Excellent.Org: a hand is holding a map of the olympic national park

The Customer Journey Map

Last week we dealt with the Customer Journey. If you noticed that you would like to know much more about your customers and their needs, we recommend creating a Customer Journey Map – because it is well known that it is better to travel to unknown territories with a map.

What are the benefits of a Customer Journey Map?

The Customer Journey Map represents a purchase including all previous and subsequent experiences – channels, points of contact, etc. – visually. It helps you to better understand your customers and their decisions. Creating a Customer Journey Map is all about thinking about how your customer should ideally get from A to B, what their expectations of the journey are and what experiences they should have. The Customer Journey Map helps to graphically illustrate the contact with your customers and website visitors and to identify optimization possibilities.

So if you want to consciously take your customers‘ perspective and improve their experience with your brand, while optimizing your own external communication process, then it is advisable to create such a map of the purchase decision.

Creation of a Customer Journey Map

1. Define the target group

First of all, you should decide which target group you want to study. This depends, of course, on the particular product or service you are looking at. Here it is recommended that you define a Buyer Persona. These are fictitious persons who represent the characteristics, wishes, and needs of a target group. It is best to create a profile here. Give this person a name and add a picture – the more vivid, the better you can put yourself in their shoes.

Ask yourself additionally: How old is the person? Where does he or she live? In a city or in the country? Alone, in a flat share or with a family? In an apartment or a house? What does she work? Or is she studying? What educational background does the person have? Does she have hobbies? If so, which ones? What values does this person have? What topics are they interested in? What challenges does the person face? What motives does this person have for buying your product? Write down as much information as possible so that the buyer persona is tangible and tangible.

There are certainly several Buyer Persona among your customers. Gradually you can create a separate Customer Journey Map for each of them.

2. Which touchpoints are there?

Here you should first define how extensive and detailed your Customer Journey Map should be. It also depends on how many touchpoints it contains.
Which touchpoints actually exist between you and the customer? Where does the customer come into contact with you – both directly and indirectly?

On the one hand, customer surveys provide the answers. On the other hand, there are numerous tools to track the customer’s paths on the Internet. These include web analytics, social media monitoring, newsletter statistics, number and type of support requests and complaints. All these analysis tools help you to identify your points of contact and also show you which of them are of particular importance.

Even if you only work online, please remember that your customers will still come into contact with you offline – either when the customer talks to his friends about your company or product, when a newspaper article about you is printed, or even when a product that was purchased online is delivered to the customer offline.

3. Put the touchpoints in a chronological order

How are the individual Touchpoints connected to each other? How can they be put in a chronological order? This is actually not so easy, because every customer comes into contact with you individually and thus goes through his or her own customer journey. Either he reads an article about you, or he hears about your products from friends, or he lands on your website by chance while surfing the Internet. As you can see, it is hardly possible to put the individual touch points in a generally valid chronological order. That’s why the touchpoints are divided into different phases, which are always run through in the same order. The name and number of these phases can be different for each company. Today we present you a 4-phase model, which is quite practical for the introduction to the topic.

Excellent.Org: Grafic of the touchpoints in the customer journey

4. Measure customer satisfaction

Here it is about finding out how satisfied your customers are at the respective touchpoint. As you probably already suspect, this step presents a challenge. It’s not so easy to measure customer satisfaction along the customer journey – and it can be very costly and time-consuming. In order to save costs, you can of course ask your employees for their opinion internally – but this can lead to misinterpretations or be very subjective. Quantitative or qualitative surveys are more cost- and time-intensive. With the qualitative survey of a smaller customer group you determine the satisfaction at the respective touchpoint. With the quantitative survey, the sample is considerably larger. Here you can ask the customer about his satisfaction after each contact of the customer with your company either online, by telephone or also stationary at the POS. What you choose is entirely up to you and your resources. And of course the number of touchpoints is not insignificant for the decision. The more detailed, the smaller the sample of respondents will probably be.

5. Graphical representation of the Customer Journey Map

Your final map is best entered in a coordinate system. On the x-axis the points of contact are in a chronological order and on the y-axis you enter the corresponding customer satisfaction. If required, you can enter additional information on the map. You can also add to each touchpoint the needs and expectations of the customer, the exact nature of their interaction with your company and their emotions.

The more data you have, the more detailed and meaningful the map becomes. When creating a Customer Journey Map, it is important that, ideally, not only one person works on it, but that information from different areas of your company is contributed. Above all, the status quo should be represented and not your desired image. This is the only way to see where you can improve, where there might be breakdowns and where you can turn a loyal customer into a brand ambassador.

There are no fixed rules for the design. What is allowed is what helps you to understand your customers even better and improve the customer experience with your company. You can also work completely offline and let off steam on a giant poster, which can then be hung up and presented for all employees to see.

6. Analysis of the Customer Journey Map

After you’ve done all the work, we’ll get to the evaluation. Which points of contact with your company should be improved from the customer’s point of view? Which ones can possibly even be omitted? And where might touchpoints be missing? You can find out all these things by looking at your map. Your goal should be to ensure that customer satisfaction is consistently high along the customer journey. Otherwise there is a risk that the customer will abandon the journey and no sale will be concluded. Ask yourself where internal changes need to be made so that the customer is not disappointed. If you decide to integrate additional points of contact, it is best to ask yourself beforehand whether you can provide satisfactory service. After all, a lot can only help a lot if the quality and support of the individual touchpoints is consistently good.

Now it is a matter of developing measures to bring customer satisfaction to a uniformly high level. Here it is important that you provide your customers with content tailored to their needs via the appropriate channel at all times.

Excellent.Org: Picture with the text "The journey is on" on it

Conclusion

As you can see, the Customer Journey Map tool provides you with extensive information about your customers and their satisfaction. At the same time, of course, this requires a certain amount of preparation and is certainly associated with effort. Always remember that a perfect map does not have to be created at the beginning. Just the fact that you take the customer perspective can give you some plausible experiences and help you to understand your customers even better and to respond to their needs even more specifically.