A Step by Step Guide to Building Customer Journey Maps

How well do you understand your customers? Knowing their socio-demographic and psychological properties is good, but not enough for providing high-quality products and services. It is more important to understand not who your customer is, but how he/she interacts with your company. There is a solution that allows comprehending this intricate subject, though. From this article, you will find out how to build a customer journey map that works.

What Is a Customer Journey Map?

Such a map visually illustrates all the client interactions taking place on your website related to your solution, company or service through your website.

A customer journey map serves to model the customer’s path from the first action to the desired goal. Obviously, this is not a linear process. The map consists of different components and can be represented as an illustration, graphic, spreadsheet, diagram or infographic. The specifics of your company and the complexity of your customer’s path will determine the optimal format of visualization.

Why Is Mapping Important?

Building the discussed type of a map can benefit any business. The biggest advantages of mapping the customer journey are:

  • the possibility to learn more about your existing clients and potential prospects;
  • improving and simplifying the sales process;
  • developing a guide for the marketing, sales and technical departments;
  • advancing the customer-focusing culture among employees;
  • detecting invisible pain points and customer churn zones;
  • revealing flaws in UX/UI design and eliminate them;
  • boosting the level customer satisfaction and trust.

As we can see, the above advantages relate to both improving the buying process and optimizing processes inside the company. This, in turn, leads to the advanced performance of your business.

When Does a Company Need a Customer Journey Map?

Mapping is an invaluable tool for any customer-oriented company. There are two different ways to write a customer journey map:

  • For a new company, the dedicated map will help to design the customer journey from scratch and create a high-quality website or application oriented on providing the best user experience.
  • For an existing company, the mapping will help to identify the obstacles on the client’s path to the goal.

The main purpose of such maps is simple. They aim to make sure the customer experience is top-notch and help a client achieve their goals while working to achieve the goals of the company.

From a Customer Persona to a Customer Journey Map

A customer persona is a unified and average representative of your target audience. Let’s define a customer persona for an online famous store with quite a large number of users.

A bad example of a customer persona:

  • Female, aged 30-40, lives in a big city, her wealth is above average.

A good example of a customer persona:

  • Elizabeth, 37 years old, lives in Chicago, work as a sales director for a large insurance company, married, has two kids (5 and 7 years old), her hobby is horseback riding.

Knowing your customer is essential for any provider of products or services. But in addition to the general characteristics of your person, you must also dive deeper to find out the obvious and hidden motivations of the user regarding your product or service.

A detailed understanding of the customer persona will set the basis for interpreting the actions they perform on your website and help to create a realistic customer journey map.

Types of Maps

The easiest way to divide customer maps is into two types:

  • real state (or current situation);
  • future state (or desired situation).

A real state map shows the current situation of the customer journey. It’s a good way to identify the main problems and gaps in the client’s interaction with the website.

A future state map is a guide to action and a direction for a business upgrade. It shows the vision of the company. It is a clearly represented goal, so the company should move towards achieving this goal.

It is important to understand that the preparation of the map itself will not improve the process of interaction with the client. The bottom line is that there is a gap between the real state map and the future state map. Only focusing on results and being willing to take actions will help get the best result from the mapping.

Also, there is another type of mapping which is worth explaining. It is called a «day in life» map. This type allows you to see the client’s interaction with the company’s website in the context of his/her daily affairs. With this map, you can take a broader look at the client’s behavioral pattern, understand the dynamic of his/her mood and motivation to buy.

Key Elements of Customer Journey Maps

Stages

On the way from the entry point to the target action, the customer goes through a certain number of stages. It is important that the gradation of interactions is logical for the user and coincides with his/her personal objectives.

The stages are the core elements which define how to build a customer journey map.

Touchpoints

A touchpoint is the point of interaction between the client and the company. At each stage usually has a number of those.

Customer journey map touchpoints display the real actions of your customer. This may be signing up, adding a product to the cart, writing a review, etc.

Touchpoints are not only a reflection of the client’s actions but also a result of the options that you provide on your website. In fact, all touchpoints are always initiated by the company, because they need a specific tool or call to action.

