How to create a customer journey map for your business and apply it to your marketing strategies
A Guide to Customer Journey Mapping
Creating a customer journey map is an excellent way for brands to learn more about their customers and streamline their processes. Customer experience is paramount to a brand’s success, with “67% of consumers and 74% of business buyers say they’ll pay more for a great experience.”
Through customer journey mapping, you can make vital improvements to your operations that will result in better customer experiences and therefore greater sales. The following article will discuss what customer journey mapping is, why it is so important, and how your brand can develop its own customer journey map.
What is customer journey mapping?
Salesforce defines customer journey mapping as, “A visual representation of every experience your customers have with you. It helps to tell the story of a customer's experience with your brand from original engagement and into hopefully a long-term relationship.” Every business is unique, and therefore so is the journey of their customers.
As a business, you’ll want to ensure that every interaction a customer has with you is as positive and as efficient as it can be. A customer journey map will help you visualize and better comprehend the experiences of your customers. Your map will provide you with an important reference point as you work to optimize your strategies.
Why is customer journey mapping important?
Customer journey mapping is beneficial for a variety of reason. More specifically, customer journey mapping will:
Help your business understand its customers and see things from their perspective.
Help your business ensure that its customer journey is in logical order.
Help your business identify issues that your customers could be experiencing.
Help your business to consistently improve its processes.
Help your business determine how, when, and where customers best interact with you.
Help your business see what motivates your customers.
Help your business see if your customers are currently reaching their goals and, if not, how they can reach them.
Help your business make sure you’re providing your customers with the highest standard of service.
Help your business make sure that your sales cycle is as efficient and as profitable as possible.
How can I create a customer journey map?
Creating a customer journey map can seem like a tedious process, but it is well worth the time and effort it takes. The following steps will help ensure your customer journey map is as thorough and as advantageous as it can be.
1) Set your goals: Before beginning the process of creating your customer journey map, ask yourself what it is you want to achieve. What are you hoping that your map will accomplish? What will this map be used for once it’s completed? Laying out your intentions will give you something concrete to work towards throughout the development process.
2) Create your customer persona: Based on your objectives, create a fictitious customer that is representative of your average buyer. A persona will help keep you focused during the creation of your map because you’ll be directing every step of the customer journey towards this persona. Depending on your goals, you may want to create more than one persona to use.
3) Collect data on your persona: In order to develop an accurate persona, you’ll need to collect information from your customers and your prospects. Reach out to these eligible persons and use a questionnaire to obtain their insight. Hubspot’s buyer persona tool can help with this.
You’ll want to ask questions such as:
How did you hear about us?
Why did you visit our website?
Have you made a purchase from us online?
How did you find the process?
How much time did you spend on website?
What made you decide to purchase?
Did you find enough information to Inform your decision?
Was our website easy to navigate?
Did you require support?
What was lacking during your experience?
4) Write out all your touchpoints: Touchpoints are all the places online (and offline) that your customers may interact with your brand. Looking at these is an important factor in the journey map because it helps you to discover the actions that your customers are performing, and their behaviors online.
The touchpoints you should cover are:
Actions customers perform during the entirety of their interactions with your brand: This includes actions such as searching Google, navigating through your website, clicking on your social media profile, etc. This will likely be a very long list and it may seem tedious, but this knowledge is necessary and it will inform your decisions moving forward in the mapping process.
Your customers’ desires: The actions your customers take will be dependent on what they’re looking for, throughout each stage of the sales journey. Identifying these motivations will help you to establish whether or not your business is successfully fulfilling their wants and needs.
Obstacles within the customer journey: What roadblocks do your customers face during the sales process? What is holding your customers back from completing an action or a sale? Knowing these pain points will help your brand to make improvements. Inhibitors often include product pricing, shipping rates, etc.
5) Choose the type of map you want to create: According to Kerry Bodine & Co., there are four types of customer journey maps (as listed below).
Current state map: This map shows what customers “do, think, and feel as they interact with your business today.” These maps will show issues that arise, or could arise, between you and your customers and they are beneficial for “driving incremental improvements to your customer experience.”
Day in the life map: These maps illustrate what customers “do, think, and feel today,” but they offer a “wider view by examining everything that customers or prospects do (within a specific area of focus), whether that involves your company or not.” These maps will highlight pain points in your customers’ lives, and they can help drive innovation through “addressing unmet needs.”
Future state map: These maps show what customers “will do, think, and feel as they interact with your business at some point in the future.” This type of map is great for anticipating how customers will respond to the launch of new products or services.
Blueprint maps: These maps are also called service blueprints and they usually begin with a “simplified version of either an existing or future state journey map” and then “they layer on the system of people, processes, policies, and technologies (both customer-facing and behind-the-scenes) that are responsible for delivering that experience today or in the future.” If built around a current state map, blueprint maps will show the causes of current customer issues, and if built around a future state map they will help show “the ecosystem that needs to be in place to support the intended experience.”
6) Review your map and go through the customer journey yourself: At this step you should put yourself in your customers’ shoes and take the customer journey yourself. This will ensure your completed map is an accurate and thorough depiction of what your customers experience as they interact with your brand. This process will not only help you better understand your customers, it will allow you and make improvements to your map if necessary.
7) Incorporate your map into your marketing strategies: Now that you’ve created this valuable resource for your brand, you can use it to help you optimize your various marketing strategies. Look to your map to see how customers are interacting with you on your website and social media platforms. Is their journey as seamless as it can be? What changes can you make to improve their experience within that channel? Do you have enough engaging imagery and content available?
8) Continually evaluate and improve on your customer journey map: Your map will continue to change and evolve going forward. Make sure to reassess your map at regular intervals to help your brand identify obstacles and make potential improvements to your sales process.
Your customer journey map will provide invaluable insight into the minds and behaviors of your customers. Therefore, it will help you to create the best experience you can for those that matter most to your brand. Once you are happy with your customer journey visualization, you can use it as a reference to map content to the most important steps. Need help? We can get you started.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ellan Dineen is the Marketing Associate at Design Wizard. When she’s not hard at work in the Marketing Department, Ellan can be found en route to foreign lands with a book in her hand and a podcast in her ear. With a Master’s in English and Diploma in Social Media Marketing, she knows the importance of staying up-to-date with the industry’s latest trends and insights and is keen to pass these tips on to her readers.