As a business owner you do know the term “sales funnel” aka the journey that target customers take as the move from exploration to a purchase. The stages are simply established as this:
This is a great visual to understand the typical journey a potential customer will take until conversion is reached and what should you do as a business while your customer is in transition.
A new and far more complete depiction of this process is known as a “customer journey mapping” – it is detailed, based upon research, and maps experiences from the perspective of the customer.
The importance of customer experience, in fact, has continued to loom large as a factor in revenue boosting. By 2020, it is predicted, customer experience will be more important than price in brand differentiation.
Getting to a Definition of a Customer Journey Map
The most basic definition of a journey map is this: it is a visual picture of the customer’s process in reaching a goal. That goal being to satisfy a need or desire by making a purchase. While these maps may be in many formats, they are always visual and they are always based upon customer/company goals and a timeline.
A customer journey map provides a well-researched, visual picture so that each point in the journey can be evaluated and improved. The goal is to improve the customer experience at all points on the timeline, so that more sales result.
So, the overriding question is this: What does a company want the customer to do, and is the customer able to do that via the proposed journey for them?
If these two paths align, a company reduces its defection rate. And a reduction of just 5% can increase revenues by 25 – 125%. Sweet, right?
One of the simplest to understand customer journey mapping examples has been created by NNGroup.com:
This map shows the general characteristics of all customer maps, though formats may differ widely. In developing a customer journey app, these three elements have to be present at all times:
- The “lens”: This portion assigns a customer persona and exactly what scenario for that customer will be tracked and evaluated.
- The Experience segment will track the customer’s journey (experience) so that it can be examined, especially at touchpoints. Touchpoint are those sweet spots at which the customer has interacted with the site in some way.
- The Output: What has been learned about the customer experiences, and what opportunities are there to improve those experiences, so that customer and business goals are met. If improvements are to be made, the final element relates to who in the company will be assigned each improvement opportunity.
The elements may have different titles, but in general, the idea is that you will map the customer’s path from first through the last interaction, wherever that may be in the journey.
How to Create a Customer Journey Map
There are eight critical steps for developing a customer journey map. There may be some variations in template structure, but, in general you are really engaging in customer experience journey mapping, that is, the ability to track customer behavior on a site, analyzing the data, and evaluating the UX and UI for improvements.
Step 1: Setting the Goals for the Map
Looking at the example above, you will see that goals are part of the “Lens” element. What exactly are you going to be tracking and evaluating? Do you plan to note the time spent on each touch point or track the bounce rates at/in between touch points?
Step 2: The Customer Persona Development and Scenario
There may be several different personas, depending upon the nature of product or service offered. B2C audiences, for example, may be divided by age, gender, location, etc. If there are different personas, then there should be different customer experience mapping for each of those audience segments.
The scenario relates to what this customer is looking for and what problem is to be solved. If, for example, you have a mobile shopping app featuring male and female clothes, then the scenarios will be different based upon age, gender, etc.
Designing the template for the “lens” part of the template should be straightforward, with easy navigation and enough space to detail the persona and the scenario. Provide at least 3 lines for goals.
Step 3: The Experience Element
Experience mapping is at the heart of the journey, and will include chunks of space, aligned in a linear fashion, so that you can track behavioral stages and use his analytics to determine “hot” and “cold” spots as a customer navigates through the site or app.
Here’s a great example of a detailed experience map from Adaptive:
Step 4: Aligning Customer Goals at Each Journey Stage
Here comes the most essential part of building customer journey maps.
Analyze the different stages your customers’ path and think what they want to achieve at this point. Next, you should analyze whether you have the necessary touch points to support those goals and make the entire journey more delightful.
You can obtain the required intel through:
- User testing feedback
- Surveys and direct customer (target audience) interviews.
- Common customer support queries.
Step 5: Plotting the Touch Points
The customer journey is not always sequential, and there will be points in that journey where they are not specifically interacting with the product. They may be reading text, thinking, making choices. But each time they do interact, for example, by clicking to a product description, that is a touchpoint, and the company needs to collect the data from each of those touch points:
- Is the experience a good one, that is, one that moves the customer forward?
- Is the customer bouncing at that point?
- If so, this provides a clue that the customer is either confused, unhappy with what he sees/reads, etc?
Step 6: The Behavior Flow Report
This is the actual visual path that is generated as customers move about the site. Journeys are very different, but your map must allow for as many “back and forths” as a customer might make. This helps a company see, for example, where customers might be struggling to get from one place to the next – a navigational and thus UI issue on their site:
Step 7: The Evaluation
This is the point where the collected data is measured relative to how easily customers are able to achieve their goals. You should be asking the following questions at this point and jotting down the exact answers:
- Are there any roadblocks and where are they appearing?
- Are customers abandoning purchases at the checkout point?
- Are customers accessing a download page and then not following through?
The reports that are mined from this data are extremely important, because they will show the precise points in the journey where there are issues.
Step 8: The Recommendations
Now, you should have all the data outlining how your customers “travel” in your product. At this point you should assess all the problematic touch points and decide which should be fixed first in terms of impact/implementation costs.
If you need a critical review of your business and a detailed report in tow, Alty team is ready to dig in. Contact us and let’s discuss the possibilities!