What is a Customer Journey Map?
A CJM is a visualisation of the process a customer goes through from a needs recognition stage all the way through to post-purchase. It maps out the customer’s goals, emotions, and actions, allowing you to understand how to better meet the needs, and exceed the expectations of your customers.
What does a Customer Journey Map Help Achieve?
CJMs help identify gaps in your service offering or product line, improve the satisfaction of customers, and increase the advocacy and improve the quality of the product. This can help in reaching any of the following goals:
- Improve customer/user retention
- Improve organic referrals, advocacy, and lift your NPS score.
- Identify opportunities to extend the service, build product lines, or build strategic partnerships to generate value.
Why should I do a Customer Journey Map?
Customer Journey Maps help with the following:
- Provide an in-depth understanding of your customer, and how to improve their experience.
- Visualise, identify, and communicate problems to the team working on them.
- Tie the journey to research & data.
- Measure success by improving your processes over time.
What is the Different Between a Service Map, Experience Map, and Journey Map?
You may have heard of a service map, and experience map, and a journey map, so what’s the difference?
A Customer Journey Map looks at the journey of the customer as a whole, an experience map focuses on the actions, and subsequent experiences of the customer, and a service map focuses on the service delivered by a company. It’s a subtle shift between the three, but think of the breakdown below.
A Customer Journey is defined to the Individual Customer, and is often very Top Level.
A Customer Experience is defined to the Individual Customer, and is very granular and detail oriented.
A Service Blueprint is defined to the service by an organisation and its depth can vary depending on the complexity of the service.
Tools to help design a Customer Journey Map
There are several different tools to aid in developing your Customer Journey Map. Depending on how technology savvy your team is, you may want to work with one of several different options.
- Pen, Paper, & Post-its.
A fantastic option if your workplace is a little old-school. Assemble a team, with at least one member from each department that has any touchpoints with the customer journey, and get them involved. Think of this as developing a collaborative storyboard.
If you’re looking for specific Customer Journey Mapping software, you can’t look past UXPressia. It’s simple to use, intuitive, and very user friendly. Plus, The outcome is a visually stunning map that helps you convey the right information. With the free plan, you can create the basics, but to integrate your Google Analytics data, you’ll need to upgrade to a pro subscription.
An all-purpose cloud-based diagraming tool, Lucidchart is a great one to use if you’re planning on building a variety of different visual aids. You can start for free, so it’s perfect for our purposes.
Another specific Customer Journey Mapping tool, Cutsellence is a fantastic option. It ranks behind UXPressia because of its innability to integrate analytics directly onto the map itself. But is still a highly intuitive, and visually impressive tool.
There exist lots of excellent journey mapping softwares, with their various key focus points, I’ve provided three different options for which I have personal experience. You can find a full list of various softwares with feature comparisons on Capterra.
How to design a Customer Journey Map
So you’ve chosen the right tools, and now you’re ready to go!
Throughout this article, I’m going to use a modified version of the eCommerce template from UXPressia.
The first thing we need to do is understand the customer for which we’re creating the map. Each customer’s map will be different as their needs, goals, and emotions will vary throughout their journey. Pick your core, most valuable customer to focus on for now!
Create your Customer Avatar
A customer avatar is a simple persona that represents a core target audience for a product or service. For this stage, try using your largest, or most valuable target audience. By focusing on our core target customer, you’ll often find ways to improve your product or service for your other customers too. You can always create multiple avatars or personas, but the Customer Journey Map should be distinct for each avatar.
- Start with demographics and try to answer the following questions. What’s their:
- Education level?
- Marital Status?
- Number of Dependents?
- Employment Status?
- Then, move onto the Geographic information.
- Where do they live?
- What’s the furthest they would travel for my product/service?
- Finally, look at psychographics. We want to narrow down our Avatar based on their values, beliefs, and goals. Try to understand how your business helps them achieve their:
If you do this right, and record it in your system, you’ll enc up with something that looks like this.
Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to move onto the Journey Map.
Setup the Journey Map
You’re going to want to start the map creation process, and lay out the columns for the map to match the stages of the journey. These should outline the journey, and may look similar to a marketing funnel or other process map you’ve created in the past. Whichever platform you’re choosing to use will have its own templates, so choose the best one for you. If you’re looking for an example to base a pen & paper map off, please look below.
For you, feel free to name each of the steps whatever makes sense to your product or service. You may want to expand out any of these individual sections into more than one column, that just depends on the nature of your customer journey. At a bare minimum, make sure you include these columns to get an idea of the entire user journey.
Put yourself in the Shoes of your Customer
Now is where the Customer Avatar comes in handy. We know who our customer is. It’s now time for you to put yourself in their shoes, and try to understand what their goals, needs, and emotions are at each stage of the journey. Try to write these down under each column, and think about what the ideal journey would look like for your customer. It may help here to think about what’s possible, rather than what’s achievable. Worry about the logistics of the perfect solution later.
Make sure to try to understand the types of research, sources of information the customer has at each stage of the journey. These will help us understand how to best improve the lives, and experiences of your customers.
Map in the business processes and touchpoints
We now understand what our customers want, it’s time to map in our touchpoints along each stage of the journey. We’re going to want to look at the types of ways in which we communicate with our customers, both directly and indirectly. Remember, a customer’s experience with your product/service goes far beyond what you actually communicate with them directly. There are some obvious ones such as:
- Phone Call
- In-person staff
- Your website or supporting interactions
But try to think from the perspective of someone who is new to your business. Remember, the first time a customer hears of you might be through word of mouth. It could be that they found your profile on Google Maps.
For our example of an eCommerce store, once a customer has purchased, consider the packaging of your product, or even the speed and service of delivery. These are all still, from the customers mind, dealings with your business, product or service, and should have a place in your journey map.
Consider the emotions, reactions, and pain points for the customer
This step is vital to help you and your team come up with solutions to the problems of your customers. Stay in the shoes of your customer! You want to make sure you understand how they feel, and what’s blocking them moving to the next stage in the journey, otherwise you’ll never be able to solve these problems.
Map in your data, metrics, and measurement strategies
Each stage in your funnel should have a rate of completion to the next stage. If you’re using an online tool such as UXPressia, you can integrate your Google Analytics, or other measurement software to pull in KPIs from your team’s other systems. Once your data is involves, it becomes much easier to spot areas for improvement. Look at the rate of change between two areas of your journey map, and consider how much room for improvement there is. This can help you best allocate your time and energy.
Brainstorm ideas to improve the journey
Need more people to start their journey, consider increasing the advertising budget, optimising campaigns, or testing different mediums. Is your conversion rate lower than expected? Consider some CRO options and A/B test. There are hundreds of options which we’ll save for a later date, but make sure your ideas will solve the perceived pain points for your customers. That’s the entire point of the journey mapping process.
Test, measure, and refine the journey
The customer journey map should be a living document, so once you’ve implemented your ideas, remember to refer back to the map and review the changes in your rates of change against your expectations. If you’ve improved performance, then give yourself a pat on the back. If you’re making things more complex, and not improving the experience for your customer, it’s time to revert your changes.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure, so be sure to check in regularly, and make sure you’re improving in the right areas.
If you need help developing a customer journey map, or improving on your processes, consider using a Digital Consultant like myself.