What is the Customer Journey?

A customer journey is a route your customer takes to complete the desired conversion action. It could be anything from purchasing a product to downloading an e-book.

The path a customer takes to conversion may vary depending on the nature of your business. Often decisions that involve a lot of money — such as purchasing a house, car, software or a holiday may take a longer time to convert as compared to buying something cheaper say a book.

A typical Customer Journey spans  through  Five Stages:

 

What is a customer Journey Map?

  • A customer journey map is the detailed visual representation of the journey a customer takes to conversion.
  • Customer Journey maps may be different for different products, companies and industries.
  • In fact, two people may follow an entirely different path to purchase even if they are buying the same product.

Benefits of Mapping the Customer Journey

By creating a Customer Journey Map you can

  • Understand your customers by segment
  • Chart each step of the customer experience
  • Get a clear picture of where and when customers are interacting with your business.
  • Understand why customers are making purchases or why are they leaving.
  • You can create focused messages for each buyer persona at different stages of the journey.
  • Build campaigns with a clear call to action and KPI for each stage of your journey.
  • Identify choke points where you are currently losing customers and develop procedures to address these.

How to Create Customer Journey Maps

To create a customer journey map, you need to understand what motivates your customers to buy your products. Once you are aware of the motivations, you can align the communication your customers will receive at each stage in the journey across platforms and throughout your marketing campaigns, providing a more consistent customer experience.

Creating Buyer Personas

The path two different customers follow to conversion may not be the same, as their motivation for buying a product may not be the same. For instance, customer “A” maybe be planning to purchase the software your company sells for personal use, his consideration and journey to conversion will be different from the path Customer “B” takes, who needs to purchase the same software for his office.

Therefore the first step is to create buyer personas.

If you have already been in business for some time, you may have identified your target audience to identify the kind of people who would be interested in products and services. But the target audience is not the same customer personas.  While defining your target audience you may have considered demographics such as:

  • geographic location
  • age
  • sex
  • religion
  • marital status
  • income

Customer personas are more detailed and dig down further looking for differentiating factors within a certain demographic. Two people of the same age and gender living in the same city in the same income bracket may not have similar interests.  Creating detailed customer personas help you to understand the motivation of each segment of your population.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may want to consider the following information about your customer personas.

 

Here is an example of a customer persona for a furniture store.

 

You can start creating customer personas by

  • You can delve into the data available on your Website, CRM, Social Media or Advertising.
  • You can interview and current and prospective customers, conduct online surveys.
  • You can also utilize tools such as Facebook Audience Insights to find out more about your current customers including demographic data and their interests.

Touchpoints

List every possible touch point at which you are communicating with your customers, and what messages they are receiving at these touch points. These could include your website, social media, word of mouth, brochures,  display ads,  review sites, Television ads, emails, chatbots, phone calls, events, in-store promotions and the customer service. The longer your customer journey takes, the more touch points it will involve.

 

You can make this task easier by putting yourself in the shoes of the customer and walking through his customer ’s journey step-by-step.

  • What do you do you have a problem(that a product or service your company is offering could solve)?
  • What do you do when you discover the product or business that solves your problem?
  • How do you make your purchase decision?
  • What do you do after the purchase?

 

Build a Framework

  • Firstly, define the end goal of the customer journey. ( buy a product or service, sign up for a newsletter or blog, download an app.)
  • Consider who it is aimed at
  • Where they are in your customer journey?
  • Define the first point at which a particular buyer persona begins its journey?
  • What is the problem they are currently experiencing that sets them on the customer journey?
  • How can you help them progress to the next stage of the journey?
  • What are the channels through which you reach them?

Visualize Your Path

1. Define the stages that a buyer will progress through before making a purchase decision.

For instance, in the example of Susie above- suppose a friend recommended your furniture store to Susie.  What will be the decision stages Susie will pass through before purchasing from you.

  • She may check out your website
  • She will go through reviews
  • She may ask other friends about your store
  • She will compare prices and product specification with other brands that she has been considering
  • She may want to speak to your Customer Service representative to inquire about your products, services and warranty.

2. List down the key decisions each buyer persona has to make throughout their customer journey.

 

For Susie here, this may involve

  • Do your products meet the requirements in terms of style and functionality?
  • Do you offer all the furniture that she is looking for
  • is your furniture durable
  • How easy it is to install 
  • What are your shipping charges
  • Will you be offering any kind of assistance during the installation?
  • what are your return policies
  • How much warranty do you offer?
  • Will it fit in her budget?

3. For each of this decision stage, define the key goal that you need to help the buyer achieve to progress to the next stage.

Bring together all the data that you have gathered so far and identify the choke points in the customer journey. Mark all the areas where you feel you need to optimize your strategy to help the customer move to the next stage.

Define Your Strategy

Your customer journey map is ready. You have identified the key roadblocks. The next step is to define your strategy going forward.  For each of the stages and touch points, define the channels by which you would be reaching out to the customer. Create key messages and communication that you need to send out at each of these touch points in the customer journey.

Doing this will enable you to align your communication throughout the customer journey. This customer journey map should guide all your sales and marketing campaigns.