September 2, 2022

A Practical Guide to Customer Journey Mapping

In today’s world, businesses must fight a battle of perception vs. reality when it comes to customer experience. The best idea in the world is worthless if your customers don’t see value in it. Even more importantly, you may think your company is performing exceptionally well in a specific area, however, if your customers don’t agree with your interpretation, then you’ve got some work to do.

Plus, research tells us that this is the case more often than most companies would like to think. For example, according to Twilio, “While 85% of the businesses studied by Twilio Segment believe they are offering personalized experiences, only 60% of consumers seem to think that’s the case.”

To that end, by failing to personalize the experience, your conversions are likely to pay the price. The Baymard Institute shares that the average e-commerce cart abandonment rate is almost 70%, which means that something about your personalization may not be hitting right. Alternatively, it could mean that your cart abandonment sequences aren’t personal enough to close the sale.

So how do you overcome the difference between perception and reality? Ensuring that you can deliver on your customer expectations and maximize your conversion rate requires creating a customer journey map and talking to your customers.

But what does that entail? And how can you ensure that your customer journey map is accurate and relevant to your business goals?

With these questions in mind, we’re diving into customer journey mapping and the possibilities they create for your business.

What is a Customer Journey Map?

According to the Service Design Show, a customer journey map is “a visual representation of the activities and situations a customer goes through before, during, and after engaging with a service.” In other words, customer journey maps give you insights into the entire customer lifecycle and what they’re feeling at each stage.

As a result, these documents are crucial for modern organizations. They help understand how your customers interact with your company, identify friction points, and optimize the customer journey to ensure that your audience has a consistently exceptional experience.

After all, as McKinsey explains, “consistency on the most common customer journeys is an important predictor of overall customer experience and loyalty.”

It’s important to note that your customer journey map should be a living document. The market is always changing. In turn, this means that your research into customer journeys must be ongoing. Maintaining a Product Mindset helps ensure that every optimization or new release solves for need, minimizes time to value, and excels at change.

The Value of a Consistent Customer Experience

McKinsey research states that “a company’s performance on journeys is 35% more predictive of customer satisfaction and 32% more predictive of customer churn than performance on individual touchpoints.”

What this ultimately means is that your customer journey is greater than the sum of all its parts. While you should absolutely be aware of opportunities to improve individual touchpoints, you cannot do so in isolation. Instead of optimizing the journey one portion at a time, keep in mind how they relate to the entire journey to deliver a consistent experience for your customers.

With that in mind, these statistics further illustrate why the cost of not focusing on CX is higher than you should be willing to tolerate:

  • Customers value a better experience. Forbes tells us that customers are willing to pay 10% more for great CX.
  • Your audience will keep coming back after a great experience. According to CMSWire, CX drives over two-thirds of customer loyalty.
  • Despite most businesses’ best efforts, Salesforce shares that 51% of customers say most companies fall short of their expectations for a great customer experience.

These statistics point to a valuable takeaway—customer experience is a competitive advantage that you can’t afford to miss out on. And the first step in achieving it is using customer journey mapping tools to analyze your CX.

How to Create a Customer Journey Map

Because companies must constantly weigh perspectives against realities, customer journey maps must include detailed information on:

  • Customer lifecycles
  • Customer activities and situations
  • Customer needs
  • Customer experience

As you create your customer journey map, you’ll want to follow this process:

  • Step 1: Identify your goals, the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll measure success, and how frequently you’ll review them.
  • Step 2: Identify your target customer and the stage of the journey you’re mapping first. By focusing on priority areas, you can minimize time to value.
  • Step 3: Draw on User/UX research, including surveys and user data, to map the experience from the customer’s perspective and identify what you see as critical touch points.
  • Step 4: Analyze the data and identify the “low-hanging fruit” that presents a low-effort, high-impact opportunity to improve the CX. This gives you a starting point for quick wins that make a big difference.

From there, it’s all about choosing a problem that delivers value and can do so quickly. The next step is continually iterating to release new features and improvements based on ongoing feedback.

Using a Customer Journey Map to Improve Customer Experience

The stakes have never been higher for businesses than in today’s increasingly digital marketplace. For companies to remain competitive on the global stage, they must take the time now to identify and act on opportunities to improve customer experience. By prioritizing customer needs, they can become more agile and adapt to changing market conditions—and gain a competitive advantage. Better yet, you can turn your client base into superfans and ensure that they remain dedicated customers for years to come.

3Pillar Global’s team of experts can help you overcome the difference between perception and reality by aligning your CX with your customers’ needs. Contact us today to find out how we can work together to create a customer journey map and a more consistently high-touch customer experience.

Special thanks to these members of FORCE, 3Pillar’s expert network, for their contributions to this article.

FORCE is 3Pillar Global’s Thought Leadership Team comprised of technologists and industry experts offering their knowledge on important trends and topics in digital product development.

Customer Experience (CX)
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