Customer journey mapping is one of those phrases that everyone has heard.
Even if you’re not involved in creating journey maps, you probably know the team within your business that is.
Likewise, you probably have some notion of what a customer journey map is.
But when you try to picture one… it’s a slippery notion, right?
Well, you’re in the right place.
Read on to learn everything you need to know.
In this post:
- What is a customer journey map?
- Why does customer journey mapping matter?
- Five customer experiences that journey mapping opens up
- How do businesses create customer journey maps?
What is a Customer Journey map?
A customer journey map (CJM) is a visualization that tracks the various stages that consumers encounter when they interact with your business.
They generally cover key moments in the purchasing journey like awareness, consideration and decision making.
A detailed CJM will go even further, covering onboarding, product use and retention & advocacy.
This information is combined with touchpoints, customer goals, KPIs and team accountability.
What are customer journey maps good for?
Recording all of this information in a simple, accessible document makes it far easier to understand each stage of a customer journey.
It can also formalize factors like which contact channels are used at which stages, and which teams manage those stages.
Why does Customer Journey Mapping matter?
In the simplest terms, CJMs are about customer needs and customer pain points.
The map itself doesn’t matter; it’s just a tool to reveal what experiences you should provide, and when.
Here are five increasingly crucial customer experiences that are far easier to offer with a sound Customer Journey Map.
Five customer experiences that journey mapping opens up
#1 Proactive service
Many businesses have become aware of the increased need to offer customer services proactively.
(Instead of waiting passively for customers to bring them complaints.)
Over 85% of surveyed customers want to be contacted proactively by providers in matters relating to customer service.
The challenge is knowing which triggers should drive outbound contact.
Without journey mapping, the customer experience is a messy and confusing landscape.
With journey mapping, it’s easy to see where well-timed interventions will be the most useful.
You can read about three ways to offer proactive customer service here.
#2 Service personalization
Fact: you can’t personalize an experience you don’t understand.
Journey mapping and service personalization fit together very neatly.
Almost 90% of businesses are currently investing in personalization, enough to make it a core customer expectation very soon.
But the key to personalizing a journey is segmenting it and finding opportunities to differentiate between the various routes customers will follow.
That is exactly the possibility that journey mapping opens up for you.
#3 Focused retention
Customers rarely want to leave one company for another.
If I have to switch internet provider, it’s not because I have a passion for some other company; it’s because the first provider did something wrong.
If you can make loyalty the simplest option, customers will be loyal.
Journey mapping has a staggering impact on your ability to do this well. That’s because it segments the journey and shows you where exactly you’re losing customers.
For example, journey mapping reveals that poor onboarding is responsible for almost a quarter of churn.
#4 Better upselling
It’s not something that any of us admit very often, but we all want good opportunities to make purchases.
If you can upsell and cross-sell effectively, you’ve found a way to massively increase revenue without marketing to brand new customers.
That’s important because selling to existing customers costs as much as ten times more than finding new ones.
But, just like retention, the key is finding the right stage in the journey.
Badly timed upselling doesn’t lead to more sales; it leads to higher churn.
#5 Customer effort reductions
In a way, customer effort is at the heart of all of this.
For many businesses, the entire journey mapping process is centered around reducing effort.
Why is that?
There are two reasons really:
- The steps between different stages are often where the highest effort is encountered. Therefore, understanding what those stages really are can show you how to integrate them more effectively.
- Money! 96% of customers encountering “high effort” will churn, compared with just 9% who encounter an “effortless” experience.
How do businesses create customer journey maps?
Most teams start with a relatively simple version of their customer journey, and build out.
The best approach is to start with a whiteboard and invest a little time understanding what information is useful to you.
- What data can we gather?
- What data is most useful to us?
- What factors can we influence? (And should we gather information about factors we can’t influence?)
If you’d like to take a look at a decent template to get started, we’re recommending this one from Hubspot.
It covers standard buyer journeys, as well as retention, lead nurturing and service & support journeys.