Most marketing experts would agree that understanding how a buyer’s mind works can be complex.
According to a report from Baymard Institute, 70% of online buyers will leave their carts in 2021. So, the question is: Why do buyers spend so much time adding products to their carts but don’t check out?
To know the answer, you need to have coherent knowledge of the customer’s journey to buying your service or product. But what exactly is customer journey mapping? And how can it benefit you? Well, that’s what we will talk about in this article, so be sure to read it till the end.
But before we jump into the details of customer journey mapping, let’s go back to the basics.
Customer Journey Mapping 101
First things first, what exactly is a customer journey map? It is a visual portrayal of a customer’s experience with a company. It offers a deeper understanding and knowledge of the concerns and customer needs that directly inhibit or motivate their course of action.
This information enables brands and companies to enhance customer experience, leading to better customer retention and higher conversion rates. You can either design your customer journey map fare or choose from various customer journey map templates that accurately reflect your customer perspective.
What Is A Customer Journey?
The path and steps are taken while a potential customer interacts with a brand or company to accomplish a certain goal are called a customer journey. The journey involves multiple steps, from learning about a particular brand through social media platforms to receiving an email after purchase.
Also, it is worth noting that the customer journey is not something that can be predicted or assumed based on your point of view.
What Is The Importance Of A Customer Journey Map?
Although the customer journey sounds pretty simple, it is much more than compiling a series of actions made by customers. The user’s thoughts and intentions are important to brands during the steps.
During the customer journey, buyers could speak to a customer support representative, see advertisements for the product, or even try to check out. These are essential steps in a customer journey that affect their behaviour and action.
Understanding the process and its effects on customer interaction enable you to design and prepare strategically to urge customers to make a purchase.
That said, it’s worth noting that only having an in-depth understanding of the buyer’s journey is barely enough. It would be best to illustrate the complex journey so that you and the other employees can use it as a reference. And this is where creating a customer journey map enters the picture.
What Is Customer Journey Mapping?
Now that you have an idea of what the process entails let’s dig deeper. As mentioned earlier, customer journey mapping is a procedure of developing a buyer journey map, which is the visual representation of the customer’s experience of a company. In the end, stakeholders can view the client’s experience in a diagram or diagrams, which merges the relevant data into a visual map.
In addition, a customer or buyer journey map depicts the present route the customer takes from the first to the last touchpoint. This data is crucial as it indicates whether they can currently accomplish their goals. If not, the company can proceed to identify the roadblocks and provide solutions.
Beyond that, you must keep in mind that it is nearly impossible to represent a customer journey from one point to the other. Customers often take a multi-channel, cyclical, and back and forth journey. Thus, it becomes increasingly complicated to visualise customer journey mapping accurately.
Fortunately, companies and brands can now utilise various customer journey mapping tools and methods to portray the buyer journey in infographics, excel spreadsheets, and notes. Anywhere are many customer journey map templates available, depending on the type you wish to use. But, of course, you need data from existing and potential customers before creating a customer journey map.
On that note, generating a helpful customer journey map is a lengthy exercise, but it is worthwhile. We suggest using a customer journey map template if this is your first time.
What Comprises A Customer Journey Map?
Here, we have discussed some essentials included in a customer journey map.
1. The Purchasing Process
A basic form of a customer journey map includes critical journey stages. So, a brand can start the process by drawing up a path to depict the steps a buyer takes to accomplish a goal. In traditional purchasing process stages, each stage is visualised horizontally.
2. The Action Of The Users
This component of the map explains what a buyer does at every stage of the purchasing process. For instance, they may talk with their family and friends about their needs or demands and the possible ways to meet those demands in the awareness stage. Then, they might consider going through your company’s website and using a credit or debit card to make a purchase.
This component analyses the numerous ways your customers will achieve their goals.
Remember that your customers are resolving an issue — it does not matter if the goal is small or big. If your services or products provide solutions, they may experience positive emotions, such as excitement, happiness or relief. On the flip side, if the purchase process is complex and lengthy, they might experience a mix of emotions at different stages.
Including these feelings in your customer map might help you reduce unfavourable emotions to prevent them from turning into negative company perceptions.
4. Pain Points
As you know, problems along the way cause negative emotions. So, naturally, including pain points in your journey map can help you understand at which stage the buyer is feeling negative emotions so that you can analyse the reasons.
Solutions form a crucial element of your customer journey map. It is where you and the employees will find out different ways to enhance the purchasing process, so the buyers experience fewer pain points. That way, you can ensure positive reception of your product or service in the customers’ minds.
