You’re probably thinking about your prospective customers’ demographics before you start your business. Their age, gender, and locations are the information you aim to figure out right before you begin promoting your product or service.
But how about their intentions, motivations, and pain points? Have you planned them out in your strategy? If you are yet to gauge the information, then it is time to start doing so by creating a customer journey map.
As a digital marketing agency, we understand that laying down a buying journey map can be confusing. For that reason, we try to explain this topic as simply as possible so that even if you are a beginner, you can still follow our instructions.
So, continue reading and gain the valuable insights you need!
What is a Customer Journey Map?
A customer journey map is a visualisation of how buyers interact with a brand, product, or service. It entails a customer-centric approach to create, so companies can understand what the needs and concerns of customers are that directly motivate their actions.
The course of action is frequently complex. There are a lot of factors that contribute to customers’ decisions to buy your product or service. Avoid expecting potential customers to seal a deal immediately after acknowledging your brand, as it is less likely to happen.
For instance, someone may not need a suitcase after seeing a travel kit brand’s social media post. Until they realise they have no suitcase two weeks before their trip. At that point, they start thinking about buying it and comparing different brands. After narrowing down the options, they will select the one that best meets their wants.
Why a Customer Journey Map is Important?
A customer journey map is important because it estimates how customers will interact with a brand, evaluating how they will get from point A to point B. Moving one step may appear to be simple, but it involves a far more complex process.
Experience is as important as the product or service
Using a customer-centric mindset, businesses can plan out the buyer’s journey the way buyers think, as well as understand their needs and pain points. Being empathetic enables businesses to provide their customers with an ideal buying experience.
Experience is a significant factor that determines whether a customer will purchase from them. Customers expect brands to show empathy towards them, yet many fail to provide this demand.
Therefore it is a common occurrence that online shoppers left the product abandoned in their shopping carts, with a total of almost 70% of them in 2022. You surely do not want to make the same mistake. Hence you need to provide your customers with a satisfying buying experience.
Buyers take several stops that a company must understand
Customers make several stops along the buyer’s journey that influence their actions. For instance, they may wait a few days after seeing online ads before reaching out to ask about the product and some more time before attempting to check out.
During the process, they will experience a mixture of feelings. They may be unsure whether or not to proceed to the checkout step, especially the fact that they have multiple options at hand. This is where you must plan your efforts in order to direct them toward sales.
It leads to sound business decisions
Sustaining businesses should not solely focus on increasing sales to the target buyers. A company should also understand how its customers feel along the buyer’s journey.
Grasping how your customers react to your product or service enables you to make sound business decisions that appeal to their emotions. As a result, you can step up the market and convert as many visitors into paying customers as possible.
What to Include In a Customer Journey Map?
Given the importance of a customer journey map, knowing what to include inside of it will allow you to cater to both of customer experience and the number of sales your company gets.
Now it’s time for you to learn how to pinpoint the elements that help you understand your customers as well as their actions towards your company.
The buying process
A buying process consists of milestones that your customers will take when interacting with your company. Draft the path that your company wants the customers to take, from the first time being introduced to your brand to finally reaching the end goal.
The easiest way to plan out the buying process is by using the classic buying process stages, consisting of awareness, consideration, purchase, and retention. We will explain the stages here:
- Awareness: this is the first milestone that customers will go through; they turn from strangers into potential customers.
- Consideration: after being introduced to your brand at the previous stage, customers may start to consider buying your product or service at this step.
- Purchase: this is where your customers finally buy your product or service as they are convinced enough by your brand.
- Retention: at this stage, your customers are coming back for a repurchase, indicating loyalty.
This part describes what your buyers will do at each stage of the buying process. It starts with browsing for what they need during the awareness stage, moving on to analysing your brand, and purchasing from you, to ideally become a loyal customer through a repeat order.
It’s essential to remember that customers are interacting with your company to solve a problem. They will experience a range of emotions during the process, from happiness and excitement to confusion and frustration.
Put yourself in their shoes and consider how the experience makes them feel. Is the procedure simple and effective? or is it too long, to the point of frustrating them?
There are so many possibilities of emotions that may arise. Learn to embrace them, even the negative ones. Navigating the negative outcomes is helpful for you to improve yourself and create a better customer experience.
After navigating the negative emotions, you need to learn that there are pain points that cause them. Adding the pain points to your customer journey map allows you to identify at which stage your customers are commonly experiencing negative emotions.
This part gives you space for improvement as you can describe the reasons why customers experience pain points at each stage of the buying process.
Acknowledging the user’s pain points is not complete without coming up with solutions. Providing the right solutions allows your company to give a more enjoyable buying process journey.
