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Mapping Your Customer Journey - A Primer

Customer Journey Mapping

Why is it important to map your customer journey? Well, simply because it’s good to step into your customers’ shoes from time to time and see your business from their perspective. If this sounds like a complete cliché to you, here’s another question.

Have you ever lost your sleep because one of your customers wrote a bad review online about your product or service? Or, better yet, do you find yourself losing more and more time trying to figure out why your prospects are buying from your competitors, when you’re offering them such a good product?

If your answer to one of these questions (or both of them) is yes, then you should definitely consider the benefits a good customer journey map can bring to your table. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy that neat graphic illustration that’ll tell a good story about how your customers are engaging with your business, that you can put on the wall of your office. Maybe even get your employees to look at it and, quite possibly, make them feel like a part of a greater goal and not only workers fulfilling their daily tasks.

“you need to shift from the ‘what more can I offer to my customers?’ to the ‘what my customers need from me?’ mindset.”

Of course, at a first glance, it’s all pretty simple – you’re offering something and they’re buying. 

And, of course, primarily you want your offering to be as good as it can be. And that’s fine, but the thing is nowadays there are so many excellent products and services out there (you have to give your competitors credit for that), that you have to find a way to make your offering stand out in all the sea of greatness. This is where a good customer journey map comes very much in handy, because you need to shift from the “what more can I offer to my customers?“ to the “what my customers need from me?“ mindset.

The main goal of mapping your customers’ journey is to get a clearer picture of their interaction with your brand and yes, it will not give you a 100% accuracy, but that actually is not the point! What you want from your customer journey map is an idea of the overall experience your customers have while engaging with your product or service.

I’ll take my chances and try to predict what your next thought would be. You’d probably say “My business is doing well, a lot of people bought from me and my main concern is how to get more lead generation... It’s a game of numbers“. However, it’s not news that it’s much more time-consuming (and expensive) to chase new customers than to nurture the ones you already have. Again, this is the point where mapping customer journey can help you realize your weaknesses in their experience with your brand.   

Will it make your business blossom so you can go to bed satisfied at the end of the day?

21st century and the development of technology (in every possible way you can think of) brought us to a particular state of mind where quantity is on a much higher level than quality. It comes naturally to think of things in terms of mathematics and numbers. Sure, it will get you through the day with whatever you’re doing, but will it put a smile on your face? Will it make your business blossom so you can go to bed satisfied at the end of the day? This is the point where you need to start being more emotional, where you need to focus on customer retention. 

Think of the last purchase you made, whether it was a bottle of wine in your local store, a pair of running shoes in an online shop or a trip to Hawaii through an online travelling agency. Now ask yourself, if you’re a first-timer, why you bought it from that seller, or if not, why you went back to that particular one. And there you have it! You’ve just made your first steps on a mini customer journey map in your mind. You’ve identified key touchpoints of your journey from wanting something to getting that something, with a potential to buy some more in the future.

The same goes the other way around. So, don’t be an Alice in Business Wonderland and start thinking about what is going on behind that Mirror.

HERE ARE SOME HELPFUL TOOLS TO GET YOU GOING

Good news is you don’t have to start from scratch and do everything on your own. There are plenty of good websites that offer CJM and explain how to create and use them.

HubSpot, for example, offers a 2-minute read that explains three main steps of the process buyers go through when they want to buy a new product or service. The text outlines some of the many questions for every stage in that process and it will give you a solid foundation you can use later on to create your own map.

On boagworld.com you’ll find a complete guide that will walk you through the entire process of mapping the customer journey and even give you a template you could use.

In one of the blog posts in Marketer Insights on eZ you’ll find a slightly different approach that focuses on users’ feelings in every stage of their journey.

If you’re not a big fan of whiteboards and sticky-notes and you don’t want to be spending time on making your own grids, UXPressia offers a very stylish online tool for CJM, that’ll help you “take your customer on an amazing trip avoiding alarming experiences“.

And for all those mobile app enthusiast, indeemo offers a platform that connects you with your customers by blending mobile, video and private social networking technologies, so your customers can show you how they behave, think and feel about your product or service.

Once you realize the full potential of a good customer journey map, you can then focus on how to maintain healthy relationships with your customers. This is where a customer relationship management (CRM) software reveals itself as essential. Depending on the size of your business, you can choose between different solutions and packages. Take a look at these top 10 CRM services.

Conclusively, we can all agree that a customer journey map is a pretty powerful tool. It can help you understand where your prospects come from, what their desires are, what questions they have and how they move through the sales funnel. It will also identify painful points in the customer experience, especially with digital products and services, with moving from one device to another, going from social media to the website or interacting with CS department. It will put the customer first demonstrating thus the need for your entire business to adapt.

And now, without further ado, here’s our wish of the day: Happy Mapping!