5 Tips on How to Develop an Effective Customer Journey Map

13 May 2021

Done right, customer journey maps can be the bridge that brings customers into your business and the glue that makes them stick. Find out how to build a practical journey map in seven simple steps. 

The most successful businesses are those with a deep connection with their prospects. You’re more likely to win the customer’s heart and earn their long-term loyalty if you understand what makes them tick.

Customer journey maps are one of the best tools to help you resonate better with your buyers. In a single illustration, the journey map aims to capture the entire customer experience to help you identify areas for improvement.

Done right, the journey map can help the organization iron out customer experience issues and position the business to attract and retain clients. If this is your first time building a customer journey map, read on to find out how to build an effective one.

What’s a Customer Journey Map?

Essentially, a customer journey map (CJM) is a visual representation of the activities and situations that a customer goes through before, during, and after engaging with your business.

Other people define it differently. For instance, Stickdorn and Schneider define customer journey mapping as a description of the repeated interactions between a service provider and the customer. Meanwhile, Holmlid and Evenson define it as a walk in the customer’s shoes.

In the end, it’s all about understanding the customer experience. How’s the entire experience between the time they enter your business doors and when they exit? Are they satisfied? What parts of the business do they interact with, and which parts are more or less unnecessary?

Importance of a Customer Journey Map

The primary purpose of a customer journey map is to inform decision-making regarding customer experience at an organization. Businesses that offer excellent customer experiences report lower operating costs and higher profitability. They also have a competitive advantage.

The customer journey map boosts experience by;

  1. Highlighting customer needs: When someone walks into your store, what are they looking for? What do they want?
  2. Identifying opportunities to align offerings with the identified needs: How can you address the customer needs identified earlier?
  3. Identifying ways to make it easier for customers to gain the identified solution: How can you deliver the identified solutions without friction?

A recent study by McKinsey shows that organizations that focus on buyer journey optimization outperform their peers in revenue, customer satisfaction, and retention.

How to Build an Effective Customer Journey Map in 5 Steps

Different people build customer journey maps differently. As long as the outcome is the same, we have no problem with the other approaches. However, we recommend a straightforward 5-step process;

          1. Define the goal and scope of your CJM

What do you want to achieve with the customer journey map? What are your objectives? The best way to draw up goals is to start from the known to the unknown. Think about the challenges you currently face vis-à-vis where you want to be.

For instance, if you’re currently struggling with high drop-off pages, your goal may be to create better sales pages with higher conversion. If you feel that customers are clicking on the wrong CTA and ending up on the wrong pages, you can set an objective to improve your CTA. Just remember to make the goals specific and the scope small.

Customer Journey Map

          2. Gather the customer data you need for the CJM

 The amount of data and insight you need for your CJM will depend on the scope. However, generally, you’ll be dealing with customer data. Begin by checking your Google Analytics account. You can also get behavior analytics and heat map data from HotJar. Chat logs and emails are other excellent customer data sources.

Focus on demographic information, such as gender, age, and location, educational information, income data, job information, and social circles.

          3. Identify all customer intersection points 

Intersection points are points at which customers interact with the business, from when they discover your brand to the eventual purchase. The easiest way to accomplish this process is to compile a list of all actions a standard customer takes to discover your business and every step they take to complete the purchase.

Common touchpoints include Google searches, social media searches, reading your blog, interacting with the product, watching a product video, opting into your newsletter, purchasing the product, and writing a product review.

          4. Visualize the customer journey 

Visualization means creating a map that depicts the journey from the moment the customer discovers your product to purchase and follow-up interactions. It’s a relatively straightforward process if you did a good job in steps #2 and #3 above.

Generally, you’ll have five phases of the consumer journey, i.e., awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy. Use the touchpoints to visualize how your typical customer would move from one step to the next, highlighting any obstacles that may stop them along the way. A good CJM visualization also contains customers’ potential thoughts, complete with quotes.

          5. Identify opportunities for improvement 

Now that you have a customer journey map, it’s time to make it worthwhile. As we noted earlier, CJMs are purposely created to inform decision-making concerning customer experience. They are created to identify gaps in an organization’s customer experience and find ways to fill those gaps.

Are there things you can improve to make it easier for strangers to discover your products? Is it possible to make it easier for people interested in a product to learn about the product? For instance, if you discover that many customers fall off after watching the product video, perhaps you could make better videos? Or maybe you need to eliminate the video and replace it with a product description.

Customer Journey Map

Make Good Use of Your CJM

In the end, the customer journey maps can be a useless piece of paper or a vital business tool. It all comes down to how you use it. Contact Nix Solutions to learn more about customer journey maps and other value-adding business tools.