How to Create a Customer Journey Map: Step-by-Step

Our guide explains what customer service maps are, how they can benefit your business and how to create the perfect customer journey map.

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When customers browse your brand’s website, they can go from keen online window shopper to disinterested cart-abandoners at the click of a button – literally. And when this happens, a sharp drop in sales is likely to follow too.

If customers are to make a purchase after landing on a product or service page, then they need engagement and value along the way. This is where a customer journey map can prove invaluable.

Rather than leaving things up to predictions or assumptions, a customer journey map can provide business owners and teams with crucial insights into what causes customers to bring their journeys screeching to a halt.

Below, we’ll dive into what customer journey mapping is in more detail, how it can benefit your business, and how you can go about creating a customer journey map to help you plot greater success going forward.

What is a customer journey map?

First and foremost, you are different from your customers. What may appeal to you may not necessarily float their boat, and vice versa. But if a business fails to rectify this discord between themselves and their customers, it can create roadblocks that hinder future revenue and growth.

A customer journey map, however, lets you see, think and feel in the same way your customers do. Basically, they’re a visual representation of the process a customer (or a prospect) goes through when they come into contact with you, both on and offline.

Whether it’s purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter or joining a loyalty scheme, a customer journey map plots these kinds of goals from end to end, across multiple channels and touchpoints, so you can see things through your customers’ point of view.

By looking at each part of the customer experience step-by-step, identifying issues your customers face becomes much easier, unearthing insights you can then use to ease their pain points and better fulfil their needs.

In visualising how a customer interacts with a business, a customer journey map provides an outline of key events and customer motivations. From here, a business can then structure these events and touchpoints in the most effective and efficient way possible.

What are the benefits of a customer journey map?

So, why are customer journey maps important? For starters, they can benefit your business in the following ways:

  • Identifies customer pain points: When you’re aware of each step that your customers take on their journey, it’s easier to identify the issues they run into, what actions they took to overcome these issues, and what their needs are. With this information at hand, you can begin to address the problems those browsing your website frequently run into.
  • Improves customer retention: According to American Express, 33% of shoppers stated they would jump ship to another company after just a single instance of poor service. But by easing your site’s pain points, customers are far less likely to leave your brand for a rival competitor. By logging the most common behaviours and actions of your customers, you can catch the warning signs before they look elsewhere. And while saving them all is certainly a challenge, it’s worth giving it a go; after all, it’s far more expensive trying to gain a customer than it is to retain them.
  • Improves your marketing efforts: Once you understand how customers make decisions and the channels and platforms they use the most, you can create campaigns that are tailored to these preferences. In doing so, you can eliminate the scattershot, costly and often frustrating approach of outbound marketing, and favour inbound methods instead. Inbound marketing is all about creating content your customers are interested in and, ideally, already looking for. A customer journey map can help you identify these interests and make more attention-grabbing content as a result.
  • Targets new customer bases: Without a proper understanding of the customer journey, understanding your demographics can prove to be a drain on time, resources and money, especially if you’re attempting to target too broad an audience as opposed to one interested in your offerings. The information you gather from identifying your site’s pain points, as well as your typical customers’ journey, can then be used to highlight additional customer bases. This then gives you other specific audiences that you can market too.

How to create a customer journey map

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Step 1: Profile your customer persona

You need to know who your typical buyers are before you can start understanding their journey. The more you can get down to the nitty-gritty of what makes your customers tick, the better you can understand them. And the more you understand them, the clearer your customer personas will be.

Asking for feedback through questionnaires is a great way to learn more about them. Through Net Promoter Scores, Customer Satisfaction Scores and Customer Effort Scores, you can unearth all sorts of insights. By asking actual customers and prospects, you can discover things like how they first heard about your business, how long they spend on your site, how easy they find it to navigate, and a whole host of other information.

With this information, you can then create customer profiles that represent your average customers. Of course, if you have multiple personas, then you’d also need to have an individual map for each persona.

Step 2: List customer touchpoints 

A large part of identifying your customer’s journey is knowing the areas with which they interact. These places, known as touchpoints, refer to any time your customer encounters your company – no matter which stage of the buying cycle they’re at.

This provides you with a better view of what actions your customers are performing and the key insights that go along with these actions. For instance, are they using fewer touchpoints than expected? If so, is this an indication that they’re leaving your site too soon? Perhaps they’re using too many touchpoints – is this because your website is overly complex and requires more steps than necessary to reach a particular end goal?

You should also investigate other places your customers might come across you online, including social channels, paid ads, email marketing and third-party review sites.

Giving your brand a Google followed by a browse of your Google Analytics can help you see where your traffic is coming from and which of your touchpoints are the most common.

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 Step 3: Identify the pain points

At this point, you can start to look at the elements of the journey which stand in the way of your customers and their end goals. From here, you can then work out the kinks, mark them on your customer journey map, and resolve the issues that your customers typically encounter on their journey.

Remember, you should also note down areas that you’re currently getting right, applying to the areas that need improving and optimising the pain points along the way.

Step 4: Pick a journey and map

If you have several different customer journeys, you’ll need to pick the journey map that most closely matches your goals. The main types of maps include:

  • Current state: Considered the most common map type, the current state map lets you visualise your customers’ actions, thoughts and emotions at that moment in time. Additionally, by highlighting your business’ current risks and opportunities, you can see the actions you need to take to improve customer interactions.
  • Day-in-the-life: This model visualises everything your average customer interacts with on a daily basis, whether it applies to your brand or not. This means it’s possible to address unmet customer needs before the customers even realise what they are.
  • Future state: Here, the future state model focuses on predicting and setting up an ideal process for customers interacting with your brand in the future. This model is useful for uncovering new opportunities that the business can use to enhance its CX down the line.
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Step 5: Take the customer journey and make the changes you need to

In taking the customer journey yourself, you can start putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. By following the journey, write down the moments where their needs are unmet. Then you can begin to fine-tune and restructure the touchpoints so that these pain points are reduced and your customers can reach their goals faster.

Looking for customer service that really speaks to your contacts? Gnatta makes interactions matter, delivering quality exchanges and quicker responses that meet customer expectations. Find out how we can help here or to try a free trial, click here

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