How to Create a Customer Journey Map

How to Create a Customer Journey Map
Ekaterina Ryzhikova
October 13, 2021
Last updated: October 14, 2021

One of the ways to find excellent ideas for increasing the number of sales in your company is to build a customer journey map. Do you know how the customer interacts with your product? What inconveniences and problems are encountered on their way and how to make a customer stay with youк product, brand, company as long as possible?

Any obstacle can cut off a person's desire to become your customer. Without taking this into account, you may not even know how you lose hundreds or even thousands of sales. To solve this problem, leading marketers recommend using a customer journey map.

 

What is a Customer Journey Map 

A customer journey in marketing is an experience a customer has while interacting with a company. Visual representation of it is called a customer journey map. A customer journey map is a path to purchase and beyond from the customer's point of view. Such a map displays the customer's actions, thoughts, emotions, and problems that they face on their way of making purchasing decisions.

It usually looks like a diagram, chart, or infographic. It doesn't matter what form you choose. The main thing is that the map should be clear to the company's employees and provide the necessary information to generate ideas for improving the customer experience.

The better you know your audience and understand its needs, the easier it will be for you to adjust your business to customers' wishes and make a quality product.

A customer journey map helps to see the unresolved needs of a customer, their problems in interacting with the company. 

Customer journey mapping is an exercise in visually describing the process a customer goes through to purchase. Customer journey maps are usually just a rough sketch of the possible directions a customer might take. Since everyone is different, you cannot predict the exact steps. However, understanding the customer journey will give you keys to the thought processes, behaviors, and needs of your customers.


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Why You Need a Customer Journey Map

Only in an ideal world, a path to purchase looks like a linear scenario from point A to point B. In fact, in most cases, customers behave in a non-linear manner, and scenarios with a bunch of branches look unpredictable, often chaotic. In addition to getting to know the product and buying it, there are a dozen more non-obvious steps, at each of which it is important to convince the audience to choose you, not to switch to competitors. 

In 2002, psychologist Daniel Kahneman, one of the founders of behavioral economics, won the Nobel Prize for his research on the process of forming judgments and making decisions under conditions of uncertainty. He discovered that our brains operate in two modes: Pilot and Autopilot. When we do something for the first time and learn, then we use the Pilot mode, our awareness is high, but when we have already done something many times, then we start using the Autopilot mode.

Our shopping experience is so great that in the store we operate on Autopilot. Unless we are buying something for the first time. In addition to the offline experience, we have already added the experience of making purchases online. Therefore, people often make a purchase decision intuitively. So, the task of a marketer or anyone who designs a customer experience with a product is to create favorable conditions for making a decision on Autopilot. A customer journey map helps to set these conditions.

 

A customer journey map is a tool that helps youк business to: 

1.     Increase customer loyalty, which means reduce churn and increase the percentage of repeat purchases. Customers who meet a minimum of obstacles on the way to their goal are more willing to return to the company again.

2.     Shorten the sales cycle and increase conversions. A customer journey map helps to remove unnecessary touchpoints and simplify the customer journey. And the faster the customer gets what they want, the fewer chances that he will fall off on the way. 

3.     Increase the customer focus of the company. With the map, each employee understands how the company interacts with customers and how their actions affect the customer experience. Customer journey visualization helps to shift the focus from organizational issues to customer issues.

4.     Reduce the risk of new product failure. A customer journey map acts as a tool for researching the needs of future customers. Allows you to see and eliminate possible issues and problems in advance.

5.     Find growth points for existing products and services.

6.     Form and generalize an omnichannel customer experience. The modern approach to building customer service implies multi-channel interaction between the customer and the product. This approach is also called omnichannel. It uses individual customer interactions across all communication channels under a single platform.

 

An illustrative example is E-commerce. Communication between the customer and the online store goes through a variety of channels that work for the common good.

 

Communication channels can be:

●      Email and SMS with promotions

●      Website and Mobile App

●      TV commercial

●      Off-line stores

●      Pick-up points.

And even the person who delivers the purchase is also a channel of interaction. The way the delivery person interacts with the customer influences the purchasing experience.

 

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How to Create a Customer Journey Map


Basic elements of a customer journey map 

Stages of interaction

The basis of the card is a list of stages that the customer goes through in the process of interacting with the company from the moment of the first contact to leaving. The number and composition of steps depend on the specific business.

 

Touchpoints

Each stage includes one or more points of contact through which the customer interacts with the company. All points are divided into online and offline. Each point, to a greater or lesser extent, affects the overall customer satisfaction, so it would be more correct to highlight them all.

 

Actions

Describe in detail everything that the customer does at each step in order to achieve the set goal. For example: 

Situation: Ordering a taxi through the application.

Actions: I open the application on my smartphone. I choose a place to pick me up from. I indicate the address where I will go. I choose the right car. I press the "Order" button.

 

Prioritization

It is helpful to determine how critical each stage or touchpoint is to overall customer satisfaction. Do not complicate, it is enough to highlight three levels of importance: low, medium, and high.

 

Goals and expectations

It is important to correctly determine what the customer wants to get as a result of their actions at each step. At the very least, it is useful to meet the customer’s expectations and not disappoint them. But it's better if you can do more and get the customer to say, "Wow, that's awesome!" 

Situation: Ordering a taxi through the application.

Goal: Get a good car quickly with an adequate driver.

Expectations: There will be enough cars nearby so that I can get to my destination without delay.

 

Thoughts and questions

This part of the map helps the company put itself in the customer's shoes and understand them better. In the wording, it is important to use words that are used by the customers themselves.

 

Emotions

Most often, emotions are displayed on the map using emoji.

