Customer journey mapping is crucial for organizations to understand potential customers and achieve success. By identifying all touchpoints, a customer journey map can help improve the customer experience up to the point of purchase. Companies that provide a smooth and meaningful experience can gain loyal customers. Follow our step-by-step process to create an actionable customer journey map using the template provided in this article to engage with prospects at every touchpoint.
A good journey map will guide your company in making the best decisions, improving the website's usability, and understanding the buying trends. However, every prospect has a unique reason for visiting your website.
Therefore, mapping a customer journey can be daunting since it requires you to gain insights into your customer's needs and expectations and create different maps for different kinds of prospects. Gartner estimates that 82% of organizations have created customer journey maps, but only 47% implement them successfully. And this is why most companies fail to track and address gaps in user experience.
What Is a Customer Journey Map?
The customer journey map visually represents a customer's experience with a particular brand. It showcases how a prospect moves through different phases of interaction and experience before they become a customer. It details a customer’s start-to-finish journey with your company, from brand discovery, prospects visiting your website, checking feedback, making a purchase to onboarding emails and cancellations.
A well-constructed and researched customer journey map can show your target audience that you care about them, build brand loyalty and give you the edge over your competitors. A study done by Forbes found that positive interactions lead customers to spend as much as 140% more.
Your company can hire an expert to create custom maps, but every business owner must possess this skill as every map must be tailored to the business or product.
What Should a Customer Journey Map Include?
Once the customer journey map includes information given below, the marketing team will have access to holistic information that can deliver maximum benefits.
- Customer touchpoints - This includes every time your prospects interact with your brand.
- Customer moments of truth – This refers to a pivotal engagement that makes prospective customers change their minds about a brand, product, or service.
- Prospects pain points - This includes all the barriers or challenges a prospect faces while interacting with your brand.
- Desired actions – The map must include the action your team plans to take, including email drip campaigns or engagement with content.
Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping
Customer journey mapping is a powerful tool that can drive business goals, remain consistent, and retain customer loyalty. According to Hanover Research's 2022 report, 94% of businesses use customer journey maps to develop new products and services.
Now that we know mapping gives necessary insight into how the customers interact with products or services, here are the other benefits that come along with it.
- Targeted customer insights - Collecting information on the prospects, their pain points, and expectations can help you understand and optimize the customer experience with your business.
- Fewer business silos – Customer mapping can break down silos between departments and close interdepartmental gaps. The company can also assign ownership to customer touchpoints to increase employee accountability.
- Improve customer retention - Target specific customer personas with personalized marketing campaigns. This way, you can retain existing customers and generate referrals. For example - A well-crafted map considers post-purchase experiences.
- Boost customer engagement - Promotes positive attention leading to more satisfied customers that are more likely to return for repeat purchases. For example- You can provide informative content to improve your inbound marketing efforts.
- Better customer focus - Place prospects at the forefront of your company's operations and get ahead of challenges that affect their experiences. A company can drive better results if they are more customer-centric and less organization-focused. For example- If you expect a higher inflow of customers and are low in stock, then you can inform your customers of the expected delay.
- Make informed decisions - This allows your company to assess the ROI of future UX/CX investments it decides to make. It helps stakeholders from multiple business units understand customers better, driving success across the business.
- Improve your marketing efforts – Once you understand how your customers make decisions and which platform, they are most active on, your team can create targeted campaigns that address their needs and pain points.
How to Create a Customer Journey Map
Step 1 - Select your goals or objectives
To make a tangible impact on your prospective customers and business, your customer journey map needs a goal. Decide what your company wants to accomplish, which buyer personas to reach out to, and which touchpoints to highlight. Reflect your overall company goals, such as improved customer retention, higher ROI, and increased revenue in the map.
Create achievable goals for each stage of the customer journey to improve and make necessary enhancements. Collecting customer data helps create a buyer persona for optimized buyers, a necessary step in mapping the customer journey. A pro tip is to decide on relevant metrics to track the customer journey map.
Step 2 – Create a buyer's persona
Once the team has a clear objective, it is time to understand whom you are making the map for. A buyer's persona is one tactic that helps marketers define their target customers and better understand their pain points and topics of interest. The buyer persona usually includes demographics like age, gender, job title, industry, company name, and geographical location. Getting psychographic data is more challenging, but it can benefit you by identifying customer preferences, needs, and wants.
Creating a buyer persona will require your team to do in-depth market research and acquire this data. Depending on the maturity of your business, you may already have a pre-existing database, but that can be inaccurate. Find a data provider like DataCaptive to get an accurate and verified contact list based on your target audience. This will save your time and make the process more efficient. However, if you are looking for a way to gather specific customer data, then here are a few ways to do that:
- Conduct interviews
- Email a survey to existing users
- Add opt-in form on your landing pages
- Run user testing with your product
- Check your customer support
- Look into feedback sites
- Listen to recorded call center conversations.
