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What is Customer Journey Mapping

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Since before the dawn of civilization, humankind has recorded its history. From ancient cave drawings to campfire stories, mankind has long been fascinated with storytelling and its link to the past. Today it is no different.

Technology has changed the way we communicate, but the core essence has remained intact—we want to know how we got where we are.

This is never truer than it is in business.

Companies develop entire marketing plans around the movements of their customers. Of course, they have to map these movements to ensure their strategy is working. That’s where customer journey mapping can help.

This somewhat complicated but nevertheless powerful process, can map out precisely where your business is excelling, and where it could use assistance.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at what customer journey mapping is and how and why you should use it.

More than Data

The vast majority of organizations don’t struggle to gather data. What they do struggle with is understanding the frustrations and personal experiences of their customers.

Customer journey mapping prevents good data from going to waste while improving what that data reveals. It creates a framework that enables organizations to provide a better customer experience. It does this by documenting the customer experience from start to finish and shows you where potential improvement can be made.

For example, if you own a coffee shop you’d want to know what brought the customer in (i.e. Stage 1). Did they see an ad on Facebook? Did a friend tell them about your shop? Next, you’d want to know who helped them, who they had contact with, and how that exchange went. Was it pleasant? Finally, you’ll want to know what they thought of your product (the coffee) and whether or not they’d come back.

In this scenario, all unfiltered data would be able to show is what the customer bought and how much they paid—that’s about it.

As you can see, using real-time information supplied by customers goes way beyond what surface level data could ever hope to.

Customer journey mapping does this all with the help of visual aids.

Most maps are laid out in an infographic for easier digestion. Dimensions including touch points, goals, and customer feedback are priceless to create an accurate customer journey map.

Improves Marketing

The goal for any organization using customer journey mapping is to isolate the customer’s perceptions and then use that information to create a strategic and successful plan moving forward.

Understanding how your customers interact with your products also reveals new ways to improve your marketing efforts.

An excellent customer journey map captures your customer’s experience in relation to their needs and expectations. It helps you figure out how you stack up and exposes where gaping holes are in your strategy.

Essentially, they provide profound insight and create actionable steps for your organization. They show positive and negative interactions and help you replace those negative customer experiences with more of the positive ones.

Tips for Creating Customer Journey Maps

Customer journey mapping should focus on building valuable insights and putting them in quantifiable maps. Here are a few tips to help you do that.

Tip #1:  Incorporate Customer Satisfaction Measures

Tip #2: Decide on the behavioral stages and develop data based on each stage.

Tip #3: Customize the journey map to your audience (stakeholders might want different information than marketing departments, etc.).

Tip #4: Isolate your customers’ goals.

Tip #5: Identify key touch-points (where do customers interact directly with your company?).

Tip #6: Get specific. Interact with your customers, survey them, and find out precisely when and how they get in touch with your business.

Using Customer Journey Mapping to Move Forward

Non-linear data, like that you’ll find in a customer journey map, is indispensable for connecting your team. Understanding how your customers are interacting with your products, service, or business strengthens your team to take actionable steps moving forward. It gives you the knowledge you need to expand and improve upon what you already offer, and improves customer experience.

Clearly defining your audience, gaining greater insight into the customer lifecycle, and combining this knowledge with the talent on your team leads to greater business success.

No company—no matter how established it may be—can get away without exploring customer journey mapping. It holds the key for growth, customer satisfaction and long-term success.

Determine how customers’ behavior is influencing your bottom line, whether they prefer mobile ads over in-person advertisement, and learn what steps you can take to improve your marketing and brand presence by exploring customer journey mapping. You may be surprised at what you find.

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