The What’s, Why’s and How’s of Customer Journey Mapping

Have you taken a walk in your clients shoes recently? Or perhaps you’ve been a customer and had a negative experience - how many people did you tell?

Customer Journey Mapping creates a visual representation of an individual's experience with a company, service, product or brand and is often generated to provide an organisation with multiple solutions to potential issues that could arise between the business and it’s clients or customers.  

1. Understand your Buyer Persona

Buyer Personas are fictional characters created by businesses to represent the different clients that use their products or services. The number of personas can vary greatly depending on the company. Some only use a only a small number of identities whilst organisations with clients across many demographics will naturally require more. These personas will also help you understand the motivations that customers have behind seeking out your services, making a purchasing decision or taking action.

Buyer Personas

We recommend using HubSpot’s persona creator if you haven’t already made personas!

2. Get to know your Touch Points

A Touch Point is any form of contact between yourself and your clients at any point during their time working with you. Touch Points encourage the recipient to initiate further action and when

these collective points are put into chronological order, a customer journey is created!

Once you know your touch points, you can highlight where difficulties in communication, production, purchasing, delivery or partnership (to name a few instances) may occur. You can then minimise the chances of negative interactions happening and keep your customers happy, service their needs and keep them eager to return. You can also use touch points to establish your potential clients movements across communication methods and learn what works best for them. Are they more likely to contact you via phone or email? Do they regularly update their social media accounts and if so, which ones? Honour that information.

Below are some of the touchpoints recognised by Cross Digital.

Possible Touchpoints

3. Keep the Customer in the Centre

Don’t forget that the primary reason for creating a Customer Journey Map (CJM) is to understand your customer behaviour and enable them to have the best possible customer experience.

The creation of this map should also help employees to consider the client’s feelings above all else; especially when working from a digital background as communication will not always be face to face. It is easy to forget that there is a person behind the screen and if the client feels disappointed by the experience there is a chance they will become frustrated and find an alternative product or service with your competitors.  

Emotions play an important role in an individual's decision making and behavioural habits when it comes to browsing services and, unsurprisingly, it is the negative emotions caused by unpleasant interactions that customers are most likely to remember.

4. Current vs Desired Experiences

Companies should understand their customers pain points or challenges and have satisfaction at the heart of their business. A CJM can help you differentiate between the experience that your clients are currently receiving and the ideal experience that you would like them to have. Perhaps you always have someone to answer the phone but it takes a day or more to reply to customer emails; this could then be highlighted as an area that disrupts the flow of a customer's journey and can be amended where necessary. It is important to view your customer journey map as a fluid piece of information and not set in stone; customers are individuals with their own ideals and not everyone is going to be looking for the same results. It is important to exercise multiple outcomes and be prepared for how they may affect the client. Being aware of negative events before they happen can help you prevent them.

5. Make the Customer Journey Stand out

Try to imagine your Customer Journey Map like a display piece on a wall. It should be simple to understand and each step of the journey should be easy to follow. There is no strict rule as to how you must present a CJM, simply put it should be a personalised piece of information catered to how your company functions and how you choose to work with clients.. Cover it with your brand and your company's personality, this will help you integrate it into your strategy and help it become a go-to piece of data for when you are working with customers.

6. Continue to Support your Clients

Familiarise yourself with the timescales of your customers; how long will you be working with them? Relationships between your clients and your business could last from a few weeks to a few years, perhaps it's even a lifelong partnership but no matter the duration, knowing the amount of time you spend together will be helpful when putting together a CJM. This will ensure that you aware of how to keep your customers happy in the long term. Keep notes about where the relationship could potentially progress towards so that, similarly to how to can be prepared for scenarios that may happen next week, you can also be ready for any highlights or complications that may come in the future.

7. Take Action

Once the CJM has been developed it is important to adapt your company to accommodate each step that a customer will take. Depending on the size of the company, this may require interdepartmental cooperation to make sure every area is as strong as it can be. Have the marketing directors meet with the web and IT employees for example and may sure their work is synchronized.

This then also gives you the opportunity to identify the weak spots or pain points in the company (we all have them!) and establish methods in which to strengthen them. This could include, for example, being sure that your Customer-Relationship Management (CRM) system is secure. If a customer was to phone up with a complaint, they shouldn’t be expected to repeat themselves to various employees - conversations should be recorded and referred back to whilst trying to find the best solution. A lack of communication between staff here can lead customers to believe their time is being wasted and they may have more of an incentive to leave.

(Finally, one last tip! Once work has concluded, don’t leave past clients in the dark. Keep up to date with where they go on their social media or emailing lists, this will keep touchpoints fresh and relevant - you never know when other opportunities to work together and create more journeys may arise!)

You can also begin to take action by attending Cross Digital’s Customer Journey Mapping workshop on Thursday 21st March 2019 at Pynes Hill Business Centre, Exeter.