Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping enhances the customer service you already deliver and improves the customer experience. Mapping works for all types of businesses, including B2B and B2C; retail products; and both online experiences and services. A customer journey map is a diagram that illustrates the steps your customers take when engaging with your company. It’s the sum of the customer experience, not just a portion of the transaction.

The Basic Customer Journey Map A fundamental customer journey map will follow these steps: initial engagement; buying the product or service; using the product or service; sharing the experience with others; and completing the journey, often by upgrading or replacing the product or service. Every customer journey starts with the standard sales funnel: awareness, research, and purchase. In mapping, a new step is added: unboxing, the actual opening and using of the purchase. Brands should give their customers a positive out-of-the-box experience, which guides the customer through the first steps of using their purchase.

Customer Journeys Aren’t Linear The basic layout is a good place to start, but customer journeys aren’t always linear. Customers may go from awareness to purchase if they have a recommendation from someone they trust. Or they may get caught up in the research phase if they’re making an expensive purchase. One map isn’t enough – maps are needed for each scenario.

Analysis to Create a Customer Journey Map There are four basic areas of analysis for the customer journey: actions, motivations, questions, and obstacles. Actions: What is the customer doing at each step? What are they doing to move on to the next step? Motivation: Why is the customer motivated to proceed to the next step? What emotions are they experiencing? Questions and Obstacles: Are there any issues preventing the customer from going to the next step? Are there structural, cost, or process barriers? Are uncertainties causing the customer to buy from a competitor?

“Filling all these out is best done if grounded in customer research, preferably including in-depth ethnographic-style interviews and in-context observations. Surveys and focus groups tend to gloss over too many details that are critical to really understanding the experience.” – Adam Richardson, Harvard Business Review

In theory, you may know what your customers want. If they’re still shopping with your competitors, though, your business is lacking somewhere. A customer journey map can help you identify your customer service weak points.

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