Marketers encourage people to buy products and services that are expected to meet their demands. To successfully promote their products, marketers need to know exactly who their customers are and clearly understand their desires, pain points, frustrations, etc. Otherwise, your potential buyers and customers will choose your competitors.
If you want to fully understand your customers in order to improve your marketing strategy, customer experience, increase sales, and facilitate the growth of your business, you need to pay attention to customer journey mapping. Let’s find out what it is and how it can help you progress.
Describe customer journey mapping in simple words
Customer journey mapping is a visualization of the stages of the customer journey that they go through when using your products or services. Creating a customer journey map will allow you to understand how to meet your customers’ expectations, reveal the problems they face at different stages, and see what emotions they experience when interacting with your brand. Simply put, you have the opportunity to walk a mile in your customer’s shoes.
Let’s see the steps of a young woman who wants to buy a pink luggage bag:
- Search the internet for a luggage bag and find a Facebook post describing their products.
- She likes your bags, but pink is not available. However, she likes the design and decides to read the features and reviews of the bag on specialized websites.
- Your bags are so cool that she is ready to buy one of them.
- You try to add the bag to the cart, but cannot do so due to an unknown error.
- You contact a manager to resolve this issue and place an order.
- The manager helps her place an order and offers her a discount for the next purchase.
- The woman describes her experience on Instagram. She complains about the lack of pink but credits the quality and design.
A customer journey map will help you see all of these stages, interactions, channels, and touch points. In addition, you will have at hand the actions that your customers take, the problems they face, as well as other useful information that you can use to improve the customer, product or service experience. For example, you can think of making pink luggage bags.
Another example: journey map for a sneaker store, Persona is an influencer. Source: UX Press.
How can customer journey mapping benefit your marketing strategy?
Creating customer journey maps will provide a great opportunity to strengthen your customers’ relationship with your brand. Let’s see how.
Understand your actual experience
As a marketer, you certainly have insight into the customer experience with your brand. But when he creates a customer journey map, he will have the opportunity to compare his actual experience with the ones he has imagined. He will be able to understand how they feel, what they do and what they expect at each stage of their journey. The map will help you better understand them and see if he delivers on his brand promise.
Designing a better experience
Customer journey maps allow you to not only understand the current customer experience, but also think about ways to improve it. Your customers need a product or service that fully meets their expectations. That’s why it’s essential to look at your brand through the eyes of your customer and consider how to change their experience for the better.
Choose the right communication channels
You can interact with your customers through various channels such as search engines, ads, social media, friends, websites, apps, and others. But sometimes it’s hard to provide the right person with the right content at the right time through the right channel, right? How to find the ideal channel to interact with your customers? Customer Journey Maps are here to help. They allow you to clearly understand what resources your customers need at each stage of their journey, what communication channels they use, and provide these resources to them through these channels.
Let’s imagine that a young man named Andy wants to buy a camera. He finds a required model in his online store and looks for a video review. Unfortunately, there are no official reviews on the store of him, and Andy has to find and watch an incomprehensible and incomplete video made by a blogger. Looking for a simple and detailed official review, Andy finds a similar camera at a competitor’s store and buys it there. Having a customer journey map handy will allow you to see barriers and quickly remove them (for example, by adding official product reviews to your online store).
Expansion of the set of marketing opportunities
Your marketing team already uses different tools like Google Analytics, HotJar, etc. You can take advantage of the data they provide by creating a customer journey map. For example, you may find that one or a stage is taking too long and come up with ideas about what to do to fix the situation. Or you will be able to determine what marketing activities and at what stage of the user journey you want to do them. These marketing activities may include the following:
- blog posts that answer questions a customer has at different stages of the journey;
- banners on third-party websites that describe customer pain points and offer them solutions with the help of your product;
- change your landing pages according to the insights you received based on your customer journey map;
Improve communication with other departments
It is not enough to build a map and use it only within a department. It is vital to share it with other departments so that they also understand the customers and see their journey. This will allow your company to break down the silos and together create amazing products and services.
When your colleagues fully understand your customers’ needs, issues, and expectations, they have a coherent idea of how to help you build close customer relationships, enhance the experience, and drive loyalty.
Here are some tips on how to create an effective customer journey map.
#1 Define people for your map
First, you need to think of people to include on your map. What to do if you have multiple customer characters? Which ones to choose? Should I create maps for all of them? Since creating a map takes time, choose the people who are most important and valuable to your business. Don’t waste your effort and resources on a limited or less relevant number of customers.
Collect as much information as possible about your customers through surveys, questionnaires, research, observations, etc. This data should include customers’ interests, goals, preferences, and other useful information. It will allow you to create a persona based on real data and representing a real customer segment.
#2 Define the Required Information
If you don’t know how to create journey maps from scratch, you can use the customer journey map templates as a starting point or for inspiration.
If you decide to create a map from scratch, consider the following details:
- Choose the scope of the map. You can create an end-to-end journey or go for a more limited scope if you feel it’s more important right now.
- Add channels and touchpoints. There are instruments through which a customer interacts with your brand (ads, website, mobile application, forums, blogs, online store, etc.)
- Write down the pain points, barriers and problems. Some things prevent your clients from achieving their goals.
- Visualize the emotional experience. There may be emotion associated with a discount or disappointment that a seller was unable to confirm the order.
- Remember about the client’s goals and expectations. What does a customer want to get at each stage of their journey?
- Think of ideas and opportunities. How can you improve the customer experience?
#3 Assemble a team
If you want your customer journey map to be trustworthy, it should be created with the participation of various specialists who are involved in different stages of the customer journey. Your team should include marketers, sales managers, customer service specialists, product managers, and others who may share important customer data. No detail is too small!
#4 Regularly update your customer journey map
Job done, have fun. Oh no, this proverb doesn’t work here. When your customer journey map is created, it doesn’t mean you can forget about it. Revisit and review your map regularly to enrich it with new data when needed. Have you launched a new communication channel or updated your product? It’s time to update your map!
Marketers use various instruments to track customer preferences and demands and keep them loyal to the product or brand. Customer journey maps are now becoming a more powerful tool that will help marketers put themselves in the shoes of their customers and offer more customer-centric products and services.