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What Is A Customer Journey Mapping?

Imagine someone planning his dream vacation. They start with researching destinations they might be interested in: read some travel blogs, social media, or review websites for recommendations. They narrow down their destination options and search for flights and accommodations, compare prices, read reviews, and explore different booking platforms to find the best deals. Finally, they make all reservations and eagerly anticipate the upcoming trip. At some point, they understand they need to add extra baggage, but the flight booking website becomes a hurdle. Customer support is unresponsive. After much frustration and spending a couple of more hours on the flight booking website, they finally managed to solve the issue and finalize flight details. However, the hassle of dealing with flight booking problems leaves a sour taste and underscores the importance of smooth booking and helpful customer support for a stress-free trip.

Understanding customers and their needs is crucial. What do you know about them? What drives them to buy your products or services? What is their user experience like? And why do they stay or leave? We have one very powerful tool to get this valuable information. It is customer journey mapping, which helps you answer these and other questions, analyze your target audience, and improve your sales pitch.

What Is a Customer Journey Mapping?

Customer Journey Mapping is visualizing the interaction between the customer and the business from the customer's point of view. It shows the customer's points of contact with the product or service and depicts the customer's path to purchase. This map enables businesses to see how their customers actually experience their brand versus how companies think they should, taking into account customer motivations, needs, and emotions. There isn't a one-size-fits-all format for customer journey mapping - it can be adapted to various visual representations such as a linear timeline, flowchart, or any other format and made using different mediums, whether traditional methods like paper and sticky notes or digital tools. More importantly, it should give businesses valuable insights and help them better understand their customers.

What Are The Benefits of Mapping Your Customer's Journey? 

Understand your customers better: If a company doesn't understand the customer journey, it can not be sure it targets the right audience with the right messages and offers. Creating a customer journey map provides invaluable insights into You'll better understand who your customers are, what they need, why they choose you, what they worry about, and what makes them happy. By understanding the customer experience—both as it is and in its ideal state—you can create, adjust, and improve touchpoints to ensure the most efficient and effective experience possible.

Find User Pain Points. By examining every step of the customer journey with your brand, you can identify where you're falling short of expectations or where you're turning off potential customers. It may be a frustrating website or poor customer support. Customer journey mapping helps you spot these problems so you can address them.

Adjust your strategy and foster loyalty: As you better understand your customers, you may realize that you must tailor your offerings, pricing range, marketing campaigns, support team workflows, etc. Providing a better experience will lead to shorter sales cycles and higher satisfaction levels, promoting loyalty and repeat purchases.

When To Make a Customer Journey Mapping?

Creating a customer journey mapping is possible at all stages of business development. If you have just entered the market, you can get to know the client and track their first points of contact with the business. A company that has been in the market for a long time will better understand the target audience and increase repeat sales. Customer journey mapping is part of market research and is usually the responsibility of the marketing or sales department. However, involving different teams in this process allows a more comprehensive understanding of the customer journey. 

What Are Customer Journey Main Stages?

Awareness. It is the starting stage of the customer journey when a person realizes they have some specific need or problem. They start researching this topic and become aware of the product or service that might help them in their situation. During this stage, brands should focus on helping customers alleviate their pain points rather than pushing for an immediate purchase. They can achieve this goal by offering educational content, such as how-to articles, guides, tutorials, or free courses, suggesting potential solutions to customer's problems. This content is typically accessed through search engine results, leading users to relevant company blogs, social media profiles, or industry event pages.

Consideration. At this stage, customers have researched enough to realize they need a product or service and are already looking for specific solutions. They research and compare offerings from different companies to find the best option. During this stage, brands should aim to help customers decide in their favor over all existing competitors. They should focus on content relating to product articles, different comparison guides, and customer success stories. Such product marketing content is usually delivered via the same channels as educational content.

Acquisition. In the acquisition stage, also called the purchase stage, customers are ready to decide on a solution that best fits their needs and proceed to purchase. At this point, brands can offer free demos, free consultations, and pricing information with product discounts to finally convince the customer towards their offering. Except for content, they should focus on delivering an easy purchase process. Potential touchpoints at this stage include your company website. It is also possible for sales representatives to contact customers via email or other means.

Service. In the service or retention stage, customers purchase a solution and start using it. Here, brands should focus on providing an excellent onboarding experience and easily accessible customer support to ensure that customers will not leave for another provider. Potential touchpoints at this stage are a company's website with clear contact information, FAQ pages, and customer support via phone, emails, social media, live chatbots, etc.

Loyalty: During the loyalty stage, also called the advocacy stage, the focus shifts to getting the customer to not only stay with the product or service but also actively recommend it to family, friends, and colleagues. This goal can be achieved by making it easy to share the brand with others through a loyalty or referral program and by providing benefits to loyal customers, like discounts. It is possible to communicate these strategies and benefits through customer touchpoints on your website, via email, and social media. It goes without saying that your product or service itself should meet and even exceed customer expectations.