It is vital to determine the optimal number and the right selection of touchpoints all through the mapping.

Emotions

At each stage and touchpoint, the client relives a certain emotion. On the basis of external and internal knowledge of the client, try to understand how his/her emotional rate changes during the journey. This will help you to deliver the right content at the right time.

Timeline

The right thing to do after dealing with the main elements is to determine the time frame in which your customers interact with your site. This includes both the amount of time spent on the site and the frequency of returns.

Also, sometimes you need to consider that the purchase is not made straight on the spot. Determining the time in quantitative-frequency marks will help to design not only a one-time journey but also a long-term user experience.

Creating a Customer Journey Map Step-by-Step

Define map objectives

Determine why exactly the mapping is required by your company at the current moment in time. What questions are you looking to answer? What special role should the map play? Which of your employees will use the map and for what purposes? By answering all these questions, you will ensure you are moving in the right direction from the very beginning.

Conduct research and collect data

Conduct the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the behavior of your target audience. Find out what exactly customers do on your website and for how long they stay browsing it.

Appealing to Google Analytics will provide you with a lot of data to think about. Here you can find out how users navigate through the site, moving from one page to another (Behavior Flow Report), and whether they are successful in achieving their goals (Goal Flow Report).

Do not miss the opportunity to ask your customers directly,  70% of companies that provide a high-end user experience in their class use customer feedback.

These are some very useful questions:

  • How did you get to our site?
  • What first caught your attention on our site?
  • Are you satisfied with the purchase process?
  • Rate how quickly you reached the goal from 1 to 5;
  • Rate how easy it was to navigate the site from 1 to 5.

Visualize information

The task of the map is to provide vital information in a simple, accessible and visual form. As we said earlier, it could be illustrations, graphics, diagrams, spreadsheets or infographics. There are many options and no universal best way to design a customer journey map.

The main thing is that the map transmits the indicators that are crucial for your company.

Evaluating & Enabling Your Map

The main task of the map is to define each and every issue of your customer journey. The main task for you and your team is to turn these shortcomings into opportunities.

Analyze the map and answer the following questions:

  • What kind of interference does the user experience?
  • Is there a point where a large number of people quit the buying process?
  • Is it possible to reduce the number of user steps on the way to purchase?
  • Does the user get the optimal amount of content?
  • Do customers manage to avoid unnecessary steps?

Discuss with your team how to eliminate all problems in customer experience, how to facilitate and improve the user’s path to the result.

You should implement changes as quickly as possible and move confidently towards improving your business. Analytic conducted by Mckinsey&Company shows that journey-based customer experience uplifts conversions by 20% on average and reduces churn by 25%.

The discussed type of maps is a precise instruction for you and your employees, which will show how to improve customer attitude and raise your sales. You should make it a rule to return to the map to review and evaluate it regularly.

Customer Journey Map Examples

Wealth management real estate solution

 

This map displays the customers’ behavioral pattern in the framework of wealth management. It shows the main stages of customer experience and goals that correspond to each stage. What is good about this map is that it divides the entire customer experience into positive, negative and neutral, while demonstrating the opportunities for improvement. Such a map is useful at the stage of development.

Uber first ride customer journey map

 

Uber journey map

Uber first ride experience map displays the whole process of the first taxi ride defining both the online touchpoints and offline ones. This is a good example of how to map a customers journey which includes all the essential elements (actions, stages, touchpoints, channels), and meets the specific needs of the service at the same time.

 

ECommerce «day in life» solution

 

Daily customer map

This map is a good example of exploring customer experience in the context of a day in the life of a typical customer. This map is an indicator of the client’s state during the day and during the performance of certain actions (related or not related to eCommerce). This map allows you to think about the external circumstances of customer interaction with the company, which are not always obvious when studying the client’s path from inside the website but may still affect the final result.  

Bottom Line

When you create a customer journey map, you acquire a way to reach into the client’s head and to look at the company «from the outside». We hope our expert tips have been informative. Don’t hesitate to invest in creating the map: it is guaranteed to pay off.