What Is a Customer Journey Map?

Introduction

A customer journey map is helpful for understanding all aspects of where your customer is in using your product.

Keep on reading to learn more about everything you need to know related to the customer journey map.

What Is a Customer Journey Map? 

Customer journey maps also called user journeys, visualize the journey of the customer from start to finish. 

You can convey the user story with all pain points and experiences through a customer journey map. Such critical insights are used to make necessary upgrades. 

Customer journey maps jot down the steps that the customer takes to carry out a function. This helps improve the brand, user experience, and new opportunities for your organization. 

Customer journey maps are built through user research that is data-driven. As a result, these maps represent the user’s sentiments and goals. Companies often create several journey maps to fully understand the customer. 

But understanding the user and their journey is not enough. It is important to act on it by graphically visualizing their journey. 

This graphic can be used as a reference point by your team to actually design the customer journey map. 

The Difference Between a Customer Journey Map and Customer Journey Mapping

Did you think both terms meant the same with just a little twist in the grammar? Well, we are here to correct you.

Customer journey mapping is actually the process of designing a customer journey map. This activity is carried out before the customer journey map is made. It helps the company foster customer empathy and think from their perspective. 

All the customer’s pain points are listed down. This could include glitches on the website, interactions with the sales team, social media, etc. 

Customer journeys are drafted for each user persona. For instance, the middle-aged customers may not necessarily prefer online shopping as much as millennials. Hence, the user journey of both these target audiences is going to be different. 

Every pain point of the customer should have a customer journey map so that action can be taken and the brand response can be improved. 

Why Customer Journey Mapping Is Important 

Improves Customer Experience

At every step, a customer journey map identifies the customer’s needs, feelings, emotions, goals, motivations, and issues

The kind of issues customers face and the kind of questions they have been understood through the customer journey map. 

It helps to improve the customer experience. 

Enhances Customer Commitment

An effective customer journey map doesn’t ignore the feedback customers have in-store. 

Such constructive feedback helps understand why customers leave and what measures need to be taken to retain them. This way you can enhance customer commitment. 

Relevant Marketing Strategies

When you understand your customers, it becomes easier to implement effective marketing strategies

Through the customer journey map, you will understand your customers’ decisions and habits. This can enable you to alter your marketing campaigns to suit them and cater to their interests. 

Personalized Marketing

A customer journey map gives an in-depth understanding of the customer. 

When you know the customers very well, you understand how they navigate and buy your product. You can implement personalized marketing strategies for greater engagement and conversion rates

Dynamic Customer Support

Because the customer journey map serves as a blueprint of customer experience, you will know what delights the customers and what doesn’t. You can use this to intervene at the right time and foster brand loyalty. 

Communicating your troubles with the customers is just as important. For instance, if your website is underperforming for whatever reason, make sure to alert your customers and offer a polite apology. 

This helps them rely on you. 

How to Create a Customer Journey Map Step-by-Step

There are seven stages of creating a comprehensive customer journey map. 

Step 1: Identify Your Purpose

Before building the customer journey map, reflect on why you are actually making one and what goals you have for it.

You can build the buyer persona so that you can direct your customer journey map accordingly. 

Step 2: Build a Buyer Persona

If you haven’t read our article about buyer persona and how to make it, click here

Once you have your buyer persona, the next step is to verify the data and understand the ultimate goals of the buyers. 

You can do this by determining the path your customer takes to carry out an action. By doing so, you’ll also understand their pain points. 

Step 3: Narrow Down Your Target Buyer Persona

Once you have all the buyer personas and look through the customer journeys, you can narrow everything down to various bases. 

Which customer base is your target market? Which buyer persona brings you the most sales or profit? Who are the most irrelevant personas that you have evaluated?

We recommend that you pick the best two personas because picking up too many can make an unreliable customer journey map. 

Step 4: Identify the Points of Interaction With Your Customer

Once you have shortlisted which buyer personas are going to be in the customer journey map, highlight the touchpoints. 

Touchpoints are the points of interaction between you and your customer.  This includes your website ads, marketing campaigns, social media pages, etc. 

This is a crucial step because such an interaction can help you understand how they are actually engaging with your company. This may also bring forward the pain points of the customer such as difficulty in navigation, points of improvement, etc.

Step 5: Prioritize Tasks

Once you have gathered specific insights from the previous step, you can prioritize which task you should undertake first to maximize the accuracy of your customer journey map. 

For example, if you have a problem with your website and email marketing but the issue with the website is more detrimental, you can fix the problem with the website first. 

Step 6: Resource Acquisition and Allocation

Your customer journey map is going to highlight bits of information from every department in your organization. 

It’s crucial to allocate your resources where they are needed and acquire more in case you need them to improve the customer journey. 

For example, you identified that the research and development team is struggling with existing tools and needs more to function well. You can then use the map to inform management to either direct resources from other teams towards research (allocation) or fund the research team from a different source (acquisition). 

Step 7: Update 

A customer journey map isn’t stationary. 

To be effective, it has to be a constant work-in-progress. Even if the changes are too small or big, they ultimately improve the customer experience. Hence, they are essential. 

It is also recommended to keep stakeholders in the loop because they bring additional insights to the table. Meetings can be held to discuss how the products are doing and which features may have impacted the audience the most. 

What Are Some Challenges of the Customer Journey Map? 

As every coin has two sides, the customer journey map also has a few challenges that you’ll come across. They are as follows:

Involving Various Departments

A customer journey map involves various areas, especially ones that are customer-centric in nature. They include departments such as UX design, marketing, sales, etc. 

Inputs from employees working in those departments can help create a thorough customer journey map. However, failure to involve all necessary departments can lead to incomplete knowledge and negligence towards potential issues. 

Customer journey maps are also used in training sessions of new employees. Such a mistake can cause much damage to the firm in the long run. 

Though a customer journey map can never be perfect, it needs to be as accurate as possible. 

Lack of User Data

Insufficient user research can result in a shortage of user data. 

This makes it difficult to create a customer journey map because there isn’t enough data to rely on to predict customer behavior, pain points, and satisfaction levels. 

It also becomes difficult to determine which stage of the journey the customer is at. 

Alternative methods to acquire user data are surveys, social media channels, and voice-of-the-customer programs. 

Not Updating Customer Journey Maps

Many companies assume that once a customer journey map is made, it reflects customer behavior for a long period of time. However, that is the most common mistake. Customer journey maps should be regularly updated and revised. 

They should not be treated as static entities because change is constant, along with emerging issues and challenges. 

It is important that the team takes time to reflect on these changes to revise the customer journey maps. Other departments can also be informed about required changes.

Our Five Tips to Create a Customer Journey Map That Provides Real Insights

  1. The customer journey map should be constantly modified. Keep updating it regularly and simultaneously to have all departments informed.
  1. Undertake the user journey yourself to foster customer empathy. 
  1. Each journey map must have a goal. Make sure it is not too generic because that will inhibit its effectiveness. 
  1. Make sure that the customer journey map is easily accessible to all relevant teams. This keeps everyone informed on updates in the process. 
  1. Do not ignore the importance of customer feedback. Do not resent customers for reaching out with anger or frustration because that is something that will help you become better.

Conclusion

The customer journey map is a helpful tool to make your product more customer-centric. Use these insights to make a better product today!

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