6. Customer Touchpoints
A touchpoint is where your buyer starts to form an opinion about your company. A Google review, a 404 error, communication with your employee or a display ad are customer touchpoints.
For instance, a 404 error page or no search results page puts a dead end on the customer journey. So, this particular touchpoint can be viewed as an opportunity to improve the customer experience.
Your business or brand exists beyond the marketing materials and the website. Therefore, you need to consider the numerous types of touchpoints in the customer journey maps as they help unveil scopes for improvement in the purchasing journey.
Creating A Customer Journey Map
Here is how you can create an effective customer journey map:
1. Define The Objectives
First, you have to ask yourself why the customer journey map is being made:
- What is it based upon?
- What is it about?
- What goals do you seek to achieve through this map?
Based on that, you might want to develop a buyer persona. A buyer persona or customer persona is an imaginary buyer with all their psychographics and demographics representing the average customer. When you have a well-planned and defined persona, it becomes easier to direct every feature of the customer journey map towards them.
2. Identify Your Personas And Set Their Goals
Next, what you need to do is conduct research. Perhaps, some of the most effective ways to get customer feedback are user testing and questionnaires. However, make sure that you only engage with real customers and prospects, as it is essential to collect feedback from those who are genuinely interested in investing in your product.
Additionally, you would also want feedback from those who have made transactions or communicated with your business before or intend on doing it soon. For instance, you could ask them:
- How did you come to know about our business?
- What is it that you liked the most about our website?
- How long do you usually spend on our website?
- Have you bought any of our products/services? If so, why?
- What are you trying to solve through our product/service?
- How easily can you navigate our website on a scale of 1 to 10?
- Did you ever feel the need for customer support? If so, on a scale of 1 to 10, how was the experience?
3. Focus On Your Target Customer
Now that you have learned about the various buyer personas that engage with your company focus on an individual or a few target customers.
Don’t forget that a journey map tracks a customer’s experience who is taking a very particular path with your business. If you bundle too many personas into a single journey, the map won’t show the experience of your customers accurately.
Choosing the most convenient customer persona when developing your first customer journey map would be wise. You can even utilise a marketing dashboard to compare each and determine which one would be the most ideal for your customer journey map.
There is no need to worry about the ones you don’t select, as you can continually develop a new journey map specific to those types of customers.
4. Jot Down The Touchpoints
Touchpoints are all the interaction points of contact between you and your customers. With your extensive research, you should be able to jot down all the touchpoints the prospects and customers are currently using.
This is arguably the most crucial phase in developing a journey map as it offers you invaluable insights into the customers’ actions. For instance, if they are not using as many touchpoints as anticipated, it could mean that they cannot find what they are looking for on your website and, therefore, leave early.
On the other hand, if they’re using more touchpoints than anticipated, it could mean that your website is challenging to navigate, requiring numerous steps to reach a goal. Understanding the touchpoints would help you determine the objectives and ease of customer journeys regardless of the case.
So, apart from just the website, be sure to consider all the other different ways in which the buyer might find your product or service online, such as:
- Review blogs
- Email marketing
- Paid ads
- Social media platforms
We strongly recommend googling your company to find out the different pages that mention your product or service. Verify these on Google Analytics to understand where the traffic is coming from. Then, jot down the common touchpoints in all platforms that are likely to see an action linked.
You can consider these touchpoints while creating the customer journey map:
A) Customer Actions
Note down your buyers’ actions while they interact with your business. These could include actions as simple as clicking on a newsletter from your company or Googleing your keywords. Doing so will provide you with the opportunity to rationalise your data later. Note that you may end up with a pretty long list of customer actions, which is fine.
Plus, you must identify when your buyers take too many actions to accomplish their goals. Believe it or not, minimising the steps that a customer takes may seem risky, but it makes for higher conversion rates.
B) Customer Pain Points And Obstacles
Ensure you know about the various obstacles your customers face while trying to achieve their goals. More often than not, the obstacle is price. For instance, a buyer may genuinely love your product or service but may not purchase it because of high shipping charges.
Highlighting and talking about such potential obstacles in the journey map could help you reduce or resolve them. For instance, you could incorporate a detailed FAQ section on your website answering all the queries about shipping charges.
C) Customer Motivations And Emotions
There is no denying that marketing is a product of cause and effect. Similarly, every action of the buyer is influenced by emotion. It is also worth noting that a problem or a pain point affects a customer’s emotions. Once you understand these pain points and concerns, you can provide the appropriate materials required to ease the buyer’s emotional journey and experience with your brand.