As a result, your customers will feel more positive emotions and fewer pain points. Happy customers are more likely to repurchase from your company, as well as tell their friends and family about their happy experiences.
Arranging The Visualisation Into a Customer Journey Mapping
Now that you have the estimation of how your prospective buyers will interact with you, it’s time to record it through customer journey mapping. It should include a visualisation of the customer experience, along with supporting information explaining each action.
Writing down the visualisation allows you to have a thorough understanding of customers’ engagement with your company from the first to the final buying journey. As a result, you can develop the ideal touch points, which navigate your customers to reach certain goals.
You may be wondering how to create the mapping at this point. Though there is no universal standard for the design, you can make one that works and nurtures the relationships between your company and buyers by following the guide below:
- Start by creating a buyer persona
A buyer persona is a characterisation of your average customers based on user and market research. It usually consists of their gender, age, interests, and other factors that determine their needs and how they correlate to your product or service.
Having this information at hand will help you put yourself in your customers’ shoes. In turn, this will help you build a customer journey that satisfies your customers.
- Determine the goals
Next, you should determine the goals that you want your customers to achieve during each step of the buying process. Perhaps you want people interested in your product to find your website through the search engine, read the description of the item in your pages, and contact your sales representative to get more info.
Whatever the goals are, you must set them clear in the first place by dividing them into several steps. Focusing on each stage allows you to assess your customer’s experience throughout the buying journey until they finally reach the end goal, which is to buy from you.
- Create the touch points
Touch points are moments when your customers interact with your brand. These interactions can range from seeing ads to receiving a discount on their first order to getting an email letter after a successful purchase.
With touchpoints, you can collect feedback and identify the patterns of interaction between your customer and your company. Acknowledging your brand through the customer’s lens is critical as it allows you to open up for improvements.
Now that you know how touchpoints work, it’s time to figure out what to consider when creating them, as explained below:
Identify what actions potential customers are likely to take after being introduced to your brand. For example, some of them may be immediately interested, whereas others may require some time to evaluate your product.
From there, you can create touch points that provide interested customers with smooth experiences when purchasing the product. On the other hand, a convincing approach can be given to those who are yet to demand your product. In turn, you will create a journey that covers varying goals from your customers.
Emotions and motivations
Emotions and motivations always occur every time your customers are exposed to your brand. Their emotions and motivations are also influenced by their current needs.
It’s important for you to embrace their emotions and motivations by covering each of them in the touchpoints. So, whatever their emotions and motivations are, you can lead them to sales.
Obstacles are when your customers experience difficulty while interacting with your brand. They may, for instance, have an interest in your product but then cancel their intent due to several factors.
You may want to pinpoint what are the factors that hinder your customers from buying from you. So that you can improve the experience by giving them what they want.
- Analyse your current resources
Planning out a smooth journey where your customers encounter less of pain points and more positive experiences is incomplete without analysing your current resources.
Say you want the customer service department to respond quickly to your customers’ queries. Then you will need to look at the number of manpower you have. Are there enough of them to resolve the number of questions received in a day?
If you think that with your current team members, your company is unable to provide a prompt response as you planned, then you may want to consider hiring a few more people. This, in turn, will allow you to give a better service to your customers.
- Test out the customer journey map
No matter how thoroughly you plan your customer journey map, the only way to prove whether or not that works is by testing it out. Implement the journey into your marketing strategies and let the results speak for themselves.
Later, you can analyse the results and see where your journey map is lacking. Pinpointing your weaknesses opens up your opportunities to provide a helpful and effective experience that resolves your customers’ needs and concerns.
- Make the required changes
A customer journey map should never be a rigid plan. You cannot expect your journey map to work the same, even if you are targeting the same demographics with the same product.
Instead, you should be heedful of your own weaknesses and analyse what are your customer’s pain points while interacting with your brand. Open yourself for some required changes in the journey map if you see that something is not working, and try out something different that may work.
No matter how small or big the changes are, as long as you focus on a customer-centric mindset, you should be confident that it helps your customers to have a better experience with your company.
Customer Journey Map Is No Longer Linear
Nowadays, customers have more options for a product or service they want to buy. Ideally, your customers would see your ads, contact a sales representative, and attempt to check out. Instead, they may now alternate between attempting to check out back to viewing ads.
This situation prompts you to wonder what is causing them to act in this manner. The reason for this is that they want to ensure they get the best deal for the item they want, especially with all sources of information a few clicks away.
However, the best deal is not limited to the item’s price and quality. Testimonials, shipping policy, and competitor comparison are some of the other factors that you need to consider as well. From this, you can structure your customer journey that answers to customers’ needs.
