Customer journey maps encompass most of what matters to a business. At bottom, they aim to make a few very critical things crystal clear:
A) What your customers really want;
B) Where they are, currently, on their way to getting those things; and
C) Which steps are needed to get them from A to B.
The more detailed you can be about each, the higher your chances of meeting your ideal customer in the right places, with the right tone, and with the right offering.
Note: The type of business you're running will have a lot to say about the customer journey mapping process. Both the industry (say, 'retail') and the model (say, 'ecommerce') will mean emphasising different aspects of the journey--but there are some things that stay consistent across most businesses.
In this article, I'll try to give a high level overview of what goes into a customer journey map, using our customer journey mapping Notion template as a bit of a guide to keep the discussion grounded. We'll cover:
Common Stages in the User Journey
Goals & Pain Points
Actions & Endpoints
Projects & Inititatives
Targets & KPIs
But first thing's first: let's be clear on what exactly we're talking about here.
What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map describes the customer's experience with your company, from 'first impression' all the way through to 'loyal advocate'. It helps you identify the key steps that a customer would need to take to have an ideal experience with your business and offerings.
The benefits of a well-defined customer journey map?
More accurate (and cost-efficient) targeting; and
More relevant initiatives, campaigns and projects to delight your customers at every step.
How to create a customer journey map
The map, once completed, should describe the full customer journey; from start to finish. But along the way, there are some key stages, or 'buckets', that will be helpful for us to keep track of where specific contacts and/or populations of contacts are in the customer journey.
Here are some of the more common stages you might want to include, and which ones you choose will depend in large part on the type of business you're running.
Common User Journey Stages
Discovery: The customer discovers a need or want that your product or service can fulfill.
Sign-up: The customer creates an account or signs up for your service.
Onboarding: The customer learns how to use your product or service.
Engagement: The customer uses your product or service on a regular basis.
Churn: The customer stops using your product or service.
Re-engagement: The customer starts using your product or service again after a period of time.
Advocacy: The customer promotes your product or service to others.
Purchase: The customer makes a purchase and becomes a customer or client.
Loyalty: The customer continues to use your product or service (and may also become a brand advocate)
In our customer journey mapping Notion template, we take the example of an eCommerce retail business that is honing in on just 5 of these stages. You can see in that table that each stage is linked to various Personas, Projects, Traction Channels and more... but more about each of those below.
Adding Customer Journey Persona (Using Our Notion Template)
A customer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. It includes information like demographics, behavioral patterns, motivations, and goals. Customer personas can be incredibly helpful in creating a customer journey map, as they can help you understand how your customer thinks and feels at each stage of their journey. By creating customer personas, you can ensure that your customer journey map is tailored to the needs of your target audience.
The more you can understand about who you are speaking to, the better you can be at meeting them in the right places along the customer journey. Use the 'Personas' section of our Notion template to help you flesh out more details about each of your target customers.
Goals & Pain Points
Typically, the customer's goal refers to what they hope to achieve by using your product or service. In this case, however, I'd like to take it a step further--what is it that the customer really wants, and how can your products and services help them get there.
For example, the immediate goal of the customer might be to 'find better fitting athletic gear to wear to the gym'. If you offer high quality, good fitting athletic gear, your product can directly meet this goal.
But if we take it a step further back in the user's motivation, we might learn that what they really want is to 'feel healthier and slimmer'. Now, your athletic clothing might indirectly help them achieve that--but that isn't the product you're selling (unless you also happen to sell personal training and nutrition services!).
By knowing what the user really wants, however, we can speak about things they care about without selling to them. We can publish articles about health, nutrition and wellness, in a way that speaks to them--the fact that we also sell athletic gear they might be interested in isn't something that even needs to come up.
By understanding the deepest goals of our users, we can be more thoughtful about the products, content and messaging we develop to reach them.
Actions & Endpoints
The customer's action is the specific thing they do at each stage of their journey. For example, if a customer is trying to purchase a product, their action would be to add the item to their cart and checkout.
Endpoints, on the other hand, are the milestones we will want to keep track of as customers move through the map. Things like 'signing up for the mailing list', 'making 5 orders', 'renewing their subscription' are all customer endpoints we're likely to be interested in tracking.
Being highly specific about the scenarios in which your customer will use your product or service can open up all sorts of new tangential ideas and initiatives. Use cases let you see the customer journey from a specific scenario, and can help you understand how different customer types might interact with your product.
For example, our eCommerce customer might use our site to purchase items for themselves, or they might use it to send a gift to a friend. Each of these scenarios would likely involve different actions, pain points and goals that can be prepared for in advance.
Touchpoints & channels
Touchpoints are the points of contact between the customer and your company. This can include things like customer service interactions, social media interactions, or even just browsing your website.
In our Notion template, you'll find a list of 19 traction channels, including paid, organic and viral marketing, customer referrals, PR and more.
You can use the 'Touchpoints & channels' section to keep track of which channels are most important to your customer at each stage of their journey. This is especially useful if you're trying to optimize your customer acquisition costs (CAC).
Projects & Initiatives
As you're moving through the various sections of the customer journey map, you'll no doubt be racking up ideas for things you want to do to improve the customer journey. These projects and initiatives are what will eventually need to be implemented to ensure the customer journey goes according to plan.
In the 'Projects & initiatives' section, you can keep track of all the different ideas you have for things that need to be done. This might include things like developing a new customer service process, or creating a new social media campaign.
Once you've got all your projects and initiatives listed out, you can start to prioritize them and assign them to specific team members.
Many project ideas (particularly for online-run businesses) will have a content element to them. Instead of fitting all of that into the same list as Projects and initiatives, you can keep track of all your articles, videos, tweets and more in a dedicated content section of the template.
This is a great way to ensure that your content is customer-centric, and that you're creating pieces that align with the customer's journey.
Surveys & customer sentiment
A customer journey map can also be used to track surveys and customer sentiment. By delivering targeted surveys based on the pain points you've identified through the customer journey map, you can make changes to improve the customer experience at every touchpoint.
Targets & KPIs
No plan is complete without Targets & Key Performance Indicators. By having these targets in place, you can track your progress over time and ensure that you're making progress.
In the 'Targets & KPIs' section, you can set ambitious goals for each stage of the customer journey. This might include things like reducing customer churn by X%, or increasing customer lifetime value (LTV) by Y%.
And don't forget to see what else is out there. What are competitors doing? What are the industry best practices? How can you leverage their ideas? The research section is a great place to track all of that.
In the customer journey map template, you'll find a 'Research' section where you can keep track of all the different articles, blog posts and resources you come across. This is a great way to make sure you're always up-to-date on the latest customer journey best practices.
Customer journey mapping is an ongoing process. Hopefully, along the way, any customer map should improve--it should gain richer details, and become a more powerful tool for helping you make conversions on the things you care about in your business.
If you'd like some help getting started on yours, I hope you'll find the linked Notion template useful. All Landmark components are free, just create your account to get duplicating.