At first glance, your customer’s journey to purchasing your product or service may seem like a pretty simple transaction. They find your product or need your service and then they buy it. But, when you step into the shoes of your customer, the process is much more complicated than a two-step-sees-product-and-buys-product process. Your customer’s journey is an intricate series of interactions that can “Make or Break” the entire buying process, and mapping their journey from start to finish will deepen your understanding of your customer, which will lead to a higher ROI.
There are 5 steps involved in creating an effective customer journey map, and this blog will take you through the entire journey (see what we did there), so you become a pro. By the end of this post, you’ll have a broad understanding of what it takes to build out a customer journey map that will improve the user experience on your website.
What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of your customer’s buying experience with your product, service, or website. It tells the customer’s story, explains their thought process, and reveals their perception of your brand at any given moment during the process.
Why you need one:
A journey map is a crucial stepping-stone to developing a rock solid user experience that retains customers. Not to mention, it will help you understand the way your customers engage with your brand, providing you with material to improve the experience and, in turn, increase conversions.
How to create a journey map
- Google Analytics will be your best friend in determining what your customer’s journey looks like. You are able to track how your customers found your product or service, what they use to view your website or product, which pages are the most visited, the demographics of your customers, and so much more. After finding notable patterns in your customers and their purchasing journey, you will be able to move onto the next step: developing a persona.
2. Define Your Customer Persona
- After you have done your research with Google Analytics and figured out who your target audience is, you are now able to create a persona based on behavior and demographics. Do NOT just guess what your Persona looks like. Base it on research, interviews with your buyer, and even interviews with your competitor’s buyers (what went wrong?). Is your most common customer female, age 25-35, or male age 55-65? Do they view your site using an iPhone? Or are they at a desktop? By determining the general demographics and behavior of your most valuable customers, you can create a persona of what they look like, how they got to your site, their goals, needs, and motivations for purchasing your product.
- At Graydient, we have developed many personas using a tool called Xtensio. It is very helpful because it has persona templates created, so you can just plug in your information! You can also use tools like, Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, or even Microsoft Word to create Personas.
3. Determine Customer Touch Points
- Establishing your customer touch points is a crucial step of the journey mapping process. Rather than thinking about what you would say or do at each touch point, you must use a more customer-centric marketing approach that seeks to understand your buyer’s research and reason for purchasing, or not purchasing. Here are several questions you can ask yourself: What are they expecting, feeling, or thinking at each step of their buying journey? What questions might they have at each touch point? Are they having a positive, neutral, or negative experience interacting with your product? If they are having a negative experience, where are they dropping off in the process and moving onto your competitor
- Additionally, it’s important to note not only your customer touch points, but also their exit points, this will help you identify opportunities on how you can improve the end-user experience.
4. Identify Opportunities
- As you step into the shoes of your customer, you will find that there is always room for improvement on your buying journey. At each touch point of your customer’s journey, identify what could have made this step easier on you, or what could make this step even better for me.
- It is at this point that you will also be able to define what your “Make or Break” moments are. “Make or Break” moments are your customer’s deciding factors on whether they will continue in the buying process or leave. Example: your customer ‘Googles’ your product or service, are you on the first page of Google Searches? #MakeOrBreak. Your customer is using their mobile device to research and purchase your product, when they click on your website, is it mobile-responsive or not? #MakeOrBreak.
5. Compile the Research and Create a Visual Representation
- Now that you have done your research on your target audience, narrowed it down to determine your customer persona using interviews and Google Analytics, determined your customer’s touchpoints, painpoints, and identified opportunity for improvement – you are ready to compile this into a visual representation of your customer’s journey!
- There are many ways to create this visual depiction. At Graydient we used Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, but if you’re not familiar with Adobe programs, fear not! There are also tools that have journey map templates, like Uxpressia, or you can even use Microsoft Powerpoint (Here is a FREE template: Powerpoint Journey Map Template.) Whatever tool you use, there will still be a common theme: measuring the experience (positive, neutral, or negative), separating the journey into phases, like research, purchase, post-purchase, etc., and noting opportunities for improvement, customer’s pain points and ‘make-or-break’ moments, and the customer’s overall takeaway after the experience.
Developing a comprehensive customer journey map can be a little bit of a tedious task, but after completing it, you will have an overall better understanding of your customer’s goals. It’ll help you nail down exactly what kind of improvements you need to make to your online process, and, ultimately, it will help you earn more revenue.
What kind of process have you used for tracking your customer journey and mapping it? What tools have you used in creating a Customer Journey Map? Let us know and share your insight with us in the comments below or @experienceGray.