You know your sales process from start to finish. You also know your product or service like the back of your hand. But while your customer touchpoints may feel flawless from your point of view, jumping into your clients' shoes may reveal a different perspective. Completing a customer journey map template can show you what shoppers really experience when they enter your sales funnel, so you can improve the client experience.
Customer journey maps are visual representations of how your clients interact with your business. They help you shift into a client-focused perspective to discover how they feel and what drives them to buy at every stage.
We'll provide a six-step journey mapping process, so you can optimize your sales and support channels and humanize your brand.
How to Create a Customer Journey Map
No two clients are exactly the same. Even their starting points in the sales funnel can be completely different.
To build the most complete and accurate storylines possible, many businesses create customer journey maps for each unique buyer persona they want to target. This way, you can better meet each customer's needs.
Given that the average churn rate for online retailers exceeds 20%, improving customer support is a crucial move for boosting long-term retention and conversions.
Here are six steps you can take to complete your first customer journey map:
1. Set Your Goals
Setting objectives for your customer journey map can help you stay focused on the right customer persona and accurately visualize a journey that's relevant to your goals. To help you set clear goals, you can answer questions like these:
- What segment of my audience am I creating a map for?
- How can I define them based on their demographics, psychographics, and locations?
- What is the final action the customer will achieve on my map?
- What do I want to learn about my clients through journey mapping?
Answering these questions will help you determine what customer journey map template to use in the next step.
Ideally, you should complete this step (and the rest of the journey mapping process) with a cross-functional team, which is a group of employees from various departments of your company. By bringing together diverse employees, you can draw from their unique interactions with clients. For example, a marketer who engages with loyal followers on social media offers a different perspective than a support team member who largely works with dissatisfied clients.
2. Identify the Right Customer Journey Map Template
Different customer journey maps can serve different purposes and reveal unique aspects of the client mindset. To help you create an effective customer journey map template — or find a free online template — we'll explain the purpose of three common map types and what they normally include.
Type 1: Current State
The most common type of customer journey mapping, current state mapping reveals how your current customers interact with your brand right now. This way, you can visualize:
- What actions clients are taking
- What they’re feeling or thinking
- What channels they’re engaging with you on
Using your new empathy, you can pinpoint new ways to improve the customer's experience.
Here's an example of a current state customer journey mapping template:
Type 2: Future State
Future state mapping is similar to current state mapping and can use the same customer journey mapping template. However, instead of visualizing how customers currently interact with you, this process is about mapping your ideal customer journey. This type of map allows your team to brainstorm new customer touchpoints and strategies to make those interactions happen in real life.
It's important for customers to complete a current state map before creating a future state one. Otherwise, you won't be able to visualize the steps you need to take to close the gap between the two.
Type 3: Day in the Life
Day in the life mapping takes a broader look at how customers think and behave. Instead of zooming in on their experiences with you, day in the life maps look at their day-to-day life, so you can see where their interactions with your brand fit in.
This type of customer journey map can help you identify unaddressed pain points, opportunities to engage, and more ways to create a more valuable user experience.
Here's an example of a day in the life customer journey map template:
3. Collect Customer Feedback and Data
Once you know which customer journey map template you need to use, start collecting the feedback and data you need to complete it. This step will help you avoid inaccurate assumptions and ensure your map is backed by facts. Some methods you can use include:
- Conducting surveys (in-person or online) with clients who fit your target buyer persona
- Sending questionnaires to team members who regularly interact with customers
- Using ServiceBell to see how your clients browse in real time
- Using Google Analytics to pull data about your website traffic
- Browsing review sites or social media platforms for user opinions
Take note of any observations that are relevant to your customer journey map template and goals.
4. Identify Your Key Touchpoints
Next, work with your team to identify all your customer-facing channels, including customer service, marketing, and sales channels. Then, identify the touchpoints at which clients are actually engaging with your brand. Both of these steps will help you fill out the "touchpoint" and "opportunities" sections of your customer journey map template.
5. Complete Your Customer Journey Map Template
Now that you understand your clients and their journey at a deeper level, you can start filling out your customer journey map template.
To start, break the customer journey down into at least three key stages. For example, a current or future state map can utilize these five stages: awareness, consideration, intent, purchase, and loyalty. A day in the life map instead breaks down the journey into times of the day, like early morning, work day, after work, and night.
Once you know the different stages you want to include in your map, start completing the rest of your template. Be specific about the emotions clients are feeling, the actions they're taking, and their touchpoints with your brand at each stage. This way, you can best reveal your opportunities to improve.
6. Analyze What You Need to Do to Improve
To make your customer journey map actionable, you need to turn your opportunities and weaknesses into tasks, like simplifying the onboarding process or decreasing lead response times. Start identifying the steps you need to take to improve and delegate relevant actions to the right team members.
Before you make changes, identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that can tell you if your updates are actually improving the client journey.
Improve the Customer Experience With Customer Journey Mapping
Improving customer retention is easiest when you fully understand the client point of view. To jump into your customers' shoes, you can create a customer journey map, which gives a visualization of the pros and cons of your sales process. As you start to empathize with clients and spot your opportunities for improvement, your team can eliminate the roadblocks in the buyer's journey to increase customer success.
To improve the accuracy of your customer journey maps, sign up for a free ServiceBell plan to chat with customers face-to-face or see how they browse in real time.