The steps it takes for a customer to purchase your product, upgrade their subscription, or recommend your business to others, seems straightforward. However, with so many factors at play, simplicity is far from the case. The littlest downside in a customer’s experience can make them turn away.
In fact, customer experience is so important, many consumers value it just as much as the product or service your business offers. With this in mind, it’s important to mediate problems and improve customer experiences at all points of interaction with your business. That’s why journey mapping is essential.
What is customer journey mapping?
A customer journey map is a visual depiction of the journey a consumer takes with your business to complete a goal. Whether that goal is to renew a service subscription or purchase an item, a journey map highlights every stage the consumer must go through.
Consumer/User journey mapping is the actual process of drawing this customer journey. To create this journey map, businesses must research their customers, consider potential setbacks, and brainstorm all touchpoints. Touchpoints represent all interactions your consumer makes with your business; from the research they perform into your product down to the purchase of your service. Then, businesses draw a step-by-step layout from start to finish of the customer journey, much like a story. These components play into a cohesive construction of a journey map.
Why Should Your Business Use Journey Maps?
What role does journey mapping play within businesses? How could this mapping be beneficial?
Journey mapping places businesses directly into their customer’s shoes. In general, its end purpose is to create a better customer experience. Creating an organized blueprint of all components that play into the consumer’s journey, ensures that businesses don’t overlook any factors. These maps implement the persona of the consumer, their emotional experience, motivators, and barriers in order to directly target the problem. Journey maps provide the basis to make informed changes within a business.
If a current problem does exist, such as low sales, businesses can use journey maps to pinpoint where they’re not meeting customer expectations. Often, businesses delve into the logistics of their product or service far too much, they lose sight of the entirety of a customer’s experience. Then when goals aren’t met, business owners are left wondering what went wrong.
For example, let’s say your company is selling T-Shirts and printed gifts and people who visit your website don’t place items in their cart. Through journey mapping, this allows you to examine the consumer, the issues they experience with your website, and so on. From here, solutions are created (was it the website design interaction, was it payment methods, was it product description, and so on.)
Journey maps provide insightful information that can lead to sustainable solutions for your customer experience problems.
How are Journey Maps Beneficial for Businesses?
A thorough understanding of your consumers allows you to form better business strategies. This can lead to greater business outcomes and continual success for your brand. After all, customers are what keeps businesses running. Here are some ways journey maps can help out business owners in the long run:
- Consumer Personalization
Journey mapping allows you to brainstorm ways to personalize your service or marketing strategy according to your consumer base. Customers love to feel special.
As previously stated, a journey map is centered around one type of customer. For example, with the T-Shirts and printed gifts business, People from the age of 16-36 would be the main target. As such, creating marketing ads on Facebook and Instagram would be more viable than posting on SoundCloud. With a general layout that a journey map provides, you can tailor each stage to your target audience.
Additionally, when you understand your consumer basis, their problems, and what they want, you spend less money trying to appease everyone.
- Discovering current problems
Solving customer experience issues is one of the most vital purposes of a journey map. Perhaps your website is too complicated. Maybe the shipping price for items is too high. Whatever it is, journey maps allow businesses to scope out and narrow the point of friction along the customer journey. With enough consumer data, these points where customers turn away become more evident. Journey maps force businesses to think from the perspective of the consumer and brainstorm solutions from this lens.
For example, if you notice a large percentage of your buyers never checkout their cart, you can perform a deeper analysis into why. If it’s the shipping prices that turn them away, add additional incentives or create a segment justifying the price.
As long as you spot the problems, your business can implement quick solutions. Customers will feel more valued if their concerns are addressed appropriately and quickly.
- Expanding outreach
Customer journey maps can also be used to reach out to other consumer markets. Through hypothetical mapping of the target consumer, businesses can trace where they’ll need to make adjustments according to these consumers.
How to Make a Customer Journey Map
There are many tools on the web that can help you create a journey map. No matter how small or large your business is, journey mapping is beneficial for all. Here are some general steps to making one.
- Do your research
This step is often overlooked. It’s important to gather data about your consumer basis in order to make any necessary changes. Directly asking your consumers how their experience could be improved gives you a starting point to change your platform. When you fulfill their needs, you’ll build a lasting relationship with your consumers.
- Create Your Customer Persona
It’s important to think about your typical consumer and their persona. Consider their age, general interests within that age group, popular social media platforms, and more. This provides a narrowed execution when you create your journey map.
- Layout the Touchpoints
Now that you have the main character of the journey map, layout all the touchpoints of your brand. These are all the points your customer will come in contact with, when they interact with your business. Touchpoints include research into your business, your email marketing, ads, etc. Throughout the entirety of the customer journey, implement the motivators, emotions, and barriers of your consumer. Do they feel lost or confused when interacting with your website? What potential barriers are faced at each step? People tend to act according to their emotions. As such, mapping out these key features will help your business understand why consumers behave the way they do.
- Rinse and Repeat
Create a journey map for all types of consumers. You want to make sure you don’t exclude any customer out of this process.
Additional Ideas to Consider
Making it Visually Appealing
Provide the right amount of text and visuals so your team has an easy time going through the journey map. Adding color and other vibrant visualizations makes it more presentable.
Ensure it Meets Your Purpose
Why are you creating this journey map? Whatever the reason may be, make sure it’s specific to that goal. This provides more structure to its creation and solving the issue at hand.
Journey maps can be an essential part to any business. From tackling customer issues to enhancing the customer experience, your consumers will stick around for the long term when their needs are being heard and catered to by your business.
Keep optimizing and grow as you go.
Waleed Al-Toukhi, Saudi Arabian Brand Expert Consultant, has over 19 years of experience in Marketing, Media, PR, Branding, Production & Digital Media He developed branding strategies and E-Commerce Projects Company leading the development of company’s corporate digital strategy, presence and websites in KSA, Dubai and Jordan.
Waleed Al-Toukhi is a brand strategy expert in Business branding, digital Branding & Marketing for business. Strategy builder and executer, a Marketer who thrives in transforming business through unconventional creativity and Adoptive technology with over 19 years’ experience in Marketing Communication and Digital Marketing, Understands the Business need to develop Branding & Marketing Strategies. Go-To-Market Strategy. Consumer Journey. Customer Experience (CX).