The customer is everything, so creating a customer journey map is a no brainer.
As Sam Walton says, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
Customers are the center of your entire business model, which is what makes the flywheel framework so impactful. When you understand their journey, you can refine every aspect of your business around the customer experience at every touchpoint.
What Is a Customer Journey Map?
Essentially, a customer journey map helps you visualize the whole process a customer goes through, from their initial touchpoint throughout their entire lifecycle as they strive to achieve a specific goal.
The map shows where customers enter your marketing and sales cycle, then how they find success with your products or services. And if they’re not successful, this map shows you where to help them find success.
The Benefits of Creating a Customer Journey Map
Everyone in your organization benefits from customer journey maps. In the big picture, they ensure alignment throughout the company, with a customer-focused perspective. This continuous focus on the customer is essential to building an effective flywheel framework.
Your map can be shared with every team. And it should be shared throughout – your customer’s experience impacts everyone.
Let’s look at how each part of your flywheel – marketing, sales, and service – benefits from a customer journey map.
Advantages for Marketing
The inbound marketing philosophy is founded on a simple idea: delivering the right content to the right people at the right time. With a customer journey map handy, your marketing team can identify opportunities to deliver relevant content to each of your customers.
Advantages for Sales
Your sales team can review customer journey maps to uncover opportunities they might be overlooking. It also helps better allocate resources and sales tools at each stage of the sales process.
For example, you might find that sales is struggling to make prospects aware of their real pain points. This might call for more targeted sales content or a new sales engagement strategy altogether. These insights ultimately help speed up sales cycles.
Advantages for Service
Your service team can visualize their touchpoints when they review your customer journey map. Plus, the map can detail specific pain points based on real customer experiences.
Ultimately, this tool empowers your service team to be more proactive in addressing customer problems, which in turn lead to delight (and hopefully referrals and positive word of mouth).
Bottom line: Your entire organization can find opportunities for collaboration throughout the customer experience to ensure consistency in each of their valuable interactions.
And the potential ROI of customer journey maps is real and impressive.
The Astounding ROI of Customer Journey Mapping
Customer centricity is not just a buzzword in the business lexicon. It’s a business strategy that paves the road for sustainable growth.
And building these maps takes all the guesswork out of determining how to put your customer in the center of every aspect of your business. But when you use this tool to guide your team strategies, you yield amazing results.
The Aberdeen Group conducted research on companies that use a formal customer journey management program. What they found is remarkable.
Here are a few noteworthy stats that highlight the financial benefit of mapping:
54 percent greater return on marketing investment
This is not surprising when you consider how the insights from mapping make conducting targeted content marketing initiatives much easier.
3.5 times greater revenue from customer referrals
Simply put, when you invest energy and resources at every customer touchpoint, you’re bound to turn happy customers into promoters of your brand.
18 times faster average sales cycle
Your sales team has a better perspective on the entire cycle, showing them where and how to engage in a more meaningful way.
56 percent more cross- and up-sell revenue
Mapping paves the road for consistently delighted customers, who are open to buying more from you.
Elements of Effective Customer Journey Maps
Let’s state the obvious here: not all customer journey maps are good or helpful. You can’t simply throw one together without any preparation.
Here are the elements you need to get started:
Your map should have a specific goal. Maybe you want to better align sales and marketing. Perhaps you want the map to help your service team better support customers.
Whatever your goal is, make it clear before you get started. This will make it easier for you to mold your map into a format that best suits your objectives.
Remember, you’re building your map from a customer perspective, not an internal perspective. If you’re building from an internal view, your map will use business processes and teams as the foundation of the journey.
Instead, you need to use the customer’s point of view as a foundation, and to fully understand their point of view, you need detailed buyer personas.
Outline a customer’s motivations, pain points, goals, and considerations to lay the foundation. You can build out detailed personas and develop in-depth maps using data from several sources, including:
- Customer surveys
- Customer reviews
- Website analytics
- Customer interviews
Onstage and Offstage Details
Successful maps define the difference between onstage and offstage elements at every touchpoint. Onstage elements refer to things that are visible to customers, and offstage elements are things going on that customers can’t see.
