Mapping the customer experience journey will let you visualize and gain insights about the steps customers take when they interact with your business.
As an online business marketer, you can think of a customer experience journey as a description of each person’s behavior as they interact with your website. As a typical map helps you visualize a journey, consumer journey mapping will let you visualize and gain insights about the steps customers take when they interact with your business. In turn, you uncover consumer motivations and those aspects of their experience that you could improve upon in order to increase customer satisfaction and of course, revenues and profits.
What is a user journey map?
Harvard Business Review defined a user journey map as a diagram used to illustrate the steps your customers take to interact with your company. More complex maps may attempt to describe every step in the customer’s journey but some may just focus on a specific path for some product or site feature.
For example, you might include initial brand awareness, from ads or social media. You can even extend the map to contain possible offline interactions with your business. Harvard Business Review mentioned that including more touchpoints could make the document more complex but in some cases, more useful. If you’re mostly focused on just your website, you might only include online actions.
In any case, you create a timeline of a customer journey. You might draw points on the timeline that begin with customer awareness and research and end with a purchase and the after-purchase experience. For each stage, you can use this framework:
- Action: This refers to the actions the consumer took at the time to move along to the next step. In the awareness phase, the customer might have viewed one of your social or YouTube videos or found your site via search.
- Motivations: What motivated the consumer to take the next step in their journey. Perhaps your social video suggested a solution to some problem the consumer had or offered a cheaper alternative.
- Questions: Which uncertainties might prevent the customer from advancing along your funnel to the next stage? Perhaps the potential customer needs more information to understand why your brand offers the best choice in a complex or crowded market.
- Barriers: Besides a lack of information, are there any other obstacles that work against the consumer’s motivations? Some examples could include the cost or the buying process.
Gathering information to map the customer decision journey
To begin mapping out an online consumer decision journey, you should gather two kinds of information:
- Website analytics: You should have a fairly easy time figuring out how you customers used your website. For instance, the website analytics will tell you were visitors came from, which features they used, and how long they stayed. If you have trouble sorting out all the information you can gather from your analytics, a customer journey agency may prove a helpful resource.
- Consumer research: While it’s fairly easy to learn what your website visitors do, it’s a little tougher to understand why they behave the way they do. For instance, a high percentage of visitors might abandon shopping carts before they buy. Maybe they think you charge too much for shipping or don’t offer the right payment options, but sometimes, you can’t know for sure. To make the most of your consumer journey mapping, you might monitor social media or gather surveys or other kinds of feedback.
Again, almost every marketer has a much easier time observing the decisions consumers make than knowing exactly why they make them. That’s another reason why creating your customer experience journey map will give you a fantastic chance to understand customers better. For example, let’s say many customers do abandon shopping carts, and you’re not certain if they’re turned off by shipping charges, payment options, or something else.
Certainly, you can check social media, surveys, and other feedback to see if you can find any helpful trends. Even better, you might use split tests to let changes in behavior suggest motives. If adding free shipping with a minimum order or reducing all shipping helps improve sales, you will know that shipping charges matter to your market. As with deciphering complex analytics, a customer journey agency may help you find the best ways to sort out complex behaviors.
The Shopify Blog suggests using buyer personas as another tool that can help you develop better maps and gain more understanding of your customers.
- In the best case, you could encourage recent customers to answer survey questions that can tell you exactly what they did and did not like about the process of interacting with your business.
- You can ask them why they researched products, what motivated them to choose your business, and of course, if they have any suggestions for improvement.
Since understanding motivations can provide you with such valuable insights in order to attract new customers and retain old ones, you might encourage people to complete your surveys with a discount code, extra points in your loyalty club, a free shipping offer.
The importance of consumer journey mapping
These days, businesses live and die by the experience that they offer customers. Brian Solis, the author of “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design,” says that customer experience now exceeds product in importance. Consumers do search for facts when they research brands, products, and marketplaces. But mostly, they remember how you make them feel. Consumer journey mapping will help you understand the customer’s experience from their own point-of-view, and that’s how you can create a successful, customer-focused company.