What is a customer journey map and why are they important?

The customer journey used to be a lot more simple. Customers would learn about your product and then buy it from a shop. Or they would learn about your service and then hire you. They might learn about it from radio advertising, from an advert in the local newspaper or through direct mail marketing. And then they might head to a shop, call a mail order phone number or even send a postal order.

Today, the customer journey is a lot more fragmented and difficult to predict. Your customers are bombarded with information all day, every day. Most UK adults own a smartphone, use the internet every day and have access to social media. This opens up a world of possibilities to learn about goods and services. 

Customers no longer learn about products and services purely from advertisements. They might read a testimonial from another customer on social media and decide to investigate further. They might even be searching for your competitor’s product or service and stumble across your company in their search.

What should we take away from this?

The customer journey is not singular or simple.

But why should we care?

As long as customers are finding your company, it doesn’t matter how they get there, right?

In theory, yes. You could ignore the customer journey and trust that something is working out well for you. 

But what about those people who don’t convert? What about the people who get so frustrated with your website that they leave and don’t look back? What about the people who can’t find the answers they need and head to your competitor?

If you’re looking at the customer journey maps and only focussing on the individuals that convert, then you’re doing it wrong. You need to be looking at the customer journeys that went off the rails. Let’s find out how.

How to build informative customer journey maps

Customer journey maps are research-heavy and can be time consuming. A common mistake that businesses make when they decide to map the customer journey is that they made too many assumptions.

Making assumptions doesn’t enlighten your marketing strategy, it just reinforces what you think you already know. And this is what we are trying to move away from.

You should approach customer journey maps as a research-heavy process. Start by defining your ideal customers using customer personas. Next, you need to speak to your customers to find out how they found you and what convinced them to become a customer.

Always start with the information you know before filling the gaps in your knowledge.

  1. What advertising are you currently doing?
  2. How many people convert?
  3. Which channels convert the most customers?
  4. How can customers get in touch, and which channels do they actually use?
  5. What pain points do you already know about? (Hint: look in your support inbox, which issues come up time and time again?)
  6. What can your website analytics tell you? (Hint: Behaviour Flow is a great place to start.)

What kind of customer service map will work for my business?

There are four main types of customer journey map, these are:

Current state

This type of customer journey map outlines where you are right now so that you can figure out where you want to be. This type of customer journey map will help you to visualise the journey, understand the emotions and discover how your customers currently interact with you. 

Day in the life

Taking a more involved approach, the day in the life customer journey map examines the full day of your ideal target customer. This helps you to understand their motivations, emotions and pain points in a broader context. 

Future state

If you are devising your ideal marketing strategy, how would you want to reach your customers? By reverse engineering your strategy, you can set clear objectives that are perfectly aligned with your existing customer journeys.

Service blueprint

If your reason for creating a customer journey map is to ensure seamless customer service, then a service blueprint will be idea. This is a simplified version of the above and will outline the various touch points customers have with your company and how you can optimise and even automate these steps.

Once you understand the customer journey and know where people are losing interest, you can adjust your marketing funnel. If you need help understanding your customer personas, creating a customer journey map or aligning your strategy, get in touch with Auburn today.