How a company views itself and how its viewed by its customers often are two very different things. Most businesses are certain that the interaction between them and their customers is immaculate but if they conduct a quick and simple survey it might turn out that there are some problematic areas that customers aren’t very fond of. A better and more detailed approach to observe how a customer interacts with a business is to create a customer journey map. In today’s article, we’ll find out what exactly a customer journey map is, why businesses should care about it, and how an organization can create one. As per usual, prepare and pick up your preferred drink of choice, and let’s plow ahead, shall we?
What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of how customers experience a specific product or service, from initial awareness to post-purchase follow-up. It serves as a great tool to better understand a customer’s journey, identify pain points where the customer experience is lacking and find ways how to alleviate them.
Gaining insights into how customers interact with a brand is a powerful way to increase customer satisfaction and increase customer retention. Minimizing bad customer experiences directly correlates with brand loyalty. 33% of customers will consider switching brands after just one poor experience, however increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25%-95%. If you want to learn more about why customer retention is so important, you can check out our article.
The customer journey map typically includes various touchpoints or interactions the customer has with the product or service, such as visiting the website, talking to customer support, or receiving marketing emails. It can also include emotional or psychological aspects of the customer’s experience, such as their expectations, feelings, and attitudes at each stage of the journey.
Why are customer journey maps important?
We already mentioned a few benefits of creating and analyzing customer journey maps. If you still aren’t convinced of the potential journey maps bring to the table, here are a few more:
Putting yourself in their shoes: By carefully mapping out each touchpoint of the customer journey, companies can become more aware of how customers interact with their product or service. This can help identify areas where the customer may be experiencing friction or frustration, allowing businesses to make improvements that lead to a better overall experience.
A North star: Customer journey maps can also serve as an internal compass for teams that are directly responsible for the performance and quality of the product or service. By having an accurate representation of how people actually interact with the brand, employees can align better and be more productive and efficient.
When in doubt, innovate: When done right, journey maps can also act as a mirror in a way. If businesses take a closer look they can immediately see the problematic areas and have no choice but to address them. Sometimes the existing product or service just doesn’t cut it and the only way out is to innovate — add new features, create new channels for your customers to interact with your business, invest in new technological solutions, etc.
Measuring success: Customer journey maps can be used as a tool to measure the success of customer experience initiatives over time. By tracking changes in the customer journey, businesses can assess the impact of their efforts.
How to create a customer journey map
It’s worth mentioning that there is no “correct” way to create a customer journey map, and the process may vary depending on your location, business, industry, and customer base. However, the above steps provide a general framework that can be customized to meet more specific needs. Here are seven general steps to create a customer journey map:
- Define your customer personas: Identify the different types of customers your business has, their needs, preferences, and behaviors.
- Map out the stages of the customer journey: This usually includes Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, and Post-Purchase stages. Depending on your business, there may be additional stages, such as Loyalty or Advocacy.
- List the touchpoints: Identify all the touchpoints or interactions customers have with your business throughout each stage of the customer journey. This can include things like visiting the website, reading reviews, talking to customer support, receiving emails or ads, and more.
- Gather data: Collect data and feedback from customers, employees, and stakeholders to understand the customer experience at each touchpoint.
- Plot the customer journey: Create a visual representation of the customer journey that shows the touchpoints, emotions, and pain points at each stage.
- Analyze and optimize: Review the customer journey map to identify areas where the customer experience can be improved. Prioritize the most critical touchpoints and pain points, and develop a plan to optimize them.
- Share and iterate: Share the customer journey map with relevant stakeholders and continuously iterate based on new data and feedback.
Although creating customer journey maps may seem complicated at first, they’re actually quite simple once you break the process down into manageable steps. They can vary widely, but all maps share common steps. They are a useful tool for businesses to better understand the customer experience, identify pain points, and make enhancements to better meet customer needs and expectations. The better a company’s ability to automate the processes of tracking and analyzing customer behavior, the more efficient and effective its customer journey mapping process will be.