Customer Journey Map: What It's For and Examples
A Customer Journey Map is a detailed visualization of the process a customer goes through to complete a purchase. It includes actions, thoughts, and emotions of the user, chronologically described along a timeline.
You might be wondering why a customer on an online store spends so much time examining a product before adding it to the cart (reading reviews, comparing prices with other products) only to later close the tab without making a purchase.
On the other hand, there might be people who get from point A to point B quickly without previous steps because they already know what they're going to buy.
Some customers have a budget or a defined list of products and stick to it, but many others are swayed by emotions of the moment and add to the cart the products suggested by the eCommerce platform.
How can you know exactly what motivates or discourages your customers in the process for them to complete or not a purchase? What could you do to motivate them to make the purchase? For this, Customer Journey Maps exist.
What is a Customer Journey Map?
A Customer Journey Map is a visualization of the process a customer goes through to make a purchase or achieve another goal.
In its most basic form, it starts by compiling a series of user actions on a timeline. Then, the timeline is developed with the user's thoughts and emotions to create a narrative. This narrative is condensed and polished, which eventually leads to a visualization.
Most of these maps follow a similar format:
At the top, a specific user and a specific scenario.
In the middle, corresponding expectations or goals are added, along with the user's actions, thoughts, and emotions.
And finally, at the bottom, the conclusions.
A variety of forms are often used to represent this journey or path: Sticky notes on a boardroom wall, Excel spreadsheets, or infographics. There isn't one format that is better than another. The most important thing is that the map makes sense to those who use it.
What are the benefits of creating a Customer Journey Map?
Application of an Inbound perspective in your company
By tracing the customer journey, you can understand what is interesting and useful to your customers about your company and website, and what they are rejecting. This way, you can create the type of content that will draw them to your company and keep them there.
Creation of a new target customer base
If you know and define them, you can refine your Marketing Strategy for that specific audience and increase your reach and sales. You will save a lot of time and money by targeting a specific audience rather than repeatedly targeting a too broad audience.
Implementation of a proactive customer service
A Customer Journey Map is like a roadmap to the customer experience. This shows moments when people will experience satisfaction or situations where they might face misunderstandings.
Improves your customer retention rate
If you have a complete view of the customer journey, it is easier to select areas where you can improve. When you do, customers experience fewer inconveniences, leading to fewer people leaving your brand for the competition.
Develop a customer-focused approach
As your company grows, it can be difficult to coordinate all departments to be customer-focused. Often, there may be cases where sales and marketing goals are not based on what customers really want.
What elements make up a Customer Journey Map?
Customer Journey Maps come in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of how they look, maps have the following 5 key elements in common:
1. Actor (User)
The actor is the person or user who experiences the journey (in this case, the purchase). Actors generally align with personas and their actions on the map are based on data.
Provides one point of view per map to build a solid and clear narrative. For example, a university could choose a student or a faculty member as an actor; each would result in different journeys or actions.
For instance, one journey or action would be paying the enrollment to enter the University and another journey or action would be making the corresponding payment for courses to learn a foreign language.
To capture both viewpoints, the university will need to build two separate maps, one for enrollment and one for foreign language courses.
2. Scenario + Expectations
The scenario describes the situation that the map addresses and is associated with the goal or need and specific expectations of an actor. For example, a scenario could be switching mobile plan to another company to save money, and expectations include easily finding all the necessary information to make a decision.
Scenarios can be real (for existing products and services) or anticipated, for products still in the design stage.
3. Journey Phases
The journey phases are the different high-level stages of the journey. They provide organization for the rest of the information in the Customer Journey Map (actions, thoughts, and emotions).
The stages will vary from one scenario to another; each organization will normally have data that helps it determine what these stages are for a given scenario. Here are some examples:
- For an e-commerce scenario (like buying Bluetooth headphones), the stages could be: Discover, Try, Buy, Use, Seek Support.
- For larger purchases (like buying a car), the stages could be: Engagement, Education, Research, Evaluation, Justification.
- For a corporate business scenario (like buying a Human Resources course for employees), the stages could be: Purchase, Adoption, Retention, Expansion, Advocacy.
4. Actions, Mindsets, and Emotions
These are behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that the actor has throughout the journey and are mapped within each of the journey phases.
They are the actual behaviors and steps taken by users. This component is not intended to be a granular step-by-step record of each discrete interaction. Rather, it is a narrative of the steps that the actor takes during that phase.
They correspond to the thoughts, questions, motivations, and information needs of users at different stages of the journey.
They are plotted as a single line throughout the journey phases, literally indicating the emotional "highs and lows" of the experience. Think of this line as a contextual layer of emotion that tells us where the user is delighted versus where they are frustrated.
Opportunities (along with additional context, such as ownership and metrics) are information that is gleaned from the mapping. They speak to how the user experience can be optimized. Insights and opportunities help the team extract knowledge from the map:
What to do with this knowledge?
Who owns what change?
Where are the biggest opportunities?
How are we going to measure the improvements we implement?
Examples of Customer Journey Map
Example 1- Cafeteria Buyer's Customer Journey Map
Phase 1: Here we find a cafeteria that centers its journey map on customers who are nearby and more likely to buy from them. So, they focus their Facebook and Instagram ad campaign within a 10-kilometer radius. This way, their potential customers who love coffee can notice them.
