Customer Journey Maps: A Day in the Life of a Customer

Originally published at: https://www.sitepoint.com/customer-journey-maps/

How do you measure customer engagement? Likes, clicks, and purchases are often the default metrics to turn to, but they don’t tell the whole story.

You need to know how much customers feel they’re in a relationship with your product, business or brand to truly measure customer engagement.

Is your product part of your customers’ daily lives? Does it fit harmoniously and instinctively into their world? Customer engagement is pivotal to UX design because of this, and one of the best tools to examine it is the customer journey map.

The customer’s perception is your reality. — Kate Zabriskie

What is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map examines the relationship between a customer and an organization, brand, or product over time. It’s a research-based tool which takes all touchpoints and channels of interaction into account.

Now, you might be wondering how this is at all possible when no two customer journeys are the same. Rest assured in the knowledge that the goal is not to map out every single customer journey; it’s to generalize and give an insight into the “typical” journey of a customer. Doing so will not only provide insight into current interactions, but also shed light on the potential for future interactions with customers.

Customer journey maps can help you explore what customers think, feel, see, hear and do in relation to your business. This makes them invaluable when trying to provide stakeholders with an education into what customers perceive when they interact with your business. They have the ability to raise some interesting “what if” questions, possible answers to them, and — ultimately — some ways to improve the overall user experience.

Adam Richardson of Frog Design puts it like this in Harvard Business Review:

The more touchpoints you have, the more complicated — but necessary — such a map becomes. Sometimes customer journey maps are “cradle to grave,” looking at the entire arc of engagement.

As you can probably tell, this means customer journey maps are incredibly powerful and relevant across your entire organization. They can help align colleagues across UX design, marketing, customer service, sales, and logistics departments (just to name a few!) and enhance the holistic understanding of how customers should be treated. In this way, customer journey maps can help to break down operational silos and start to get the wheels turning in regards to a wider, customer-focused communication strategy.

Some Preparation is Required

You will need to do some preparation to get the most out of your customer journey map. Before you start to create one, you should try to have an understanding of the following:

  • User personas: You won’t know if you’ve created a typical customer journey if you don’t know the general stories behind it.
  • Timescale: The length of a customer journey largely depends on the type of product it involves. You’ll want to know whether to measure the journey over a week, year, or lifetime before you start!
  • Customer touchpoints: What your customers do and how they interact with your brand.
  • Channels in which actions occur: Where your customers interact with the business — be it via email, social media, or in-person, for example.
  • Moments of truth: Any interaction during which a customer may form an impression of your brand or product are known as moments of truth.
  • Any other actors: Friends, family, or colleagues may influence how a customer feels about a brand or product, and may therefore alter the customer experience.

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