November 15, 2018
What is customer journey mapping?
Customer journey mapping is a powerful way of visualizing the customer experience across channels and devices. With thousands of marketing platforms and hundreds of channels out there, mapping a customer journey can seem overwhelming. But the reality is that customer journey mapping actually makes things easier.
This short guide will steer you through some of the must-knows of customer journey mapping, as well as providing templates you can instantly use to automate the customer journey.
The customer journey mapping
Customer journey mapping is user-focused method of highlighting typical experiences customers have with your brand.
The customer journey map doesn't have to be a perfect representation of your customer's journey (like a persona isn't a perfect reflection of your customer) but rather a sequence of events that reflects your customer's actions and decisions.
Think of customer journey mapping as a story told from the viewpoint of your audience. It represents the complexity of the customer’s path to purchase, without becoming convoluted or hard to understand. As a marketer, this provides the freedom to focus on strategy and output.
To give you an idea, here's a short journey that maps the flow of customers who make a sales inquiry.
As you can see, this is a very simple journey that uses dynamic advertising on Google and Facebook to follow-up with hot leads. It's easy to imagine ways to expand this journey to make it more comprehensive. You could:
- Follow-up with a personalized confirmation email;
- Assign the customer to a sales representative through a CRM integration;
- Add the customer to a list of interested leads; and
- Nurture them if they're not ready to buy
Why customer journey mapping is 100% essential
The customer journey puts the customer experience at the forefront of your business' mind.
Why is this beneficial?
If you're not focusing on the customer, it's incredibly easy to get sidetracked with what you want to achieve as a company… rather than focusing on the benefits you're providing to your audience.
And if you're not providing a benefit to your audience, they won't buy anything.
The customer journey also keeps you in touch with what the user's needs are. When you create customer journeys and track them with analytics software, you can see what's working, and what isn't. Constantly staying aware of the user's pain points, experiences and goals is critical to keeping up with their needs.
Increase conversion with customer journey mapping
The biggest benefit that we keep championing here at Autopilot is how customer journey mapping improves conversion.
Customer journey mapping is a critical element for lead nurturing — and a happy customer journey leads to higher conversion rates. We see it all the time in our customer base — Autopilot customers who’ve implemented a lead nurturing journey see a 25-50 percent increase in conversion (new leads converting into paying customers).
Good lead nurturing strategies guide customers through their journey organically. Creating a lead nurturing journey involves understanding the customer experience, so they receive messages at exactly the right time, and in the right place.
The customer journey template below is a good example of how lead nurturing works when mapped through the customer journey. Recently, we built a fake company called "Wine Time," and we developed a fictitious customer journey for it.
The journey may seem a little intimidating at first — but take a closer look. While appearing complex at first glance, it's actually quite simple. Feel free to copy or customize it for yourself.
Notice how this journey is mapped to the user's actions, from top of the funnel through to the bottom? Depending on their actions, the user is taken to a new stage of the journey.
We've also added annotations to give you ideas on what kind of content should be included at each stage. Providing context through annotations helps highlight gaps, ideas or problems with your mapped journey. It also gives you the opportunity to add examples (such as what an email may look like) or some notes about where the journey may go in the future.
So, how to create one of these customer journeys from scratch? The process starts with getting to know your audience.
Researching your customer journey map
The customer journey is focused on customers. Som the first thing you'll need to research is your customers. Gather as much as information you can about your target audience — demographics, interests, intents, income, purchasing habits — everything you can!
Even if your company has a vast trove of customer data, you may still want to conduct additional research. Out of date data can waste budget and produce ineffective results.
How to perform customer journey mapping
Creating a customer journey map is a great way to engage and align teams across an organization. This may be a task within itself, but once everyone is thinking on the same page, you have a company-wide narrative that focuses on what matters most — your customers.
Set realistic goals with your co-workers. Try to keep them brief and achievable — it's very easy to fall into the trap of endless conversations about what your users are doing and what paths to purchase they might make. Keep focused on creating a journey that solves a certain issue or improves the customer experience.
For example, after talking with your customer support team, you may find that many of your customers using LiveChat are requesting sales support. If the follow-up is slow and cumbersome, your customers may start churning.
In this scenario, you have an opportunity to improve the customer experience with a customer journey. You would need to map a journey that:
- Focuses on improving the customer's experience from LiveChat through to sales
- Reduces friction and time wasted for the customer
- Improves internal processes for your organization
- Is structured in a format that all teams can understand and see
- Can be continually optimized
We've mapped out a customer journey that achieves all of the above for this particular scenario. It streamlines customer support and sales processes into a single journey so teams can follow-up as quickly and efficiently as possible. It focuses on solving a single customer challenge and is easy to understand.
Validate your customer experience
Ensure you validate your customer experience so you can continually improve your customer journey map.
To do this, populate a Smart Segment with users that are paying customers, then create an automated journey that sends an NPS survey to validate their experience. It would look something like this:
Or, you could use integrations like Typeform and Trello to capture and organize customer feedback. That could look something like this:
From there, you can use your feedback results combined with your analytics data and customer research to inform your next map.
Customer journey mapping is a useful tool that can have a wide range of benefits throughout your entire organization. You can get started on a free 30-day trial with Autopilot. Take advantage of our Templates Library and use it as a structural start, or just for inspiration.
Try these customer journeys for more guidance:
Successfully onboard new customers
Send a targeted follow-up email when someone clicks a specific link within an email
*Nurture leads that respond to a Salesforce campaign *