Unlock the Key to Customer Satisfaction: A Comprehensive Guide to Customer Journey Maps
In the hyperconnected era, businesses must follow suit and curate connected customer experiences across all touchpoints. However, as their presence through the digital web of networks grows, they need help to visualize the customer journey, understand customer intention and sentiments, and meet customer expectations.
As a result, they might fall short of their desired outcomes. Customer journey maps exist to prevent such a situation.
A customer journey map offers visibility to the customer journey while also capturing customer data like traffic source, customer stage, emotional state, etc., along the way. Here’s a detailed look at how you can build a customer journey map, and use it to your advantage.
Types of Customer Journey Maps and When to Use Them
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the many ways in which a customer experiences your brand, product, or service across the various touchpoints. There are several ways to depict the same, the most popular ones being:
|Type of Customer Journey Map||Purpose of the Customer Journey Map||Best Used For|
|Customer Experience Maps||To visualize the customer behavior, activities, interactions, and emotions before any outcome – purchase, drop-off, advocacy, etc. – from the customer’s perspective.||Understanding customer expectations, needs, and wants, and how they align with the brand or product/service.|
|Current State Maps||To introduce improvements to the existing customer journey map by observing bottlenecks and opportunities, and how various innovations can affect it.||Monitoring, analyzing, and improving the existing customer journey map and identifying any gaps and deficiencies (when used with Future State Maps).|
|Future State Maps||To document the ideal customer journey map and understand the impact of introducing any changes to the customer journey.||Benchmarking of what your customer journey map should ideally look like.|
|Empathy Maps||To recognize the different emotions that go into the decision-making process.||Capturing customer sentiments and emotion-centric feedback to enhance customer journeys.|
|Day in the Life Maps||To gain an understanding of customer behaviors and routines (typically used in the software and SaaS domain).||Building customer experiences that are harmonious with the customer’s usage.|
|Persona-Based Customer Journey Maps||To understand how different customer personas interact with your brand and create multiple journey maps.||Personalizing the customer experience in relation to the buyer persona.|
Why Should Businesses Use a Customer Journey Map Template?
Customer journey mapping is an intensive and data-heavy exercise. It requires deep-diving into customer data to understand how a customer interacts with your business, the customer needs driving this interaction, and the underlying customer expectations.
Insights from customer journey mapping may also result in procedural overhauls, and businesses may need some convincing to take on such an ambitious endeavor.
But, customer journey mapping is worth the effort, and here’s why:
1.) Matching Customer Expectations with Reality
Although businesses aspire to be more customer-centric, there exists a chasm between customer expectations and business deliverables. Customer journey mapping emerges as a tool that allows brands to gain experience from the customer’s perspective. It is a conduit for businesses to step inside the customers’ shoes and experience the customer journey first-hand. Doing so allows them to identify bottlenecks and drop-off points that cause the expectation-reality gap, and addressing these barriers can cater to unmet needs.
2.) Discovering New Opportunities
A customer journey map sheds light on customer pain points that would have otherwise gone unnoticed or unrealized. These customer pain points bear direct relation to your product or service and lend deeper insight than when you conduct research to understand markets, trends, and feasibility. You can translate them into opportunities to improve your offerings or branch into a new product/service segment.
For instance, subscription-based companies may observe on customer journey maps that long-term and costly plans discourage prospects from converting into paying customers. To offset this, they introduce smaller plans that are more cost-effective and tap into a wider clientele. Spotify’s one-day Premium Mini pack is a classic example of how you harness new opportunities.
3.) Understanding Complex Journeys
Traditional customer journeys were fairly straightforward. Your sales and marketing team would carry out cold outreach (typically through a limited number of channels), nurture the prospect, and push for a sale. In contrast, modern-day customer journeys have grown increasingly complex due to a buffet of touchpoints. To complicate things further, nearly 3/4th of consumers prefer shopping through multiple channels, which indicates that it is a customer preference. As such, an omnichannel marketing strategy is a must for businesses looking to stay sustainable and profitable. Keeping tabs on omnichannel customer journeys can be difficult.
Customer journey mapping can eliminate any guesswork and grant visibility to even the most complex customer journeys. Plus, you can use it to prioritize and optimize customer journeys by focusing on the right set of channels.
4.) Identifying Different Buyer Personas
In addition to charting complex customer journeys, a customer journey map can also help with segmenting the different target customer personas into smaller buyer persona cohorts.