Embrace the omnichannel approach
Maybe the reason why your customers are hesitant to check out products on your e-commerce site is that they are afraid that the product does not meet their expectations. For instance, if you are selling shoes, they want to ensure that the size fits them well.
In that case, you can consider developing an omnichannel approach. Omnichannel is a strategy that combines a digital and physical shopping experience to give your customers the freedom to purchase your products wherever and whenever they want.
Using the same example of a customer browsing for shoes through your e-commerce site. If they are hesitant to check out from the online store, then you can navigate them to have a try-on at your offline store. You can also provide them with a seamless return policy, so they can have peace of mind if the product doesn’t meet their expectations.
Customer Journey Mapping Best Practises
You intend to guide your customers to a specific goal when you create a customer journey map. Though you may be familiar with the process of creating one, you may occasionally feel confused as to what steps you should take to improve the buying experience.
Prevent yourself from feeling puzzled when developing a customer journey map by considering the following best practices:
Set a goal for every customer journey map
Before creating a customer journey map, ask yourself what the end goal that your company can achieve from it is. It can be an improved customer experience, increased awareness of a new product launch, or a certain number of email letter subscriptions.
Note that you cannot expect to achieve multiple goals with a single customer journey map. This will only result in poor experiences that scare away customers. Instead, focus on an ultimate objective at a time and set up different mapping for the other goals.
Survey customers’ experience during the buying process
Sometimes, what you think about customer experience will differ from what they actually experience. Customers have different mindsets and engage with your company for their personal needs and concerns.
This, in turn, requires you to conduct a survey on what they experience with your website. For instance, you can ask for their feedback about certain features. Then, analyse the result data and use it as your benchmark on your customer experience.
Ask your sales representatives about the most frequently asked questions
Some customers may not be able to fully comprehend their pain points. They simply find something is not working for them. In turn, you need to find other ways to figure out the struggles they encounter.
Asking your sales representatives is a method that you can try to gain information about the most frequently asked questions. Those in the department have direct contact with your customers on a regular basis and should be able to translate the pain points that you and your team can work on.
Create a journey map for each buyer’s personas
Even though you are selling one specific product to a bunch of customers, you cannot expect them to react in the same way. As a result, you should create a journey map that caters to each of the buyer personas.
Let’s say you are selling computer equipment, and you target customers consisting of different personalities. In this case, you should create one journey map for tech-savvy people and another for those who are not very keen on computers.
This way, you will be able to provide customers with a smooth experience, regardless of their characteristics, product knowledge, and buying habits.
Update your customer journey after a major product release
When your company shifts its focus to a new product release, your customer buying process changes as well. For that reason, you need to update the journey mapping in a way that doesn’t confuse or even frustrate them while engaging with your brand.
Make your customer journey map accessible
A customer journey map creation involves efforts from all of your company’s manpower. That’s why everyone from cross-team members needs to have access to it so that everyone can give feedback and easily rely on it for improvement.
Different Types of Customer Journey Map
There are multiple approaches when it comes to creating a customer journey map. Each approaches address customers’ needs and concerns in unique ways. Learn the differences between them and see which approach works best for your company.
The current state journey map
This type of customer journey map describes the emotions, thoughts, considerations, and actions that your customers have in mind while interacting with your company. It involves analysing the touch points that customers encounter throughout the journey.
It’s the most widely used type of mapping that offers a practical approach. You can use it to identify existing pain points and resolve them by providing a seamless end-to-end customer experience.
Day in the life journey map
The day-in-the-life journey map depicts the activities that customers engage in throughout the day, from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night. It is used to determine when the purchasing actions will take place during the day.
This journey map provides you with an overview of your customers’ daily routines, including actions that are not necessarily related to your company. It allows you to be more objective and identify their pain points before they realise it.
Since it gives you an idea of your customers’ thoughts, needs, and pain points throughout the day, you can determine when your product or service is most valuable. This makes it an excellent approach for researching new market development strategies.
The future state journey map
A future state journey map is a method for examining the actions, thoughts, and emotions that your customers will have in the future. This will show you how your customers will need your company even if they are not currently in need.
Creating a journey map for the future state allows you and your team to share a clear and strategic vision. A shared mindset enables your company to provide a better customer experience while also seamlessly achieving the goal.
Service blueprint journey map
A service blueprint journey map is a visualisation of the milestone of a company’s service process. The map includes people, policies, technologies, and processes responsible for providing a customer experience.
It is most suitable to use when you attempt to make procedural changes as well as to resolve the roadblocks in the customer journey. This map will help you see buying steps from the customers’ lens and predict how they will go through the future journey.
