A customer journey map is a visual representation of the journey a customer has with a company’s brand, products, services, and people. A customer journey map visualizes all touch points between the customer and the organization, from customer research on the product, to first contact with the company, to building customer loyalty. By constructing theoretical customer decision-making scenarios, companies can more easily understand factors and product features that influence customers’ purchase decisions.
Journey Mapping is an outside-in exercise, reviewing and documenting the stages of customers’ lifecycle from their points of view looking in. Customer journey maps may also be called customer interaction maps, customer corridors, or service blueprints. Customer Process Mapping (CPM), often an artifact of Six Sigma or Lean work efforts document, is similar but different from customer journey mapping in that it is about internal processes and the channels businesses undertake when serving a customer.
This page covers all you need to know about customer journey mapping:
- The Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping
- What Are the Steps to Map the Customer Journey?
- How Data Can Boost Your Customer Journey Map?
- How Can InMoment Help My Brand?
- A Customer Success Story with Customer Journey Mapping
- Where Can I Learn More About Customer Journey Mapping?
The Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping
Customer Journey Mapping allows companies to see the gaps between the desired Customer Experience (CX) and the one that the customer actually receives. Creating a Customer Journey Map can help organizations:
- Explore, document, and understand the personal, emotional parts of the customer experience that quantitative measures alone often miss
- Create a detailed visual representation that places specific customer touch points and interactions in the larger context of the complete customer journey
- Identify the key moments of truth that impact customer perceptions and satisfaction the most, so you can monitor and improve them over time
- Generate opportunities for customer co-creation
- Understand which factors are most important in building customer loyalty
- Decrease customer turnover
- Build a common, shared, and accurate internal view of the customer experience, to align the entire organization around a culture of CX excellence
- Reveal gaps and weaknesses in existing Voice of Customer (VoC) programs that may be limiting companies’ ability to turn customer feedback into business results
Five Steps to Uncovering the Real Customer Experience Journey
Learn how to take a walk in your customers’ shoes, identify opportunities that inspire improved experiences, and drive operational efficiencies across the board.
What Are the Steps to Map the Customer Journey?
Success is driven by how customers interact with your business, from pre-conversion to return visits, both online and offline. Knowing how to map out each touchpoint can be essential for businesses seeking to identify what’s important to their customers. Customer Journey Mapping can also help identify pain points and areas for improvement along the way. Here are the five steps we suggest you take for a successful customer journey mapping process:
Step #1: Achieve Consensus on Key Interactions
Mapping the customer’s journey starts with identifying and building out the steps of the journey from the company’s point of view. Start by identifying the key interactions a customer has with the company. Achieving consensus on the discrete steps a customer takes can be difficult, as each functional area and stakeholder will bring a unique perspective to the table. However, it is critical for the organization to work off a common vision of the journey so measurements, improvements, and enhancements can be created using a shared framework.
Step #2: Build Out the Customer Journey View
Once the internal stakeholders have laid out their view of the customer journey, it is time to have the end customer validate this framework. A series of qualitative research sessions are usually helpful for this purpose. In these sessions, customers walk through their version of what the journey looks like, using all the same criteria used by internal stakeholders.
Step #3: Review the Current State
This step is critical for embedding the journey into the organization. It involves immersing participants in the qualitative research in a way that helps them step into the shoes of their customer. In order to do this, the room where this final workshop is conducted is turned into a customer gallery, which may contain detailed summaries of each step in the journey, customer quotes from the qualitative research, any photos or imagery created or solicited during the research, and any relevant previous research that contributes to the organization’s understanding of the customer journey
Step #4: Create CX Design Criteria
Creating common customer experience design criteria helps prevent organizations from becoming overwhelmed. Customer experience design criteria are the three or four top criteria that serve as the essence of what customers need in any experience they have with your organization. These criteria are derived from analyzing the attitudes, thoughts, emotions and needs at each step in the journey and identifying a few common themes that represent the essence of what the customer needs.
