What Is a Customer Journey Map & Why Does It Matter?
Ever heard the adage It’s not the destination; it’s the journey? These famous and wise words have inspired the lives and adventures of many people.
Nothing could be more true when it comes to the customer experience at different touchpoints with your business. Indeed, the journey through your company’s various points of interaction with your customer is more important than the products and services they have come to discover and behold.
- What Is The Customer Journey Map?
- What Are The Main Elements Of A Customer Journey Map?
- What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Using A Customer Journey Map?
- What Are The Differences Between Customer Journey Maps And Customer Feedback?
- What Do You Do With What You Learn About The Customer’s Journey?
The Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map is a visual representation of your customer’s needs and journey through various touchpoints with your company.
We are well within the digital revolution in 2022, and mobile computing is on pace to outpace traditional stationary computing practically any day now.
Mobile phones are essentially computers that we happen to make phone calls on, and the usage of tablets as a customer’s primary computer has all but surpassed that of laptops.
The wide availability of LTE and 5G wireless networks, readily accessible wireless internet points, and lightning-fast phones have also contributed greatly to the rise of the social media empire.
Almost all businesses in today’s global markets have at a minimum Instagram and Facebook accounts, as well as Twitter, WhatsApp, TikTok, and Snapchat.
This is all in addition to traditional customer support and experience services such as Live Chats on websites, telephone representatives, in-store representatives, email marketing, SMS text marketing, postal mailers, billboards, etc.
Marketing tools and resources ultimately become customer touchpoints or points of contact between your company and your customers, whether prospective customers, returning customers, or just window shoppers.
Using a customer journey map, you can create a tangible visualization of how your customer personas interact with your company, creating opportunities for you and your team to identify weak points in the journey that need to be fortified, eliminated, or addressed.
In other words, the customer journey map template allows you to see how your customer experiences contact with your company through their eyes and not our own.
Instead of being too close to the box or inside the box, you can step back and gain a hawk’s eye perspective of what you are blind to due to your natural proximity to it.
There is great power in changing your perspective because sometimes the truth cannot be seen, and problems remain unsolved when you stand at the wrong vantage point.
The Main Elements of a Customer Journey Map
- Find Where You And Your Customers Align
- Schedule Out All Of Your Available Touchpoints
- Recognize Both Pain Points And Strong Points
- Engage In The Customer's Perspective
- Create A Tangible Visual Map Of The Customer’s Journey
Find Where You and Your Customers Align
Business is all about relationships and goals. Regardless of the business side, you are on, the significance of relationships and goals is imperative to creating a healthy, sustainable partnership. This means goals must align, even if the priorities of either party on built in a different order.
Finding where these goals and priorities cross paths is the first important step in building your customer journey map. We know this sounds like it may be complicated, and honestly, it isn’t always the easiest of tasks, but it is critical if you want to ensure you can paint a picture that actually represents the customer’s journey.
Start with different customer personas, such as millennial males or females, college students, LGBTQ+ customers, conservative or liberal customers, etc.
Once you identify the persona, step into their shoes and discover what their goals are with your product. Let’s say you design and sell custom wood charcuterie boards. Your goal is to provide unique boards sourced from sustainable wood resources.
Your customer’s goal may be finding the perfect board matching their new outdoor patio furniture. Where do these two goals align? This insight allows you to implement marketing strategies that bridge the gap between your company’s mission and your customer’s intentions.
Schedule Out All of Your Available Touchpoints
Touchpoints are how your customers interact with your business. We will focus on two primary touchpoints: social media and online.
After identifying your touchpoints, you should list or schedule how your customers interact with your business.
Once you have created this schedule, the next step is to identify where you may have missed an opportunity to impact the customer’s decision-making.
Prioritize the most significant touchpoints and opportunities that help you align your marketing strategy and goals with the customers.
Recognize Both Painpoints and Strongpoints
This step aims at discovering where and when your customers were most happy with the buying process and when they weren’t. They may find product suggestions helpful but displeased if they cannot find products online easily.
Once you have been able to identify these pain points and strong points, the next step is to identify who on your team is responsible for implementing them, such as your software developers, web developers, marketing analysts, behavioral clinicians, etc.
How can these team members improve to eliminate the pain and enhance the strong points?