Circular journey map
A circular journey map adheres to the current nonlinear buying process. Rather than going through the steps sequentially, customers will go in circles, going back and forth to ensure that they are purchasing the best deal item.
Using this will give you an idea of what makes customers behave this way. After understanding the reasons, then you can pinpoint how to reduce the issue and create experiences that navigate them to sales.
Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping
Learning about how your customers engage with your company and driving them to sales can be a daunting task. From determining the goals, emotions, and touchpoints to navigating the pain points, it all takes your time.
However, once you have designed and implemented effective customer journey mapping, your effort will be paid off. Here are some of the benefits that you can get from this map:
Puts yourself in your customers’ shoes
Trying to see how customers experience while interacting with your brand makes it easier for you to empathise with them. You can challenge your own assumptions that what you think or plan customers to act doesn’t always be as you expect it.
As a result, you can develop an experience that adheres to their pain points. It can reduce the amount of struggle they experience, eventually leading to a smoother experience that effectively drives customers to achieve their goals.
Easier to identify unmet user needs
A thorough understanding of your customer’s needs and pain points enables you to identify and fill gaps in the experience. You can avoid guessing, which may not work, and instead, use the guidance of a customer journey map.
Grasp the complex customer journey with multiple touchpoints
A customer journey often is not linear as you expect it to be. Customers may go through round-and-round in between steps, resulting in complexity consisting of multiple touch points.
You better equip these patterns with multiple touch points that can resolve their concerns and needs. Provide them with more information that can offer a solution, as it can effectively convince them about your product or service.
Catch the emotions, not just actions
Customers will also experience emotions, aside from merely doing some actions while engaging with your product. The emotions can be positive ones like happiness, satisfaction, and excitement. Or it can be negative, like frustration and confusion.
With a customer journey map, you can catch these emotions and reduce the number of negative emotions. As a result, you can create a more enjoyable experience for your customers.
Give more personalised experiences
People are coming to check on your brand with different goals in their minds. Some of them only want to analyse your product or service or make a comparison with the competitors, while others wish to purchase it right away.
For this reason, you have to give them a more personalised experience, depending on their needs. And it’s possible to do so through a customer journey mapping that gives you a holistic view into the interaction patterns between customers and your brand.
Here are some of the examples you can implement:
- Build different landing pages for different purposes
- Show relevant ads to people browsing online
- Provide personalised support across multiple channels
Aligned cross-functional teams
Creating a user experience requires collaboration from multiple departments within your company. This is where a customer journey map can help cross-functional teams think alike and work toward the same goal.
Higher ROI and cost-effectiveness by retaining customers
Paid ads, sales, and marketing are all costly customer acquisition strategies. This means you should optimise your cost-effectiveness while getting high ROI by leveraging the existing buyers with a customer retention strategy.
You may want to give them an email letter to remind them of their previous purchase, just in case they may want to buy it again. Offering a loyalty discount can also work to boost your customer retention rate.
Provide a competitive edge
Customer experience is just as important as the product or service you provide. If you pass up this opportunity, someone else will fill your shoes by providing an effective and enjoyable customer journey.
Begin thinking like your customers and try to meet their needs as effectively as possible. In turn, your efforts will be rewarded by being ahead of the competition.
Improve marketing growth
Customer journey mapping makes you a part of your customers. It enables you to identify what are the right channels, messaging, positioning, and content to build that adhere to what they are researching.
As a result, you can reduce the guesswork and effectively pinpoint what interests your customers and what turns them away.
Less future roadblocks
It takes a hefty amount of brainstorming, empathy, and research to build your customer journey map. However, after setting everything up clearly upfront and making the required changes, you can have less of roadblocks that can happen in the future.
10 Useful Customer Journey Mapping Tools
Creating a customer journey map can be done manually with a board and sticky notes or using excel sheets. However, using certain tools can make the process far easier and more accessible for the cross-functional team.
Let’s take a look at the following choices, and see if one suits you best:
Heap is a comprehensive visual mapping tool that allows you to enhance your customer experience. It equips you with multiple capabilities, from data insights, data analysis, and data foundation, to data management.
In addition, Heap also facilitates uses at any scale and objectives, including Heap for teams, industries, and solutions.
Subscriptions: Free, Growth, Pro, and Premier
Pricing: Not available
Smaply is a visual journey mapping tool that centralise and coordinates customer experience insights. It offers a variety of features, including journey mapping, persona creation, stakeholder mapping, and Smaply capture.
Using Smaply, you can digitise your customer experience insights in a single place. In turn, your team can have a more seamless collaboration in real-time while also allowing everyone to revisit the map whenever needed.