Step #5: Ideate Future State
The final phase in the customer journey mapping process is to leverage the new insights and design a present—and future—experience. One of the greatest challenges to any CX effort is getting true organizational commitment and buy-in. It is not that companies are against having a customer focus; quite the contrary. The challenge is getting the attention of stakeholders who are stretched so thin that it is difficult to get their attention. But the benefits of engaging stakeholders in customer journey mapping gives them a vested interest in the process and increases their common knowledge of the customer experience well beyond where it was.
How Data Can Boost Your Customer Journey Map
Examples of actionable variables to be included in a customer journey map could include emotions, motivations, user actions, entry points, bounce rates and the buying process. Surveys and customer personas can also be valuable resources to increase the effectiveness of customer journey maps.
Identifying who your audience is, why they do what they do and how they do it is the primary goal and can help visualize important insights into a businesses’ offerings. Here’s what you should be searching your customer data for:
- Customer’s desired outcomes
- Time or duration
- Attitudes and thoughts
- Emotional responses
- Emotional needs
- Customer pain points
- Areas of weakness
- Areas of strength
- Importance of the step
- Satisfaction with the step
Though some might argue that this process is overkill for organizational stakeholders, the elements of this process enable a more educated approach to the secondary probing and qualitative research phase. Additionally, the process of including all stakeholders embeds customer journey mapping within the cultural framework of the organization. As stakeholders help build the journey, hear different perspectives from their peers, and eventually see the customer’s perspective of the journey, they are more likely to understand and buy into the final product.
Customer Journey Mapping for the Right Reasons
After conducting a thorough customer journey mapping process, your company will reap the benefits. These include a more comprehensive understanding of the experience your customer has with your organization, insights in the areas that need to be addressed, and ideas for how to improve the experience for customers at every touchpoint. There’s many different ways to go about customer journey mapping, but gaining success and greater results should always be the main goal and “why” behind the exercise.
Customer Story: Seeing the Customer Journey from Every Angle
A financial services company used customer journey mapping to identify root causes of attrition and strategies for retaining more customers when their investment representatives retired.
The process identified a key challenge: investment representatives were not giving any advance notice of their departure, which left the company unable to get transition and communication plans in place to keep customers up-to-date and on board. Clients were often left without a personal representative for months while a replacement was coordinated. This was a major concern, especially since most customers had selected the company based on accessibility to an investment representative.
As the journey was laid out, numerous opportunities for improvement were iden-tified. One of the most basic opportunities related to the way that the human resources and legal departments designed the contractor agreement and the associated retirement compensation plan. The contract stipulated that retirement benefits would be based on the last three months of reve-nue and assets. Because of the significant and long-lasting implications of retirement revenue, investment representatives were concerned that giving advanced notice of leaving the company would lead to fewer leads and would potentially encourage their peers to prematurely lure current clients away with the promise of someone who would be around for the years to come.
Clearly, this is something that would not have been identified in a simple tracking study. Instead, it took a comprehensive review involving a diverse cross section of stakeholders, some of whom might have been considered irrelevant because they didn’t have direct customer contact.
In this example, one of the root causes could not be identified without a structured review of the upstream impacts on the customer experience elements. When mapping the customer reassignment journey, multiple key steps in the experience are identified, including the notification of the change from one representative to another. Doing this well wouldn’t just improve the customer experience, but also the company’s bottom line.
By improving the customer experience, the company expected to reduce switching behaviors that impacted retention rates. By improving retention rates, the company improved their revenue and maintained a larger asset level.
Learn more about your audience by designing a customer journey map. Get started with InMoment today!
InMoment on Journey Mapping
Journey Mapping is a flexible consulting engagement for organizations seeking more complete, accurate insights into what their customers really feel, perceive, and experience. It includes resources, expertise, and documentation—including detailed visual representations of the complete customer journey—to identify hidden moments of truth and close the gap between internal CX perceptions and customer realities.
InMoment has helped some of the world’s largest, most successful companies understand and improve their customer journeys.