6 min read

What is Customer Journey Mapping and why does it matter?

The creation of customer journey maps allows companies to observe how consumers feel about brand touchpoints. This prevents potential difficulties ahead of time, leads to improved customer retention and improved business decisions.

Who are your customers? Do you know their wants? Motivations and pain points? And can you explain why they choose you over the competition?

Knowing the above questions can seem like a huge and tedious challenge at times, but gaining an understanding of your customer’s experiences at each stage of the customer journey can be fundamental in turning insights into successful strategies.

The creation of customer journey maps allows companies to observe how consumers feel about brand touchpoints. This prevents potential difficulties ahead of time, leads to improved customer retention and improved business decisions.

What is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of every experience your customers have with you, your services, your products, basically your entire brand. Journey maps illustrate all the touchpoints that your clients may have through visuals that tell the story of how they moved through each phase of interaction.

They are often based on a timeline of events, for example, from initial attraction – when a customer first makes contact with you, all the way through to their final purchase and post-purchase support. They put you directly in the eyes of the consumer, so you can see where you might be making mistakes, the areas in which you are getting things right, and where improvements need to be made.

A good customer journey map should be tailored to your business and when done correctly can provide insights to drastically improve your business’s customer experience.

Why it matters?

By understanding the current customer relationship, restructuring of touchpoints can take place to create a more customer-effective and efficient process. A customer journey map visualizes the in place customer process, to see if they’re currently reaching their goals and, if not, how they can.

According to studies, companies see an average of 24.9% yearly increase in incremental revenue associated with marketing campaigns, a 21.2% reduction in service costs, and a 16.8% shrinkage in the sales cycle when successfully implementing and managing a customer journey map.

What are the benefits?

As already stated, the concept of customer journey mapping is to learn what customers go through and improve the caliber of their experiences across all channels.

There isn’t really anything that can replace listening to customers, hearing their reflections on how the different steps in their journey are working for them. By breaking down each and every phase of the customer journey and aligning them with a goal, and then restructuring your touchpoints accordingly, are all essential steps towards maximizing customer success. Everything should be about solving customer problems and helping them achieve long-term loyalty.

Fundamentally, the benefits of journey maps are dual. First up, through the process of creating maps discussions emerge, and with them an aligned way of thinking for the whole team. This combats fragmented understanding, which is often a widespread problem in organizations. A shared vision is a fundamental goal of journey mapping, as, without it, agreement on how to go forward and improve customer experience can become far more complex.

The second major benefit is communication, journey maps are quality tools for conveying information memorably and concisely to create a shared vision. The maps also often form the basis for decision-making as the team moves forward.

Through the alignment and communication and when correctly implemented, customer mapping can bring your organization a great deal of success, we are talking about the following advantages:

1. Understanding the customer

  • Eliminate ineffective touchpoints.
  • Show a bird’s eye view of the entire customer journey.
  • Visualize customer motivations, drivers, and pain points.
  • Improved customer retention/engagement.
  • Convert more visitors into customers.
  • Make a shift towards a customer-focused perspective.
  • Improved capacity to target specific customer personas through marketing-relevant campaigns.
  • Identify and optimize customer experience moments.
  • Create relevant marketing campaigns by looking at specific customer personas.

Maps can also help you provide answers to burning issues, helping answer questions such as:

2. Questions it can answer:

The time customers are interacting with my brand before they decide to make a purchase.

The frequency that customers are reaching out to you and if they are adequately assisted.

Why are users navigating away from the site so quickly?

Another benefit is what you can use your map for internally in your organization, with your customer journey map, you can:

3. Internal advantages

  • Map out customer-focused quarterly goals. 
  • Train team on Customer Experience standards and best practices.
  • Improve onboarding flows.
  • Analyze customer service team performance to strategize how to reduce obstacles.
  • Increase employee accountability through assigning the ownership of various customer touchpoints.
  • Exposes gaps between various channels and departments.
  • Create cross-team alignment around the business.

4. The process: how to put together an effective Customer Journey Map

So there is no official Customer Journey Map template which you should be using as no two customer journeys are the same!

Depending on the business, product, or service which is being mapped, best practices and design may vary leaving plenty of freedom to explore and be creative – but in general, your basic customer journey map should utilize the following steps:

a) Set clear goals for the map/Understand your buyer persona

The first thing to do is understand who your customers are. Why are you making this map? What goals are you directing this map towards? And essential who is it for?

From this, you can create a buyer persona. But it isn’t enough to have a single buyer persona. People at different buying stages will behave differently and interact with your business differently, therefore it is key to identify several personas.

b) Define your buyer personas’ goals

Ok, next up it’s research time, you want to understand what each of your personas hopes to achieve as they go through the customer journey. You are looking for the feedback of people who are actually interested in purchasing your products and services.

Think about what your customers’ ultimate goals are in each and every phase of the process.

c) Identify the touchpoints

Touchpoints are any time a customer comes into contact with your brand. Because there are so many different ways this could potentially happen, the prospect of understanding every touchpoint might seem a challenge. But the correct path is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, walking yourself through their journey step-by-step.

Some touchpoints may be much more impactful than others, but all potential touchpoints that occur between your customers and your organization should be taken into account. That way, you won’t miss out on any opportunities to listen to your customers and find potential improvements.

d) Find the pain points

It’s time to bring all the data you have together (both quantitative and qualitative) and look for the problems or pain points in the customer journey.

Once you know what the pain points are, mark them down on your customer journey map. Get to know what roadblocks are stopping your customer from making their desired action.

e) Find the fixes

Ok, time to take a step back and look for where improvements can be made, but understand that the end goal is not to improve every step for the sake of it. The goal is to bring your customers one step closer to converting.

Test, update and improve your customer journey map, make sure they are being changed accordingly whenever you introduce significant changes to your product/service and that everything you tweak in each customer touchpoint should all be contributing to the goal of converting.

No matter how big or small the changes you make are, they will be effective as they are directly connected with what your clients recorded as their pain points.

f) Highlight resources

It’s crucial to register the resources you have and the ones you’ll need to improve the customer’s journey. Through the inclusion of new needed tools in your map, you can accurately predict how they’ll impact your business and drive value. This makes it much easier to convince to invest in your proposals.

g) Take the customer journey

The key part of the process, go on the journey! The whole exercise of mapping the customer journey remains theoretical until you bite the bullet and go for it!

For each of your personas, follow the journey through, this will provide you with valuable experience whilst making it clear that people can find solutions to their problems with your company’s help.

The goal: create a customer-centric company

As your company expands, it can be hard to coordinate all departments to be as customer-focused. Implementing a clear customer journey map can help by sharing a vision with an entire organization, as these maps chart out every single step of the customer journey involving marketing, sales, and service.

Journey mapping provides a holistic view of the customer experience by revealing moments of both frustration and joy. When done successfully, they align businesses towards the same company objectives which are essential for strategic customer experience goal planning and success tracking.

Creating a journey map offers a customer-centered tool to refer to and distribute across the company. The use of visual maps to tell your company’s story sets a united standard for exceptional customer care whilst improving customer experience and customer retention in the long run.

Understanding a customer’s journey across an entire organization increases revenue associated with marketing campaigns, reduces your service costs, and shrinks your sales cycle.

Based on all of the above it is difficult to deny the importance and the impact a customer journey map can have and at MJV we consider ourselves experts at utilizing the tool.

Want to see more about the customer journey and how to better connect with your customers? Then reach out to one of our consultants, or if you are keen to take a deeper dive into the topic of Customer Experience, then download our ebook: User Journey Guide: build enchanting digital experiences.

And remember, you don’t have to go it alone.