Journey mapping is the process by which you step into your customers’ shoes and chart all the possible experiences they might have. A great way to map a Journey is to do it together with your customers. Regardless if you are doing it inside-out or together with a group of customers, follow these nine steps to get the most out of your journey maps:

Step 1: Build Customer profiles using Persona

Data about your customer forms the basis of your map. Generally speaking, this data will come from two places: direct feedback and customer analytics.

Your potential and current customer base are likely made up of many different Persona. And your customer journey map needs to account for this.

Learn more about creating a Persona here.

Step 2: Define General Stages

Generally speaking, customer journeys are split into four stages: awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty.

There are various ways of mapping the customer journey at a general level. (Source)
This framework has come under criticism for being inherently biased because it assumes that customers will purchase from you. You may find it beneficial to opt for an alternative framework that splits the customer journey into more generic stages like “early”, “middle”, and “late”.

Whatever framework you choose, it is crucial to bear in mind that you seek to understand the customer experience from the moment a problem is first experienced to the time it is solved.

Your customer profile is essential at this stage. It will enable you to identify the unique stages that your customers go through rather than relying on a generic framework.

Step 3: Plot all the different steps in every stage.

What are the customer goals, needs, desires, etc. for each general stage of the customer journey? This is where your customer profile comes into play again.

All of the information you gathered for each part of the customer journey through user feedback and data analytics come into action here.

Customer goals are an essential part of the customer journey map. This can be described as the “lens”.

Consider the most pressing concerns during awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty. Don’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty when collecting data. Direct customer feedback is invaluable. Other qualitative research methods, such as watching videos of users interacting with your store, listening to customer service recordings, and connecting with customers via email, are all good strategies at this point.

Step 4: Identify Touchpoints for Each Stage

Outline all touchpoints – anyway a customer might interact with your brand – which applies to each stage.

Many retailers approach this stage too narrowly. It’s essential to account for all possible touchpoints, not just your website. Ignoring minor channels or interactions will lead to an incomplete customer journey map.

Account for all of the following touchpoints:

  • Word-of-mouth and referrals.
  • Outbound marketing channels like online ads, awareness campaigns, and offline advertising.
  • Inbound marketing like content, search engine results, and organic social media posts.
  • Social media channels.
  • Customer support.
  • Your website and apps.
  • Email.
  • Packaging and delivery

Step 5: Identify Moments of Truth

Moments of truth occur when a customer makes an important decision. A critical moment of truth is when a prospect decides to buy.

So when do these typically happen in your customer journey?

Moments of truth are highly significant in e-commerce.

There is usually at least one moment of truth associated with each stage of the customer journey.

Here’s a quick rundown of the most critical moments of truth:

  • Discovery – The moment a prospective customer decides to engage with your brand for the first time.
  • Purchase – When a customer buys an item.
  • Experience – When a customer uses the product and forms an overall impression of your brand and service.
  • Loyalty – When a customer decides to re-engage with your brand and become a repeat buyer.

Moments of truth are essential to include on your customer journey map because they signify the small windows of time in which a prospect is essentially “integrating” all experiences up until that point and making a decision going forward.

Targeting customers with the right content and touchpoints at these critical moments of action encourages them to cross the line and move along the customer journey. Failure to provide adequate experiences will likely mean that they fall away and don’t return.

Step 6: Identify Drop-Off Points and Goal Completion

Where are customers typically dropping off and ending their journey? Where are they completing their goals?

This step is about measuring the effectiveness of your customer journey as it currently exists. It’s where you gauge whether users are completing their goals straightforwardly and satisfyingly.

Barriers are essential to consider when determining why customers might not be achieving their goals.

Arguably the essential part of this analysis is determining where customers are dropping off without returning. It’s common, for example, for retailers to see a high rate of drop-off during checkout, and this is often the result of poorly-designed checkout forms.

Google Analytics data is essential for identifying these areas of drop-off. By incorporating this data into your customer journey map, you can tie it to specific goals and pain-points and recognize why customers might be leaving your site.

Step 7: Gather Supplementary User Feedback

You’ve already gathered customer feedback, so it might seem unnecessary to do so again.

But additional feedback can be immensely useful once you’ve started to put together your customer journey. At this stage of the process, you will likely be aware of what was missing in your original customer research.

Gather customer feedback for any touchpoints were data is lacking and incorporate this into your customer map.

You’ll also see clearly where your current feedback processes are falling short. Identifying these “blind spots” enables you to pinpoint the areas of your customer experience that you have been overlooking. You can then adjust your feedback processes accordingly.

Step 8: Identify Areas for Improvement (Problem Areas)

This step is where the customer journey map moves from being an abstract document to a practical tool.

Highlight the most problematic areas on your map and prioritize them. Rank them according to the impact improvements will have on your overall customer journey.

Attaching KPIs to each stage of the customer journey will enable you to quickly see which areas are most problematic and hone in on the specific touchpoints that require attention.

The customer journey map above identifies opportunities and risks. (Source)
It would help if you also determined your conversion-centered metrics for each general stage of the customer journey. This will allow you to tie your sales funnel/buyer lifecycle to your customer map, so they’re not two standalone documents.

Pinpoint the moments where customers are experiencing strong emotions. These represent fantastic opportunities to form a relationship and nudge customers towards a purchase. You can tailor content and CTAs to meet their needs best or leverage positive feelings.

Amplifying positive feelings is also one of the best ways to boost the satisfaction that customers feel when interacting with your store. Highlighting the best touchpoints, which trigger positive emotions, is a great way to figure out where to allocate resources when maintaining and improving touchpoints.

Step 9: Develop and Test New Solutions

Customer journey maps are excellent for generating new solutions, touchpoints, and customer experiences. They act as a focal document for your whole team, enabling them to brainstorm new approaches.

Using your customer journey map as an aid for idea-generation among your team is an excellent way of ensuring a continuous flow of options for testing and split-testing. Taking this approach guarantees that you will have suggestions for making improvements going forward.

It’s also good practice to ask what an ideal customer journey looks like based on your map. Ideally, you should create a separate document. This is an essential supplementary tool that you can use to gauge the quality of your current customer journey and provides you with a tangible goal to aspire to.

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