How to map the customer journey

The customer journey is the key to truly understanding your customer. Just like understanding your customer is the key to offering personalised content that meets their needs.

A good customer journey maps out every interaction that a customer has or could have with your business. And it visualises in which purchase phase your customer is. In this blog, we discuss how to easily map out the customer journey in 8 different steps:

  1. Use software that makes it easy
  2. Set clear goals
  3. Create ideal customer profiles
  4. Make a list of all touchpoints per profile
  5. Visualise the current customer journey
  6. Create the ideal customer journey
  7. Implement the necessary optimisations
  8. Continue to evaluate & continuously optimise

What is a customer journey map?

A journey that every customer goes through by interacting with a company, from awareness of a pain point to the purchase decision and beyond. Visualising all touchpoints that your customers have with your business leads to the customer journey map (customer journey map).

The traditional customer journey consists of four different phases. By segmenting each individual into these different phases, it becomes clear where they are in the purchase process. This helps you in determining and optimizing personalised interactions with your target audience.

The better a company is at realizing and managing a personalised customer journey, the less time customers spend in the consideration and evaluation phases. This ultimately leads to bypassing the awareness and consideration phase and significantly changing the model. McKinsey has conceptualized this competitive advantage in the model below.

The benefits of customer journey mapping

Customer journey mapping not only provides insight into customer behaviour but also helps you to:

  • Identify optimization opportunities.
  • Develop a customer-centric strategy.
  • Increase customer satisfaction.
  • Enhance retention.
  • Optimise your marketing budget efficiently.

How do you map the customer journey?

It all starts with customer data. To visualise the touchpoints across all channels, effective data collection and structuring is essential.

Implementing a Customer Data Platform (CDP) can work wonders when it comes to collecting customer data. It collects and centralizes touchpoints from all channels and allows you to easily create a customer journey.

What needs or pain points are your (potential) customers trying to solve? Why do you want to visualise the customer journey?

The answers to these questions provide direction and clarity on what you want to achieve. So that you can start by compiling an ideal customer profile: the fictional customer on which the customer journey is based. If you have included a CDP in your marketing strategy, it is easy to create your target personas using 360-degree profiles and advanced segmentation capabilities. No CDP? Then do extensive desk and field research into your most valuable customer base to gain as much insight as possible into what your ideal buyer persona looks like.

Now that you have set clear goals and have a fictional persona in mind, it is time to do research into customers who are the most valuable and exhibit characteristics that align with your ideal buyer persona.

The most valuable input comes from your real customers and prospects, as they have already had contact with your organization. A qualitative way to get feedback from customers is to use questionnaires/interviews. Or, if you have implemented a CDP or similar software, through user testing and advanced segmentation options based on the most important characteristics of your persona.

Through questionnaires or interviews you can ask:

  •  How did they find your company in the first place
  •  Their initial feedback on how they experienced your website
  •  Whether they were able to find what they were looking for easily
  •  How they experienced the interactions (online and offline) with your company
  •  How long they typically spend on your website
  •  What was the deciding factor for whether or not to buy a product or service
  •  How you can simplify the purchase process for them
  •  Why they chose to buy from your company

The answers to these questions will allow you to create specific customer profiles. A CDP such as Spotler Activate automatically creates individual customer profiles, saving you a lot of time in this process.

Touchpoints show how and where customers come into contact with your organization. They are an essential part of the journey map, as they map out the actions of your customers during the journey.

Start by making a list of touchpoints and key conversion points on your website. Then research how (potential) customers have come into contact with your company and make a list of touchpoints from:

  • Advertising
  • Social channels
  • Search engines
  • Email marketing
  • 3rd-party websites
  • Events
  • Marketplaces

Once you have defined all touchpoints, you can start ranking them on the customer journey map. Note that you should keep looking at the customer journey from the customer’s perspective.

Now that you have an overview of all touchpoints, it is time to visualise the current map of the customer journey.

For each phase of the customer journey, you organize the touchpoints, channels, and actions. You should also identify the assigned ownership of a touchpoint, such as the marketing or sales team. You can customize your journey map with different colours and shapes to improve readability.

Also, pay attention to possible bottlenecks that can cause customers to drop off. An example of this could be high shipping costs or poor customer service. These are the touchpoints where there is room for improvement.

Only mapping out the customer journey is not enough. The most essential part is to thoroughly analyse the results and continuously optimise the journey whenever possible.

Walk through the customer journey for each of your profiles via social, email, advertising channels, and the website. This will allow you to quickly see how smoothly and seamlessly interactions with your organization flow. It will also help you identify bottlenecks that can be optimised.

Your analysis should give you insights into what exactly needs to be improved. Consider how you can optimise each touchpoint one by one, and then implement the necessary changes.

For example, your website may need more specific call-to-action buttons, or the wait time for support or customer service may be too long.

Whatever it is, you can be sure that the customer experience will be significantly improved by the changes you make, as the analysis will reveal clear pain points to work on.

You could map out the customer journey once and leave it at that. But a rapidly changing world demands continuous adjustments to customer journeys. This is where customer journey management comes in.

By periodically reviewing your journey and making the necessary changes, you ensure that your customer experience is as relevant and optimised as possible.

Customer journey mapping with a CDP

A Customer Data Platform like Spotler Activate is the ideal way to leverage insights from the mapping process. It seamlessly integrates with the mapped customer journey, enabling you to respond with personalized content. By combining customer journey mapping with a personalization strategy, you maximize the effectiveness of your marketing and create an optimal customer journey for all your visitors and customers.

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Curious about our customer data platform Spotler Activate? Schedule an online demo with our advisors and get all your questions answered.

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