Customer journey maps are one of the best ways to understand your customers better. It visualizes the customers’ journey while interacting with your product (here, website or application). They help you track their steps, actions, and behavior and anticipate their next moves. But to make a successful customer journey map, you must plan properly. As easy as it may seem, customer journey map design thinking requires research, effort, and thought. If not done right, it can always go south and hamper your customers’ experience.
This blog will walk you through 8 best practices to make a successful customer journey map or to improve the one you already have. Implement these to get better results and increase customer satisfaction over time.
1. Establish Clear Goals
It is imperative to set clear goals and objectives for your customer journey map before starting the research or design process. Define what you want to achieve through your customer journey map. Following specific objectives throughout the process of user journey mapping ensures your map is aligned with your customer and business goals.
To establish clear and effective goals, you must start by asking a few critical questions:
a. What do I want to achieve with this customer journey map?
Do you want to understand your users’ needs better? Or perhaps you want to optimize your website for increased conversions?
b. What are the specific KPI goals?
Decide on the most critical customer journey metrics. This will help you monitor your overall customer and business goals. It could be conversion rates, customer satisfaction metrics, engagement statistics like on-page time, the number of click-throughs, or even social media shares. Setting specific KPIs enables you to track key journey touchpoints and determine the success of your efforts. But remember that you can only track them once you start using your map to optimize UX.
2. Understand Your Customers
Research is of utmost importance when creating a customer journey map. You must understand each different buyer persona as every user is unique. To build your customer personas, you must interview different types and categories of users. You could also run offline and online surveys by them. Ensure you diversify the interviews, focusing on different demographics like location, age, gender, and socioeconomic status.
You must not fit your entire audience into one or two personas. Merging the needs of different people into one box will do no good but mess up the results. Therefore to avoid this pitfall, you must speak to a wide range of users and create as many diverse personas as you need.
3. Create a Distinct Map for Each Type of Buyer
Once you’ve created your primary buyer personas, create a unique journey map design for each of them. Note that different buyers operate differently depending on their roles and demographics. Hence, you must not generalize every user persona under one broad customer journey map. This will cause you to miss out on the opportunity to create an enjoyable product experience for different buyers.
For instance, a Gen-Z group finds your brand through social media and values these touchpoints more before and after purchase. On the other hand, there could be a sub-group of millennial buyers who connect more through paid ads and organic search. They might also be interested in email follow-ups. This is where customer journey CRM comes in handy.
4. Use Customer Journey CRM
It is important to note that every business yields guaranteed success from customer journey maps. Some marketing professionals rely on customer journey maps to guide their customer experience efforts, while some senior marketers don’t feel confident about their company’s “understanding of the customer journey.” This contradiction often exists in businesses where the visual ‘map’ - the end result - is the core objective for undertaking the exercise.
Often, businesses take action without gathering adequate insight. They map their customers' journeys without first constructing a detailed understanding of where the points of interaction exist, how often they’re used, how they connect, and where roadblocks exist. This is where a customer journey CRM is helpful.
CRM data gives you an insight into how different customers engage with you from a sales, marketing, and service perspective. Moreover, it also shows you the bunch of engagement channels and the steps in the process. A CRM allows you to access contact center data, transactional data, website browsing behavior, etc. All this information, when clubbed, gives you a feel for what a customer journey would be like.
Through a customer journey CRM, you can connect everything to the goal of giving customers a better experience so they might buy more and become more loyal.
5. Collaborate With Stakeholders
Allowing different perspectives from relevant stakeholders is key to successfully creating any customer journey map. Collaborating with stakeholders across your company ensures everyone is on the same page. That way, you can consistently deliver a great customer experience.
For effective cross-functional collaboration, it’s best to consult all teams that have insights about customer interactions and touchpoints. They can include members from sales and marketing to design, operations, customer service, and devs. You must also involve high-level decision-makers, get their opinion, and buy in on the final user experience journey map as well as any corresponding actions.
6. Track Every Phase
It’s best to be thorough while building your experience journey map. Therefore, you must track every single phase a customer passes through in their journey. From the moment they discover your product until after they make a purchase. Their journey might start when they discover your product through an ad, continue to the first time they click on your homepage, and extend until after they check out.
Pay close attention to touchpoints within customer touchpoints. For example, map out specific touchpoints across your website. This can include your homepage, landing page, and checkout pages. Also, it could be specific elements like sign-up forms, CTAs, signup, and media elements.
When you understand how users move between touchpoints, you provide them with the tools they need to move effortlessly through their customer journey. It makes their experience seamless; they convert more and churn less.
7. Make it Recurrent
Usually, not all customer journeys are linear, and your customer journey map should reflect this.
If you’re aiming for a high customer lifetime value (CLV) and strong brand advocates, mapping out a recurrent customer journey is essential. It shouldn't end when a customer learns about your product and makes a purchase.
Note that it’s okay if returning customers or subscribers won’t return to the awareness stage. They might bounce between the consideration or decision stage several times as they make new conversion decisions. To maximize customer satisfaction and, in turn, loyalty, you must understand different pathways used to make a purchase.
8. Keep Updating The Map
If you want real-time insights, a static customer journey map won’t give that. Customer journey mapping is an ongoing process. Therefore it is essential to review and update your customer journey map as you add new products and features to your business. It is necessary to do the same even when changing any key touchpoints. Also it's best to modify your customer journey map when there are significant changes in the market or customer behavior. You can use a journey map creator to keep up with real-time data and changes.
Improving how you map customers' journey with your product will eventually enhance customer satisfaction. You can build trust and retain them for the long term. To do so, you must consider and implement the above-mentioned best practices for customer journey mapping. These best practices will ensure your map gets better with time, is more effective, and yields relevant and stimulating results.