It is important to understand that the feelings of the customer at every step depend not only on the work of the company but also on the content of the stage itself.

Situation: Waiting for the test results in the clinic.

Emotions: Tension and anxiety (regardless of the level of service in the clinic).

Recommendations on how to smooth out the negative emotions: To enable customers to find out the test results as quickly as possible online.

 

Barriers and recommendations

This block records all the problems that the customer faces on the way to the goal. Any little thing will do that prevents the buyer from achieving what they want and moving on to the next step.

The main task of the card is to reduce the number of barriers to a minimum in order to make the client's journey as comfortable as possible. Therefore, next to the barriers, recommendations are indicated on how to eliminate them. For example:

Situation: Registration on the site.

Barrier: confirmation email got into spam.

Recommendations: Ask the customer to add the address to contacts, send the letter again after some time, or even allow them to perform basic actions without registration.

 

In addition to the above elements, it is worth adding any information to the map that will help you better understand a customer:

- Conversion of each step (this will make it easier to assess the effectiveness of actions).

- Time (to understand how much time a customer spends on each step or action).

- Responsible employees for each touchpoint.


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9 steps to create a customer journey map


Step 1: Preparation

Before you start building a customer journey map, you should prepare:

- Collect customer information. Interview the sales managers and try to go all the way on your own. Analyze the reviews of real customers, find out what they like and what they don't. It is also recommended to talk to customers in person - you can interview them.

- Create personas of your target audience. It includes gender, age,  interests, job, and more. For each persona, as a rule, a separate customer journey map is drawn up. 

- Don't do it all alone. It is best to form a team of specialists: marketers, web analysts, product managers, sales managers, executives, designers, programmers. Ask each of them to collect all the data about the company from their area - the more information, the better.

 

Step 2: Create a template

Use special services or an A4 sheet with a pen, draw a table showing the customer journey stages with detailed information. 

Here are some templates yoг may want to use for your inspiration. For example, a customer journey map might look like this:


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A customer journey map template

 

Step 3: Discuss the template

Make an appointment with your team and tell them about your goals, as well as demonstrate the template. Usually, at this stage, the template looks as uninformative as possible. For the most part, it is filled out at the meeting: all the details are discussed, the stages are adjusted, and so on.

 

Step 4: Don’t just make customer paths up

It often happens that the customer journey map is filled with made-up paths that the client does not go through at all. As a result, you have to change the entire map. You cannot change the customer, they will simply leave you, so you should analyze their behavior as much as possible and adapt to them.

 

Step 5: Divide the team into several groups

It is recommended to fill in the card with subgroups that have several participants. Divide your entire team and assign one or two columns of the customer journey map for each group to make the process faster and more varied.

 

Step 6: Discuss the outcome

When the customer journey map is completed by the company's employees, get together and discuss the result. Make corrections and complete the map with the required fields, if necessary.

 

Step 7: Wait for a while

Even after adjustments and additions, you should wait a bit and rethink the entire completed customer journey map. New ideas may come fresh, so give your employees a few days off and arrange the meeting again.

 

Step 8: Share the customer journey map with your audience

A very important step that should not be overlooked. When the map is ready, tell your customers about it, let them discover it. If they do not understand something, then explain all the steps so that customers can go deeper into the map. They often point out mistakes that no one else could have thought of.

 

Step 9: Determine the list of activities, assign deadlines and responsible employees

Please note that the customer journey map bottom line is not the end result, but only the guideline. Once it has been developed, priority steps should be taken to remove obstacles in the customer's path, which will be simple and most effective. On their basis, an action plan is drawn up with an indication of those responsible employees, the purpose of which is to simplify the customer's path and make it the most comfortable.

 

Also, do not forget to periodically update the map, otherwise, everything you have gained may lose relevance. Only the up-to-date map can bring results and success to the company.


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Common Mistakes when Creating a Customer Journey Map 

1. Incorrect elaboration of personas

Do not forget that each segment of the audience must have its own representative - a persona. And each persona has its own custom journey map. Trying to design one persona for all segments will make it too general, and your company will not meet the expectations of your visitors.

 

2. Hypotheses instead of analytics

Putting yourself in the customer's shoes and brainstorming is possible and necessary, but research should be at the forefront - web analytics, surveys, and others. Otherwise, there is a risk of getting customer journey maps that is far from reality.

 

3. A narrow view of the customer journey 

It is advisable to prescribe even those steps that are not directly related to interaction with the site - for example, awareness of the need. Considering the beginning of the journey is not the entrance to the site or store, but the awareness of the need, you can better prepare for the meeting with the customer.

 

4. Building the customer journey map based on business processes 

Sometimes it is tempting to build a customer journey map based on the project's business processes. This can be useful for debugging a company but has nothing to do with improving the customer experience. Do not try to "accustom" customers to your scenario - change the scenario.

 

5. Lack of distribution of areas of responsibility

It is important to understand who is responsible for the creation of the customer journey map, the implementation of changes. For example, a marketer builds a customer journey map based on the analyst's recommendations. Designers and developers use it when developing a website, a mobile app.

 

6. Creation of the customer journey map once and for all

Everything changes - including the behavior of the audience. To benefit from the tool, the customer journey map will have to be constantly 'revised'.

   

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In conclusion 

Building lasting customer relationships is not easy. To do this, you need to understand well their expectations and try to eliminate any problems that arise when interacting with the company. The customer journey map helps to solve these problems and helps understand the experience of customer interaction with the product.

In the article, we have learned what a customer journey map is and how to create one, what the value of it is for businesses, what mistakes should not be made. Now you can create your own customer journey map and ensure that the tool produces impressive results!

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