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What Is Customer Journey Mapping: Everything You Need To Know

Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a visual representation of customer experiences.

This technique allows businesses to observe interactions through the eyes of consumers. This outlook is associated with various benefits, such as improved customer satisfaction and retention. Forgoing it, on the other hand, is linked with risks that plague your revenue streams.

So, if you mean business, you can’t follow a tunnel vision, guided by mere assumptions and bright ideas. It’s high time to grasp the big picture and put customers front and center.  

Keep reading to learn more!

Getting the Lay of the Land

The question of “What is customer journey mapping” has a simple answer.

Namely, the customer journey map tells a story of interactions across different touchpoints. Mapping is the act of drawing this story.

The first chapter is usually the initial engagement and the closing one is conversion. But, the story can also continue and encompass the entirety of the relationship.

Of course, this is an ideal scenario. Things are seldom this straightforward in practice.

Customer journeys come in many shapes and forms and they can be quite complex. Logical order doesn’t always ensue and there might not be a clear route from start to finish.

People are using multiple devices, effortlessly shifting from online to offline. Likewise, there is a host of possible starting points and their number is increasing every year.

We’re talking about organic search, social media, brick-and-mortar stores, referrals, customer service, and advertising. The list goes on.

The good news is mapping is a way to establish where interactions begin and how they unfold. You also have a chance to identify people’s needs at different stages of the funnel. In other words, you learn how they move through the funnel and why they jump ship or convert.  

Finding Room for Improvement

The basic idea behind this method isn’t just to have a comprehensive roadmap in front of you.

It’s necessary to act on the insights and improve every customer experience you can. Customer journey maps let you do just that. They’re designed to evaluate how well actual experiences match with your brand promises.

In essence, each and every customer wants the same: a seamless and positive experience with the brand. At the same time, however, people expect personalized and bespoke interactions.

Mapping gives you a chance to give them just that.  

It enables you to move from general assumptions to deploying specific, tailor-made tactics. It’s a vehicle for compelling storytelling, which drives loyalty and satisfaction.

Moving on, mapping can reveal various pain points that have to be addressed. You can, for instance, provide better information, redesign parts of the sales funnel, and increase conversion rates on the website.

In this way, mapping leads to better allocation of resources toward efforts that actually boost effectiveness and profitability.

A Multitude of Moving Parts

Customer journey maps tend to integrate various quantitative elements.

The data sources can include website/social media analytics, surveys, call center software, CRM, and other platforms. There are also external data troves, social media being the prime example.

Data points pertain to demographics, online behavior, and other consumer information sets.

Apart from statistical data, you can add anecdotal evidence as well. It can complement all the hard figures quite nicely. Just don’t make things too complicated, as it would only dilute the essence of the core story.

And when you put this all together, most maps tend to resemble infographics. They display various interactions in chronological order or outline how they fit the sales funnel.

Yet, it’s not uncommon to see maps that look like storyboards or even exist in a video form. As long as the solution serves your needs and is easy to communicate, it’s viable.

Getting to the Bottom of It

We indicated this tip earlier, but it’s worth hammering it home.

Focusing just on good experiences isn’t the way to go. You’re better off capturing data that signals customer frustrations and complaints. You can’t afford to let them fly under the radar.

Similarly, assess whether some experiences are at odds with each other. Perhaps you’re doing something right but messing up at a later point in the journey. These disjointed experiences are a big obstacle on the way to solidifying your brand.

The problem can be with an experience on a particular device—for example, poor mobile optimization of the website. At other times, one of your departments and teams is not pulling their weight.

Finally, there are instances in which a transition from one channel to another isn’t smooth. This issue creates drop off points that give rise to the even bigger problem of lost business.

Finishing Touches

Before we conclude, we want to offer a few more vital tips.

First, make sure to shift your perspective on the fly. Know when to take the bird’s eye view and when to observe experiences at a more granular level. While at it, recognize that some interactions carry more weight than others.

Furthermore, make sure your map doesn’t end with conversions. There’s an entire realm beyond that and it’s called the post-purchase relationship. It’s full of opportunities to do some re-marketing and spur repeat purchases.

Finally, we have to emphasize one crucial point. Journeys are always in flux and evolving. Therefore, you have to commit to ongoing analysis and fine-tuning.

This is the only way to keep good experiences going and prevent the bad ones from ruining your prospects.

So, stay vigilant and on top of changes in consumer behavior and shopping patterns. Refurbish your product and service design to better cater to the audience. Figure out how you can connect with it in new and creative ways.

Take your business game to the next level.

Time to Get Serious About Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping is a tried and tested visualization methodology used across industry sectors. 

It’s quite a potent tool in any business arsenal, but you have to wield expertly. There is a lot of ground to cover and it takes time to develop a deeper understanding of what customers want and need.

So, line up your analytics and other resources. Unearth both roadblocks and opportunities that stem from diverse customer experiences. Deal with the mismatches between your aspirations and realities “on the field.”

Never stop optimizing and improving interactions. Add value to your target group and you’ll improve your bottom line in the long-run.   

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