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Beginner’s guide to customer journey mapping

The consumer landscape can be difficult to navigate. Once you think you’ve done enough to satisfy your customers, new preferences emerge and, before you know it, they’ve switched to your competitors. Put simply, a good product or service is no longer enough to satisfy your customers.

Published April 3, 2022 By Freddie Green

The answer as to why is simple – today’s consumers have various means of interacting with brands across several channels and individual customer journeys vary massively. It’s now more important than ever to deliver a consistently positive brand experience. Understanding the needs and wants of your consumers has always been a challenge, but it’s especially challenging at this point in time.  

But don’t lose hope! Customer journey mapping could be the answer. In this blog, we’ll cover the basics of customer journey mapping and how to use this exercise to better serve your customers.  

What is customer journey mapping?  

Customer journey mapping is a strategic exercise that involves creating a visual storyline of your customers’ interactions with your brand – a customer journey map. Customer journey maps depict various types of customer interaction, from buying a product online, searching for specific information on your website or airing grievances on social media.  

The reasons for creating a customer journey map include understanding the journey your customers take to convert. Each individual journey can then be scrutinised and service gaps detected using visualisation. It’s also a valuable tool that can be used to forecast and optimise future paths your customers may take (i.e., when releasing a new product to market).   

It’s all about understanding the customer experience so that you know exactly how to improve it.  

Here’s what a typical customer journey map looks like…  

Types of customer journey map 

Choosing a customer journey map will depend on what your priorities are for doing the journey map in the first place. Luckily, there are several options to choose from:  

Current state 

Current state journey maps visualise the experience customers have when attempting to accomplish a goal with your product or company as it exists today. This is the most common type of customer journey map – but the least strategic.   

Future state 

Future state journey maps visualise the best case, ideal-state journey for an existing product or a journey for a product that doesn’t exist yet. For example, companies looking to provide a better customer experience in a COVID-19 world would choose a future state journey.  

Day in the life  

A day in the life journey map is used to outline the actions and emotions your customers experience on a normal day. It’s the best type of map for companies wanting to gain a holistic overview of the customer journey. For instance, makers of wearable technology may be interested to know how the customer feels and thinks about their product at different points of the day.  

Now you’ve decided which customer journey map to create, it’s time to add your components.  

How to create a customer journey map? 

There is no fixed method for building a customer journey map. Every customer journey map will differ by organisation and the types of customers they serve and the industry they operate in. The benefit of a customer journey map is that you can adapt it to suit your specific organisation.  

Customer journey maps are typically comprised of the following components: 

  • Customer stages  

One of the first steps to building a customer journey map is identifying each stage of the customer lifecycle; these are known as customer stages. Customer stages are used to define the steps a customer goes through when considering, purchasing, using and maintaining loyalty to a product or service. For example, the awareness stage is used to describe the point where a customer first becomes aware of your business offerings.  

  • Customer scenarios 

The customer scenario focuses on a specific situation within the customer’s journey. Including them in your customer journey map will allow you to pinpoint significant moments where customer interactions may occur. For example, a mobile application will have many functionality scenarios and, therefore, many different journey options.  

  • Customer touchpoints  

Customer touchpoints depict the points at which a customer interacts your brand, product, service etc. They represent significant interactions that occur along the customer’s journey. For example, customer touchpoints post-purchase will include purchase confirmation e-mails, feedback surveys and e-mail newsletters.  

  • Customer emotions 

Arguably the most important component of the customer journey map is the emotions your customers feel at each touchpoint and stage of their customer journey. Mapping their emotions and feelings will allow your organisation to pinpoint potential pain points and successes. For instance, at the consideration stage, customers may feel frustrated if they’re unable to find the information they need.   

Why is customer journey mapping so important?  

When you put yourself in your customer’s shoes, your business can benefit significantly. You start seeing how your product, service or brand is experienced from the customer’s perspective, helping you to truly understand the who, what, when, where, why and how of any customer interaction.  

Once compiled, your customer journey map will afford you a first-person view of any customer pain points and grievances associated with your brand. You’ll then know exactly which areas you need to focus on in order to increase customer satisfaction.  

Take Spotify for example. They frequently use customer journey mapping to understand their user’s motivations to stream music on the platform. For example, customer journey mapping was used to develop Spotify’s popular sharing functionality as we know it.  

Customer journey mapping can also help you to:  

1. Take your team out of silos  

Customer journey mapping can be a good way to eradicate silo thinking within an organisation. Some organisations are blessed with a rich array of talented employees, and yet struggle to bring their departmental strengths together for the benefit of the customer. Customer journey mapping can help individual departments put their differences aside and customers at the forefront.  

2. Increase revenue  

Having a consistently positive customer experience will increase revenue for your company due to word-of-mouth marketing. Customers influence and trust each other, so providing them with the best experience possible through customer journey mapping will work in your favour.  

Did you know?  

Novicell is a customer journey agency with more than 22 years of experience in customer journey mapping. Our customer journey consultants are customer experience experts, having helped major global companies optimise their customers’ journeys.  

We can help you to examine each and every step your customers take to understand what they do, think and experience whilst in contact with your brand.