Customer Journey Maps and Why You Should be Using Them

Customer Journey Map

Many marketers know that when it comes to acquiring customers it is important to know who they are and what they want in order to meet their expectations. There are tons of handy tools which collect all types of customer data but often most of that data is not used at its fullest potential.

The reason behind this is the way the data is read. Often it is visualized as an excel table and perky graphics which is not enough to get the whole picture. That is why we’ll be checking out customer journey maps.

It’s often mistaken that this is something that only the designers need to create a website that converts. However, this tool can be really useful to marketers, content writers and bloggers, managers, and business owners.

What is customer journey mapping?

This is the process of creating a map of the customer’s journey from the moment they found your business until the moment they’ve purchased a product or service from you. In other words, visualising customer experience and their relationship with the business from the beginning to the very end of the marketing and sales funnel.

Why is it important to utilize?

Mapping a customer’s journey gives important insights about the customer’s needs, frustrations and experience with what you provide for them. With so much data it’s easy to get lost in the numbers and stop seeing the big picture.

  • If you’re a blogger, you will know how your readers feel and what questions they have.
  • If you’re a marketer you will have more insights on which channel works best and how users from different channels behave.
  • If you’re a designer you’ll know more about their goals, where they came from and what they want to achieve. If you’re a business owner you will see what type of relationships your organisation creates with the customers.
  • If you’re an UX designer you’ll see the pain points of the users and their experience with the website. You will be able to identify bad experiences on different devices, departments, and channels.
  • If you’re a manager you’ll get to know how customers move through the marketing and sales funnel, and find out how you can improve their experience. You will also get some ideas on how to improve the products and services so they can fully meet customer’s requirements.

Creating a customer journey map

It’s actually not a rocket science. All you need is all the data about the target customers you can gather, organize them and visualize them the right way. Usually, customer journey maps look a lot like infographics.

Research

You can start from the old data you already have and move towards collecting something more fresh. You can get much about your customers from website analytics such as where they came from, their location, eventually gender and age, where do they leave, where do they spend more time, number of clicks and returns. Be careful not to assume anything. For example, more clicks might not mean that customers like to spend time on the website. They might just be confused, which means you’ll need to improve the specific page so it can be easier to navigate.

You can get some really valuable information on your target customers by talking to those who have the direct interaction with them – the sales department. Those guys communicate with clients the entire time thus collecting some real information from them – their complaints, pain points, what makes them happy, what makes them sad, what they ask for, and so on. Again, don’t rush into quick decisions based on assumptions. Always have in mind that sales guys are people and they have assumptions too.

Last but not least, conduct a few surveys, ask who your target audience is and what they need.

Writing the story

Mapping the customer journey is like writing their story. Let’s say,

“Once upon a time, there was a woman who needed red boots. She searched via Google and Facebook. She saw an ad on Facebook and visited the website. She saw multiple different models of red shoes, went back and forth a few times before deciding which one to choose. She then asked for feedback from anyone who have those boots on Facebook and got a few good reviews. She decided to buy and went back to the website. She added the item to the basket but had some issues finding the shopping cart. After finding it she made a purchase and paid via paypal. A sales guy called to confirm the purchase and asked if there’s something else he can be useful with. She asked for some information on the proper maintenance of the boots so they can last longer. She got her boots and everyone lived happily ever after… or did they?“

It’s logical that you can’t create one customer journey map for all clients. To start writing, you will need to create customer personas. Fortunately, most businesses already have such. If yours have too much then you can focus on a few main groups that might bring the biggest profit.

Reading the story

You see, the Facebook ad acquired the lead. The customer wandered around the website a bit which may indicate some confusion or just a normal wander of a woman in shopping mode. Her decision was influenced by reviews of her friends. In this case, this means that the business cares for its clients and provides them with quality products. The issue with the shopping cart is clear – it might need some improvement, a change of the icon, place, colour. Also, the product page might include some information on the proper maintenance of the boots, as the customer asked for it. This way if she forgets something she will have somewhere to go back to remind herself how it’s done.

The story above might have a different ending. The woman might get bad reviews and decide not to purchase from you. Or you might not have the option to confirm over the phone. Every business and every customer has its own story. That is why it’s important to consider customer journey mapping through the sales and marketing funnels.