Customer journey mapping and its impact on customer experience

Customer journey mapping and its impact on customer experience

Customer journeys are defined by the interactions the user has with a brand or company, and each interaction contributes to the overall customer experience. A customer journey map is the visual representation of this journey on the customer’s way to achieving a goal with said company.

Every brand should have already looked at their customer journey map to understand customer pain points and how to improve their CX, but sadly this isn’t always the case. Never mind, though, because we’re going to look at how you can design a map and it’s impact on customer experience.

Why you should have already started mapping your customer journey

If you get it right, customer journey mapping can dramatically enhance your operations and, crucially, your customer experience. Mapping the journey is all about knowing where your customers interact with you and why and how they feel about it.

The thing is, you should be doing this already, and it should be a fundamental part of your customer experience strategy. By being aware of the route your customers take on the way to a purchase (or, in some cases, leaving without converting), you can take specific action to improve and enhance your CX.

When your customer journey is refined, personalised, and reflects a customer’s preferences, you’ll be well on the way to achieving outstanding CX. Further, it’ll allow you to streamline your own processes internally and work more effectively as a unity.

Not only does mapping your customer journey increase revenue associated with marketing campaigns, reduce service costs, and shorten the sales process. It also allows businesses to offer consistently outstanding customer experience – thereby enhancing customer loyalty.

When done appropriately, customer journey mapping can help you to achieve any, if not all, of the following:

  • Increase customer engagement
  • Identify and enhance critical touchpoints in the customer experience
  • Remove ineffective or irrelevant touchpoints
  • Change company culture to a more customer-focused mindset
  • Target specific customer personas
  • Delegate ownership of touchpoints to the relevant team or department
  • Gain visibility over the return on investment of future UX or CX spend

Using your customer journey map to understand your customer

One of the keys to outstanding CX is understanding your customer and showing empathy for their experiences and feelings. If you can relate to their experiences, perhaps a poor delivery time for a package or contact process, you’ll be on your way to understanding why customer journey mapping is such a critical exercise.

Further, the process of creating customer personas and conducting research (which we’ll go into later) should help you better understand your customers. No brand can really say they are growing or achieving what they set out to accomplish if they don’t understand their audience or customers – otherwise, they’re selling to a mystery.

Your own journey to becoming customer-focused

Designing your customer journey map is not just a process of increasing ROI and creating outstanding CX but also a journey to becoming a more customer-focused business.

The whole process comes with a broader benefit of making your team really think about the customer and their pain points, which should hopefully improve their outlook in everything they do and design.

Designing your customer journey map

From buyer personas to mapping your current state, here we take a little look at the steps you should be taking when designing your customer journey map.

Create customer personas

As you may have already done when constructing your marketing strategy, creating customer personas is a crucial stage of designing your customer journey map. At this stage, you should add as much information as possible to your customer personas to get an idea of whom you’re talking to and who is interacting with you in return.

However, whereas an early-stage marketing persona may be fictional based on whom you would like to market and sell to, customer personas for customer journey mapping need to have even more detail added to them.

This, of course, depends on how old your business is and whether or not you have access to past customer information. In any case, there is always the option of talking to prospective customers and conducting surveys – those that have or are likely to interact with your brand.

You can do this by:

  • Carrying out interviews
  • Talking to your customer service teams or teams that interact with customers daily
  • Carrying out surveys with existing customers or users
  • Check complaint histories
  • Analyse web data
  • Conduct social listening on social media

Within these techniques, you should be looking for information that will help you understand where customers are coming from, if customers purchased or cancelled and why, how hard they found your product or website to use, and what your brand is and isn’t solving.

Choose what to measure

When creating a customer journey map, you’ll need to understand what you want to measure and what you want your end goal to be. There’s no point going through this process if you’re doing it for the sake of it, so make sure you have this conversation early on in the process, so everyone is clear about what needs to be achieved.

You may want to improve customer retention, overall CX or UX, or evaluate your current product before updating a legacy version or investing in a new one altogether.

Organise your map with stages

Like any big project, it’s wise to break it down into sections or stages. Customer journey mapping is no different.

First, identify touchpoints. These are any occasions that a customer interacts with your brand or products, from initial contact all the way through to check out and thank you notes.

Next, map out the stages of the customer need behind every action. Every time a user interacts, there is a thought process behind it. Try and map that out throughout the journey so you can visualise the needs and wants of the personas you’ve created.

Map current and future states

Mapping current and future states is critical as this process acts as a North Star for where you are and where you would like to end up.

First, create a customer journey map of where you believe your business currently sits. You can use online visual whiteboard tools for this, such as Miro or Figma, and organise your map into touchpoints with relevant data supporting each point. This should be a team exercise with key members from all levels involved.

Once you have done this, you’ll (hopefully) understand where the gaps in your customer journey map are, and you can start to fill them in with the ideal solution. The data you have already collected alongside the personas you’ve created should help inform these decisions. Finally, once you have your future state, you can begin the next steps – implementing your changes.

Let’s wrap this up

As you can see, customer journey mapping is a lengthy process but a necessary step toward understanding your customers and creating outstanding CX. No business should be out there selling or aiming for growth if they don’t understand their customers and their pain points, as they’ll never improve, meaning they’ll never grow.

It’s also a process of becoming a customer-centric business and changing your culture to put the customer first and think of them when creating flows, journeys, and products. This is often understated, but it’s actually critical to the success of any UX or CX experience. If your team don’t value the customer’s pain points and opinions, what hope is there for outstanding CX?

One note we will leave you with, however, is that this all ties in to roadmapping and vision setting. It’s all a process of plotting your ideal path, then tying in with the customer journey map so you have a user view too. Add to that a benchmarking exercise to work out where you are and where you want to get to, and you’ll soon be in ship shape.