- Monitor how our company is perceived on social media
- Leverage web analytics
You can also find answers to questions like:
- How did customers initially find your brand?
- What problems are your product or service solving?
- Was the website or app easy to use and navigate?
- What problem drove the customer to your company?
- What made them decide to choose your product?
- How often do they interact with your brand or product?
A single company can have multiple customer profiles; the sales team must decide whether the map reflects multiple buyer's personas in one or if they want to create an individual map for every buyer persona.
Step 3 - Define the customer touchpoints
Customer journey touchpoints are the most vital part of the journey map as it defines how the customers interact with and experience your brand. An example of a touchpoint can be when your customer interacts with your company website, an advertisement, an online review, or even contacting customer support. This part must address elements of action, emotion, and pain points. Brainstorm all the different ways your prospect will likely interact with your brand and note the actions they can take.
The number and type of touch points should be decided depending on the type of business and industry it belongs to. For example, if you are a marketing automation company, your touch points will differ from a B2C eCommerce company. Therefore, choose the touchpoints that are relevant to the business and target audience. There are a few readily available ways to track customer touchpoints:
- Google Analytics – Analytical tools can provide clear visualizations, user behavior, and cross-site navigation based on events. And your team can use this data to create the touchpoints necessary to convert your prospect into customers.
- Search engine results – One of the easiest ways to find out where your customers are coming from is by searching your brand name on Google or other search engines. This tactic will aid your team in recognizing how prospects are directed to your website.
Step 4 - Identify the different stages
Once you have identified your ideal target audience, the touchpoint must be divided into the sales funnel stages. A business can have multiple unique stages depending on which sales goal the company is trying to achieve. We have listed down the four distinct stages that a typical customer journey includes: the awareness stage, the consideration stage, the decision stage, and the retention stage.
- Awareness stage – This stage is when the prospect recognizes a pain point that needs to be solved and has just encountered your product or service for the first time. This stage gives you information why they are searching for a particular product or service, their motivations for buying, and whether your product or service is the right fit for the them.
- Consideration stage – This stage starts when the prospect is considering whether or not they want to invest in your offering. It is usually when customers actively research your brand and its competitors in the market. They start browsing product descriptions and their pricing, visit 'About Us" pages, contact pages, help centers, and FAQs, and search through online reviews and feedback.
- Decision stage – This is the most crucial stage, since this is when the prospects have gathered enough information to make their purchase decision. This phase often includes in-person conversations, online ordering pages, email confirmations, and FAQs on shipping and billing expectations.
- Retention stage – This stage commences once the customer makes the initial purchase and evaluates their overall experience. Here the main goal is to convert the customer into a loyal and returning customer. It requires you to provide good post-sales customer support, future discounts, or membership programs. You can also use this stage to get referrals from them.
Step 5 – Identify the areas for improvement
This phase allows the marketers to create the ideal buyer’s journey or make changes to the existing customer journey map. Once you visualize the future map, it will showcase the current gaps or obstacles that need to be solved. Multiple touchpoints will need improvement over time. Therefore, examining your existing map will disclose the gaps in your CX, information overlap, poor transitions between stages, and significant challenges or buyer’s behavior.
Here your team can prioritize the areas that need improvement and find optimal solutions for them. A beneficial tip here is to follow different customers on their journey, as it may shed light on what can be done to improve your customers' attitude toward your brand. The visual representation can sprout new ideas while improving the entire customer experience. For starters, use this basic customer journey map template:
Step 6 - Future State Journey Mapping
Once your team has identified the areas of improvement, you can apply the right solution and create a future state customer journey map. By mapping future state journeys, you can visualize what your prospects may experience when interacting with your company. In other words, it is the ideal journey you want your prospects to embark on.
One important thing to note here is that a marketer must first conduct research, understand the current state, and only then work on your future state. This step is advantageous if the company is launching a new product or service, wants to illustrate its vision to the team or set clear strategic goals. Here are a few benefits of creating a future state journey map:
- Keeps the focus on the prospects
- Drive strategy
- Align different teams
- Control power dynamics
- Uncover future pain points that may occur
- Extract and articulate a vision
Customers nowadays are demanding and expect the customer experience to be connected and seamless. They expect companies to remember who they are and what they are looking for, and this is where a customer journey map can help your company. Mapping user journeys can aid a company in evaluating how they take care of their customers and make improvements to enhance their experience with your brand.
Improving the customer experience at each touchpoint in the journey can build a loyal customer base and keep them coming back time and time again. Be sure to utilize all available resources when creating or revising your journey maps. And remember to keep your customer in mind from beginning to end. We hope this article and customer journey map template helps your team create great journey map.