Photo by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash
If you’ve been somewhere in the world of digital marketing, you have probably heard of the term “customer journey”. It has been thrown out casually as if everyone knows about it and understands it fully.
As a business owner, you probably think what it is and what’s in it for you?
Okay, you probably would separate the two words and define them individually. You understand “customer” and you also understand “journey”. But what are their connections to your business?
Now, buckle your seatbelt as you ride through the world of “customer journey”.
So, what is a customer journey?
Customer Journey is the total experience of the customer while interacting with your brand.
It includes all the actions and emotions of your customer when he first encounters your brand or business then to knowing and accepting your business into his life.
It is a course your customers take. Of course, a course towards your business in hopes of finding a solution to meet their needs.
Now what? Why should you care?
Understanding the customer journey is crucial as it equates to your customers’ experience which could either be positive or negative.
You probably wonder why a customer spends a long time browsing your products, adding them to their cart just to close it afterward without making a purchase.
They’re already there, but what makes them take a second thought? What makes them decide not to continue to buy? Is it the price? Is it the design of your website? Is it with your customer service?
This is the time you need to understand the customer journey and map out their experience.
Customers these days want their experience with a brand to be seamless. They expect businesses to remember who they are and know what they’re looking for. They simply believe that businesses can answer all their questions and can instantly give the solutions they need.
Therefore, as a business owner, you have to understand your customer’s thoughts and feelings. You have to take a good grasp of the customer’s journey with your brand to meet their expectations.
A customer journey map gives businesses a way of getting into their customers’ heads, helping them gain valuable insight and understanding regarding common customer pain points. It illustrates all the phases your customers come into contact with your brand whether online or offline.
It is a compact visualization of customer experience. You can map a customer journey in the form of an infographic, an illustration, a diagram, or an excel sheet.
But how do you effectively map your customer’s journey?
Customer Journey Map made in Visual Paradigm
There could be a lot of ways for you to be able to track and understand your customer’s journey but the best way is to actually – walk in their shoes.
Well, not literally. But it is by going into the journey yourself as a customer.
Be the customer of your brand and understand how it feels as a customer of your product or service.
If you are the customer of your brand, where could you possibly interact with the brand? What actions will you take after you first notice the brand? Where will you go next?
As a potential customer, should you make a purchase immediately? Should you need additional information about the product or service? Should you need assistance?
You might encounter a lot of things as a customer and that’s exactly the data you need to get a better sense of the customer journey.
You might take a long route or maybe shorter depending on your technical ability and buying power as a customer.
Now, you seem to understand your customer’s feelings and actions. But how do you put all the pieces together for you to fully understand and make possible changes?
Depending on the business being mapped, the customer journey design may vary. This means you can create your customer journey freely.
Here are 7 steps you could take to creating the customer journey roadmap.
The first thing you should consider in creating a journey map is by understanding who your customers are. Then, get into their shoes so you understand how they behave and why they do what they do.
Keep in mind that having one buyer persona is not enough. People at different buying stages behave and interact with your business differently.
It’s worth distinguishing between someone who has been doing market research for a few months and is ready to make their purchase, and someone who has only recently begun thinking about solving his particular need.
Read further: How to create personas
Once you have your buyer personas built, the next thing to consider is to understand what each of them hopes to achieve as they go through the customer journey.
Think about what your customers’ goals are in each stage and remember that these may change as the process unfolds.
A great way to go about doing this is to first identify the paths that your prospect may take on your site. If the prospect is a member or pre-existing customer, the first thing he might do is log in to your website, then, browse and compare products.
Once you’ve nailed down a full list of your customer’s possible activities, you’ll be able to identify all your touchpoints and the goals associated with it.
Identifying your buyer’s touchpoints is an essential step toward creating an effective customer journey map and making sure your customers are satisfied every step of the way.
A touchpoint refers to any time a customer comes into contact with your brand – before, during, or after they purchase something from you. It could be social media, your website, your customer service team, or your customer review.
You’ll want to take all potential touchpoints that occur between your customers and your organization into account. That way, you won’t miss out on any opportunities to listen to your customers and make improvements that will keep them happy.
At this point, it’s time to bring together all your data both quantitative and qualitative.
Look at the big picture to identify potential roadblocks or pain points in the customer journey.
You may also want to take note of the areas where you’re currently doing things right, and figure out ways to improve.
Once you know where the roadblocks and pain points are, mark them down on your customer journey map.
To fix possible roadblocks, ask yourself what needs to be corrected or built?
Is there a need to break everything down and start from scratch? Or are simple changes enough for a big impact?
For instance, if customers frequently complain about how complicated your sign up process is, it’s probably time to revamp it.
Your customer journey map shouldn’t be left to gather dust on the shelf once it’s completed. It should be a tool to improve your product or service to better the customer experience.
If possible, test, update, and improve your customer journey map every quarter or every year.
In addition, customer journey maps should also be tweaked accordingly whenever you introduce new products or services.
It’s not enough to gather information and have it cluttered everywhere.
You can organize your data by converting it into something visual, that is, something you can identify immediately without having to read the entire compilation of the texts. You can draw everything out on a large piece of paper or digitize the information on a Spreadsheet.
The customer journey map allows business owners to understand their customers’ pain points and genuinely empathize with them.
Brands can better understand consumer wants and needs by shifting the focus to the customer’s perspective which allows them to create more effective and satisfying experiences for their customers.