How to Build a Customer Journey Map in 5 Simple Steps
A customer journey map is your key to fostering higher customer engagement, boosting loyalty, and unlocking new value.
Having one is like switching on a lamp in a dark room.
Once you’ve created a customer journey map, it will illuminate your customer experience in ways you never knew possible — and you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
In fact, customer journey maps are critical tools in today’s customer-driven economy.
With the internet, customers have instant access to endless offers of products and services. But importantly, they also have access to customer reviews. Today, poor experiences can tarnish your brand and drive potential customers away.
To stay competitive, brands must put the customer experience first. Failing to do so will cost you.
Customer Journey Maps: Your Key to Customer Success
A customer journey map gives you the insight you need to create a customer-centric pathway to purchase.
Mapping the customer experience pathway isn’t just a mental exercise. It’s a real document — an actual diagram that you should post on your office wall — that offers true insight into how your customers interact with your brand, technology, and services at every touchpoint.
A customer journey map gives you a visual framework for understanding your customer’s journey from their eyes.
A few benefits include:
- Deepened understanding of your customers’ expectations
- Creation of more relevant products and services
- A simpler, optimized pathway to purchase
- Customers who are more engaged, satisfied, loyal, and profitable
Whether you’re selling products or services, customer journey maps can benefit your business in all of these ways. And then some.
5 Steps to an Ideal Customer Journey Map
Creating an effective customer journey map requires you to analyze your audience, understand the customer experience from the ground up, and then optimize their journey from the first touchpoint to the last.
1. Define your goals
When creating the goals for your customer journey map, consider who will be looking at your customer journey map.
Among others, a journey map serves as a single source of truth about your CX for UX designers, product design teams, customer care teams, and marketing teams.
For example, your goals could be:
- Clarifying customer mindsets at different stages of the journey
- Maintaining consistent treatment of the customer throughout different touchpoints
- Optimizing the customer experience at various touchpoints
- Maximizing customer value across channels
- Helping staff gain more empathy and insight into the customer experience
These maps provide a holistic, top-down picture of the customer as they interact with the brand. This counters the “cross-sectioning” effect that can occur when each team only focuses on a single point of the journey.
2. Research your customers
You might think the brand and experience you offer are on point, but do they really fit the customers you aim to target?
Are you even sure which demographics you’re seeking, what pain points they face, and what their goals are?
Researching your customers, and continuing to refresh this research, is critical to a useful customer journey map.
Armed with your research, you can create personality types, or personas, to anchor decisions that affect CX. This is what you will use in the next step.
3. Create their personas
A customer persona is often used in marketing to create a profile or avatar of target audiences.
This type of avatar personifies your customer, which is an important part of the customer journey map.
Your persona should include details like:
- Personality traits
- Pain points and goals
- Income and economic information
- Emotional states at different touchpoints
- Level of problem awareness and product awareness
The more you can flesh out your persona, the more “real” it will seem to your team.
This is an important part of closing the psychological, emotional gap between your business and your customers.
4. Outline their pathway to purchase in stages
If you want to understand the customer journey from the very beginning, a good place to start is with the Zero Moment of Truth. This is the point when a person first realizes he or she has a need.
At that point, they begin researching a product or service.
If you know the circumstances surrounding that moment, and you will have a better understanding of where they are coming from.
Then, follow each stage through:
- The Zero Moment of Truth — What does the need look like?
- The research process — Is your site easy to navigate and intuitive? What aspects of the interface might be interfering with customers’ access to information?
- Interactions through marketing material — Are your ads and outreach segmented and personalized so you send the right messaging to people at the corresponding point of their journey?
- Channel awareness — What does the interaction look like on each channel? Is it seamless and consistent, or disconnected and choppy?
5. Refine, polish, and publish
Once you have created your document, it’s time to put it to good use.
Many companies create a polished version of the customer journey map, print it out, post it on walls, and publish it on intranets.
Publishing — and periodically refining — the customer journey map is a necessary step.
Unless you encourage staff to internalize and apply it, the map won’t actually benefit your company.
Unlock the door to a superior customer experience
A customer journey map is your key to better CX. But keep in mind there is no such thing as a silver bullet. Maintaining an effective journey map means constantly updating and refining it based on changes to the market, how your business evolves, and new customer demands.
If you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll enjoy higher customer satisfaction, retention, and value.