Mapping the customer journey is a powerful way to experience your brand from your customer’s point of view. A customer journey map makes it easy to identify where your brand might fall short, prohibiting people from buying from you.
What is the customer journey?
The customer journey is the process a person goes through from the first moment they experience your brand, through the purchase stage, and continues even after the sale. Mapping the customer journey is merely identifying each stage along this process and looking for ways to improve them.
Define the different stages of the customer journey
The first step in mapping your customer journey is to identify the different stages your customers will experience. The stages a customer goes through will be different for every brand and every type of business, but I’ve listed a few common stages below so you can see how this might look. Think about your own customer’s journey and the particular stages they might experience with your brand.
- Research stage – This is often the first experience people have with your brand. It could be your online presence, your Google search result or business listing, reviews or ratings from sites like Yelp, or even blog posts that you’ve written.
- Engagement stage – This is where your potential customers interact with your brand. It could be as simple as navigating your website, following you on social media, or clicking online ads. Engagement also means your storefront, signage, parking, and the in-store experience.
- Purchase stage – This is one of the most important stages, especially for online shops. Think about the shopping cart, checkout, and the in-store point-of-sale experiences. This could also include your invoicing system and how you process credit cards or take cash payments.
- Delivery stage – If you deliver physical products, this could include shipping times and the unboxing experience. It could also apply to handing over food at a bakery or restaurant. If you’re a service business, it could be how you present your services or the customer’s experience with you as the consultant.
- After purchase stage – What does it look like after a customer purchases from you? How do you handle problems with orders or customer support? Where can people reach out for help? How do you follow up after the sale? How do you encourage customers to purchase from you again?
Define the information you want to capture
After you’ve identified each stage of your customer journey, determine what information you want to capture at each stage. What do you want to know about the customer journey at each of their stages? Once again, the information you collect is unique to your brand, but here are a few typical bits of information you might be interested in gathering:
- Tasks – What does the typical customer actually do at this stage? What would you like them to do? What are their goals at this stage? What are they trying to achieve?
- Touchpoints – How does someone interact with your brand at this stage? What specific touchpoints are involved?
- Questions – What does the customer want to know at this stage? What questions do they typically ask?
- Emotions – What are they feeling at this stage? What emotions are they experiencing, good or bad?
- Barriers – What are the pain points at this stage of the customer journey? How does your brand let them down? What’s preventing them from moving forward?
Create your customer journey map
Once you’ve identified the different stages of the customer journey and what information you want, it’s time to make your map. You can be as creative as you like when designing your customer journey map (see examples below), but your map can be just as effective using a simple grid:
Here are a few examples of more creative customer journey maps. Notice how the stages and information gathered are unique to each brand.
Mapping the customer journey is a great way to experience your brand from your customer’s point of view. Once you identify the barriers that prevent them from moving forward, you can work to remove those pain points and create better experiences at each stage of the customer journey.
What does your customer journey map look like? What barriers can you remove? Share your map in the comments below or in our private Facebook group.