A Beginner’s Guide to Customer Journey Mapping

  • Mike Brown 04-05-2020 Read time (6 min)

A Beginner’s Guide to Customer Journey Mapping

Are you looking for a clear-cut way to reach your customers? Then you need to know all about the process and benefits of customer journey mapping.

 

It’s an undeniable fact that customers are an integral part of any business set up. They unwittingly become the decision makers of your business ventures.

Everything from the product’s conception to its marketing requires customer insights in order to sell. Without this bit of information, you won’t be able to get too far.

So what are these customer insights?

Many business executives believe that it’s the customer’s perception of the company and its products―whether they are good or bad. While it’s true, to a certain extent this kind of thinking limits the usage of the customer insights. One needs to realize that you can’t expect to get tips to improve customer experience based on consumers’ perceptions. Rather you need to know the reasoning behind these views too.

One of the most effective ways to do this is through customer journey mapping. You might have heard this term before. It may have cropped up in a board meeting or someone must have mentioned it casually during a discussion. But you probably couldn’t understand what it truly meant for your business. That’s why we’ve gathered all the essential details on this designing process to help you utilize it in the best way possible.

Here is everything that you need to know about it:

The Basics: What Is Customer Journey Mapping?

Customer journey mapping is also known as the user’s experience mapping. The term means a process that charts down the details of a customer’s experience whenever they use your product/service.

People like Alice Emma Walker refer to it as the mirror to user interactions. Others consider it as a preconceived narrative a designer need to form before they build a product/service. In both cases, you’re required to understand who your audience is and then draw out their experience with the product. This visualizing tool comes in handy pre and post-production. As it gives you a vague idea of how the customer will react to the product/service in question.

With that being said, one must consider these customer journeys as standard models. You don’t have to make them too detailed. Neither should you expect them to be completely accurate in their depiction. Think of it as a holistic view of how your customer interacts with your company on various occasions and a prediction of how well the interaction will go. Understanding this point helps you create a customer journey map that is comprehensible and realistic.

The Process: How to Start?

Customer journey mapping is all about laying the groundwork for a digital venture.

At least that’s what some digital experts like Walker think. They believe that it’s necessary to ‘understand the user’s journey before you start building’ your product. But there are many companies who create user experience maps after the product is made. They use it to modify the content after a trial run fails or as a precautionary measure before they launch a new product.

Overall, this diversity in opinions suggests that customer journey mapping can be used anytime you want. All you have to do is follow a proper pattern that facilitates your mapping process. We drafted a tentative step-by-step guide to nudge you in the right direction.

Let’s have a look:

Step 1: Let Your Research Lead the Way
Research is the key to any business venture. If you want to know who your customers are and where they come from. Then you’ve got to dig up all the necessary details that can help shape up your map. This data includes demographic statistics (e.g. age, gender, locality, race and budget) and the preferential information about your consumer base (interests, buying habits and trends they follow). The collective data will then be used to formulate a realistic customer’s journey.

How do you come about this research? There are two ways to do so:

 

  • Analytical Tools: Install analytical software and utilize tools that keep a track on your customer’s activity. The tools will let you know how often web visitors come to your web page, where do they come from and why they convert. You may also use social media tools to assess where your brand’s reputation. These statistics will help you identify the roadblocks that hinder your customer’s journey. It is definitely a sneaky way to survey your customers and their experiences.
  • One on Ones: You need to get real
    customers involved before you build your customer journey map. This can be done via feedback surveys, interrogation with customer service providers and a chat with the marketing team. The basic idea is to understand the personal experiences of a few customers. This interaction provides a deeper and clear comprehension of what the customers need from your business.

On the whole, both types of research go a long way if you get other departments involved in the process. This collaboration ensures that the design team has more men to maneuver the strategy and access to real insight via people who regularly interact with the customers (sales and customer service correspondence).

Step 2: Crafting Personas
Agile methodologies always involve user stories. The designers (usually UXD) are taught to design their products based on user stories. But instead of opting for a cookie cutter route which generalizes your user. It is important for you to craft multiple user stories. Each of which is created by using a particular category of users in mind.

For instance, a grocer’s shop may sell their shopping app to a mother in a certain way and to a college student in another. It is really all about the context and usage of the particular product in reference to the customer in question.

Similarly, when it comes to designing the app you need to know who’s using it. That’s because tech savvy millennials will easily handle advanced software designs. But if your customer base is wider, then you need to keep the features simple so that the app can be operated by a baby boomer without any issue.

That’s why sketching multiple versions pg the customer journey map is so important. It gives you a better understanding of how your product/service is going to be used. Plus, it ensures that you have your eyes on the bigger picture instead of focusing on minute details.

Step 3: Tracking Touchpoints
The data collected via extensive research and your carefully crafted customer personas will help you create an overview of the customer’s journey. You might have even designated a starting and ending point for their respective experience. But we aren’t done with mapping yet.

Now, it’s time for you to mark down the touchpoints of your customer’s journey. According to literature touchpoints are:

Any interaction (including encounters where there is no physical interaction) that might alter the way that your customer feels about your product, brand, business or service.

It is generally assumed that from the point of discovery to customer retention―everything that goes in between is a customer touchpoint. The general list includes these questions:

  • How did the customer discover your brand?
  • What kind of research did they do before purchase?
  • What criteria do they set for their purchases?
  • Were they satisfied with the delivery/product?
  • What happened after the purchase?

In a customer journey map, you’re required to take your archetypal personas through these series of questions. The answers you get will help you assess the product’s performance from a customer’s perspective.

On the whole, customer journey mapping is all about putting your customer’s habits and interactions under the limelight. You need to examine the way they interact with your brand and what lures them from Point A to Point B. Once you figure all of this out, it becomes easier to understand what they want from the company.

The Aftermath

Is that all?

 

No way. You see the primary goal of customer journey mapping might be obtaining customer insights on the business. But the map can’t be deemed effective if you don’t implement the information you gained into the development of the program. The designers need to use this map as a blueprint that keeps them on the right track when they develop programs. Without the map at hand, your company will get blindsided by your its own priorities.

Moreover, this tentative map will help you improve the user experience by perfecting the interactions that take place at various checkpoints.

Moreover, this tentative map will help you improve the user experience by perfecting the interactions that take place at various checkpoints.

Does that sound like a lot? Maybe it does.

But it is a surefire way for businesses to:

  • Identify the flaws in their initial plan and promptly rectify those mistakes
  • Improve user experience by developing user-friendly products
  • Boost sales by delivering a product that aligns with consumer needs
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction

All in all, by prioritizing your customer’s journey, the design team gets to develop a product that sells on all fronts. Not only will the products turn out functionally perfect but they’ll also be well-liked by the general public. This means that you’ll reap in more revenues from the product.

Words of Wisdom: Customer journey mapping becomes more successful when companies involve other departments too. This ensures that every employee knows what your customer wants and how you aim to deliver that to them.

Let’s Sum It Up…

In the end, customer journey mapping is about looking at the product from a customer’s viewpoint. The map lets you weigh in all the factors that influence the user experience. You then use this information to develop a programmed that ensures a seamless end-to-end user experience. All of this will boost your sales while keeping the customers satisfied. The benefits of customer journey mapping are surely multifold.

So what are you waiting for?

Stop procrastinating and start mapping!