For instance, younger, tech-savvy prospects may blaze through the customer journey, while the older generation may require some assistance – sometimes through human agents. That’s just a demographic difference; different buyer personas may have different requirements that shape their journey. As such, the buyer persona is a function of the customer journey. So, use this knowledge to match the multiple personas to their respective customer journeys for greater relevance.
5.) Recognizing the Emotional Component of Selling
Companies have been dabbling around with emotional marketing and emotional branding for some time now. But, they lack a feedback channel to capture their impact on customer emotions or sentiments. Customer journey maps highlight this missing emotional component and make it easy for businesses to empathize – even in real time!
For example, the customer journey map may highlight customer frustrations when they have to connect with support over the telephone and email. Introducing a chatbot at this stage could improve customer sentiment through accurate and expeditious grievance redressal and paint your brand empathetic!
6.) Adding a Touch of Personalization
On average, personalization can increase revenue by 10 to 15%, and this number can go as high as 25%! While the importance of personalization is not lost on businesses, they may lack the strategies or resources to extend personalization. Fortunately for them, customer journey maps are one of the easiest tools to understand customer intent across all touchpoints.
7.) Boosting Collaborative Teamwork
Customer journey mapping involves a variety of cross-functional stakeholders like sales, marketing, product development, customer service team, and more, which need to work together to achieve a common goal benefitting the entire organization.
Working together to create such a living document offers a high-level view of every team’s roles, responsibilities, and contributions to attaining organizational goals. Plus, they can grow to understand and appreciate what others do. Most importantly, they gain perspective on how their functioning affects the performance of other related teams. Such insights promote collaborative action and build cohesive teams that work like clockwork.
8.) Making Customer Interactions More Meaningful
Whether you survey customers after cart abandonment or engage them through the onboarding process, every customer interaction should contain something of value at its core.
The problem lies in the fact that businesses often lack the foresight or data to anticipate what this “value” truly entails at specific touchpoints. For instance, offering free shipping counts as value when a customer is at the checkout page, but the very thing holds no merit while handling customer complaints! In simpler words, the value customers seek is highly subjective and depends on their position in the journey they undertake. Customer journey mapping helps in this regard as it not only identifies this value and makes it accessible but also aligns it with customer needs.
9.) Improving the Customer Experience
A customer journey map is a blueprint for rewarding customer experiences. Brands can get specific information on what enhances or soils customer experiences and take reparative measures to fix these issues, improve customer satisfaction and encourage long-term customer loyalty. Remember how negative feedback on customer support made a case for implementing chatbots? This action addresses customers’ pain points and enhances their experience.
|The concept of customer journey mapping sounds similar to a buyer’s journey (or a user’s journey), and they are, in a way, somewhat alike. They mark how a customer progresses from a lead to a prospect, then to a one-time buyer, and finally, to a brand evangelist (or a lapsed customer). A key difference between the two is that a customer journey map tells the same story from the customer’s perspective. In this manner, brands can get first-hand insights by stepping into the customer’s shoes. On the other hand, the buyer’s journey map is still through the brand’s lens.|
Challenges in Customer Journey Mapping
Here are some hurdles you might face while building and implementing customer journey map templates.
1.) Not Realizing the Value of Customer Journey Mapping
According to Gartner, only 30% of companies use customer journey maps – and some of them struggle with using them effectively. Most commonly, the problem arises from the lack of data, tools, and talent. Regardless, 70% of organizations are missing out on the benefits of customer journey mapping!
|Solution: Here’s a handy step-by-step guide to help you gain the many benefits of building your own customer journey maps.|
2.) Keeping Up With Multiple Channels
Modern-day customer journeys are getting increasingly complex, with more touchpoints spanning platforms and devices, and covering too many personas. You could have customers coming from online sources, offline sources, and some flitting between the two realms. Plus, certain personas have a preference for specific platforms, like Millennials and Gen Zers may use social media to connect with brands, while Boomers prefer emails and phone calls! As such, it can be difficult to keep up with the multiple channels.
|Solution: Businesses should make use of customer journey orchestration platforms like MoEngage to identify, map, and analyze customer behaviors. Such proactive and data-driven strategies can breathe new life into how brands engage their customers.|
3.) Maintaining Multiple Maps for Multiple Personas
It is virtually impossible to compress different buyer personas into a single customer journey map. Businesses will have to identify the different buyer personas, along with their motivators, pain points, behaviors, patterns, and customer journeys. You will need multiple customer journey maps, with some overlaps and overlays. It can be difficult to handle these multitudes of maps and convoluted layers of data.