5. Take Inventory Of The Resources At Hand
Your customer journey map will most likely touch on every aspect of your company. Thus, it will highlight the resources that develop the customer experience. It is imperative to note the current resources and those you will require to enhance the customer’s journey.
Let’s say your journey map exposes some issues with customer service quality. So, you may find that the team doesn’t have enough resources to tackle the issues properly and provide quality service to the customers. In this case, you can use the customer journey map and inform the management to invest in resources to help your support team work efficiently.
By incorporating these new resources into the journey map, you can understand how they impact your brand and drive outsized value. This makes it simpler to persuade decision-makers and gatekeepers to put their money into your projects.
6. Experience The Customer Journey
You are mistaken if you think the work is done after designing the customer journey map. The most important part of the process is to analyse your findings.
Are there visitors who reach your website but don’t buy anything? How can you support the buyers in a better way? It would be best if you had the answers to these questions once you have finished designing the map.
When you analyse the customer data, you will know whether or not the buyer’s needs are being met. This way, you can offer an invaluable experience and assure people that they can find solutions to their issues with the help of your company.
Keep in mind that all the efforts to map the customer journey remain futile until you experience the journey yourself and address the existing issues.
7. Make The Required Changes
After analysing the results, you should get some idea of what the company website should function and look like. Accordingly, you can make the required changes and tweak elements to achieve your goals.
Strategic changes will be beneficial no matter how big or small they are since they are directly linked to what consumers have mentioned as pain points. You can ensure that the pain points are addressed correctly with a customer journey map.
Types Of Customer Journey Maps
This section examined the various types of journey maps and their benefits. You can choose any one of the following maps as per your requirements.
1. Current State Customer Journey Maps
These are the most commonly used customer journey maps. They illustrate the emotions, thoughts, and actions the buyers go through when interacting with your business, so they are widely used for regularly enhancing the customer journey.
2. Day-In-The-Life Customer Journey Maps
As for the day-in-the-life customer journey maps, visualise the emotions and actions your buyers experience in all day-to-day activities; it doesn’t matter whether or not that includes your business. It offers a deeper understanding of the lives of your buyers and what their pain points are in daily life.
These customer journey maps are best used to tackle unmet customer needs that customers didn’t even know existed. You can use this customer journey map while exploring new marketing strategies.
3. Future State Customer Journey Maps
Next, we have the future state customer journey maps representing the emotions, thoughts, and actions your buyers will likely experience when interacting with your business. These maps are ideal for setting strategic goals, enhancing customer experience and portraying your vision.
4. Service Blueprint Customer Journey Maps
Service blueprints are those customer journey maps that start with a more streamlined version of one of the above maps. But eventually, they incorporate the aspects responsible for providing that experience, such as the processes, technologies, policies and people.
They’re great for figuring out the causes of existing customer journeys and what measures need to be taken to get to the intended future customer journeys.
Tips For Mapping An Entire Customer Journey
Here are a few tips to help you create a customer journey map efficiently.
1. Know Your Brand
What do you want, and how do you want to portray your brand? Do you want to enhance the existing customer journey or launch a new product? You can prevent scope creep on large projects if you know what to seek from the map.
2. Survey Customers
Knowing about the customer experience and imagining what it’s like to be in the customer’s shoes can be entirely different. We recommend asking the customers directly about their experience with your company.
3. Keep Reviewing And Updating The Map
When your product or service evolves, so does the customer’s buying process. A minor change, such as adding an extra field to a lead form, might become a significant stumbling block for buyers. So, review and update the map after each product release.
4. Create Maps For Multiple Personas
Not every customer operates the same way, as many factors come into play, such as demographics and psychographics. Therefore it’s better to create multiple customer personas and develop a map for each one.
Developing Your Own Customer Journey Map
And so your customer journey begins!
Stepping into your customer’s shoes and knowing your customers is the best way to help them — and customer journey maps are an excellent tool that lets you see things from a customer’s perspective. Not only that, they ensure you achieve customer satisfaction and positive customer experiences.
After all, it visualises their emotions, pain points, and other processes in a simplified way. And once you understand the buyer’s experience with your company, keeping them happy at every stage becomes more accessible, which leads to better conversion rates.
Our team at sitecente® can assist you with researching or creating a customer journey map for your business. Our dedicated customer service team have years of experience helping small businesses reach their goals. We can help you create a customer persona and journey map to allow your business to achieve its full potential and improve your overall customer experience. So, please speak to us today!
With that said, it’s time for us to bid farewell. Hope to see you soon.