Customer journey mapping

How to Create a Customer Journey Map: Advice From the Pros

Providing good customer experience is important to your customers, but it also helps your business. Among organizations that focused on improving customer experience, 84% had increased revenue.

One of the best ways to make sure your customers are happy is to create a journey map for them. This gives you visibility into all of the customer interactions, and you can then create a strategy for how to improve those interactions.

This might sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. If you follow these steps on how to create a customer journey map, you and your customers will be happy with the results.

What is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map provides a visual representation of each touchpoint with the customer, shown from the viewpoint of the buyer. The journey map illustrates how a prospect goes from first hearing about your company to becoming a valued customer, or it may show a portion of that process.

The journey isn’t always linear, so you’ll want to consider the best way to represent it. This might be a flow diagram, an infographic, notes on a wall, or whatever else works best for the people using the journey map.

Why Do You Need a Customer Journey Map?

Customer journey maps are critical for your whole team because they give you the buyer’s point of view.

The process of mapping interactions with your customer provides insight into their experience. This allows you to improve each touchpoint and learn why some prospects drop off. In the end, you’ll have a more complete view of your customer, including their pain points and needs.

You may think this isn’t necessary because you already know your customer base, but this exercise is still worth doing. By breaking down the process step by step and understanding the goal at each point, you can maximize the customer experience.

Additionally, with these journey maps, you can shift to an inbound marketing approach. Instead of always looking for new prospects, you’ll draw them to you when they see the valuable content you’ve provided for each stage of their journey.

Elements of a Customer Journey Template

Each customer journey map is different, but since most of them have the same key components, you can create a customer journey map template as a starting point.

This template, also known as a user journey map template, should contain the following elements:

  • Personas: You may already know the basic demographics of your customers, but you need to take it a step further and create buyer personas. This way you can fully visualize your customers and see them as real people instead of numbers or statistics.
  • Emotions: When you work on your buyer personas, make sure you understand their emotions and what’s compelling them at each point, either to continue or leave the journey.
  • Timeline: The length of the customer journey depends on how much of the process it covers, and what kind of customer you have. For a business-to-consumer product, this could be a few weeks, while for a business-to-business product or service, it could be over a year.
  • Touchpoints: Identify each point when the prospect or customer will interact with your company.
  • Goals: Each point of the process should have an identified goal for the customer. This could be a goal that moves them forward, such as downloading a report, or a goal that completes their journey.

Steps for How to Create a Customer Journey Map

To create a successful customer journey map, use your journey map template and go through the following steps.

Step 1: Understand Your Customer and Their Starting Point

The first critical step is understanding your customers well enough to create your user persona. To get this information, you need to reach out to your customers for more information.

Some of the areas you should focus on are:

  • How they heard about your company
  • What attracted them
  • Why they decided to make a purchase
  • What their goals are

You also want to find out where those customers were in their lives at the beginning of their journey. What were their frustrations and what got them to act? That will help you identify where and how to connect with others who are in a similar place.

Step 2: Define the End Point for Each Phase

The customer journey also needs to have a defined endpoint, but your customers won’t always reach it right away. Your mapping is likely to have multiple steps, each with its own ending until reaching the final goal.

Each endpoint of the journey should also align with one of your customer’s goals, so they know they’re getting value and that you understand then.

As you go through, it’s important to make sure the beginning of the next phase logically follows from the ending point of the earlier phase. This will give your customers a seamless experience as they move through the journey.

Step 3: List Touchpoints

Identifying the touchpoints is the next item on your journey mapping template. These are the moments when your customer interacts with your brand, whether it’s on your website, via email, on social media, or something else.

For example, a touchpoint might be going to your website to sign up for a free trial, or registering for and then attending a webinar.

At each point, think about what your customer is experiencing. Identify what emotions and needs brought them to that point, and make sure you’re in a position to address those needs.

Step 4: Find the Problem Areas

Once your customer journey map is complete, it’s time to review for weak spots and revise as necessary.

You can start by going through the journey map yourself. Follow the process to verify that every part works together and flows the way you expect.

You shouldn’t stop there, though. No matter how well you understand your customers, you can’t guarantee that the journey map will work perfectly, which is why you also need to analyze the data.

Find the places where people are dropping off, such as going to your website but not making a purchase, or not completing a sign-up form. Try to identify why they’re not taking the action. When you know where the weaknesses are, you can then make changes to better support your customer.

Remember, though, that this isn’t something you’ll only do one time. You’ll need to continue monitoring your results and tweaking your customer journey as needed.

Customer Journey Map Brings Success

Now that you know how to create a customer journey map, it’s time to get started. While it may feel like a large effort, it’s well worth doing, and it will bring success to both you and your customers.

Are you having trouble managing and analyzing your customer data? Contact Sureshot and one of our representatives will be happy to tell you how we can help.

David York
david@sureshot.io

David York has spent the last 15 years at the forefront of the martech revolution, and is an expert on its past, present and future.