Customer journey mapping

Customer Journey Mapping: How to Understand Each Stage of Your Customer’s Experience

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Today we’re talking about Customer Journey Mapping. Customer Journey Mapping enables you to understand and explore what is happening for your customers at each stage of their experience. This exercise creates a foundation for deeper examination of underserved customer needs in specific spots or across the entire customer experience. For example, you might choose to look closely at barriers to consumption, hurdles to satisfaction, or compare the experience you provide to your competitors.

Creating a customer journey map is easy. To start, you’ll need felt tip markers, sticky notes, a whiteboard and your imagination. If you’re familiar with using sticky notes, and post-up exercises, you’ll have an easy time with this exercise. It’s helpful to have a large workspace (preferably horizontal) to create the journey.

Start by identifying the customer journey you’d like to map. First, you or your team can write down all of your customers (and noncustomers). You may have demographic research, but it’s helpful to avoid traditional segmentation. List them all, then choose which group seems the most promising. Doing this exercise for noncustomers can be helpful, too. Their journey will end before the purchase stage of course, but knowing the experience they’ve had and where and why they don’t purchase can point to additional opportunities.

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Once you’ve identified your customer, write down as many experiences (and touchpoints) as you can think of for their entire journey. This may take some time, but it’s worth it. If you’re working as a team, share your ideas one at a time, posting your sticky notes on the wall. Once everyone has shared, assemble similar experiences into groups, then arrange the groups in chronological order starting with the first customer touch point. As you work through this exercise, you may think of additional activities–write them down and place them on the board, too.

Now for the fun part. Identify the dimensions of the experience you’d like to explore. There is no limit to the dimensions or lenses that you place on the experience. Some common categories include: needs (functional, emotional and social), pain points and barriers to consumption, hurdles to satisfaction, moments of “wow,” even time required to work through the touch point. Don’t overwhelm yourself, select no more than three dimensions to start. You can always add more dimensions later.

Related: The Art of Opportunity: How to Play, Crafting Your New Venture’s Strategy

Now go back and fill in the details of the dimensions you’ve selected for each stage. Be as specific as possible. Work in teams or individually. When complete, discuss as a group to capture additional insights.

Where could you improve the experience? Where could you meet a customer need? Make detailed notes.

When complete, discard duplicate ideas and create a visual version of the journey to share with your team and stakeholders. You’ll want to revisit your the customer journey map as you progress. Similar to persona maps, don’t forget to complete the exercise for other customers and noncustomers and return to it often.

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