The ultimate guide for creating a customer journey map

Customer journey maps can help you better understand your customers, drive engagement, and increase brand loyalty.
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Long gone are the days when having a quality product could guarantee you the loyalty of your customers. Today, consumers not only have myriad ways of discovering new products, but they also have high expectations from the brands they interact with. 

Accessibility, responsiveness, and a personalised service are just a few of the things consumers expect from the brands they buy from. Getting this right requires a deft touch, which is where customer journey maps come in handy. 

Forward-thinking brands are already engaging with their audiences through social media and platforms such as Vamp. Since the customer journey is never a linear process, companies can benefit from mapping out all the touchpoints customers go through before hitting that coveted Pay Now button.

What is a customer journey map? 

A customer journey map is essentially a visualisation of all the steps and interactions a customer may experience—from when they first discover your brand, all the way to making a purchase and beyond. Of course, that journey can differ greatly, so it’s important to fully understand all the different ways customers engage with you and your content.

Why create a customer journey map?

Customer behaviours evolve all the time and the decision-making process for making a purchase is almost never linear. For example, a customer may visit your website and checkout an item, but then abandon their cart. They could talk to friends and family, check competitor websites, and eventually download your app several days later before making that final purchase. Having a clear vision of this process can help you target your messaging based on where each customer is in their journey.

What is the purpose of a customer journey map?

Your customer journey map is crucial to defining your buyer personas and the drivers that push customers to make a purchase. A college student who may be on the hunt for the cheapest deal will behave differently to a professional, who’s interested in the best value, rather than the best price.

Understanding these differences will allow you to tailor your messaging to each group’s needs and speak to their specific drivers. A customer journey map is also a great way to educate your team on how customers behave and what the team can do to better serve them.

If, for instance, you find that a lot of customers use your live chat option before finalising a purchase, you can train your support team on how to handle these situations in order to drive conversion. You can also look at why customers feel they need to use the chat option and what you can do to better answer their questions upfront.

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How to use a customer journey map

If you’ve done your research and created a detailed customer journey map, you can use this to inform your marketing campaigns, decide which ads to amplify or retire, and figure out what other services to introduce in order to wow your client base. 

It can give you an indication for which channels to focus on, and also identify the channels you may not need. 

For example, 80% of customers say they’re more likely to make a purchase when brands offer a personalised experience. Evaluating all the channels you operate across, you can identify which interactions throughout the journey can be personalised, and put greater emphasis on these in order to increase sales. 

How to create a customer journey map

The actual creation of the customer journey map is relatively easy once you have all the data you need. You’ll want to make sure you have a clear overview of your sales cycle, the different channels your customers use, and the different buying personas you’re selling to. Let’s look at the process step-by-step. 

What are the seven steps to mapping the customer journey?

#1 Define your goals

Start with the basics. Before venturing out on a long journey of data analysis and visualisation, set out a clear goal of what it is you’re trying to achieve. Do you seek to better understand your customers’ pain points, or identify your underperforming sales channels? Do you want to shorten the sales cycle or increase conversions? 

Having this information upfront will help you to stay focused when creating your customer journey map.

#2 Create buyer personas

If you haven’t done this already, defining your main buyer personas is a key part of drafting an accurate map. Say, for instance, you’re a beauty reseller and some of your target customers are busy professionals, while others are stay-at-home parents or retirees. All of these groups will have different communication requirements and will be using different channels to discover your brands. 

#3 Understand their pain points

Once you know your personas, you can better understand their pain points and the context in which they’re buying your products. For example, a parent of young children may be short on time, so may want to discover and buy something quickly online. 

A consumer who’s more detail-oriented, on the other hand, may be prepared to put in time to find the best quality product, at the best price. Both may end up buying the same product or service, but take a different journey to get there. 

Also, let’s not forget that the higher the price tag of the product, the more time consumers will need to make decisions, regardless of their personal circumstances. Understanding their particular pain points can be crucial to converting them.

#4 Look at your funnel stages

Most buyers go through three key stages: awareness, consideration, and conversion. However, what they do at each stage, or how long they stay there may differ between personas. Understanding this can help you better tailor your messages to move customers faster through the funnel.

#5 Identify your touchpoints

Any interaction a buyer has with your brand is considered a touchpoint. The more channels and digital tools you use, the higher the number of touchpoints. For example, it’s not uncommon for a consumer to discover a product via Instagram, then Google a brand, and look for reviews before finally heading to the brand’s website or store to purchase. 

