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April 17, 2023

What is a customer journey map, and how to use it?

What is a customer journey map, and how to use it?

Nowadays, businesses are focusing on providing exceptional customer experiences, and they are turning to customer journey maps more frequently to gain a better understanding of their target audience's needs and preferences. 

In this blog, we'll take a closer look at what a customer journey map is and how businesses can use it to improve the customer experience. Whether you're a marketer, product manager, or customer service representative, understanding the customer journey is crucial for delivering exceptional experiences that drive loyalty and revenue. 

What does a customer journey map mean?

A customer journey map is a graphical depiction of the various stages a customer goes through when engaging with a business, product, or service. The interactions may involve a wide range of activities, such as in-person interactions, website visits, social media direct messages, or exposure to Google search ads. 

Typically, the customer journey map includes a chronological outline of the customer's experience, which covers the stages of awareness, consideration, purchase, and post-purchase. Different factors should be taken into account along this timeline, such as touchpoints, channels, emotions, challenges, and chances for improvement.

Touchpoints refer to the numerous interactions a customer has with a company, including website browsing, social media engagement, email communication, phone calls, and in-person visits.

Channels represent the different methods customers utilize to connect with the business, such as social media platforms, email, phone, chat, or in-person meetings.

Emotions pertain to the various emotional states experienced by customers at different stages of their journey, such as happiness, frustration, confusion, or satisfaction.

Pain points are the specific areas where customers encounter challenges or dissatisfaction in their journey, such as delayed response times, ineffective communication, or faulty products.

Opportunities are the aspects of businesses which can enhance the customer experience, such as improving customer support, offering personalized recommendations, or enhancing product features.

5 types of customer journey maps

There are 5 primary types of customer journey maps that may have overlaps, but each serves a slightly different purpose, depending on the business's goals and the insights it wants to gather. Companies typically utilize more than one type to get a more comprehensive understanding of the customer journey.

  1. The current-state map: this is the most commonly used type, showing the customer's current experience with the company, It highlights pain points, gaps, and opportunities for improvement. Businesses should frequently review their current-state maps to respond to changes quickly and make necessary modifications to the customer experience.

  1. The future-state map: this type of map outlines the ideal customer experience, focusing on the desired outcome and the steps necessary to achieve it. Hence, it is usually used when businesses set objectives for their future operations and create a detailed set of strategies for achieving their goals while considering each customer's needs.

  1. The day-in-the-life map: this focuses on the customer's daily routine, highlighting the touchpoints and interactions that occur throughout the day. It is particularly valuable for companies looking to develop a competitive advantage by providing the most personalized experiences to customers.

  1. The service blueprint: this type of map differs from the above three maps in that it outlines the customer journey from the company's perspective, highlighting the internal processes, systems, and people involved in delivering the customer experience. A service blueprint typically works in combination with another customer journey map, starting with a current or future-state map and then layering on everything that is responsible for creating that journey.

  1. The persona map: this takes the most niche perspective, focusing on the customer journey of a specific customer persona, a fictional representation of a specific group or segment of customers. It can include demographic information such as age, gender, income, education, and location, as well as psychographic information such as interests, values, and lifestyle. A persona map is particularly relevant for businesses looking to create targeted strategies for engaging and satisfying different customer segments with distinctive characteristics and needs.

In conclusion, customer journey maps help businesses understand and optimize the customer experience by identifying pain points, areas for improvement, and opportunities for growth. The maps can identify points of friction or dissatisfaction for the customer, which businesses can then address to improve the overall customer experience. 

However, before you go on to create your own customer journey maps, it is crucial to keep a few things in mind to make the best use of this tool.

Realising the power of online shopping

With the prevalence of online shopping, the customer journey has undergone significant changes. Even if your businesses do not yet have an online presence, these changes represent an overall shift in customer habits and behaviours that affect every business in the market. It is important that you accommodate these changes when you are creating your customer journey.  

Awareness: In the past, customers become aware of a product or service mostly through advertising, word of mouth, or in-store promotions, In contrast, nowadays, advertising through social media, search engines, and email marketing is the norm. 

Consideration: various reviewing websites for different types of products and services demonstrate how customers are using online resources to make purchase decisions. According to Statista, in 2021, nearly 70 per cent of online shoppers typically read between one and six online reviews before making a purchasing decision. Only less than one in ten shoppers did not have a habit of reading customer reviews before buying.

Purchase: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the development of e-commerce in almost every country around the world. Exploring the possibility of online transactions should be the priority among your business development strategies. According to 77 per cent of small and medium enterprises owners, a digital presence helps with customer acquisition. However, the importance of physical interactions with customers is not be underestimated as well. 

Post-purchase: In the past, customers usually provide feedback and seek customer support through phone calls or in-person visits. This has undergone drastic transformations with the development of technologies. One prominent example is how customers increasingly rely on automated channels, such as chatbots at Algomo, for customer support. It has also become much easier for customers to provide reviews and feedback through online channels.

Overall, online shopping has made the customer journey much more convenient and accessible, allowing customers to research, purchase, and seek support from the comfort of their own homes. Hence, it will be extremely beneficial if you take into account these changes when creating your own customer journey maps.  

Segment customers or specific customer journeys

One of the necessary steps before creating your own customer journey maps is to segment customers into groups and analyse their behaviours separately. While this may add extra effort to the process, it provides substantial advantages that make this step crucial and valuable.

Taking a targeted approach at every customer group allows your to personalize customer experiences, which is crucial in ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction. According to a survey by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences.

Segmenting customers also helps your business to allocate its resources more efficiently. It greatly prevents the waste of resources due to the adaptation of strategies that are effective for some customers, but not others. 

You should ensure the segmentation you choose aligns with your business nature and goals. Here are a few common types of segmentation you can consider: 

Demographic segmentation: based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender, income, education level, marital status, and occupation.

Geographic segmentation: based on customers’ location or geographic areas, such as country, region, state, city, or zip code.

Psychographic segmentation: based on customers’ personality traits, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.

Technographic segmentation: based on technology usages of customers, such as mobile devices, social media platforms, or software applications.

Key Takeaway 

A customer journey map is a valuable tool for businesses to gain a better understanding of their customers and deliver more personalized and effective customer experiences. While the concept is simple, there are many important factors that businesses should consider when creating a customer journey map, such as selecting the appropriate type of map, choosing the right customer segmentation strategy, and determining which stages of the customer journey to focus on. To assist in the creation process, technology solutions such as automated customer service tools like Algomo's chatbots and digital analytical tools can be extremely beneficial.

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