Building customer journey maps are an essential component for any business, particularly smaller businesses and start-up organisations. The process involved with fashioning a customer journey map can be challenging for those new to the business world who haven't’ a clue as to what a customer journey map is, the importance of the concept, and how to go about creating one.
You will ultimately want to source the elements that you need to improve upon, as well as discovering opportunities to strengthen relationships with your customer base by creating innovative ideas to further interact with your audience and create a better customer experience.
The Harvard Business Review describes customer journey mapping in particularly simplistic terms: “a diagram that illustrates the steps your customers go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.”
If you’re ready to be real, put on your study cap, and get to work, let me guide you through the five steps to get you out of fantasy realm and well into the business world.
1. Clearly Define Your Purpose or Persona
Are you aware of the fact that most businesses gauge and measure customer behaviour through the buying or products and services through faceless entities who either one day return for a repeat purchase or disappear into the land of unicorns? This is a business practice that is a best described as archaic, and at worst, stupid.
Enter Personas. Using customer personas gives you killer wins again and again as you cultivate enviably intimate relationships with your loyal customer base. A company using the customer personas concept will be able to assign an identity as well as a face to the formerly faceless customer.
Personas give insight into customer identity, preferences, goals, motivations, frustrations, and far more. When you tap into this unbelievable wealth of information, you can strategies marketing campaigns to show how your product or service can fit into their life, as well as improve it.
2. Define the Scenario(s) to be Examined
Determine the information you want to glean and what exactly you want to be analysed
• Do you want to know more about a customer’s
experience in your retail establishment or brick and mortar store
• Would you like insight into the ease or difficulty in the purchasing of products or services from your website
• Perhaps you want to know if there any difficulties presented to customers on your website, such as an ineffectively designed checkout system
3. Envision the Scenario
After you have determined the specific experience you would like to map, you can move on to setting goals. If the mapping will be of a previous customer journey, if it will divulge the positive or negative aspects of a customer experience, or it could be a map of an experience “to-be” where you design a journey for a customer in the process of purchasing of a product or service and the specific sequence of events that will take place.
4. Insert Yourself into the Customer Mindset
A customer journey map overarching focus is what users and potential customers are thinking, feeling, and doing during their journey in your establishment or on your site.
Put yourself into the mindset of your potential customers and envision their actions and emotions to produce qualitative research to either modify, improve or overhaul your customer journey map or the business itself.
5. Outline the Stages of the Customer Journey
Let’s hypothesise that we have a company who has a persona named Mortimer. Mortimer is 42 years old, is a full-time cat behaviour consultant, and loves any kind of beer that is unique, uncommon and is memorable in taste.
While Morty desperately wants to lose weight, he can’t give up his so-called “craft beer” fixation, knowing full well that beer is full of carbs, is a way to consume empty calories, and has a lot to do with his burgeoning “beer belly.”
We know quite a bit about Morty and can anticipate his movement through the various stages of his experience at our business while taking ample opportunity to modify his experience, introduce new products, and perhaps increase the likelihood of his repeat patronage.
While stages at businesses will vary immensely, our particular stages for customers like Morty are as follows:
• Awareness - Morty may discover our bar’s presence from a friend, advertisement, or the internet
• Research - Morty engages in a bit of research, looking at reviews for our bar on Yelp or maybe even visiting our website
• Arrival - Morty has decided that our bar looks like a good place to try out, so he bites the bullet, hops in his auto, and travels to our location.
• Insert business strategy: Acknowledge his presence immediately by greeting him, leading him to a seat, and offering a menu as well as any free peanuts or pretzels
• Places and waits for order - Exuberant at the array of rare, uncommon and exotic beers listed on your menu, Morty orders five of your distinct beers. While munching on a peanut, he is suddenly reminded of his weight loss endeavour and how big his belly is growing. He beckons to the bartender and embarrassingly says that he has changed his mind
• Insert business strategy: Take advantage of the persona. With your knowledge of Morty’s persona, you already pretty much know why he is struggling with his order. Instead of further embarrassing him by asking him what the problem is (price, calories, carb concerns) you are kind to his request and say hey no problem at all mate!
• Insert business strategy: Suggest more product choices. You might casually suggest that your bar has an array of new products they are inviting customers to sample. These new products are affordable, low-carb, low-calorie beers that patrons love and order on a regular basis.
Relieved (without any further embarrassment) Morty is internally overjoyed at the concept of a new beer that won't make him gain weight or have an effect on his robust belly/ He samples the beer, loves it, and orders a couple more.
• Consumption and Decision to Return (or not) -
With each delectable sip of his low-carb, low-calorie, guilt-free beer, Morty
finds himself in ecstasy. He wonders to himself why products like this aren't more
While savouring his beer, he remembers the way he was kindly and immediately greeted at the door. He was treated in a non-judgmental and respectful way when he changed his large order, and in a matter of seconds, Morty has decided that our bar will be his destination of choice for a relaxing night of enjoying beer. He will be bringing his friends and family with him to savour the experience.
Bottom line: Morty has now become a repeat customer and will expand your businesses visibility when he brings his friends, family, while likely making recommendations to others to visit your establishment.
Conclusion: Customer journey maps enable you to understand the experiences of your customers, the way they feel and think during interactions with your business and give you ample opportunity to enhance your business practices while vastly improving the experience of your customer base and customers-to-be.