What is a Customer Journey Map?
A customer Journey Map is an end-to-end timeline visualization of a hypothetical customer’s interactions with a business. While many different formats exist, most Customer Journey Maps include some key components such as an actor or persona which describes a typical person who may interact with the company, as well as different interactions or touchpoints the actor may have with the business and the associated thoughts and feelings the actor experiences as a result of those touchpoints. A good Customer Journey Map allows you to analyze the entire customer journey, beginning at the customer’s first impression and ending at a specific business goal, such as a sale. More importantly, however; a good Customer Journey Map tells a story through the customer’s eyes and allows you to identify and address problems that can’t be uncovered by metrics alone.
Why Would I Use a Customer Journey Map?
A Customer Journey Map can help you identify gaps or inconsistencies in the customer experience as the customer moves from one touchpoint to the next. For example, an airline customer enters their date of birth when purchasing a ticket online, but then is prompted for their date of birth again when checking in at the kiosk. Neither the online ticketing team nor the kiosk team would ever identify a problem in their own products and processes, but by examining the end-to-end process it becomes apparent that the two teams should communicate and share information to provide a more seamless customer experience.
A Customer Journey Map also helps you view the process from the customer’s perspective. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day of how your own business works. The kiosk and ticketing systems described above are likely incredibly complex, but the customer doesn’t care. To the customer it’s just a series of screens asking for redundant information. Even if the kiosk asks for the user’s birth date as a sort of pseudo-password or security check, this isn’t explained to the user. Viewing the process through the customer’s eyes will help you understand that the customer has no visibility into the complex inner-workings of the business systems, and only cares about what they see and experience at the different touchpoints.
While analyzing the journey from the customer’s perspective, it’s also important to map out the thoughts, feelings, and overall sentiment of the different personas as they traverse the customer journey. Take note of what motivates, scares, and annoys the customer. What might confuse the different personas, or cause to become skeptical of your claims? At its core, a Customer Journey Map is a qualitative tool to help you empathize with your customer. By understanding your customer’s thoughts and feelings you will gain new insight into why they act the way they do and how to maximize your newfound knowledge.
To read more on Customer Journey Mapping, read our next post here on how to set KPIs for your customer’s journey.