If you want to create a holistic view of your consumer’s experience, use the Customer Journey Map. It is a combination of storytelling and visualization of user needs. These elements are two powerful toolkits that will help your team to focus directly on human behavior factors such as thoughts, actions, and emotions that are more likely to take place at the first connection with your product.

What Is a Customer Journey Map?

It is a research-based UX-design and marketing tool that reflects the customer’s engagement with your product and brand in general. Despite the map is personalized for each audience so all journeys are different, you can highlight signs of “typical customer journey”. Needless to say, this allows you to collect valid information about the current and potential interactions with consumers.

Properly created journey map reveals the path that your client go through engagement with your products or services.

As a result, it will develop a process of insightful orientation on a customer’s needs.

How to Create a Customer Journey Map?

First and most importantly, your preparations should start with the collection of the necessary information. It includes:

•  Determining timescales of the journey map: you should use time frames to create a customer journey map suitable for your needs and goals;

•  Researching your user’s personas;

•  Revealing the touchpoints (moments in the journey when the user interacts with a brand (or products);

•  Understanding the channels of the interactions with your brand: (a method by which the user communicates with your brand (social media, stores, etc);

•  Finding out all the influences at the customer’s experience (friends, family, colleagues, etc.);

•  A plan for “moments of truth” (the stage when a user interacts with a product or service to form or change his impression about a particular brand).

After you are done with gathering the information, follow these 8 steps to develop your customer journey map:

1.  Establish the business goal that your journey map will support: who will use it, how can you share the results.

2.  Analyze current user research: use existing research data, check if it is relevant and based on truth and come up with new creative solutions how you can receive gap research information.

3.   Review touchpoints and channels of interaction.

4.  Create an Empathy Map: analyze and concentrate on your customer’s feelings, thoughts, questions, responses, and feedback while he or she interacts with your product.

5.  Build an affinity diagram: the idea is to consider every concept you have touched on, to create a diagram which connects all these concepts, to group ideas in categories and to label them. Then, when you recognize that the concept doesn’t have any impact on the customer at a particular stage, you can eliminate it from the scheme.

6.  Visualize the customer journey: You can show the journey map at any form or shape you want: as an aesthetic graphic diagram, timeline, audio- or video content. The idea is to show the customer’s path through touchpoints and channels across the time frame, how he or she feels about each interaction on that journey. The visualization should include the results of your empathy map and affinity diagram.

7.  Iterate and produce: hire a graphic designer at this stage to make your sketches visually appealing to stakeholders and team members.
8.  Distribute and utilize the journey map: show the results to your team, explain why it’s important, use the received data.

The Skeleton of Customer Journey Maps

Despite a wide variety of forms, all journey maps generally consist of the following  elements:

  • Point of view – the “actor”, the central person of the journey map. Use one point of view per one map to provide a strong narrative;
  • Scenario: the next step will be to decide the specific experience to map (an existing journey to analyze pros and cons of a current either a “future” experience for a product or service that doesn’t exist yet); clarify the user’s goal during the interaction;
  • User’s actions, mindsets, and emotions, based on qualitative research (field studies, contextual inquiry, and diary studies). The granularity of representation can vary based on the purpose of the map;
  • Touchpoints and channels;
  • Insights and ownership. Any insights from journey mapping should be noted. Also assigning ownership for different parts of the journey map helps to divide responsibilities on each aspect of the customer journey and empowerment to change.

The main purpose of the journey-mapping process is revealing small and big gaps in the user experience and taking actions on optimizing it. Creating customer journey maps doesn’t involve a lot of effort, yet it makes possible insight into the user experience and allows stakeholder and team member to improve it. Mapping yields a deep understanding of the situation from the user’s side. The knowledge about positive and negative details of user interaction with your business helps you to create a product or service that better fulfills your client’s needs.

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