Understanding customers, part 1: Customer Journey Map
Dear readers: In today’s lesson, we are going to learn a bit about how we can understand our customers better. This is basic for us, since it enables us to provide them the best service possible, which engages and retains them, so this lesson is well worth paying attention to. The concept we’re introducing here is the Customer Journey Map or CJM. It is not a new concept, but we’re sure it is a complex one, and not always properly implemented in marketing strategies. And that’s a pity, because a well implemented CJM is one of the most powerful tools you can use to engage your customers. So we’re going to try to shed some light upon the idea of customer journey map, just with four basic facts you need to know before you start working on it. Here we go!
Chapter 1. What is a Customer Journey Map?
A Customer Journey Map is a framework that covers the complete lifecycle of the user. It enables you to travel with your customers and see their experience from their own perspective. This customer-centric approach empowers you to take better decisions once you’ve discovered by yourself what are the needs and preferences of your customers.
Although they do not have a permanent specific form, a customer journey map usually is designed with the aspect of an infographic which shows the journey of the customer in your company and the time, so you can see their lifecycle both in a spatial and temporal dimension.
In this lifecycle, we find touchpoints, which are key interactions with your company. Touchpoints are the specific situations that define the path that your customer will take, if he will go on with you or will leave you. In this respect, you must know that a customer journey map is not linear. It is everywhere, and that’s the way it works. You probably know what a marketing funnel is. In the case of CJM, there is not one single path, but an infinite number of them. Every customer will not necessarily go through the same stages and in the same order.
Touchpoints will tell you the medium used (personal, physical, web, app…) and the emotion felt (positive, neutral, negative) by the user. This way, you can draw real conclusions and adapt your approach, modify what you are offering and how you are offering it according to their needs and feelings, both individually and globally.
Chapter 2. Why should you work with a Customer Journey Map?
The first and most obvious reason is that a customer journey map will help you understanding and redesigning customer experience. By using a CJM you will learn about your customers and your business, and therefore you will improve your service and also your incomes. In the age of information, a customer journey map is the perfect tool for tracking the user’s movements and collecting a huge amount of personal and emotional information that you can later use to perfect your performance.
It also helps you establishing the roadmap for a specific product. Since you have the perspective of users, you see the errors, the hole in the approach, and you have a new perspective to change it and do what best fits them. You can track not only the journey of your customer but also the journey of your new product from even before you launch it, see what its best features are and how to take the most of them and improve its weaknesses. As you see, customer journey map is an extremely powerful tool!
Chapter 3. How can you design a Customer Journey Map correctly?
Okay, experts agree that there is not one only way of designing a CJM. It is also difficult to say if there is a wrong and a right one. But there are some things you should definitely do if you want yours to work properly, a few common steps that serve as a basis for a customer journey map. Although others change according to the objectives, complexity and other variables about the company or project, you should at least:
– Identify the customer. For example, you can use an empathy map. You can use the tool you prefer, but you should get to know what does he think, what does he feel, etc.
– Identify his motivations and doubts. You don’t have to know him, but also know what he is looking for or what he needs. Even if he’s not sure, you should analyze data to know it.
– Map the journey’s touchpoints. You should establish the medium used and the emotions felt in these exact moments in order to draw useful conclusions for your activities.
Therefore, there is not only one customer journey map for your company. The CJM is a living document: you build it at the beginning of your tracking process and then update it as you get information and as your company grows. And you personalize it too, according to the specific customers you’re dealing with. It is hard, and it might scare you at the beginning, but the reward is very big: you’ll have the most accurate information about your customers. Believe us: if you do it properly, using a customer journey map will be one of your best decisions.
So, once you’ve identified your customers and their thought, and you have set the main touchpoints, you have to create the other customer stages. You have to create their path step by step. You can start by simple ones (e.g., discovery, research, explore…) and then modify them to improve the accuracy of your system. You can, for example, even establish a non-customer stage in order to know where they come from and what their aims are before they know you.
Chapter 4. Customer Journey Mapping and new technologies
In the 21st century, you’d be crazy if you didn’t make use of new technologies to take the most of your customer journey map. Nowadays, people’s relationships are strongly marked by social networks and technology. Obviously, in their role as customers they act the same way. Take profit of it.
You can use tools such as Google Analytics which collect tons of information for you (where customers come from, the time they stay with you, what sections they visit and what sections they don’t…). This will help you boost your strongest points and improve on your weaknesses.
There are also lots of tools available to create your own surveys to know if customers are happy with your service at a certain point. But the place where you can receive the best feedback is social networks. Those places are where customers really can interact with other customers and with you. Pay attention to their comments and likes and act consequently, and you’ll be actually and directly connected to them.
And that’s it for today! We hope this will help you with the use of customer journey mapping. Remember you can comment to ask any doubt about it, we’ll be happy to solve it. And, while you wait for part 2 of our guide to understand customers, you can take a look at these great links below for further information. See you!
The No-Nonsense Guide to Mapping the Customer Journey – usertesting.com
This post is also available in: Spanish