Mapping out your customer’s journey LONG before they take the trip

In the era of GPS and Google Maps, most people trust their technology to get them where they want to go. Gone are the days of pouring over AAA maps and highlighting routes. Today’s customers expect the journey to be an easy one because they are given clear, turn-by-turn instructions to get where they need to go. How your customers interact with your business is no different. If they encounter roadblocks on your website when trying to place an order, or find a retail store layout confusing and disjointed, they’ll often retreat and find a simpler path.


What is a customer journey map?

Marketing agencies have long used customer journey maps as a way of identifying the best way to seamlessly guide customers through the process of doing business. Like any journey, they involve research, planning and clear, concise direction on how to go from a customer’s initial interaction with a business, to purchase, to forging a trusted long-term relationship. While it sounds simple, customer journey maps can be very detailed and very specific, addressing every touch point a customer has with a business. They consider everything from marketing and referrals, to search engine optimization and social media, to traditional advertising campaigns and customer service touch points. No one likes surprises (unless it’s their birthday) and a well-crafted customer journey map can help avoid any negative surprises and build positive customer experiences and testimonials.


Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes.


As any business owner can attest, it can be difficult to see your business through the eyes of your customers. It’s oftentimes hard to think through your customer’s journey from beginning to end. And, we all know what our original intention was for each touch point, but that intention may not always translate. Plus, messages can drift over time. Likewise, a brand-new business has yet to gather enough data to really assess customer experiences, making a customer journey map for start-ups even more critical. Customers want to connect with your brand. They want it to be easy and rewarding to do so, and they’ll thank you through positive reviews and return visits to your place of business or website.


What are the main benefits of a customer journey map?

Not only do customer journey maps help reveal silos or bottlenecks in your business’ processes, they also provide the necessary guidance across many touch points, putting your customers at ease and building trust. Benefits include:

  1. Focusing on changes needed at varying stages of the sales funnel.

  2. Making sure your customer’s journey is in a logical order.

  3. Showing you how your customers see your business.

  4. Bringing an outside perspective to your sales process.

  5. Helping you to prioritize on where opportunities exist and minimize challenges.

  6. Showing where gaps exist between what you want your customers to experience and what is the reality of what they experience.

  7. Compelling you to focus efforts and dollars on maximizing the overall effectiveness of customer interaction and satisfaction.


Leave no stone unturned.

It’s not just about the way your customers interact with you in real-time. An effective customer journey map should focus on everything your customer comes into contact with regarding your business. This includes everything like packaging and manuals, point-of-purchase displays, public relations, mass marketing campaigns, how you talk to prospects and customers on social media, and much more. It should also include data-driven decision making from sources like CRM systems and Google Analytics tied to your website. All of these things, when taken into consideration along with the actual buying process, can give you a crystal-clear picture of what your customers like about doing business with you. More importantly, it also shows you what they don’t like —giving you a clear path to improvement.


Better understand the demographics and psychographics of your customers:

A thorough customer journey map helps you not only target the right customer, but also to ensure you’re offering your products and services to them in a way they prefer. Researching the wants and needs of your customer targets helps you create a customer journey that fits with the expectations of those specific markets.


Top marketing agencies like St. Petersburg-based Thompson Marketing Partners has successfully designed customer journey maps for clients that give them a clear snap-shot of where their operation and customers can come together for a great, repeatable experience. Thompson Marketing Partners also offers a full range of marketing services and are experts in developing and executing strategic digital marketing solutions that help you realize more effective customer journeys. To learn more, visit http://www.thompsonmarketingpartners.com.

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