#6 Collect data

Your customer journey map will be nothing more than a nice infographic if it’s not grounded in data. You need to track the right metrics (website clicks, conversions, email opens, etc.) in order to understand how each activity moves your customer intent forward. 

#7 Identify points of friction & areas for improvement

Your first customer journey map won’t be perfect. As you look at the data, you’ll most likely discover points of friction, or places in your sales funnel where people simply drop off. Use this information to refine your map and improve the customer journey experience. 

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How to create a customer journey map in PowerPoint 

PowerPoint comes with a whole suite of data visualisation features and existing templates, which you can use to create your customer journey map. If you have access to the Microsoft suite of office tools, just search for ‘customer journey’ or ‘marketing’ to browse existing templates.

Select the template you like the most, enhance it with your own brand colours and make the most of the advanced Smart Art visualisation options. Choose between Process, Hierarchy, Cycle, or Relationship to visualise different aspects of your customer journey map. 

Looking for an even easier option or don’t have access to PowerPoint? Scroll down for Vamp’s free customer mapping template.

How to create a B2B customer journey map

B2B customers may behave completely differently than B2C customers, so you’ll need to create a journey map for both. For instance, B2B customers may take longer to make a decision but look at fewer vendors, whereas a B2C client might be quick to convert, but look at dozens of other brands before they reach you.

Look at what your data says and how it translates to your customer journey map. Another thing to consider here is how your customers spend their time at work vs. outside of work.

While at work, they may be looking at comparison websites or industry publications. During their leisure time, they may be spending a lot of time on YouTube or Instagram.

Representing both avenues in your customer journey map can give you a more accurate picture of how your customers make decisions. 

Customer journey map for retail brands

Retailers rely on an increasing number of sales channels to reach consumers. All of these channels need to be represented in your customer journey, so make sure you keep tabs on them and update your map on a regular basis. 

For example, in the discovery phase, customers may hear about your brand through a podcast, social media ad, or while browsing similar products. 

Here, it’s important to have a clear picture of how your offline and online channels interact and what systems you need to have in place to enable seamless customer experience and data sharing.

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Customer journey map for eCommerce

Ecommerce is an integral part of many a business, but especially when it comes to DTC transactions. Frictionless eCommerce experiences can be the difference between a customer making a purchase or leaving your website, so it’s important to understand how easy or complicated it is to go through all the steps.

Professional user testing can be very helpful in identifying bugs or inefficiencies on your website. Make sure your customer journey map reflects the different ways you can encourage people to return to your website, or share their email via pop-ups or lead magnets.

How is that useful? For example, you may target people via email or social media ads once they’ve left your website, and encourage them to return and complete the purchase.

What are pain points in a customer journey map?

Pain points are the problems or needs your target customers have. Your customers’ pain points will dictate the solutions you’ll be offering to them. 

Say you’re selling a smart watch. One buyer may be concerned about their health and want a simple solution to track all their activities as they’ve struggled with overly complicated tech in the past. 

Another buyer may be a tech buff and love to impress their friends by wearing the latest tech. Yet another might just need a practical watch which they can use to check emails, take calls, and keep tabs on time and their daily step-count. 

The different pain points will guide what solution you offer to each of those customers. In the context of our template provided, we think about the specific pain points when thinking about ‘what they’re thinking’. 

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Customer journey map example and template

Here’s a simple customer journey map template, which you can use for your own business. This free customer journey map template can help get you started, but you’ll need to adapt it for your specific business. You can also convert it into PowerPoint format, where each touch point is an individual slide with specific insights from the data collected.

Customer journey map software 

Finally, if you’re serious about mapping your customer journey, then investing in dedicated software can help you easily gather all the necessary data, visualise it, and take the appropriate action. It will also allow you to easily adjust your customer journey map as your business, products, and services evolve. 

For instance, tools like Totango or Hotjar can help you both with the analytics and the visualisation aspects of customer mapping. Alternatively, a tool like Miro can be a great way to complete this exercise as a group task, even if your team is remote. 

Food for Thought

Responding to your customer needs and expectations is not an easy task. With a proliferation of new technology, various privacy implications, and an increased focus on personalisation, brands need to keep tabs on the ever-evolving customer journey to win trust and mindshare. 

Creating your customer journey map is a great place to start. That said, it should never be set in stone. Keep coming back to it every quarter to refine your strategy using the data and insights available to the business.

Ready to ramp up your marketing efforts to reach even more customers? Find out how to create your first campaign with Vamp.


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