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Understanding the Benefits of and Steps to Create a Customer Journey Map

Unless you are an expert mind-reader, getting into the minds of your customers is a real challenge for your business.

Customers are whimsical, and their purchase behavior changes with market trends and their preferences, the advent of new technology, different requirements, and other factors.

It is difficult to predict the customer's journey, from visiting your website to purchasing your product or service.

You might have observed that a few customers take time to browse your selection and add items to the cart. However, all they do at the end of the journey is simply close the tab without making any purchase.

It is tough to predict why a regular customer takes several minutes, hours, or even days to travel from point A to point B when it should only take a few minutes.

It is even harder to understand why a few of them do not complete the purchase process and leave the site before reaching the 'Thank You' page.

Finding answers to these questions is imperative for companies to accentuate their customer services and offer something they desire.

This is something that companies can only predict while sitting inside their conference rooms.

HubSpot says, "A customer journey is very specific to the physical experiences your customers have."

You can either directly ask your customers about their experiences with your service/product to understand their journey or visually map the customer's journey based on their interactions with your business.

This article will explain how a visual mapping of your customers' journeys can help you improve their experiences interacting with your business.

To begin with…

What is a Customer Journey Map?

Customer journey mapping helps businesses visualize a customer's experience while interacting with their services, highlighting areas of friction, customer motivations, and other vital events falling within their expertise.

A customer journey map further explains the process a customer takes to travel from the beginning to reach the final touchpoint.

It helps companies to understand how often a customer completes the entire journey and makes purchases.

Or if not, why and how can they be convinced to complete the journey?

This is not a linear journey from point A to point B.

A customer can take different paths.

They can return to the first point after covering 80% of the journey or drop in between and return the next day to resume the process right from where they left off the previous day.

Such variables in customer interaction can make the process of visualizing a customer journey more manageable.

Thankfully, there are methods to map a customer journey accurately by collecting data from customers and other prospects.

Even though customer journey mapping is extensive, it is valuable for businesses wishing to enhance their customer experience.

Information related to customers' buying processes, actions, emotions, pain points, and solutions can give a fair idea about how customers interact with the different sections on your e-commerce platform.

Also, remember customer touchpoints.

What are Touchpoints?

According to HubSpot, "a touchpoint in a customer journey map is an instance where your customer can form an opinion of your business."

Touchpoints are instances where your business comes in close contact with the buyers.

A typical customer touchpoint can be a display ad, an interaction with an employee, a 404 error, or even a Google review.

These touchpoints help businesses identify areas of opportunity, further utilized to improve the customers' overall journey.

How Customer Journey Mapping Helps Businesses:

Mapping a customer journey has its fair share of benefits, such as -

  • Increasing customer engagement.

  • Identifying key touchpoints and eliminating the ineffective ones.

  • Shifting the focus to customers.

  • Creating specific customer personas.

  • Designing marketing campaigns matching each persona.

  • Identifying areas of concern and addressing them.

  • Enhancing customer experiences.

  • Getting more customers to finish the journey by making purchases.

  • Increasing sales and making a profit.

Companies can enjoy all of the benefits mentioned above and many more if they have a proper plan to map their buyers' journey aptly.

So, here's an example of how to map their journey optimally -

1: Define your mapping objectives

You should be clear about why you are mapping a customer's journey in the first place.

So, begin with defining your mapping objectives. How? By asking yourself -

  • What do you want to achieve with a customer journey map?

  • Who is it specifically about - end buyers, clients, or other stakeholders?

  • What kind of experience do you want to give them?

Answering the above questions will roughly help you sketch a fictitious buyer persona with its demography and physiography.

That's your ideal customer persona.

You must start profiling them and diving deeper to understand their buying behavior.

You might have to get your hands dirty.

2: Conduct extensive market research

Why do companies indulge in market research?

To identify potential customers, among other things, suitable?

Once you have a rough idea of your ideal customer's persona, it becomes easier to hunt them down in the market. You know what specific qualities you are looking for, and you might have a fair idea of where to find them.

You can start by approaching customers who had earlier done business with you. Make use of questionnaires and surveys to get customer feedback.

The questionnaire should include questions whose answers will help you to identify how they interact with your business. For example -

  • Where did you hear about our company?

  • What made you visit our website?

  • What problems are you trying to solve using our service?

  • How long do you typically spend on our website?

  • Have you ever purchased with us?

  • What made you purchase from our website?

  • Have you ever interacted with our website to make a purchase but decided otherwise?

  • What made you decide not to purchase from our website eventually?

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate our website navigation experience?

  • Did you ever require customer support?

  • How do you rate our customer support on a scale of 1 to 10?

  • Do you have any suggestions for improving your experience?

3: Outline your specific customer persona

Your questions can completely depict your potential customers' thoughts about your business and how they interact with your services.

Only if the customers candidly responded to your questions.

It is time for you to use those answers to start profiling your customers aptly. And create a customer journey map based on one or two customers at a time (if their answers are relatable).

4: Identify the key touchpoints

The maps and the data collected will help you to identify the key touchpoints. This is essential because touchpoints give you a fair idea of your customers' actions during their journey.

Further, such data will help you determine how often your customers leave your site without reaching the 'Thank You page. Or to aid you in understanding whether or not your website is complicated enough to make your customers take several steps to reach the end goal.

The questionnaire points out one crucial fact about your customers - the medium through which they first heard about your business. That can be -

  • A social media channel

  • Paid ads

  • Newsletter

  • Third-party review sites or mentions

Take the help of Google Analytics to find out where most of your traffic is coming from and the touchpoints that are likely to see a complete action associated with them.

5: Take the journey yourself

You know your business better than your prospective buyers, and you can understand all the complications that may arise while navigating the touchpoints.

So, take the journey yourself.

This is absolutely an important task to do. That's what testers do. They walk through the software multiple times to detect bugs and complications before it is released.

For each persona, follow the route they take across your website to identify their pain points.

Understand all the actions they take while interacting with your brand all through.

Feel their emotion triggered by any pain point your customers possibly faced during their journey, and

The roadblocks prevented them from taking their desired actions.

Retracing their steps will help you understand what your customers felt during their journey.

This action will open hidden areas of concern that need your immediate attention.

6: Address issues and implement changes

The feedback, your experience while retracing your customer's steps, and data collected through market research will help you understand the difference between what you want to give your buyers and what you are offering to them.

Identify the areas of concern, address the issues immediately, and implement the changes.

The bottom line …

A customer's behavior can leave you needing clarification.

Instead of going around in circles to determine why your customers are not completing the purchase process even after visiting your site frequently, you can create their journey map.

That'll help you to identify where you were going wrong. Also, it will help you accentuate your customer experience - just as you had imagined.

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