Sales Tips

A Field Guide to Customer Journey Mapping

Customer Journey Mapping
Shabnam Kakar

A customer journey map outlines all the interactions a customer or potential customer makes with your product, service offering, or overall brand. It’s a game-changing addition to any company in boosting sales and creating awesome customer relationships.

The purpose of customer journey mapping is to find out what a user’s goal is. What do they wish to achieve with your company? Use this information to help them accomplish their goal with your product or service offering, while also achieving your own conversion goals.

The concept is pretty straightforward, but depending on how many stages the user needs to go through and the number of interactions they have with your company’s various touchpoints, customer journey mapping can get real intricate, real fast.

Which is great. Really.

The more data we collect on someone, the better we can tweak the user experience to help them reach their goal.

By mapping out the steps and key interactions a user has on your website, for example, we can see how, when, and why they eventually land on the product or service you’re offering (if ever).

Customer journey maps tell you a holistic story about the user, allowing you to not only improve your conversions, but also learn more about them and better tailor your product or service to them. By observing and mapping their behavior, you can gain insights into the full user experience, beyond just where they click.

You’ll also be able to figure out their:

  • Thoughts and feelings
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Needs and wants
  • Pain points and frustrations
  • Goals and motivators
  • Questions, hesitations, or concerns
  • Expectations
  • Deciding factors

Customer journey mapping will give you a birds-eye view of the user journey, enabling you to see exactly when and where these various behaviors happen. This information will empower you to make the improvements necessary to ensure a long-term customer relationship.

Which teams benefit from customer journey mapping?

Customer journey mapping offers cross-departmental benefits for multiple teams in your company. Your marketing, sales, UX/UI, product and customer success teams (to name a few) can all reap major rewards from customer journey mapping.

Marketing

Your marketing team will benefit from a customer journey map because it’ll help them better understand the thoughts going through a user’s mind at the different stages of the sales funnel. This can help improve the quality and relevance of your marketing content and make your nurture programs more effective.

Sales

Customer journey mapping will give your sales team a detailed understanding of how the sales funnel looks, allowing them to generate ideas to improve the sales process flow.

When a user ends up at the decision-making stage, knowing exactly what motivated the user to get there will help your sales reps sell the company’s product or service more effectively.

UX/UI

UX/UI designers will have a clear understanding of what a user’s end goal is from the get-go, essentially lighting the way for them to create interfaces that users can navigate with ease and lead them directly to their goal.

Plus, customer journey maps will highlight exactly where to make improvements in your product experience as pain points are discovered.

Product

Similar to designers, product managers will benefit from customer journey mapping as it’ll allow them to see how users move through the product onboarding and pre-determine what the user’s end goal is. This helps them make updates and improvements to the product accordingly.

Customer success

Customer success teams can see what issues a user runs into after onboarding. With this information, they can continuously revamp the customer experience to set themselves apart from competitors and really “wow” users.

This is especially important as customers are becoming more and more experience-oriented, and their relationship with a company is now one of the biggest factors in their decision-making process.

These departments all play a special role in creating impactful relationships with your customers.

Rather than assume or guess a user’s experience, give these teams the data accumulated through journey mapping to empower them to improve pain points, add helpful content in appropriate areas, and enhance the overall customer experience.

Here’s how to make your own customer journey map.

You can make a customer journey map for just one part of a user’s journey, or an all-encompassing one covering the user journey from initial contact with your company to their long-term relationship.

The best thing is you don’t even need any fancy software to create an effective customer journey map. A spreadsheet, whiteboard, or some sticky notes will do just fine to get you started.

Don’t worry about making your customer journey map pretty—just focus on making it as informative as it needs to be.

Here are some examples of customer journey maps:

customer journey map example
customer journey map example
customer journey map example

As you can see, there’s more than one way to create a customer journey map. Over time, you’ll find what works best for you and your company.

It’ll definitely take some research, but it’ll be well worth the effort because the better you know your customer, the better you can serve them and the better your relationship will be.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started on customer journey mapping.

1. Define your buyer personas.

“Buyer personas are research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions. (Today, I now include where they buy as well as when buyers decide to buy.)”

Tony Zambito

Essentially, buyer personas are conventional representations of your customers, backed by data gathered about their behavior. They allow departments company-wide to get a better idea of who your customers are and then cater to them according to their unique goals and motivators.

2. Determine what the end goals are for each persona.

This is the ultimate purpose behind your customer journey map. There are different ways to gather the information you’ll need to do this.

Here are some ideas:

  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Asking for feedback
  • User testing
  • Customer service emails

3. Map out which touchpoints this persona would go through to reach their end goal.

Touchpoints are all the different places a user may come into contact with your company.

customer journey map

An easy way to do this is to input all the various touchpoints on individual cells or sticky notes and attach them to your buyer personas accordingly.

Pro-tip: Did you know you can actually get a bunch of valuable insights into your user touchpoints from Google Analytics? The Behavior Flow Report and Goal Flow Report are great places to start.

4. Use your customer journey map to improve customer relationships.

Here’s the fun part. Take a look at each stage in the customer journey and describe, in detail, what the user is experiencing.

Here’s a checklist of questions to help get the brain juices flowing:

In each stage of the customer journey...

  • What is the user’s goal? What is their motivation to keep going?
  • What actions does the user take? How do they get to the next stage from here?
  • Are there any gaps or pain points in the flow? Is it clear what the user must do to move forward? Is the UI confusing?
  • Does the user achieve their goal in this stage?
  • If the user doesn’t achieve their goal, what stopped them? What are the barriers?
  • How can any pain points or barriers be alleviated in the future?

The good thing about this checklist is that it’s focused on the user’s goal, not yours.

This is not to say your goals aren’t important, but rather that the customer’s goals should remain at the forefront.

As an organization, how can you help them reach this goal while also achieving your own? By aligning the user’s goals with those of the company, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone.

You’ll also be killing the customer relationship-making game.

Keep in mind that customer journey maps aren’t always linear. There’s no guarantee users will go orderly through the typical buying process to achieve their goal.

For example, a user might jump from the initial brand awareness stage straight to the decision-making stage.

That’s okay.

Remember, customer journey mapping is meant to be an outline, and buyer personas won’t cover every possible user. We’re dealing with humans here, not robots.

Customer journey mapping paves the way to long-term business success.

A good customer journey mapping process makes it easy for you to figure out what a user hopes to achieve with your company and how to help them get there.

By focusing on creating these positive customer relationships, you’re setting your customers—and your company—up for long-term success.

Customer journey mapping is not a cookie cutter solution. There are multiple ways to create an effective customer journey map and you’ll need to find what works best for your company.

Now that you’ve read all the way down to here, you should have a good handle on where to start.

Want to find out more about the importance of building strong customer relationships?

Learn about the Relationship Era and its impact on sales (and other) teams.