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The Why and How of Customer Journey Mapping for Websites

customer journey mapping

Customer journey mapping started with brick-and-mortar store owners who wanted to understand how customers felt when interaction with their organisation. Now, as commerce increasingly moves online, your website is on the front-lines of the consumer experience and it is especially important to know what makes your buyers tick.


Customer Journey Map: What is it and why bother?

A customer journey map allows you to chart the interactions a customer has with your website, starting from first impressions, to the sale, and to a long-term relationship. Done the right way, customer journey mapping will allow you to see your business from the buyer’s perspective, understand their expectations and challenges, and make changes accordingly.

When your website isn’t converting like you want it to or you’ve had some complaints from customers, it’s time to understand more about them and what they’ve experienced. Customer journey mapping will allow you to learn about buyer motivations, identify gaps between devices or channels, and answer questions, making you a more effective marketer and sales person.


Important Vocabulary

Response: The customer journey map is about emotions and motivations. You can chart how you want your users to feel and respond with how they actually act and react.

Touch point: Any point at which a customer interacts with your website. This covers communications like adverts, phone calls, purchases, email newsletters, and so on.

Voting point: Any time when your customer may pause to evaluate their experience or where they decide whether to stay on your site or go.


How to Get Started With Customer Journey Mapping


1.     Define objectives

What is the scope of this project? Understand why you’re mapping the journey and what you want to achieve. This will help you narrow down who to target and what path to analyse.


2.     Map

Now that you’ve prioritised who and what to target, you can map out the ideal customer journey. What do you want to happen? Plot out the path a customer should make making note of every interaction or touch point. Agree on which steps are the voting points, where you can really make a difference on a user’s opinion or journey.

For every interaction, determine what you would ideally like your customer to feel, think, or do.


3.     Research

There are two types of research to consider: data research and anecdotal research. Use data from website and social media analytics or surveys to get an idea of what your users are already doing.

If you have front-line staff, either in stores or on customer service lines, ask them what problems customers have on a regular basis.

From there, it’s time to speak to your customer. Once you have defined the segments you wish to represent, recruit participants for interviews or ethnographies. Ask them what their likes and dislikes are, do some website usability testing to understand what they feel or where they struggle at each step of the process you want to understand.


4.     Analysis

The data you collected in step three should be overlaid with the map you created in step two. This is where you identify discrepancies and make a plan to address them.

All of the solutions should help you improve the customer experience on your website, and maybe even onto any other channels that you use to interact with customers.


5.     Apply the information

Use this information to improve your website, fill the gap between channels (both online and offline), or to speak to your buyer more effectively than you have in the past.


Final Thoughts

A customer journey map tells a story about your buyers – who they are, what they like and don’t like, and how you can get them down the path you want them to go. Keep the map as a reference for any future website changes (to give your designer context), copywriting (to answer questions users have), or any other content marketing strategies that may arise in the future.