What is a Customer Journey Map, what it is used for and how to create it

Some of the fundamental questions all businesses should ask themselves are: how do users use our product? What are the actions they take before making a purchase or filling out a form? Where do most of them give up browsing or move on to something else?

Whether it is a digital company or a more traditional business, a Customer Journey mapping can be a great way to learn more about what users are doing with our product, no matter if it is a site, an app or a solution. It also helps us to know where users make their decisions, whether or not to buy our product/service.

The implementation of a tool such as the Customer (or User) Journey Map will be very useful in decision-making based on the effective use of our products by users. Such decisions are to be taken not just with regards to design and user experience but also to marketing and sales from which we can then extract valuable information about users who are actually interacting with our products.

What is a Customer Journey Map

A Customer Journey Map can be defined as the visualization of the processes that a person goes through to reach a target. In other words, the analysis represents the mapping of all the points (touchpoints) that users touch to arrive at the conclusion of a process. It will therefore be very important to define the goals that you want to examine, whether it is the purchase of a product, the completion of a contact or registration form or a request for quote.

In its most basic form, the Customer Journey Map consists of compiling a series of user actions on a timeline. This temporal sequence is then increased with users’ thoughts and sentiment, in order to build a storytelling. The storytelling (or narration) is finally condensed and synthesized, leading to a visualization of the entire flow.

So, basically, the Customer Journey Map is a process that shows how a user interacts with a product and allows everyone, both designers and business decision makers, to see a product from the user’s point of view.

What problems the use of Customer Journey Map can help solve

Now that we have defined the meaning of Customer Journey Map, let’s see what are the issues and problems that this type of analysis can help solve. First of all, with the Journey Map we start from the user’s point of view and this encourages a more final user-centered approach, already starting from the design phase (or redesign) of a product.

Furthermore, the Customer Journey Map answers all questions such as “What if…”, which are fundamental questions for product teams, in order to make key decisions in the design and development of features. Finally, the Customer Journey Map can be helpful for keeping track of quantitative KPIs, or rather performance indicators handy for marketing and sales teams, as well as for product teams, with the aim of progress monitoring and drawing important strategic recommendations.

customer journey map nielsen norman group
(sources: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/customer-journey-mapping/)

The 8 points of the process

Before starting with the creation of a Customer Journey Map, it is important to define your business goals, so that the process will help to align your business with the user’s objectives. Let’s see what are the fundamental points of a Customer Journey Map, on which to build our model. https://uxplanet.org/a-beginners-guide-to-user-journey-mapping-bd914f4c517c

  1. Define the scope

The purpose of a Customer Journey Map can range from a high-level mapping, which shows the end-to-end user experience, to a more detailed mapping, which sets out a specific interaction, such as paying a bill, or a monthly subscription to a service, or an upgrade to a higher subscription.

  1. Create User-Personas

Who is your user? In a Customer Journey Map, it is essential to define the main actor of the journey based on the information we have about our users. This aspect is crucial in order to avoid formulating false hypotheses. This is why it is essential to start from careful research of our target audience. The methods used are varied: below we list some the very common ones:

  • Interviews with our real users
  • Creation and conduction of contextual surveys
  • Setting up a poll among your users and analyze the results.
  1. Define the scenario and Users’ expectations

The third preparatory point to the Customer Journey Map is the definition of the scenario that describes the situation to cope with, which can be real or anticipatory. This step can be used to determine the hypothesis of a new implementation or functionality of your service/product to be integrated. For example: adding a new payment method among those available on your e-commerce. Another crucial point is to set user-personas expectations.

  1. Create a touchpoint list

Touchpoints are the user’s interactions with the product/service, or rather the actions that the user performs on our platform. Their definition, both of the main ones and those of the associated channels, are of great importance.

  1. Define Users’ intentions and interaction methods

What are the problems that our product/service solves? What are the reasons that bring users to interact with our product? Different types of users will have different needs and ways of interacting. This necessarily leads to different browsing paths, for any path it is crucial to understand:

  • Motivation: what drives users to interact?
  • Access channels: where does the interaction take place?
  • Actions: the behaviors and steps taken by users
  • Weaknesses: what are the obstacles that users have to overcome.
  1. Draw Users’ Journeys

Once all the data has been collected and pieces are put together, we can start drawing the actual Journey Map of the users, in a step-by-step interaction format. Each step must define a user’s experiences and interactions with the product/service or with other people.

  1. Consider Users’ reactions for each step

For each interaction, it is then necessary to take into consideration the sentiment and reaction of users. This will help designers and other professionals to connect emotionally with their users. For this reason, it is important to draw the ups and downs of each process of users’ journey, in order to highlight the areas of the process that require more intervention.

  1. Validate and refine the Customer Journey Map

All Customer Journey Maps should tell true, non-made-up, stories. This is the main reason why every map should be validated. Among the most valid and widespread methods are the usability test sessions and the analysis with tools that allow you to map user behavior (heatmap or screen recording). Collecting and analyzing user behavior data is the best way to make sure the theorized Journey Map looks like a real-world use case.

Even after the product/service validation and implementation (or update), user data analysis remains an aspect of utmost importance, both for corrective and improvement actions.

Conclusions

In conclusion, we can say that the main goal of a Customer Journey Map is to create a shared vision, not only for designers and programmers, but for all the teams that deal with that product. Through this tool we will allow everyone to look at the product from the point of view of the end user, and to use this precious information that we have obtained from all stages, which means from the creation to the promotion of the product.

Daniele Cattaneo

UI Manager @ Bytek (Datrix Group)

The passion for graphics accompanied him on the period of his engineering studies, during which he co-founded ByTek (Datrix group) where he now holds the role of Head of UI. He is a lecturer for Talent Garden’s Master in Digital Marketing Essential. Passionate about sports, nature, music, craft beer and outdoor life.

4 March 2022

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