s company. You don’t think of Nike’s product team, Nike’s marketing department, and Nike’s salespeople independently of each other. Instead, you think of Nike as one complete brand.
While customers think of brands as one company, organizations still tend to operate in silos. In other words, different departments focus on optimizing aspects of the customer experience as related to their silo.
A good customer journey map won’t focus on just one touchpoint or silo. It will focus on the entire customer experience and all interconnected interactions the customer has with the company.
When you illustrate the customer journey across all relevant touchpoints, it helps you identify problems that exist between departments and optimize the customer experience as a whole. This drives an overall better and more holistic experience for your customers.
5. Visualize the customer journey to promote understanding for all stakeholders
There is no wrong or right way to present a customer journey map to stakeholders. However, some best practices will help your team understand and find the value in your map.
The best way to present a customer journey map is through an engaging and easy-to-grasp visualization. Popular visual representations of customer journey maps include graphs, storyboards, videos, and infographics.
What works best for your customer journey map depends on your stakeholders, your design team, and the results of your map. Regardless of which representation you choose, make sure to:
- Keep it simple enough to be viewed on one page
- Eliminate excess or irrelevant information
- Include visuals that add value to the infographic
- Design the customer story map, so it’s easy on the eyes and compelling
- Highlight relevant metrics
When your customer journey map is visually appealing, you can rest assured it will get the attention from leadership that it deserves.
Customer journey mapping is a surefire way to walk in the shoes of your customers, identify potential problems, and make improvements to your business that will resonate with your customers.
For more information about customer mapping or to look into tools that help you with market research, visit Fuel Cycle today.