Customer Journey Map

A Customer Journey Map is a tool used to visualize a customer’s actions as they interact with a business, eventually leading up to a specific desired goal.

Often, a customer will browse through an online store and add items to their cart—only to exit without checking out. Other times, they get sidetracked going from Point A to Point B when it should only take one click. To address these kinds of problems, a customer journey map helps a business understand why it happened.

The customer journey outlines the process that a customer goes through when interacting with a business to achieve a specific goal. For a business, this end goal is typically the purchase of a product or service. For SaaS companies, this also applies to the correct usage of the software.

In the modern—and the digital—age, it’s important to have a clear vision for customer interactions. This is especially true since brands are defined by their customers’ experiences when interacting with their products. In this article, we’ll explore the process of customer journey mapping.

Customer Journey Mapping

The customer journey involves more than just offering a product that your customer purchases. No matter what industry you’re in, the customer journey is much more than a linear movement from Point A to Point B.

For example, a customer subscribing to software online may find the website through a blog post. But before they decide to sign up for the software, they may first check the reviews. Then they may browse competitor products before ultimately returning to the original choice and finally making a purchase.

The above is just one example of a customer journey map. It highlights the specific touchpoints where interactions occur between an organization and its customers.

A touchpoint is any moment your customer can form an opinion about your business. These touchpoints can include people, processes, technology, products, or other external environmental factors. All of these influence the overall experience that the customer has with your business.

These touchpoints can happen in 3 different phases of the customer interaction with your brand:

  1. Before the purchase
  2. During the purchase
  3. After the purchase

Since those are all different stages, your touchpoints can include a lot of different things. Some examples of customer touchpoints are:

  • An advertisement
  • A social media page
  • Word of mouth interactions
  • Customer service interaction
  • A blog post 
  • Marketing emails
  • Online service center

By identifying these touchpoints early on in your process, you can streamline your process by either building upon strengths or correcting flaws.

Benefits of a Customer Journey Map

Whether you’re selling a SaaS product or another digital product, mapping your customer journey helps you with:

  • Creating customer-oriented products - A customer journey map forces organizations to look at every stage of an interaction rather than focusing on one particular area where they excel. This way, they can identify and optimize the customer experience.
  • Improving internal collaboration - By highlighting your customer’s journey and focusing on the end-user’s needs, you can ensure that you’re cutting through the silos that can happen between departments.
  • Increasing brand reputation - By reducing any pain points present when moving through the decision-making process, you improve customer satisfaction and lower customer churn due to a more positive overall interaction with the brand.

Creating a Customer Journey Map

The map breaks down each stage of the game into its own specific section. Each of those interactions touches on an underlying thought, feeling, or action that occurs during this time span via inputs (such as technology) and outputs (such as a purchase). 

There are 5 key stages to a customer journey map. These include everything from setting a clear objective to making changes to the current customer experience.

1. Set an objective

Without a fixed objective, your journey map will be difficult to translate into a tangible impact on your customer experience. Begin by identifying existing or future customers—often through a buyer persona—to tailor your goal towards that audience.

Speak to different stakeholders within the business to gather data on various points of the customer experience. Then use these perspectives to determine the objective of your journey map.

2. Research your customer personas

You might conduct research through questionnaires, interviews, customer support logs. Typically, this involves any method where you can hear from and engage with actual customers. Then you will compile data that references:

  • How a customer discovered your brand
  • When and why they purchase or cancel
  • Their experience using your site
  • Any issues your product did or didn’t solve

By collecting qualitative and quantitative data, you can flesh out the different buyer personas relevant to your company. 

3. Outline respective touchpoints

Based on your selected buyer persona, list all the potential touchpoints where your customer might engage with your brand. This includes the touchpoints your customers currently engage in and ones they should be engaging in.

This step will give you insight into the journey your customers take and the actions they perform along the way. If they use fewer touchpoints, try and figure out what’s turning them away. Conversely, if they use too many touchpoints, something may need optimization.

Touchpoints shouldn’t just include actions on your website. Instead, look at all ways your customer could encounter your brand online—social media, paid advertisements, email marketing, and third-party blogs and reviews.

4. Recreate the customer experience

Once you’ve mapped out the touchpoints, it’s time to recreate that journey for yourself and analyze your findings. Follow each touchpoint into the next to see how your customers are experiencing your brand. Is the next step intuitive? Is there a point where a customer might struggle?

By experiencing your customer journey for yourself, you can better understand your customers’ perspectives and identify where you might fail to meet their needs.

5. Make adjustments as necessary

Once you’ve assessed your customer’s journey through the map, you can make any adjustments to your website or app to help you achieve the goal you set earlier. This can be anything from more thorough product descriptions to a better site menu.

It doesn’t matter if these changes are big or small—the vital factor is meeting your customers’ needs, addressing pain points, and making the process seamless.

Customer Journey Map Template

Are you looking to build your own customer journey map? To save time we have created a simple map in Powerpoint for you to download and adapt to your needs. The download is of course free.

Key Takeaways

A customer journey map is a visualization of the typical customer’s journey to purchase, highlighting fundamental interactions between an organization and its customers. These interactions can range anywhere from internal to external factors.

By creating a customer journey map and analyzing the different touchpoints, a business can optimize its customer experience. This leads to a better overall impression of your company, higher customer satisfaction, and less customer churn in the long run.