The stages of the customer journey can vary across industries and products. You might need to include additional phases in your map or focus on specific parts. For instance, if you're mainly interested in understanding the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, you might focus on mapping out the awareness stage of the journey.

Where Do You Take Data For a Customer Journey Mapping?

For the customer journey mapping to reflect the actual interaction with the customer, it relies on data from various sources, including CRM systems, Google Analytics, input from sales managers, marketers, product managers, analysts, etc. The main sources of useful information for customer journey mapping include:

  1. Market research on user/customer demographics, behaviors, and preferences.

  2. Operational data, such as financial transaction data, that provides insights into customer purchasing behavior and patterns.

  3. Unsolicited user data, i.e., data collected without direct input or interaction from users, such as web traffic data or data collected from monitoring social media platforms, that provide insights into customer interactions and engagement with the company's digital channels.

  4. Solicited user data, i.e., data requested or gathered directly from users, from interviews or surveys, that offers direct feedback from customers about their experiences and preferences.

Stages of Customer Journey Mapping

1. Define Your Goals

First and foremost, define your purpose behind customer journey mapping and why you need it, whether it's to analyze a specific marketing project or achieve broader business goals, such as attracting more customers, increasing sales per customer, or improving customer retention. It is possible to prepare journey mapping by narrowing its scope to a specific scenario and customer segment by interests or behaviors, as well as researching customers by groups. This way, you can avoid making it too generic or broad. For example, rather than creating a general customer journey map for all customers, you might create one specifically for new customers signing up for your service online. It allows you to examine their sentiments and experiences more closely at each stage of the sign-up process, from initial awareness to completing the registration.

2. Create a buyer persona

To better understand the customer journey, you first need to understand the customers themselves—and creating a persona really helps with that. A buyer persona is your fictitious average customer created based on research about real users and the state of the market. Imagining this person's age, job function, personal goals, interests, needs, pain points, and expectations allows you to understand the psychology and behavior of your clients. 

You can start by creating about three average personas. It will allow you to focus on the most significant segments of your target audience and avoid overwhelming complexity in your persona development process.

3. Find the touchpoints between the customer and the company

Define the channels of interaction with the customer and how your customers might find you online. Aside from direct search engine results leading to your website, they can find you through social channels, paid ads, email marketing, third-party review sites, or mentions. Verify it by checking your Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. Based on your research, you should list all the touchpoints your customers use and those you believe they should use. For instance, if customers use fewer touchpoints on the website than expected, it may indicate they are quickly leaving the site, potentially due to a poor user experience. Conversely, if customers use more touchpoints than expected, it may suggest that the website is too complicated, leading to frustration and a longer path to achieving their goals. Either way, understanding the touchpoints will help you understand the ease or difficulty of the customer journey.

4. Understand your customers' emotions and perspective

Understanding your customers' emotions is critical because emotions often determine their actions. Get feedback directly from your customers through surveys, interviews, or email questionnaires to understand their experiences at various touchpoints. Ask about their motivations and the challenges they faced. By studying emotions and experiences, you can gain insight into how customers feel at each stage of their interaction with your company, which will help you understand why they made or didn't make a purchase. This understanding allows you to deliver the right content at the right time to help guide customers through their emotional journey with your brand. 

5. Identify the pain points

At each step of interaction with the business, customers may face obstacles like an unintuitive  website interface or slow loading time, poor customer service, delivery delays, missing app functionality, high prices, etc. You can learn about these pain points by listening to customer feedback through surveys and reviews. By understanding and addressing these pain points, you can create a smoother and more satisfying customer journey and prevent them from abandoning their purchase. 

6. Identify opportunities for improvement

Identifying pain points allows you to see where you're providing a great experience and where customer needs aren't being met. It will help you find ways to enhance your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Ultimately, the goal is to use this map to improve the customer experience, which will lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

What Tools Can Help to Create Customer Journey Mapping?

While it is possible to create a customer journey even on a piece of paper using a simple pen, specialized digital tools can automate the process, make collaboration easier, and allow for editing and sharing. Some tools are designed specifically to manage customer experience, while others are more general-purpose and can be used for different scenarios so businesses can choose the option that best suits their needs and preferences. Plus, many platforms offer different templates you can choose from. Some popular tools are Sketch, Lucidchart, Microsoft Visio, Custellence, UXPressia, and Smaply. We will analyze and compare them in one of our following articles. 

Bottom Line

Customer experience is the key factor that sets businesses apart, and customer journey mapping is one of those powerful tools that can lead your business to growth. By investing time and resources into customer journey mapping, businesses not only make customers happier but also see real results—greater experiences, stronger customer loyalty, and more customers coming back, resulting in revenue growth.


Maryna Kharchenko


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