How to journey map for customers and your brand

Imagine you could write your customers’ destiny as an author does for a hero in a story. Wouldn’t it be great to understand the trials and tribulations they face? Wouldn’t it be better to guide them effortlessly to success?

We call this Journey Mapping. And in the wild, we have many names for it:

  • User Experience Journey
  • Customer Experience Journey
  • Experience Flow
  • Customer Journey Map
  • CJM

Whatever name you have for it, journey mapping is about uncovering and telling a story. Like all great stories, your character will progress at each step. And, as they do, they overcome various challenges through decision making. With empathy, we cater to our characters’ decisions. This gives us insight into why they do what they do. With this insight, we can deliver timely expectations and ways to exceed them. So, let’s dive right in and understand how to start journey mapping.

The process of journey mapping

What’s the beginning and the end?

Often, writers know exactly how they would like to start their story. They also know exactly how they want to end it. We want our hero to awaken his hidden powers. We also want him to marry the princess. In essence, this should be your starting point, too. Define what you want your customers to experience at each end of the funnel.

What are the main challenges to overcome?

With a universal view, you need to understand the twists and turns in your plot. In our story, our hero battles with a hoard of bad guys. He vowels to save the princess. Finds a master and trains his fighting ability. Overcoming struggles against the bad guys, his master falls. Then in a big showdown faces the boss. And finally, triumphantly rescues the princess. You can do the same for your customers by asking what happens next? If you don’t know, ask what happens before.

What actions do they repeat?

During your customers’ journeys, they may repeat certain activities. These loops present you with a wealth of opportunities. In our story, our hero may train several times to improve his chances of rescuing the princess. For your customers, they may visit the same web page before committing to buying. This can suggest that social proofing or a discount on that page may be a solution.

How do we make improvements?

Evidence, facts and truth make for a better story. If our hero had no need to train his fighting ability, he wouldn’t do so. There wouldn’t be any need to rescue the princess whatsoever. In the real world, with data and customer feedback you can understand their pain points. By understanding today, you can plan better for tomorrow. A continuous cycle of iteration allows you to pinpoint and amend past decisions.

What to do with an outline narrative?

By now you’ll have a basic understanding of your customers’ journeys. Included in this, you’ll understand emotional and behavioural hurdles. Brimming with ideas, you’ll know what actions they take to ease their pain. Our hero, although he’s training his fighting ability, the specifics are swordsmanship. The sword is long and heavy, meaning he needs to use both hands. He needs to work on his strength, agility and technique to wield it. 

How to communicate key insights

Like our hero, you’ll need to build upon what you know and define greater what you don’t know. It takes critical, creative and technical thinking to do this. You make the difference by uncovering those key insights. Our hero’s key insight is that the bad guys are creatures made from wood. Therefore, applying fire to his attacks aides his endeavours.

With journey mapping, you should see how your customers and organisation can benefit. We urge you to include all stakeholders as this generally creates a better outcome.

I have a customer journey map, now what?

Of course, there are behavioural and emotional factors of customers to consider. Yet, your organisation’s structural, cultural and systematic hurdles need factoring, too. The most effective way to create a journey map is to understand where you are and where you want to be. Yet, as a business, giant leaps in experience may cause more lost souls than desired. So, you also need to fill in the gaps to transition gracefully.

A process for scaling business capabilities

Business As Usual (BAU)

Knowing what happens today for your customers is important. Equally important are the business activities that facilitate your customers’ journeys. Understanding both allows you to match the desired results with your organisation’s competencies. Perhaps your systems are amongst a plethora of online services. CRM with one system, emails and website with another. At this point, you ideate and define the epitome of what you want to deliver looks like. We call this the Promised Land. Your end goal may be a unified approach contained within a single system.

Disruptive innovation

Once you know where you are and where you want to be, you can start plotting out the journey in-between. Moving from many systems to a single system can be costly and timely. There may be a disruption in services for your customers. Tactical planning means you whittle out the casualties of your decisions. It also means you make progress with every step forward. Over time, this new version of your business becomes business as usual. The major difference is that you’re leaps and bounds better than you once were.

Arriving at the Promised Land

Congratulations, it’s safe to say you’re at the furthest reaches of brand’s comfort. You’ve operated away from the constraints of yesterday and are making strides. Yet, this is no time to slow down the pace. This is the last stretch. You’re still on a journey to reach your Promised Land. Along with this path, you’ll need to continue uncovering opportunities for success. By ideating and iterating, you’ll solve your organisation’s needs. Getting to this point has taken courage and time. It’s not far to go. Now buckle up, you’re on your way to your brand of the future.

Summary

We see journey mapping as a path that has two roles. Your business and customers are intrinsic to each others’ success. When you consider each one at the same time, you produce greater results. It starts with your employees and your customers. The user experiences they share and the lasting impression they receive. That’s what it takes to raise your brand experience and why journey mapping gets you there.

And if you’re wondering, yes, the hero did defeat the boss and rescue the princess. 

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