Rick Barron
Rick Barron 20 September 2019

The Long And Winding Road

Companies often ask how do they get their customers to do what they want them to do? Digital marketers get asked this question all the time. Guess what, it’s the wrong question.


What is the customer journey map?

Companies often ask how do they get their customers to do what they want them to do? Digital marketers get asked this question all the time. Guess what, it’s the wrong question.

What businesses should really ask is, “How do I help my customers achieve their goals on my website while still achieving mine?” Focusing on that question is the starting point for building a customer journey map.

A customer journey map is a visual representation or diagram of all the touchpoints your customers have with your company, online or off. It helps to tell the story of a customer's experience with your brand from original engagement and into hopefully a long-term relationship. 

At first glance, a customer’s journey is pretty simple. You offer something, they buy it. But once you get into the detail, customer journeys are quite complex and come in many varieties. Your customers can come into contact with your business in a multitude of ways and from many different starting points, for example, marketing, referrals, search, social media, customer service inquiries, and above-the-line campaigns.

No doubt you want to make every experience a customer has as good as it can possibly be. So, to make sure no interaction slips through the cracks, you need to map out every touchpoint or experience along the customer journey. 

What is customer journey mapping?

Customer journey mapping helps businesses step into their customer’s shoes and see their business from the customer's perspective. It helps businesses gain insights into such areas as:
1. Common customer pain points

2. How to improve the customer experience

3. Define what customers, and prospective customers, need in order to complete a purchase.

From a customer’s perspective, they want their experience with a brand to be connected and seamless. They expect companies to know and remember, across multiple touchpoints, who they are and what they’re looking for, so that the necessary information is available and without the necessity to repeat or clarify their needs.

Some of the benefits of a customer journey map include:

  • Seeing where customers interact with your business
  • Pinpoint particular customer needs at different stages in the buying funnel
  • Identifying whether the customer journey is in a logical order
  • Showing the gaps between the desired customer experience and the one actually received
  • Highlighting customer priorities
  • Concentrate efforts and expenditure on what matters most to maximize effectiveness

Getting the most from customer journey mapping

To make your map as useful as possible, you need to include every point where your customer comes into contact with your business, from packaging and manuals to ads and social media and blogging posts. Maps can contain quantitative elements from things like your website analytics, CRM or call center software. For instance, by overlaying data, a map might highlight that your call center provides swift answers and satisfying service, but your live chat is causing frustration. 

Benchmarking against your brand promise

A customer journey map also reveals how well the customer experience matches up to your brand promise. For example, you might portray your customer experience as effortless. But when a customer arrives at a store to collect items, they have bought online then has to face long lines and confusion about their order, their experience doesn't match up. This kind of scenario will play out in a variety of different ways depending on your product, service or type of business. You need to understand where these mismatches are happening and start to fix the issues – and the map helps you do this.

Safeguarding your future

Many consumers are shifting from offline to online, using a variety of digital tools to help them with their purchasing decisions. Offline interactions are also taking on a digital dimension, with location-based services adding to the experience of visiting a store or taking a flight. And as more ‘digital natives’ enter the world of work and gain purchasing power, online interactions grow in commercial importance. Your customer is likely to use search, online review sites and social networks as the first port of call when evaluating a possible purchase. 

Understanding how these interactions work, and how to take advantage of them, is vital to business success.

About the author

Hi, my name is Rick and I thank you for reading this article!

I explore to learn new stuff every day and here I will share all my experiences and thoughts with you.

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram. :)

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