Customer journey maps allow you to walk in your customers’ shoes by traveling with them as they interact with your company. When based on sound research, they provide an accurate outside-in view, focusing on desired outcomes from the customer’s perspective. You’ll see what customer needs are at each interaction, how well you meet them, and where opportunities for improvement lay.
2. Know whose journey you are mapping. The power of a journey map is its ability to effectively illustrate the journey of a customer as they works toward achieving their goals. To do this, you need to look through the eyes of a single customer, most effectively represented by a research-based customer persona that represents a broader segment’s unique wants, needs, and objectives. Without this context, the map cannot effectively represent the relationship.
3. Talk to your people. Once you’ve identified whose journey you’re mapping, build an internal view of the relationship. Bring together a cross-functional, customer-facing group to map out their view of the journey, including touchpoints, opportunities, transitions, and issues. Internally driven maps are a great step to mapping the relationship and for identifying key interactions, inputs, and outputs. But you cannot stop there. You need to. . .
5. Must-haves. It’s a journey, right? So start by understanding your unique customer relationship life cycle in the context of customer interactions. For example, what do they want and need from each interaction as they move through the journey? How do they transition from one stage (such as awareness) to another (such as learning)? Last, articulate what customers think and feel. Communicate their expectations at each step–and how well you are (or aren’t) meeting them.
6. Nice-to-haves. Customer journey maps can provide enormous amounts of data because customer journeys can be complex. Brand perceptions, individual touchpoints, operational performance metrics, moments-of-truth, customer pain points, improvement opportunities, and other customer-facing elements can provide great insight into your customers’ experience. Journey maps can also include behind-the-scenes people, processes, systems, and brand data.
7. The importance of design. A journey map is a widely shared artifact. There are dozens of ways to approach it depending on your goals, your brand, the depth of data displayed, and the breadth of the journey mapped. It should look and feel important to your organization. Use “your” language and ensure it is easy for the people who need to use it to understand.
10. Avoid analysis paralysis. Given the depth of data customer research can surface, it’s easy to try and include lots of it–quickly descending into dizzying complexity. Don’t. Remember that it’s a tool to help you easily understand customers and their needs–and that core message can get lost in the details. Clearly identify your customer, and include what’s most important to them–bringing the data (and your customers) “to life” as they pursue their goals. And be sure that you’ve read and understand the other nine steps in this post.
About Michael Hinshaw
Michael Hinshaw is President / CEO of McorpCX, a customer experience research, brand and strategy consultancy based in the San Francisco area. An innovative executive, consultant and educator, he has over 20 years’ experience in marketing, brand and management consulting. His perspectives on creativity and business performance measurement have been honed through the lenses of brand, touchpoint and customer experience mapping. For more information, view his blog on Customer Experience, or follow Michael on Twitter.