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How to create an effective customer journey map

Posted by Perceptive Insights Team - 16 June, 2015

Do you really know the pain points for your customers? Being a successful customer-led business means having a framework for understanding the customer journey i.e. how people experience your business end-to-end. Here's what you need to know.

What is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a framework that maps out the stages in your customer's life cycle, telling your customers' story from start to finish.

From the initial contact, it follows through the process of engagement into a long-term relationship. Primarily, it identifies the key interactions a customer has with your business.

It can touch upon the feelings, motivations and questions your customers have at each touch point, and give a sense of what your customers want and what they expect from your business.

Example: A lead may begin their relationship with your business by viewing a physical advertisement, which prompts them to visit the website.

They then download an ebook and enter a nurturing funnel, occasionally visiting and digesting regular blog articles.

Eventually, they convert to a customer following a sales call, completing their journey—or, rather, sending them back to the beginning of the map.


Why you need a customer journey map

Many businesses operate solely on a touch-point basis, instead of delivering a holistic, end-to-end experience for their customers. Journey stages include onboarding, problem resolution and renewal through functions (or business units) such as product, marketing, retail and customer care.

Research from McKinsey shows that customer touch points do matter—however full journeys matter more. Companies that focus on delivering an end-to-end customer journey are 30 per cent more strongly correlated with positive business outcome. 

In their research, businesses that focused on journeys had 36 per cent higher customer satisfaction levels, willingness to recommend was 28 per cent higher, the likelihood to cancel went down by 33 per cent and likelihood to renew grew by up by 19 per cent.

Basically, if your business focuses on delivering a full end-to-end experience, you have a higher chance of being successful.


Related content: Grow your business with NPS



A customer journey map drives business growth by helping you:

  1. Make the right decisions: A well thought-through customer journey map allows you to focus in on making the right decisions. It can ultimately build your business objectives for the year. You’ll know what’s working and what isn’t, and where your biggest gaps are.

  2. Create a powerful product roadmap: A journey map helps you get those "aha!" moments you've been craving. When you sit down and actually map out how your customers use and explore your product or service offerings, you'll soon see where your business should be focusing their efforts. Naturally, you can treat your customers better if you understand what role your business plays in their journey. 

  3. Prioritise your deliverables: When there are lots of things going on, the tendency can be to try and do it all or let things slip. A solid customer journey map can help you with prioritising what’s important to save those all-important customers.


Related content: Harness design thinking to improve your customer journey


5 questions to ask to create an effective customer journey map

We’ve talked about how vital a customer journey map is to a business and why it is crucial that you have one. But where to start? A good starting point is to really immerse yourself in the customer experience. We’ve listed the five things we’ve found work the best in the thought process.

  1. Who are your customers? Who is your customer and what is their need? Where are they in their life stage, and how does that affect the solutions (savings, superannuation, life insurance etc) you can provide them?
  2. What do your customers want? In any interactions you have with your customers, think about why they’re contacting you in the first place. Knowing what they want will help with knowing what they expect from you.
  3. Where have your customers been just before? Customers are always on a longer journey and you won’t be the first one of their touchpoints. You need to understand where you fit into the wider puzzle in order to work out how important you are and how you can serve them better. 
  4. What will your customers do straight after? Customers may interact with your company but then their journey continues. What they do next will help you see how you can best help them along.
  5. What will make your customers happy? Instead of focusing on only satisfying their basic and immediate needs, consider what would provide them with the most positive experience they could have in satisfying these needs.

To answer these questions, do as much research as possible, both qualitative and quantitative. 

Flesh out the key findings. Ask yourself these questions: What will make the biggest difference to how your business operates today, where can you make the most impactful changes? And what will be really useful for your senior leadership team?


Free resource: Map your customer journey with our downloadable template.


Want to learn more? Download our free guide Powerful Leadership Strategies to Drive Business Growth through Customer Experience.

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Topics: Customer Experience

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