Customer Journey Map: The Road from Product to Destination

One of the most important factors for a business owner or manager to understand about the company is the overall customer experience. Most customers follow a specific path or journey with a business that starts with the initial contact from a marketing perspective in most cases. You may have heard of it – it’s called the customer journey map.

It continues on through the sales experience and even through to additional sales, follow-ups, referrals and more. In order to fully understand your customers’ general experiences with your company, you need to create the customer journey map.

customer journey map

What Is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map essentially outlines the entire step-by-step process of the customer’s experience in a cradle-to-grave format. Some companies have a very simplified sales process. For example, if you have a snow cone stand on a street corner, the customer may spot your stand, make a purchase and walk away without any additional follow up necessary.

On the other hand, the car sales process is much more extensive. The map will create a line item or entry point for every unique aspect of the process, and some of these maps are graphically detailed.

Who Uses a Customer Journey Map?

While all businesses need to understand their customer’s journey, it may not be worthwhile to create a customer journey map if you have a very simple business model.

On the other hand, if you have a car dealership, a retail clothing store or another business with a more complicated plan, it is imperative that you create a customer journey map. The map gives you the ability to visualize every step in the process, and this provides you with incredible benefits.

How Can a Customer Journey Map Help Your Business?

Before you go through the process of creating a customer journey map, you may need to know what you can gain from this process. After all, you may have many action items on your to-do list, and outlining the customer experience may not seem worthwhile at first glance. However, through a customer journey map, you can gain a better idea about the customer’s motivations as well as areas where your company may need to improve.

It can show where buyers may most commonly feel frustrated and may be more likely to walk away from the process altogether. If customers do not typically make a second purchase, this can be a sign that the product or your customer service are poor. As you can see, there are many reasons why you need to create a map and study it carefully.

5 Tips for Efficiently Using a Customer Journey Map

After you have created a customer journey map, you need to know how to properly use it. These tips will help you to maximize the benefit that your map can provide to you.

1. Focus on the Timeline

One of the first things you need to pay attention to when analyzing a customer journey map is the timeline. Some of your customers may make an impulsive buying decision in a matter of minutes. Also, others may take days or weeks to decide how to proceed.

However, a customer journey map focuses on the typical experience. It therefore explores the average buying timeline. When you analyze each step in the process, you can better determine what areas you need to focus on in order to see a faster return on investment for your marketing dollar.

2. Understand the Customer’s Feelings and Desires at Each Stage

From the advertising stage to the buying stage and beyond, customers often have different feelings and desires. For example, advertising may lead consumers to feel curious or excited. After buying a product, they hopefully will feel satisfied in some way.

Avoid guessing about their feelings and desires. Use surveys and polls to obtain solid data from your consumers at each stage in the process. You can use this information to improve your marketing efforts as well as the entire customer experience.

3. Pay Attention to What Motivates the Customer to Take the Next Step

You may notice that your timeline is much longer in some areas than in others. Through your analysis of the map and other related survey and polling data, you may be able to determine what the customer needs in order to take the next step in the process more quickly.

For example, the customer is feeling cautious about spending so much money on a new car after taking a test drive. So, offering rebates or creating more marketing about the car’s inherent value can be helpful.

4. Identify Barriers at Each Step

There are likely barriers that your company or your customers face at each step in the process. A customer journey map can help you define what the barriers are that must be dealt with before the customer can reach the next step.

As a business owner or manager, you must know what these are before you can overcome them.

5. Take Action, and Revise Your Map

Through a thorough analysis of your customer journey map, you will be able to learn a great deal about your company, your products or services and your customers. This information can be used strategically to help you make incredible changes.

After you have acted on the changes you have deemed necessary or beneficial, you should repeat the process of creating and analyzing your customer journey map. The customer experience can change over time. So you need updated information to continue to improve the customer experience.

client shaking hands with businessman

Reaching Destination

Your company’s success lies in your ability to deliver a great experience. You must do this in a cost-effective manner, and you must do so in a rather expedited time frame that is relative to your industry or business model.

As you can see, a customer journey map can provide your team with incredible insight about your business process as a whole. Moreover, you can use this knowledge to make beneficial and strategic improvements.

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