A customer journey map is a visual representation of all interactions a customer has with a brand as part of their customer journey. It is used to define which parts of this process are not working smoothly in order to improve the customer experience. When used correctly, it can lead to customer loyalty, positive word of mouth, and a more efficient business model.
The customer journey mapping provides the company with valuable and meaningful information on the question of how customer service and thus the customer journey can be improved. In other words, it helps UX designers to better understand what they need to do.
Reasons Why Customer Journey Mapping is Crucial for the Customer Experience
At first glance, it might seem like there isn’t anything difficult about the customer journey: your company offers a certain product/service, a customer becomes aware of it and buys it. But as soon as you go into a little more detail, everything becomes a lot more complex. That’s why you should check out the most common customer journey mapping mistakes before continuing reading.
A customer journey does not consist of a simple buying process, but of several phases. At the beginning, there is the perception of a brand, and in the end, ideally, the customer becomes a brand advocate.
However, each phase has several touchpoints:
- Social media campaigns;
- Personal recommendations;
- Customer service inquiries;
- Above-the-line campaigns.
A CJM is a helpful tool that companies can use to evaluate the quality of customer experiences at each touchpoint. Keep in mind that every touchpoint and every interaction has to be recorded.
Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping
Here are a few questions to which CJM provides answers in view of the aspects mentioned above:
- What does the sales process look like?
- What are the discrepancies between the desired and the actual customer experience?
- Where do different customer groups interact with your brand in the sales funnel?
- Is the customer journey arranged logically?
- How do internal circumstances affect the customer experience?
An objective, precise and comprehensive customer journey is a solid foundation for successful consumer service, as it can help you create a positive customer experience.
Five Simple Steps to Creating a Customer Journey Map
While many large brands use customer journey maps to capture the customer experience at multiple touchpoints, many smaller companies are hesitant to even try it out.
An example of the customer journey map, source: UXPressia
You see this concept as something abstract and unmanageable when in reality it is just a series of logical steps based on understanding your customers and gathering relevant data.
In order to develop a powerful marketing tool using a CJM, it’s best to base the analysis of the purchase decision process on a concrete interaction scenario.
This means defining customer groups and use cases, analyzing relevant touchpoints, and identifying the actors involved. Ideally, a separate CJM should be created for each scenario.
Step 1: Get All Departments Involved
To create a CJM, assemble a team that consists of several departments. It’s best to include departments in your company that don’t have direct customer contact. This is because such employees can provide new perspectives and important information. So, for example, include management, marketing, and HR in addition to service and sales.
Step 2: Use the Customer Personalities as a Starting Point
With the definition of the personas, the basis for the CJM is laid. Personas represent an exemplary customer from the respective target group, on whom the entire customer journey mapping is based. There are different customer journeys for different target groups and their personas, so it’s impossible to create a one-size-fits-all map that would work for all customers and businesses. Instead, you will have to create a new customer map depending on personality types.
By dividing the target group into separate personalities, you receive a more differentiated answer to the question of the extent to which the decisive moments of the customer journey affect brand perception. First, choose an audience segment that is relevant to your business goals. After that you will need to answer the following questions:
- In which phase of the customer relationship is the person?
- Can you precisely determine what you need from the customer during this phase (e.g. content sharing)?
Once you have answered these questions, you can focus on the customer journey.
Step 3: Define Phases of the Buying Process
Now that you have defined the customer group, you should define the customer’s steps in their customer journey. To do this, you have to determine which goal the customer is pursuing, as well as the type and the endpoint of the customer journey. For example, it can be a purchase, an extension of the contract, or termination.
Step 4: Collect Relevant Data
As long as you’ve done everything mentioned above, you can now start collecting data. How, when, and where does the customer personality deal with certain content? Your goal is to get a complete picture of how they interact with your brand. This is where analytical and anecdotal investigations can help you.
The most obvious source of customer data is website analysis, which tells you how your company was recommended to customers, what exactly they viewed, the amount of time they spent on those pages, and the links they clicked. If necessary, it can also be seen at which point of contact the interaction was interrupted.
However, be careful to interpret this data correctly. For example, a high number of clicks doesn’t necessarily mean that a user is satisfied. It may be that they couldn’t find what they were looking for.
Anecdotal (Qualitative) Investigation
Anecdotes from user experiences complete the picture. Sometimes they are required to complete your analytical research; in other cases, it can be the starting point for choosing the best analytical study.
If you can’t get your customers to speak to you directly, there are other ways to find out their experiences and opinions about the brand. For example, by taking a look at online reviews or comments, which can be very informative.
Another option is to interview the people who have the most contact with these customers, such as support staff.
Once you are satisfied with your research, you should set up a CJM workshop before moving on to the hands-on part of the process.
Step 5: Run a CJM Workshop
The workshop should be used as a practical tool for determining customer wishes and needs, not as an exercise. Thus, your employees must be ready to think like a customer.
Both the analytical data and the customer feedback play an important role here because they prevent the employees from presenting their own views as facts.
The main purpose of the internal workshop is to present all the recorded data as a sequence of phases, processes, or steps. This way, you can identify any existing problems and come up with effective solutions.