Understanding Customers Through Customer Journey Maps

Understanding Customers Through Customer Journey Maps

Today most of the companies see customer lifecycle as viewed from the brand’s perspective. What steps does the customer take in relation to the company?

Also, the customer experience stages are completely disjointed, and the really forward-thinking companies are trying to connect all stages of customer experience together. In other words, we can call it a Single View of Customer. A customer journey map is mapping segments of that whole life cycle, but from the customer’s perspective, and is broken into various segments of what people often do — from unaware potential customer to initial purchase. That could be one segment of the overall life cycle or journey.

Through customer journey mapping, you are able to walk in the customer shoes, from their perspective, and understand the hurdles they face. You want to be able to answer questions like; What challenges do they face? Where are points where they feel great? What emotions do they feel as they through different stages of the journey? This will allow companies to see the journey from the customer’s view and give companies the ability to respond appropriately.

Gartner has found that 89% of companies plan to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience in 2016. We have found that the best way to visualize a customer experience is through mapping their overall journey and not just the touch points that most companies do now.

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“Companies have long emphasized touchpoints...But the narrow focus on maximizing satisfaction at those moments can create a distorted picture, suggesting customers are happier with the company than they actually are. It also diverts attention from the bigger picture the customer’s end-to-end journey.”
-The Truth about Customer Experience, Harvard Business Review

A customer journey map is a designed visualization of a customer’s experiences and interactions from the time the customer interacts with the brand and the steps that follow after to keep them as advocates of the brand.

The Customer Journey Map is easy for every employee to understand without additional explanation, and they have actionable criteria that can be designed and developed around. They act as a catalyst for all activities.

Understanding this and responding to the customer at each stage with the right information and value is key to the business’ success and can track where the failures are happening.

See an example in figure 1, the typical business stages in which the customer will travel throughout their journey and the feelings and thoughts they may have in each stage.

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Figure 1:  Souce Adaptive Path

In order to build a customer journey map for your brand, there are a few key elements to keep in mind.

  • Customer’s perspective: Always build the map from the customer’s point of view. It needs to represent the interactions that the customer experiences in their journey, after all, it is a map replicating the customer’s experience.
  • Consider inside and outside your control interactions: Make sure the mapping takes into consideration all the aspects of actions the customers will have with the brand like a website, Live chats, phone call, etc. Some interactions can happen outside of your control like social media, searches on the web, referred, etc.
  • Segmentation: Clearly breakdown the journey into defined segments. The customers will have different experiences and spend different amounts of time in each. Make sure you capture that information.
  • Customer Goals: Define goals at each stage of the journey. At every stage, the customer will have a different goal, make sure you align that experience so that customers can accomplish that goal.
  • Capture Emotions: One of the most important aspects of a customer journey is to capture what emotions the customers might be going through during a particular stage of the journey. Know the customer’s highs and lows then relate to those emotions. This will help build or destroy value for your customers. Check 30 values
  • Capture Feelings: At each stage define what you think the feelings that customer should have and what level the experience need to be compared to the other experiences. Things like motivation, creativity, affordable, etc.
  • Identify the problems: At each stage of the journey that a brand has with the customers identify what pain points or problems users are experiencing today.
  • Define the opportunities: Understand the opportunities and potential value customers can experience to help them move to the next stage quickly.
  • Identify Teams: Identify the teams involved in each stage like employees, vendors, and other 3rd party providers to see how they connect and collaborate at each stage.
  • Think ahead: Keep the customer’s current and future experiences in mind, don’t dwell on just one stage of the journey.
  • Create Multiple Personas: The most powerful maps may come from creating a map for each persona. Not every customer is the same, so if you have multiple target audiences be sure to map out each of their experiences to better understand your audiences on a larger scale.
  • Multiple Maps: You need different customer journey maps for different activities of a customer like support, purchase, etc. But make sure you connect all of them so that you have the single view of a customer at all times.
  • Improve and innovate: The customer journey map is not for one execution. It should be agile and change based on customer behaviors, technologies changes etc.

Following the above points will give you a more in-depth relationship with your customers and a sense of where they are and how they feel in their journey. This allows you to better relate to the customer and keep healthy relationships for your company and provide the best value to the customer.

Below is a sample customer journey mapping tool for you to download and fill out so you can start your customer journey mapping today. You need to tweak the map based on your brand and what you are providing to the customer. 


Memphis Partners

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