Some maps use graphics to indicate this distinction, like a line that denotes customer visibility. This distinction helps you see what how operations are separate from what the customer is actually experiencing.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
As with every business strategy, you need metrics to analyze in order to gauge performance. Common metrics used for customer journey maps include customer satisfaction measures, net promoter score (NPS), and the like.
These KPIs should align directly with your objective. So if you're aiming to boost referrals by 20 percent, you would likely be analyzing NPS.
Customer Journey Map Examples and Templates
This can feel like an abstract concept, but when you see what customer journey maps look like, it makes a lot more sense. But here’s the thing – there are many different versions of customer journey maps.
Your company’s customer journey map will be unique to your business, so keep that in mind as you build yours. But in the meantime, here are a couple of customer journey map examples to spark your inspiration.
Stellar Customer Journey Map Examples
Lancôme’s Brand Experience Journey
This leading luxury cosmetics company built a map to visualize the brand experience their customers have through various touchpoints.
As you can see, this map walks through important aspects of the customer experience. At the top, you can see each stage of the journey: from the customers looking up what they need, to searching options, to ordering, and ending with their purchase.
Underneath the journey stages, they included emotional responses, like excited, confused, and love. They also map out common questions throughout the journey and reactions after they receive their items.
At the bottom, they make notes for their team, recommending various tactics, like offering promotions and encouraging bloggers to post reviews.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Traveling Student Experience
The prestigious university created a map to address a specific problem – their Visit CMU website only offered a few resources that did not meet student needs.
Source: Iris Tong Wu
Their maps captured the experiences of students and acted as an excellent visual tool to detail touchpoints and disconnects that proved problematic for students.
They used a couple maps to sketch out wireframes and build a better digital experience to better support people visiting their campus.
Templates to Consider Using
As you can imagine, the possibilities for mapping your customer experience are endless. There are so many different ways to build out your map, which means you have great opportunities to find what works best for your business.
Here are a few common customer journey map templates.
Day in the Life
This map follows the daily routine of your customer.
Thoughts and Feelings
Problem Solving Ideas
This map helps you pinpoint exactly what times of the day your company can best support your customer.
This template follows the basic three stage process and lays out the awareness, consideration, and decision stage.
Customer Questions and Considerations
Touchpoints to Leverage
With their journey in mind, your teams can step into the customer's shoes at every stage. As you walk in their shoes, you can find touchpoints where certain teams can interact with them.
This template is helpful because it helps everyone in your organization to consider the goals of your customers. What is their desired state after buying from you and how can you empower them to reach this state?
|Phase 1||Phase 2||Phase 3||Phase 4||Phase 5|
Future Thoughts and Feelings
This template is great for conditioning your team to be future-oriented with customers. They want to help customers succeed, and this shows how to help them get there.
Your customer journey map can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. One thing to keep in mind: don't overthink your format.
There are a ton of intricate, colorful, well designed maps out there. Don't get too concerned with finding your perfect format. Just stick to the main goal you set and build a map to get started. It might evolve over time, and that's ok.
The important thing to do is to start mapping. Fortunately, there are some great tools for this.
5 Customer Journey Mapping Tools You Need to Try
1. Microsoft Visio
One of the most popular tools for creating flowcharts and diagrams, Microsoft Visio is a great solution. It's part of the Microsoft Office suite, and it's incredibly user friendly. Overall, this is a great place to start for beginners because you can make your maps as simple or as complex as you want with this tool.
The value proposition statement on Gliffy's homepage says it all: this company takes visual communication seriously. This tool is a little more simplistic compared to others, but it does the trick. And it comes with user friendly templates and even integrates with Atlassian apps, making collaborating as easy as one click.
Smaply is made specifically for mapping out customer experiences, so it has all the features you need to jump right into your first map. One of the coolest features is the persona creator, giving you all you need to know about your customer just a click away.
4. Touchpoint Dashboard
Touchpoint Dashboard is excellent for teams of all sizes. It incorporates images, storyboards, and data attributes. Plus, the story mode makes it easy to deliver an engaging presentation of the maps you create.
5. IBM Journey Designer
One of the best tools for collaboration, IBM Journey Designer is a top choice. Break down the silos so marketing, sales, and service can work together on journey mapping in near real time.
The customer journey map is your best tool for aligning your entire organization around the most important piece of your business: the customer.