While customer journey maps can help teams align brand offerings with the buying process, creating them can be challenging.
Creating customer journey maps is both an art and a science, as it forces CX teams to predict how the buying process will pan out, test their assumptions and respond accordingly. To understand how these maps function in practice, CX teams should explore real-world customer journey map examples. Although every buying process differs, understanding common approaches can help CX teams refine the journey across multiple touchpoints.
Why create a customer journey map?
"The top two reasons to create a customer journey map are to drive product adoption and determine areas of opportunity," said Scott Salkin, senior vice president and general manager at Gainsight, a customer success vendor.
Drive product adoption. CX teams must understand each customer's unique journey to drive product adoption and offer stellar CX. Teams should get a holistic view of customer interactions with the organization, their preferred products, features, milestones and strategies. A customer journey map offers a complete view of customers and helps identify key adoption indicators, determine areas of opportunity and decide where to allocate resources.
Find areas of opportunity. Customer journey maps can also visually represent every touchpoint and interaction a customer might have with the organization before, during and after the sales process. "Mapping these touchpoints step by step puts you in your customers' shoes, if only momentarily," Salkin said.
This view of customers helps pinpoint areas that may need improvement, are too complex or need more or less of a personal touch. This insight can benefit the full customer lifecycle, whether during an initial discovery session, onboarding or further along to ensure brands produce the value they promised and that customers expect.
What to include in a customer journey map
When building a customer journey map, CX teams should ensure they include the following points:
- Touchpoints. These points are places where a customer may interact with a business, including advertisements, social media channels, advertising, phone calls, mobile apps and in stores.
- Personas. A customer persona is an amalgamation of existing or desired customers based on common characteristics and behaviors.
- Customer feedback. A customer journey map is only a theory until CX teams test it against customer surveys and observed customer behavior.
- Multiple customer paths. CX teams must account for and include variations in how customers may interact with a brand and include these variations in response to new data.
Real-world customer journey map examples
Explore four examples of customer journey maps in action and how they have benefitted various organizations' CX strategies.
An easier path to education
Michael Fisher, CEO at CX consultancy 3radical, worked on a customer journey mapping exercise for a company that runs alternative education schools and programs in several U.S. states.
To start, the educational firm evaluated and discussed the potential history, challenges, values and language around how prospective students and parents would approach schools' value propositions. Then, the firm developed relevant content to resonate with its target audiences. But prospective customers never saw much of this content.
The CX teams involved began to focus on the specific point when prospects came to the firm's website. The firm already knew its prospective customers' considerations when choosing a school and had the right content to emphasize why a particular program was best, so it developed a small journey map to drive customers to the right content at the right time.
This map revealed the need to understand whether a prospect was a student or a parent, where they were in the decision process and what was most important to them. This information helped personalize content to match those responses in real time.
As a result, prospective customers saw more and better targeted content, which benefitted enrollment and improved feedback. More leads were able to make and explain their yes or no decisions -- rather than bouncing from the page.
Creating the right message
Another customer journey map example highlights how brands can personalize messaging and outreach efforts through automated feedback. "Having a customer journey map will help you to create the right message at each stage of the journey, but you still need a way to deliver this message at the right time and to the right contact in your database," said Kashif Naqshbandi, chief marketing officer at Revolent Group, a cloud talent creation service.
Kashif NaqshbandiChief marketing officer, Revolent Group
Revolent Group adopted Salesforce Pardot to build and automate its customer journey maps.
"Not only does it help us to map out these journeys, but it also automates the messages that are sent and gives a rating to each customer, according to their level of engagement," said Naqshbandi.
For example, Pardot says when a lead is ready to convert, which tells the sales team to call that person. It also informs teams when leads have gone cold and when to remove them from the journey. "Each dollar that we spend today is worth at least twice as much as spent before we implemented this tool," Naqshbandi said.
Filling in the gaps
When Raymond Mahon, director of customer success at Moov Technologies, joined the company, one of his first projects was to create a customer journey map to identify gaps in outreach efforts and improve sales.
He met with the sales and product teams to create a framework and targeted survey questions for the company's global client base. "Out of that, we were able to determine exactly where the pain points were down to the customer type and region," he said.
This work revealed that they scored lower on the handoff between sales and customer success with clients in Asia. So, Mahon's team decided to branch out with satellite employees in Taiwan to increase customer service to 24 hours a day. "Since then, we have had zero issues in that region," he said.
Rachael Acker, vice president of experience and strategy research at Mad-Pow, a design consultancy, worked with an insurance company to map out the care journey for its out-of-area members. This work required Acker's team to understand how journeys interplayed across multiple participants in the process, including members, care providers, insurance plans and employees.
"Our mapping of the intersection of these different groups revealed complex, interdependent and nuanced relationships that impact our client's ability to maintain, enhance or break their brand promise to the customer," Acker said. This process helped the insurance company identify critical pain points, who was responsible and solutions to fix the issue.