Here's Why You Should be Mapping Out Your Customer Journey and How to Get Started
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Here’s Why You Should be Mapping Out Your Customer Journey and How to Get Started

The customer journey map is a tool to picture the experience of interacting with your brand from the customer’s point of view. This map is essential because it compels you to see how your customers actually see your brand against how you think they do. You can better deliver on their expectations if you have a better understanding of your customers.

The customer journey mapping

By mapping, you understand how a customer interacts with your business. Most customer journey mapping begins as excel sheets that summarize customer motivations, key events, and friction areas as per the user’s experience. This data is then combined into a comprehensive vision that explains an average experience with your business. 

You can learn how to structure your touchpoints to make the most efficient and effective process for your customers by understanding this relationship. A customer journey map draws out the present process, from the beginning to the final touchpoint, to see if the customers are reaching the goals currently and, if not, how they can. Buyers often take a cyclical, back-and-forth, multi-channel journey because it cannot be represented in a linear journey from A to B. Hence, mapping can be challenging to visualize and savvy business leaders use several ways of representing the journey, from Excel Spreadsheets to post-it notes on a boardroom wall to infographics. The most crucial aspect is that the map makes sense to those using it.

However, you need to first collect data from your prospects and customers before you dive into making your customer journey map. The process of crafting a practical customer journey map is valuable but also extensive.

Process of creating the customer journey map

A customer journey roadmap helps create better touchpoints with a brand on all major channels. Touchpoint is the point of contact between your business and the customer. It ranges from TV ads, online marketing activities, word of mouth, or other marketing methods. It’s best to find and resolve the pain points of your customers at every touchpoint.

1. Defining your persona

Personas and journey maps are vital strategic tools that provide an in-depth understanding of your customers. They help you know how they interact with your business across all touchpoints and what they need. They also help in sharing customer insights throughout the organization. Most of the information for making a journey map is derived from your personas, like their motivations, goals, critical tasks they want to accomplish, and current pain points. That is why it’s best to develop the personas first.

The first thing you must decide is whose journey you want to map. Is it a potential (target) customer or a specific customer type (persona), or a section of customers, depending on the reason for your journey mapping program? When you’ve created different personas, you can use them to make customer journey maps that illustrate each persona’s experience at diverse touch points during their lifecycle with your organization.

2. Defining your customer phases

Usually, journey maps are organized by customer stages/phases. Each phase signifies an important goal your customer is trying to achieve in their whole journey. It would help if you created a customer journey map with stages that best represent your customer’s purpose-oriented journey and not the steps of your internal process.

You have to identify the stages of the customer’s journey once you’ve defined your persona. Understand the process from the start, considering buying your services or product. Also, define the stages that your customer experiences with you over time, based on the persona. Define when, how, and where they:

  • Research your products and services.
  • Discover your company.
  • Choose you over competitors.
  • Purchase from you.
  • Maintain a relationship with you.

3. Describing touchpoints customer uses to interact with your brand

Customer touchpoints are your organization’s points of customer contact, from beginning to end. Customers may spot your business in an ad or online, see reviews and ratings, visit your shop or website, or contact your customer service. It seems like a long list, but these are a few of your touchpoints! Recognizing your touchpoints is an essential step towards making a customer journey map and ensuring your customers are happy and content every step of the way.

You can give some incentives for participation, but most people are happy to help if they see that you are genuinely interested in hearing out their experience and intend to use their feedback for improving things for others.

Once you have a clear picture of your persona’s aspirations and goals written down in their touchpoints, it’s time to look at the larger picture. Every business seems different through the lens of its customer personas. Walking through all the journey map stages with your team will help you identify the points of friction in the customer experience. However, every business is different, and it’s always the brand that knows its customers best.

4. Resolving problems

Journey maps aren’t intended to be merely illustrative. A typical exercise must identify some quick fixes, including opportunities to improve the journey and boost enjoyment. Of course, most organizations learn that the process helps in driving broader customer experience developments as customer needs are understood and met better. Mapping the journey helps in leading to specific actions that drive the ROI and improve the experience. Brands must treat the map as a living document that must be updated and revisited regularly as and when required. You must also share it with any relevant stakeholders to give them a clear picture.

Benefits of mapping your customer’s journey

Many organizations may feel that this isn’t necessary for my brand or me because we understand our customer’s pain points and needs better. It has been proven that breaking down your customer journey by phase, aligning your steps with a goal, and restructuring the touchpoints according to it are all essential steps toward sustainable customer success. After all, everything you do is about solving the customer’s problems and helping them achieve long-term success with your service or product. Empathizing and understanding the customers put down the groundwork for successful business outcomes and meaningful interactions. 

When you study and understand all phases of a customer’s journey with your organization, you’ll be able to see where you are alienating customers and prospects and where you aren’t meeting expectations as promised. These horrible processes are because of disjointed moments in time that lead to frustrating and inconsistent customer experiences.

Address these shortcomings to create better experiences for your customers, drive customer engagement that creates more sales opportunities and shorten the sales cycles. Hence, building a customer journey roadmap is important. Mapping the customer journey also equips marketers with better insights to create a better pre-purchase and post-purchase experience that fosters better relations with your brand.

By making a customer journey roadmap, you will gain a valuable view of your customers that equips your team to create hyper-personalization which drives a higher return on your marketing investments.

Most of those using customer journey mapping agreed that their program is delivering a positive impact, and is actually increasing customer satisfaction, lower churn, and higher NPS.
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