|Solution: About 50% of companies need 3-5 customer journey maps. A customer journey orchestration platform can document multiple maps for multiple personas. In fact, it contains several customer journey map templates, which ensure that you do not have to start from scratch.|
4.) Handling Customer Data
Customer data is the very foundation of a customer journey map. Handling, maintaining, and organizing varied forms of customer data is extremely crucial – even for enterprises. Customer data originates from multiple and disparate sources, which is generally the case for businesses offering omnichannel customer experiences, and unifying it can be a mammoth task. Fail here, and your customer journey map will not align with the target audiences.
|Solution: Establish standardized data handling processes to maintain customer data credibility and recency. You must also invest in centralizing all the data to establish a single source of truth and to make information accessible to all stakeholders.|
Secrets and Best Practices for Creating a Great Customer Journey Map
We’ve already talked extensively about how to create a customer journey map. You can check out our detailed step-by-step guide on the topic. But if you are looking to give your customer journey maps that “it” factor, here are a few tips and tricks that can help:
1.) Start Small, Then Scale Up
Businesses would ideally want to establish the most refined version of a customer journey map from the get-go. However, the process of customer journey mapping is iterative – so there’s no rush in creating the best possible version from the very beginning. You can always start with low-fidelity customer journey maps and build on them with time. Such an approach allows you to gain instant value from it while leaving room to rethink, redo, and review.
2.) Create a Customer Journey Map Based on Research and Feedback
Customer feedback, market research, and service/product usage analytics are some of the best data sources for creating a customer journey map. They accurately reflect the theoretical and practical aspects of the average customer experience. By combining these three, brands can match customer expectations, introduce innovations into the customer’s journey, and improve customer experience.
3.) Look Beyond Your Sales and Marketing Funnel
While the marketing funnel can be an excellent jumping-off point to create a customer journey map but that’s not all that’s there to it. Your customer journey map stages should expand beyond the traditional marketing funnel with the intent to promote customer loyalty. You should also factor in post-purchase customer service to attract advocacy.
4.) Prioritize Through Touch Point Intensity
Unlike traditional buyer journeys that were linear, modern customer journeys are an interweb of customer interactions and touchpoints. This means that any customer touchpoint could be the starting line of a customer journey map. However, if we were to map them all, the exercise would be endless. Businesses must develop a system to prioritize the customer journey maps that are relevant to their brand and will help them achieve their goals.
5.) Identify the Right Metrics and KPIs
Your typical customer journey map includes the different sales and marketing stages, feelings, thoughts, emotions, and actions of the customer. Such data points may vary depending on the type of customer journey map employed by businesses. Some may be more granular, while others functionally skeletal. However, a great customer journey map quantifies all necessary entities using the right metrics and KPIs. For instance, they may measure metrics like NPS or CSAT to understand customer sentiment. Doing so also helps establish benchmarks and measure progress.
6.) Build Content for Customer Journey Map Stages
Content is the common thread that weaves through all the customer journey stages. It can be a medium to personalize the customer experience, a catalyst to keep the customer moving across the stages, or a way to reward customer interactions. As such, businesses should devise a content strategy that complements the customer journey map.
A customer journey map is a living document that helps visualize growth stemming from customer interactions and experiences.
With its help, you can engage customers, enhance customer experience, match expectations, understand customer pain points, increase revenue potential, streamline business processes, identify key touchpoints, and humanize the brand.
With so much to offer, businesses must embrace the idea of customer journey mapping and use it to base actions and strategies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is a visual illustration of customer experiences and interactions. It plays out across the different stages of the customer journey as individuals graduate from leads to prospects to paying customers to advocates!
Why is a customer journey map important?
Customer journey maps offer the following benefits:
- They help you optimize customer experiences by eliminating friction.
- They serve as a system of checks and balances to measure expectations against reality.
- They grant visibility to different buyer personas and how they move through the marketing and sales funnels.
- They assign a logical and priority-based order to the buyer journey.
What are the key components of a customer journey map?
The key elements of a customer journey map include:
- Buyer Persona
- Customer Journey Stages
- Different Touchpoints
- Customer Sentiments
- Thoughts and Actions
- Pain Points
Is a customer journey map a one-time exercise?
No, customer journey mapping is a continuous and ongoing process.
How often should a customer journey map be updated?
You should update your customer journey map every six months and never put off updating it for more than a year. This periodicity will be shorter if you witness frequent changes in your customers, business, or industry.