How to use customer journey mapping to assess your customer touchpoints, engagement with your brand and to work towards innovation.
In this post, we take a look at Customer Journey Mapping and how the process can help brands innovate. Customer Journey Mapping is a good way for you to discover and visualise customer engagement and touchpoints with your brand, product or service. There are many ways to approach customer journey mapping and it can be used to spark innovation in order to deliver better customer experiences. That innovation can come from gaining understanding and empathy for your customer’s total experience and asking yourself how you can improve it. It’s difficult to stand out in today's highly competitive environment, but top performing companies are 50% more likely to have well-designed user journeys that facilitate clear communication and seamless transaction.
So what is Customer Journey Mapping?
A customer journey map is a model and visualisation of the process a customer goes through to accomplish a goal, the visual diagram illustrates a customer’s experience with your brand. A journey map helps you think systematically through the steps your customers have when they interact with your product or service and then document the touch-points where customers come into contact with your company both on and offline.
In its most basic form, journey mapping starts by compiling user actions into a timeline and then users thoughts and emotions are added in order to create a narrative to the visual journey. The map will detail your customers’ needs and demonstrate the interactions the customer has with your brand in order to achieve those goals. Those interactions could be in-store, online, via mobile, at home product use, social media, email etc.
Customer journey mapping helps you to develop empathy for your users and encourages teams to think in a customer-centric way. While you are going through the process, you will immerse yourself in the viewpoint of the users of the product.
You may map the end to end user experience at a high level, but it is likely you will look at a specific scenario.
How do you create a customer journey map?
- User research will provide vital information about your customer journey and touch-points.
- Be clear on your business goals and make sure you understand your customers' goal
- If possible, experience the journey yourself - make sure you get insight from different stakeholders across departments and users themselves. Experiencing a journey yourself can help you uncover new insights.
- Customer journey maps start with illustrating each step of the user's experience with your brand within a specific scenario or journey.
- Identify a user, map the high-level stages in your users' journey
- Map all the touch-points in your customer's journey and prioritise the key moments taking into consideration behaviours, thoughts and emotions. Recognise pain points and moments of delight. Emotions are powerful determiners of how the customer perceives the brand, meaning they will either want to continue engaging with you or they will abandon you.
- If possible include other “Actors”. Those are the people or services that are responsible for allowing the user to go through each step (e.g: when booking an appointment with your GP, a lot of services and people will get involved for the consultation to happen.)
- This doesn’t need to be a polished visualisation. You can simply write each of your touch-points on simple sticky notes or paper and pin them in order to a wall. Usually, we display the steps sequentially in a timeline.
- Your map may include branches to show alternative paths in the customer journey. You could also use a series of pictures or whatever method fits.
- Look for insights. What patterns emerge? Anything surprising or strange? Question why certain steps occur, the order they occur in, and so forth. Ask yourself how you might innovate around each step?
How does the process lead to innovation?
The whole process of creating a map of the customer journey forces conversations, communications and aligned thinking across multiple stakeholders. Many organisations work in silo’s - but a customer journey map helps to give a shared vision of the entire experience from a users’ standpoint. The team can work together to agree on where to improve customer experiences by identifying underserved needs which will push you to innovate and enhance their experience at each stage of the journey. Your customer’s experiences within digital touchpoints should seamlessly blend with offline experiences. The process itself allows teams the opportunity to rethink and reimagine the journey to deliver better customer experiences.
Use the customer journey map to visualise the ‘pain points’, ‘gaps’, ‘underserved needs’, ‘successes” or emotionally low points for customers in the journey. This helps to identify the areas in which you need to innovate, problems you need to solve but also what is your real USP from your customers’ point of view.
Moments of truth
You can use the journey map to innovate around ‘moments of truth’ - these are emotionally really important points in the user journey. Netflix design around key moments of truth like the entire family sitting around the TV in the evening. You can use the customer journey map to keep thoughts and ideas customer-centric rather than product-orientated. Moments of truth are based on interactions with your product or brand that either make or break the user or customer experience. So you can deliver moments of magic. ‘Moments of truth’ are a great way to tell your customer’s story to business stakeholders.
Understanding what happens before and after they interact with your product, brand or service will open up more context around your customers’ aims, needs and lifestyle. It will also highlight how each department can have an impact on the customer journey (e.g: Sales, support, tech, design, marketing…) Use journey mapping to put your idea or solution to the test and wider your field of view. Your goal isn’t to create a great product but to help your user get better at what they love and do.
So what’s next?
Customers expectations around what constitutes exceptional experience are rising. It’s becoming increasingly important for brands to deliver a highly personalised experience that is frictionless and also life-enhancing to remain competitive. Designing innovation around pain points and gaps in the customer experience can help brands deliver this.