What is a Customer Journey Map?
Generating customer journey maps is a method marketers, digital professionals, and those strategizing on behalf of organizations use to learn more about their customers’ needs and wants. A lot like empathy maps, customer journey maps should incorporate customer stories into the process. They should also be driven by data-based research.
USF UX Researcher, Elyse Lewis has worked with customer journey maps. She provides the following insight on the significance and application of these maps for organizations:
“Customer journey maps give us a comprehensive, big picture look at the whole customer journey. That includes the tools, such as the tablet a student is using to review us online, to the emotional experience she has as she’s interacting with our websites. We can gather data on her behavior, feelings, interactions with us, the systems, tools, and touchpoints that complete her overall experience and then improve it. This can also be shared with new and existing team members who want more insight into how they fit into the customer journey; to identify and clarify pain points; and to discover new service opportunities”.
All of this work should manifest into some sort of visual element, such as an infographic or in-office wall element. With this, researchers can share the value-driven information about the customers being served by a larger team or organization. TandemSeven writes in their article, “5 Essential Components of Effective Customer Journey Maps“, that effective customer journey maps “Help stakeholders deepen their understanding of their customers’ behaviors, thoughts, and feelings across touchpoints in their journey”. Take a look at this example of a journey map, courtesy of EffectiveUI:
Notice how this map incorporates factors like the customer’s thoughts and feelings as well as her emotional experience. The exercise doesn’t stop there, as the creator of this map goes into great detail to outline the phases of Sarah’s journey in her search for a new broadband provider. When customer journey mapping for your own business, you should aim to have this detailed of a process.
Here are a few questions that Customer Journey Maps help businesses to answer:
- How is our organization perceived?
- What do we do to best to help customers?
- What do we do poorly in relation to customers?
- How do prospects and customers use our channels and touchpoints?
- How would we like our customers and prospects’ experiences to be?
What are touchpoints?
Touchpoints are important facets of customer experience to keep in mind, when beginning the journey mapping process. A customer touchpoint is any time a customer, potential or otherwise, comes into contact with your brand. So this could be before they purchase from you (e.g. while reviewing your social media page), while they’re purchase from you, or afterwards.
For further insight into customer touchpoints, Elyse Lewis shared the following:
“Touchpoints a.k.a. points-of-contact are the areas where a business and consumer meet in some way. That is, in order to communicate, make an exchange of capital for products and/or services, etc. Each touchpoint along a customer’s overall journey presents an opportunity for organizations to more fully satisfy and positively impact its customers. You could just as well title them, ‘Impact Opportunities’.”
Some examples of touchpoints are a visit to your website, a visit to your storefront, or a subscription to your newsletter. Basically, any point of contact with your customers is a touchpoint. Because any impression can be a customer’s first, when it comes to your brand, touchpoints are seriously important for your customer’s overall journey and your mapping. You’ll want to identify all of your touchpoints at the beginning of the mapping process. This will ensure that you are fully taking your customer’s feelings and experiences into account.
Best Practices for Customer Journey Maps
There are a few tools and methods you can use to begin to the process of generating a customer journey map. Here are a few:
- Write each step the customer would go through in order using sticky notes
- Add a note with one contact for each step on the journey
- Consider a workshop with teams to do this as a group
- Bring customers in to adjust notes and get feedback
- Analytical Research
- Analytics give insight on where users have come from and what they are trying to achieve
- Social media analytics – tools such as SocialMention track mentions of a brand
- Search data also provides valuable insight into what users are looking for and if your site is giving it to them
- Surveys also build a more detailed picture of users’ questions, feelings, and motivations
- Anecdotal Research
- Interviews or interactions will give this information
- Social media also reveals candid takes on your break
- Speaking to front-line staff who interact with customers daily is another useful way to understand customer needs
What do you think about CJ Maps? How well do you feel you know your customers? Let us know on our Facebook page!