In our previous articles, we discussed the customer journey, from phases 1 – 5 (up to the purchasing phase), and then from 6 – 9 (the use until the ambassador phase). However, when you want to put this into practice, for example for your strategic marketing plan, it helps to map out your customer journey.
In your customer journey map, you visualize all the touchpoints – potential interactions between customers and your organization – from your customers’ perspective. In this article, we go through 5 steps so you can visualize the customer journey map for your organization.
But, first let’s tackle the following question:
What can the customer journey map be used?
With a customer journey map, you’ll have a clear overview of how your (potential) customers experience your brand. In effect, you can clearly see where your organization benefits from improvement most. For example, you can use the customer journey map to identify the following goals for your strategic marketing plan:
- Speeding up the delivery of your service
- Increasing your conversion rate
- Increasing the experience of your brand among the target audience
- Determining the core factors of customer satisfaction
- Fostering customer loyalty and ambassadorship
- Decreasing the amount of pull out factors in your purchasing process
- Capitalizing upon growth and improvement opportunities
- Laying the foundation for a customer/client-oriented marketing mix
- Aiding the development of new services and/or products
Detailing your customer journey map will help you to determine the significance of each touchpoint. Accordingly, you can analyze which of these are key in intriguing your customers, and ultimately binding them to you as loyal customers and brand ambassadors. Subsequently, you can analyze these key touchpoints to determine how you can effectively distinguish yourself from your competition.
Visualizing the customer journey map in 5 steps
We’ll take you through the 5 key steps in this process, namely:
- 1. Knowing who you are as an organization to determine the goal of this customer journey map
- 2. Making customer personas
- 3. Detailing the customer journey and touchpoints for each persona
- 4. Analyzing your personas’ customer journeys
- 5. Making a plan for the improvements that you will focus on first
1. Determining your customer journey goals
In order to determine the goals of your customer journey map, start by asking yourself the following:
- Who is your organization?
- Why does your organization do what it does?
- How does your organization do the things you do?
- What makes your organization unique; what are your unique selling points (USPs)?
Subsequently, pair the answers to these questions with your current organizational goals in order to determine how improving your customer relations could help. The answer to this will lead you to the goal of this customer journey map.
2. Making customer personas
Step 2 starts with identifying your target audience – who are the potential customers that you want to target? Subsequently, you analyze the key personas (2–5) that make up this target audience to identify as many of the following characteristics as possible:
- Age / peer group
- Occupation / study
- Gender / ethnicity
- Interests / hobbies
- Living place / working place
- Estimated income
- Social circle / club
- (Sports) activities
Although the journey for every customer will vary a little, this exercise allows you to generalize a few customer journeys according to the personas that you identify. Accordingly, you can use your marketing instruments more effectively by targeting them at your most valuable persona(s).
3. Detailing the customer journey and touchpoints for each persona
So, now that you have identified your customer personas, it’s time to picture their customer journey. This journey is made up of various touchpoints, such as your website, newsletters, social media advertisements, a recommendation from a friend or relative, etc. In addition, there are human touchpoints, such as interactions with your customer service, sales employees, organizational representatives, etc. and physical touchpoints, such as the location of your company the physical characteristics of your products, and so on.
As you may have realized by now, there are many touchpoints for your customers, and a lot of data can be collected from each one of these. Doing so in full, however, will simply overwhelm you and thus not be very effective. Therefore, it’s important to identify the crucial make-or-break touchpoints for each of your personas. You do this by going through the following questions:
- What are the touchpoints that each persona can encounter?
- Who in your organization is responsible for each of these touchpoints?
- At which touchpoints does your organization score very well already?
- At which touchpoints does your organization perform badly?
- At which of those can you make effective improvements?
- How do your customers experience the various phases of their customer journey?
- What is the decisive moment for your customers to purchase your product(s)/service(s)?
- What are the most important touchpoints for your organization to work on?
4. Analyzing your persona’s customer journeys
- What questions, emotions and/or problems does each persona have in this phase?
- How can your organization play into this?
#Pro-tip: Since you need a lot of input and perspectives to get a good idea of all the 9 phases that your customers go through, we advise you to make this step a group effort. So, get together with a few people in your organization and sit down for a brainstorm session to go through the questions above for each individual phase.
5. Making a plan for the improvements that you will focus on for now
So, now that you’ve analyzed from the core of your organization all the way to the various touchpoints that customers experience you at, it’s time to put it all together. Summarize your findings, and then list the improvements that you identified for various touchpoints hierarchically in order to determine:
- What improvements are feasible?
- Which problems and/or challenges in the customer journey have to be focused on at this point?
- Which problems and/or challenges should be tackled after that?
- Which problems and/or challenges are insignificant (for now)?
This gives you a practical roadmap with action points that you can detail with step-by-step plans for satisfying your customers’ needs. Finally, finish off with determining the ways that you will measure your implementations so that you know when you have reached your goals and can move on to the next challenge.
Remember, optimizing your customer journey isn’t a one-time fix, but a permanent process that you have to return to every (half)year for your strategic marketing plan.