Engage in the Customer’s Perspective
Engaging in the customer’s perspective requires you to step outside your box and become the customer, or to put it more simply, to walk in their shoes. Hop on your phone and open your social mediaapp, search for your business, interact with the page, click on the website link, scroll through a product you would like to buy, click on it, read the reviews, and add it to your cart, go back to find something you thought might pair well with it, add that to your cart.
Finish the process and determine where your company excelled and where it failed. This valuable insight can greatly enhance your problem-solving and problem mitigation efforts.
Create a Tangible Visual Map of the Customer’s Journey
Now that you have completed the first four steps, it is time to make your blank canvas come to life. You do not have to use a real canvas and paint; you can simply use a blank wall, sticky notes, a computer program, scratch notebook paper, etc. Whatever you choose, just ensure you can physically interact with it with all your senses. Well, you can leave taste out; leave taste out!
The goal is simply to have a tangible visual reference that you can physically observe and interact with to see the bigger picture, no pun intended. Psychologists have studied human behavior for millennia: the difference between achieving your goals and falling short lies in creating tangible and visual references of your ambitions and goals.
In other words, if you have a goal to grow your business from just ten to 50 employees over the next five years, write it down and read it daily.
Some of the Benefits of Using a Customer Journey Map
There are many benefits of using a customer journey map. We want to focus on just a few of the significant benefits.
Empathy is perhaps the greatest benefit of the customer journey map. Once you are able to step into the shoes of your customers and see your business through their eyes, feel their frustrations, share their joys, and experience what they experience, you can begin to gain empathy for what they encounter.
This empathy serves as a beacon for how your company brainstorms what changes to make that bring your goals and those of your customers more in tune and alignment with one another.
In order to truly garner empathy for another’s experience, we must do two things: listen and acknowledge their experience. Please do not confuse listening with hearing.
When we listen to someone, we go far beyond just hearing their words; instead, we actively listen to their experience and concerns, place ourselves in their circumstance and experience them with them, and then genuinely acknowledge their concern and feelings.
Secondly, creating a customer journey map can predict your customers’ wants and needs, as well as their frustrations, before engaging with your company’s various touchpoints.
We all wish we could predict the future, and if we could, we believe that our lives would be perfect because we would be able to anticipate, adapt, and overcome challenges to our success. This translates into your marketing strategy as well.
Lastly, implementing positive changes to pain points discovered through the use of customer journey maps will undoubtedly lead to increased customer loyalty and your company’s profitability.
When customers see that you spend as much time listening to them as you do marketing to them, they will gain enormous respect for your company and, in turn, will likely be loyal customers.
Most people want to do business with a company that values their time, desires, and concerns, and when you set out to make positive changes based on their feedback and experiences, you demonstrate your willingness to honor their business with your company.
Customer Journeys vs. Customer Feedback
While there are similarities between the Customer Journey and Customer Feedback, they are largely very different from one another.
Customer Feedback focuses more on prompting customers to offer reviews or surveys about their satisfaction with your company, the buying process, your online and physical store environments, etc.
Of course, this is a valuable tool for marketing research, analysis, and marketing brainstorming, but it falls far shorter than what the Customer Journey provides.
The customer journey map goes much deeper than surface-level inquiries and, as we have already discussed, dives deep into the customer experience at various different touchpoints and waypoints with your company through the buying process.
The customer journey map actually forces you to experience what the customer experienced and not just hear about it. Feedback is an important element of the customer journey map, but it is not capable of offering you the insight that can only be found from experiencing the customer’s experiences through their eyes.
Putting Experience to Work
Possessing knowledge and wisdom is worthless when it is wasted with inaction and a reluctance to do the work necessary to bring that knowledge to fruition. Many call Elon Musk a real-life Tony Stark, and we tend to agree. He has built an empire born from his many dreams to create not only a better Earth but an interstellar species. However, what good would Musk’s genius be if he only dreamed and didn’t do the work to turn those dreams into tangible realities? There would be no Tesla, Space X, Starlink, or Mars mission.
Knowing is not enough. Transforming knowledge into action is required to accomplish your goals. This discovery demands that you take immediate steps to mitigate areas where your company has caused unnecessary issues and unpleasant customer experiences for your customers.
At Awesome CX, we specialize in enhancing the customer experience, and the Customer’s Journey is what we were founded to perfect. Contact us to discuss how we can help you with your adventure towards seeing your business through your customer's eyes!