Customer journey maps are a popular tool in Customer Experience (CX). Don’t let the acronym or the name fool you. These things are not the Cryptex from Davinci Code, but the insight they unlock will be equally as valuable.

The main goal of a customer journey map is to help a business understand what a customer currently does/thinks/feels while interacting with the business or what the business intends the customer to do/think/feel while interacting with it. Sometimes customer journey maps will be used to drive innovation by  taking a wider look at a target audience’s activities inside and outside its interactions with a business. Or, they may be used to uncover pain points and/or identify which systems of people, processes, policies, and technologies are required to create a more enjoyable customer experience.[i]

On the digital front, customer journey maps are extremely useful when trying to diagnose conversion issues in your digital marketing funnel.

Mapping the Customer Journey

In order to begin mapping the customer journey, we’ll need a reasonable understanding of the phases customers enter while dealing with your business. The best way to determine these phases is through data (as it usually is). Begin by collecting data about the customer journey. Good places to start would be to look at your website analytics, search query data, review social media feedback, speak to your front-line staff, or run surveys.[ii] Wherever you choose to start, your goal should be to understand what your customer’s last interaction with your business was, whether the customer felt positive or negative about the interaction, and how that interaction affected the customer’s perception of your business as a whole. You might go as far as finding out what, specifically, the customer is thinking/feeling given their last interaction.

As your collection of data grows, you will notice patterns beginning to emerge. You’ll begin to see the different points at which customers are interacting with your company. You’ll be able to group these interactions into phases and visually map out customer sentiment throughout the journey.

Improving the Customer Journey

When you can see where the problems are, it opens the door for you to investigate why the problem exists. What systems of people, processes, policies, or technology contribute to the pain point? What can be changed? What cannot be changed? Is there a better way? What systems of people, processes, policies, and/or technology can we leverage to improve the customer experience at this pain point?

Creating customer journey maps is very unique to each business, and it is good to keep an evolving journey map updated to help all members of the organization understand the customer experience. A bad customer experience is a price some customers are not willing to pay. Continually striving to provide the best customer experience should be the mandate of any business wishing to scoop up more market share, and it’s for this reason that we employ these tools when we’re looking for areas to improve our clients’ digital marketing strategies.