5 Tips To Get You Started with Customer Journey Mapping

This article originally appeared on CustomerExperience.io, read the original post.

With customer experience becoming the next competitive battleground, more businesses are starting to rethink how they can approach their customer centric transformation. If a company can understand what are consumers motivations and action preferences across major and minor touch points, it can effectively create activities around customers needs instead of arbitrary guessing. Creating a customer journey map is an important first step when it comes to customer experience transformation. Here are 5 steps to get you started with customer journey mapping.

  1. Prepare to Break Down Organizational Silos

Often customer journey mapping breaks down because most of the time organizations are organized in functional silos focusing on individual touch points instead of the complete journey. Annette Franz argues that a map that is built with internal stakeholders and based on what they “assume” to be the steps customers go through the organization does not bring the customer’s perspective into it. It is therefore important to break down the organizational silos and develop a map from the customer’s viewpoint. Jeanne Bliss argues that instead of starting with the silos, the customer journey mapping gives organizations a frame to start with customers’ lives. Customer journey mapping provides an opportunity for businesses to design customer experiences from an outside-in perspective with the goal of improving the customer experience.

2. Develop Your Personas

Usually, companies create journey maps for a fictional customer. This character is often referred to as a persona, and represents a particular type of real customer. Personas may be fictional, but they should be nevertheless built on customer data. Based on your research about customers you will be able to determine what types of customers you have. You might need more than one persona, to represent all your customer groups.

For instance, imagine you own a skateboard shop. You might want a persona to represent parents buying skateboards for their children. You might want another persona for experienced riders looking for a new high-performance skateboard. These two groups have different needs and expectations. Create personas and journey maps for all your important customer groups, so you can check your service from different angles.

You might also want to add details that would affect their experience. For instance, what technology they like to use, when they tend to interact with you during their day, and how much time they have to spare. Sketching in a bit of biography can help to bring these things out.

Once you’ve worked out who is going on this journey, it’s time to start mapping.

3. Identify the Customer Touch Points

When identifying your customer touch points, it is important to make sure you include the entire journey from marketing to post-sale follow up surveys and not just the transaction touch points where customers buy something. Identify how did they start on the journey that ended up with them choosing to do business with you. Any distinct point where the customer interacts with the organization should be mapped. Adam Toporek further argues that businesses can also look for both major and minor touch points. In the car buying process, for instance, major touch points might be taking a test drive or sitting down at the salesperson’s desk to negotiate the final deal. Minor touch points might be when the customer walks around the lot prior to being greeted by a salesperson or when the customer is delivered their car after the sale is complete.

4. Map the Rest of the Journey

Once you’ve marked the start and end of the journey, dot in all the points in between. Every step and decision your customers make — not just the ones that involve your business.

Let’s imagine again customers looking for a new skateboard. They might start by looking for reviews and recommendation about the latest skateboards on the market. They might look at magazines, or visit relevant forums. They might start looking for skateboard shops near them, that stock certain kinds of skateboards. They might do some research into maintenance services, or the tools they might need to maintain it themselves. They haven’t even walked into your shop yet. But everything they have done so far is an important part of buying their new skateboard.

Therefore, knowing what happens between the touchpoints is also an important part of the customer journey mapping. It can facilitate better understanding of customer’s behaviours that lead to doing business with the your brand.

5. Do More than Map: Understand and Improve

The customer journey mapping can provide great value in helping your business understand what customers go through at each touch point and enhance the quality of that experience.

Once you’ve mapped out the customer journey, step back and reflect on it. Have you identified what are the strengths and weaknesses of the key customer touch points? Have you identified what improvement opportunities would enhance the customer experience?

Adam Toporek shares that companies can use the 80/20 approach by starting with the most important touch points, and think about how they can make them quicker and easier for the customer.

Conclusion:

Creating a customer journey map is an important first step when it comes to your customer experience transformation. Building a map from the customer’s viewpoint will ensure a company captures key moments of truth that either make or break the customer journey and satisfaction with the brand. Developing customer personas will enable the company deliver a very tailored customer service and experience. Identifying the key customer touch points will ensure that the business gains an understanding of the whole customer journey and identifies gaps in performance and improvement opportunities. Knowing what happens between the touchpoints can facilitate better understanding of customer behaviours that lead to doing business with the brand. Finally, once having gained insight from the journey mapping, companies can take a step back, reflect and find ways to improve experience customers have across each touch point.

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Our next article will feature an exclusive interview with Jeanne Bliss, Co-founder of CXPA, CCO and Founder of Customer Bliss. Jeanne will share best practice tips on customer journey mapping and CX rooms.

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