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What is Customer Journey Mapping and How to Start?

If you strive for a customer centric culture, you have to understand the customer journey – every step of the way! Customer journey mapping is a powerful way to find pain points and opportunities in your customer experience.  It offers a realistic view of the journey your customers have with your brand, service or product.

What is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer’s experience of interacting with your brand. A typical customer journey map begins with the first exposure that the customer has with your brand or product and follows their engagement through to the point of sale and beyond. 

Why do you need a map?

Although we may think we know what the customers go through because we have built and understand the processes, we often don’t. Understanding the true journey from the customers eyes helps to find simple ways to improve the customer experience by uncovering gaps and pain points in the journey.

A map can also be used to plan long term changes to improve the customer experience. Having today’s journey and an ideal journey identified can help you discover and fill in the gaps of those experiences.

And finally, customer journey mapping is a good tool to stress test new products, services or offering for customers. 

How to prepare your map?

Define the scope of your customer journey map

Some businesses will have many types of customers and various journeys.  What they sell and who they sell to are complex, so trying to map out every customer journey at once is difficult. So where do you start? 

Start by selecting the scope of the map.  Ask yourself, what journey do you want to focus on? Keep it simple – a straightforward customer segment and a straightforward customer journey. Your first map can be a baseline to build off, or a template for your business – simplicity is key!

Define your customer

Each customer’s journey is driven by very different needs, that’s why defining your customer is an important step in creating a map.  Start by creating a customer persona.  

Review any available data

Compile all customer feedback you already have, this might be from surveys, Net Promoter Score (NPS) or other satisfaction tests, reviews, and social media.  Don’t forget your employees, especially those who talk to customers frequently, they will be a good source of knowledge for customer pain points.

Create a team of customer champions

There are two types of people that you should invite to a customer journey mapping workshop.  Those who understand the customer journey e.g. sales agents, social media reps, and those who are influencers in the company like e.g. CEO, Head of Marketing

Customer Journey Mapping Touchpoints Diagram

Customer Journey Mapping – The Path to Increased Revenue

Building your Map

Map out the Key Stages of the journey

Identify the principal stages a customer passes through in their interaction with your company for example

  1. Pre sale (awareness, consideration)

  2. Sale (selection, comparison, purchase)

  3. Delivery (meet expectations)

  4. Aftersales

Identify the information you want to map

What information do you want to map about the user? What do you need to know at each of these key stages in their interaction?  

Some common areas are:

  1. Tasks/Actions –  What is the user trying to achieve at this stage? 

  2. Questions – What does the user want to know at this stage?

  3. Touchpoints – How does the user interact with the organisation at this point?

  4. Emotions – What is the user feeling at this stage in the process?

  5. Pain points – How does the organisation let the user down at this stage?

Customer Journey Mapping Example

Customer Journey Mapping Example

Lead a Journey Mapping Workshop

Prepare the room for plenty of interaction.  Your job as the facilitator is to keep the conversation focused on the customer.  Remind your customer champions why they are there, state your goals for the map and detail what you already know.  It’s important to tell everyone that honesty is vital and there is no right or wrong answer.

A common technique is to use a large roll of paper on a wall and creating a grid to represent the key stages of the journey. Once the paper is up and the phases are outlined you need to create some rows for the information you want to map.  The customer champions can then add their post it notes to each box.

Don’t forget you can use icons so make the map more interactive e.g. Happy/sad emoji for the customers feeling, phone or email icon for the channel used.

How to use a Customer Journey Map Effectively?

Add data and metrics into your customer journey map

Once your map is complete you can you review your data for alignment – points in the map that can be reinforced with data. For example – if you have identified that customers find the website slow to load then add your website speed and consumer data that may suggest improving the speed by x% will increase conversions by x%.  You can then set KPI’s to improve this experience with a metric to measure.

Taking action on customer pain points

To begin you will need to prioritise your pain points to action. Keep in mind the following.

  1. What impact will a repair have on a pain point.  Is it worth the investment to repair? 

  2. How feasible is the repair?

  3. Does the fix improve the customer experience?

Use the map to introduce new products and services

By mapping out where and how this new product/service impacts the customer you can identify pain points or opportunities to delight them.

Customer journey mapping isn’t a perfect science that will solve all our problems but it is a great tool to help improve the customer experience and one I personally use a lot. It helps to focus everybody on the customer experience and moves them away from internal processes and tools.

My first experience of creating a customer journey map was a complete disaster! 20 managers locked in a room without any strategy or guidance – needless to say the outcome was next to nothing. These days I follow the above strategy and the outcome is great.  

If you feel you’re getting in a muddle or simply want some advice then get in touch, i’d be happy to help.


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