Phase 2: Once a person sees them, they check their offer, the quality of their product, third-party reviews, service hours, and address. Also at this stage, the cafeteria sends them ads on the days when they have special promotions.
Phase 3: Attracted by all the information gathered, the person moves further in their Customer Journey Map, so they agree to share their email address to receive a discount. From there, the decision stage matures with an email about the quality of the product and another with their menu and payment methods.
Example 2- Online Course Buyer's Customer Journey Map
Phase 1: We have another Customer Journey Map with a much more defined Buyer Persona. This is the example of an architectural firm that promotes its online course through its blog on architecture and structural design topics. This helps visitors to their website enter the recognition stage.
Phase 2: Then, to be considered by their potential customers, the firm begins to offer an architecture ebook as an incentive, the course syllabus, a promotional video with the speakers, social network ads, and more articles on the online course.
Phase 3: Thus, their primary customer has the necessary data to compare the course with others and delve into the final stage. They are also allowed to know more about the speakers, check prices, slot details, and schedules. Once the lead is convinced, they fill out the course registration form.
How to create a Customer Journey Map?
1. Set clear goals for your map
Before creating your map, you need to ask yourself why you're making one in the first place. What objectives are you directing this map towards? Who is it specifically about? What experience is it based on?
From this, you might need to create a buyer persona, that is, a fictitious customer who represents your average or ideal customer with all the demographic and psychographic data. Having a clear buyer persona is helpful to remember to address customers in all aspects of the Customer Journey Map.
2. Profile your Buyer Personas and define your goals
Next, you should conduct research. One of the best ways to get valuable customer feedback is through questionnaires and user tests. The key is to reach out only to current or potential customers.
What you need is to get feedback from people who are really interested in buying your products and services and who have interacted with your company before or plan to do so.
Some examples of good questions to ask are:
How did you hear about our company?
What first attracted you to our website?
What are the goals you want to achieve with our company? In other words, what problems are you trying to solve?
How long have you been or usually spend on our website?
Have you ever made a purchase with us? If so, what was your deciding factor?
Have you ever interacted with our website intending to make a purchase but decided not to? If so, what led you to make this decision?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how easy is it for you to navigate our website?
Have you ever needed customer service? If so, how helpful was it, on a scale of 1 to 10?
Is there any way we can provide you with more support to facilitate your purchasing process?
3. Focus on the Buyer Personas that best represent your target customers
Once you've learned about the different Buyer Personas that interact with your business, you should focus on one or two of them. Remember, a Customer Journey Map tracks the experience of one type of customer who is taking a very specific path with your company. If you group too many people into the same journey, your map will not accurately reflect the customers' experience.
If you're creating your first map, it's best to choose the most common type of customer and consider the route they would usually take when interacting with your business for the first time.
4. List all touchpoints
Touchpoints are all the places on your website where customers can interact with your brand. Based on your research, you should list all the touchpoints that your customers and prospects are currently using, as well as those you think they should use.
This doesn't just refer to the website. You should analyze all the ways your customer can find you online. These digital environments might include:
Third-party review sites or mentions
Perform a quick Google search of your brand to see all the pages that mention it. Verify them in Google Analytics to see where the traffic is coming from.
5. Determine the resources you have and those you'll need
The customer experience map will encompass almost all parts of your business. This highlights all the resources that are used to create the customer experience. Therefore, it is important to take stock of the resources you have and those you will need to improve the customer experience.
For example, perhaps your map highlights some flaws in your customer service and you notice that your team in that department doesn't have the necessary tools to properly follow up with customers after an interaction.
With your map, you can advise management to invest in customer service tools that will help the team in this area to more comprehensively manage customer demand.
This makes it much easier to persuade decision-makers to invest in certain proposals.
6. Undertake the customer journey yourself
The fact that you've designed a map doesn't mean your work is done. This is the most important part of the process: analyzing the results.
How many people click on your website but then close before making a purchase? How can you better assist customers? These are some of the questions you should answer with your completed map.
Analyzing the results can show you where the customer's needs are not being met. By addressing this, you can ensure you improve to provide a valuable experience and make it clear to people that they can find solutions to their problems with the help of your company.
The entire exercise of mapping the customer experience remains hypothetical until you test it yourself. Follow the journey as if you were one of your customers through social media, reading their emails, and online search; put yourself in their shoes and identify how smooth it is, where you encounter problems, where you lacked information, etc.
7. Make the necessary changes
The data analysis should give you an idea of what you want for your website, then you can make the necessary changes to achieve your goals. You may find that you need different calls to action, or perhaps you need to write longer descriptions under each product to make everything clearer.
No matter how big or small the changes are: they will always be effective, as they are directly related to what customers have listed as their pain points or needs.
Instead of making blind changes in the hope that it will improve the customer experience, you can be sure that you will do it based on what your analysis indicates. With the help of the customer journey map, you ensure that these needs and pain points are always addressed.
BETTER USER EXPERIENCE
The Customer Journey Map is a process that provides a complete view of the customer experience by uncovering moments of both frustration and pleasure across a series of interactions.
Successfully carried out, it reveals opportunities to address customer pain points, alleviate fragmentation, and ultimately create a better experience for your users.