What is Customer Journey Mapping?

Customer journey mapping (CJM) is a market research method used to identify and visualise the path that your customers take – or are taken along – when they engage with your brand, be it a bricks and mortar store or an online business.

The Customer Journey Map identifies the different touch points (the points where the consumer can ‘touch’ or interact with the brand) along the journey and details the nature of the customer’s experience at each one.

The ultimate purpose of the customer journey map is to identify and compare the touch-point-specific experience delivered by your brand with the one required by the customer – based on their behaviours, needs, expectations and capabilities.

The Customer Journey Map will subsequently enable you to:

Pin point the touch points where the gap between the required and delivered brand experience is significant enough to cause customers brand dissatisfaction or even brand rejection.

Identify precisely what is required to address the issue from the customer’s point of view.

Keeping it simple

In the case of a retail store a simple Customer Journey Map might capture:

the route(s) taken by customers as they enter the store, navigate its aisles, find the appropriate sections, select the brands they want, head to checkout, pay for their goods, pack them and leave.

The physical, emotional and sensory experience requirements of those customers at each touch point along the way.

Any gaps between experience requirement and delivery.

The impact that individual gaps may have on the customer’s shopping behaviour and attitude towards the brand.

Breaking down the shopping experience in this way enables the store to understand precisely where the issues are, how significant they are and their impact on the customer’s relationship with the brand.

If necessary, cost / benefit modelling, combined with further research can then be used to identify the ‘minimum’ solutions – the ones that create happy customers and improve average spend per head, at a cost that is attractive to the business.

Retail Journey Mapping projects undertaken by Brandspeak have resulted in a broad spectrum of initiatives being adopted by clients.

At the lower cost end of that spectrum these have included the repositioning of gondola displays and the addition of more intuitive signposting throughout the store.

More fundamental changes have included altering the store’s layout to make shopping progress easier for target customers, changing the nature of the training given to support staff so that they can focus on the issues of greatest importance to customers, altering the way fresh produce is displayed to make it more appealing, introducing more technology at key points to improve self-service, ‘theming’ of product displays and adding value to the customer’s check-out experience.

In reality of course, retail customer journey mapping is not nearly as straightforward as the above implies.

For example, customers will have a multitude of entry points: an advertising campaign; social media; referrals; internet searches; the high street.
The exit point of the journey will vary too; it may end with the customer making a purchase but it might also end at the Customer Services desk with the customer asking "how do I return this product?".

Depending upon the entry and exit points different customers will have different journeys and different physical and emotional experiences along the way. Each one of these may have a different effect on the motivational state of your customer.

How can customer journey mapping help your business?

Optimising the experience your brand provides is essential if business performance is to be maximised.

Yet even the most basic customer journey mapping exercise can deliver real value to the organisation by:

Providing a joined-up, business-wide view of your brand’s customer-facing interactions.

Identifying those touch points or experiences that are critical to the customer’s overall brand experience and thus offer the greatest ROI.

Identifying the touch points and experience issues that customers do not find important so that cost in those areas can be optimised.

Addressing the above can have a significant impact on brand image, reputation and word-of-mouth. Most importantly of all, it can increase rate of customer conversion, customer loyalty and profitability per customer.

When should you procure customer journey mapping consultants?

Customer experience design

The most obvious time is before you design a new customer experience. For example, if your company is about to launch a new service CJM is a must to understand and optimise the customer experience. Implementing a poor customer experience from the start can be extremely costly to fix so save time and money by investing in research during the design phase.

Understanding the experience of different consumer groups

Your current CX setup may only be suitable for a proportion of your customers. Consumer journey mapping carried out in conjunction with customer segmentation analysis can help to optimise individual touch points for maximum impact across all customer segments. e.g. how does your current customer experience design impact customers with physical disabilities?

Improving the efficiency of your customer experience design

You will most likely already have a customer experience strategy in place. However, your company may be spending both time and money on touch points that do not provide a sufficient ROI whilst neglecting touch points that would give a significant ROI. Customer journey mapping will identify these inefficiencies.

Business development impact assessment on user experience

As your business changes it is likely that these developments will indirectly impact it’s customer facing functions. Any substantial changes in business logistics, administration or structure should involve a customer journey impact assessment to monitor the effects of any changes and to make suggestions for changes to your customer experience design in order to ameliorate those impacts.

How can Brandspeak help?

We have over 20 years experience of CX research. We have worked in many industry sectors, from retail to local government; manufacturing to financial services. We have the experience to not only carry out CJM research but also to guide you through the process of implementation.
Find out how customer journey mapping can help your company.