Subscriptions: Free, Basic, Pro, Enterprise
- Free 0 EUR
- Basic 199 EUR billed yearly
- Pro 299 EUR billed yearly
- Enterprise custom pricing billed yearly
Custellence allows you to streamline your customer experience work and create customer-centric changes in a single place. The platform is easy to use and beginner friendly.
Everyone can build their own journey mapping without fluent knowledge of it. In cases of sudden changes, you can easily drag and drop the item you want to replace.
Subscriptions: Standard, Professional, Enterprise
- Standard 0 USD
- Professional from 30 USD
- Enterprise custom pricing
- Visual Paradigm
A visual Paradigm is a development tool that allows you to do a collaborative design, analysis, and management. You can effectively create a customer journey map using its feature, resulting in more streamlined work where your team can have access to it anytime.
Subscriptions: Modeler, Standard, Professional, Enterprise
- Modeler 99 USD
- Standard 349 USD
- Professional 799 USD
- Enterprise 1999 USD
Canvanizer is a brainstorming tool that represents real-life sticky notes and boards. You will feel as if you are physically brainstorming with your team using this tool, especially with the varying canvas types that you can choose depending on your needs and preferences.
Most importantly, the interface is seamless; even beginners can use it without facing significant problems.
Subscriptions: Canvanizer Classic and Canvanizer 2.0
- Canvanizer Classic: Free
- Canvanizer 2.0 Startup: 25 USD/year
- Canvanizer 2.0 Standard: 75 USD/year
- Canvanizer 2.0 Business: 250 USD/year
Gliffy’s diagram visualisation gives you ease in turning your ideas into tangible actions. Using this tool, you can seamlessly collaborate with others, share the progress, and make the required changes anytime you need.
Subscriptions: Gliffy Online and Gliffy for Confluence & Jira
Pricing: Not available
Reveall is a seamless customer journey mapping tool that helps you to validate your product ideas as well as create alignment across teams. Everything will be stored in a single place, allowing anyone to have an easy access when required.
The features consist of centralise insights, prioritise opportunities, and validate solutions. All of these elements are significant in creating your customer journey map that results in enjoyable customer experiences.
Subscriptions: Researchers, Designers, Product Managers, Product Teams
Pricing: Not available
OmniGraffle is a macOS platform that eases the process of organising or communicating your plan through a diagram, rapid prototype, and design. In the end, using OmniGraffle will allow your visualisation to be streamlined and delivered effortlessly.
Options: OmniGraffle Subscription and OmniGraffle 7 For Mac (Traditional)
- OmniGraffle Subscription: Monthly 12.49 USD, Yearly 124.99 USD
- OmniGraffle 7 For Mac (Traditional): Standard 149.99 USD, Pro 249.99 USD
Lucidchart is an intelligent diagramming tool that enables seamless teamwork and collaboration. You can use this tool to create your customer journey map and have the document shared across your teams in real-time, giving you a faster project delivery.
Subscriptions: Free, Individual, Team, and Enterprise
- Free 0 USD
- Individual 7.95 USD
- Team 9.00 USD
- Enterprise customisable price
Hotjar is a journey analytics tool that allows you to gain insights into your customer experience. There are a variety of ways that using Hotjar can help you streamline your work, that includes:
- Uncover opportunities for optimisation
- Spot problems with customer experience
- Prioritise changes that matter
- Get buy-in for your next big idea
Subscriptions: Basic, Plus, Business, and Scale
- Basic 0 USD/forever
- Plus 32 USD/month
- Business 80 USD/month
- Scale: customisable price
After discussing customer journey map, we can conclude that it is an important visualisation that provides you with a sense of how customers interact with your company. You should also be able to make one that is suitable for you and your customers by now.
Your willingness to create a customer journey map demonstrates that you value research and data. Rather than doing guesswork, you prefer delving into the experience, trying to help customers get what they need.
However, if you are short on time or resources to create a customer journey map, you have come to the right place. Give us a call, and we will be right there to help you out in developing the journey mapping and decide what digital marketing channel is right for your business.
What are the 7 steps to map the customer journey?
It’s important to map a customer journey chronologically, as it will avoid misunderstanding along the process. The steps include:
– Create the buyer persona
– Determine the goals
– Create the touchpoints
– Analyse your current resources
– Test out the customer journey map
– Make the required changes
What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the path your prospective buyers will take while interacting with your brand. It is essential to have one so that you can estimate what actions you want customers to take to achieve the end goal.
What are the 4 elements of the customer journey?
The customer journey consists of a few elements that play significant roles in the customer experience. Below are the elements:
– The buying process
– Pain points