How to maximize your UX with a Customer Journey Map

What is the single most important tool for a UX designer? It is not a computer, a software program, nor is it Photoshop. Without this tool, a UX designer gets nowhere. The process cannot even get started. We're talking about the Customer Journey Map.
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Within UX design, it’s all about user experience. This is a broad term, but this also makes pretty good sense. In fact, literally everything a customer or user experiences during a visual encounter with a brand is relevant to the UX process. Within this process, anything can happen. Think about your most recent visit to an online store. You had complete freedom to choose multiple routes to your digital final destination – which was possibly the checkout. This opens up an awful lot of possibilities.

To best map these types of digital journeys and experiences, the UX process begins with the creation of a customer journey map. What exactly a customer journey map is and which steps are all relevant, we explain here.

What is a Customer Journey Map?

The intelligent reader who is proficient in the English language will presumably already understand the definition of a customer journey map. It more or less translates to a digital map representing a customer’s experience. In practice, this is usually a visualization. It is a thought out outline with steps a used goes through before reaching the final goal.

In fact, a customer journey map is like a timeline. One that is broken down into actions to be taken. It is a visualization of a person using a product or service. This could be the use of a mobile application, a website, or a web shop.

Why is a Customer Journey Map needed?

There are many reasons to use this type of visualization. Design teams use customer journey maps for several reasons. For example, to measure whether customer experiences equal expectations. The moment a customer visits an online store, the expectation may be that he or she is going to find and buy a product. If this does not happen, the expectation has not been met. As a company, you naturally want to be able to measure why this expectation is not being met.

Buying habits

Every company or brand has a clear purpose. For most businesses, this is the same thing: more customers, more orders, more profits. There are, of course, many nuances and variations in this, but broadly speaking it boils down to this. An enterprise has a business purpose. Whatever this is, a customer journey map should support this business goal. For example, this purpose may be to find out what the buying behavior of a certain type of customer is.

A customer journey map provides insight into customer and buying behavior. This provides insights that companies can capitalize on. For example, if you want to target specific customers as a webshop, it is useful to map out the buying behavior of this group. With enough research, this will help you know exactly how to make your brand attractive to your target audience.

Empathy

The customer is king. This is a statement that many brands want to heed. Those who want to be able to deliver good service must understand customer experiences. This requires some form of empathy. According to a research of last year, consumers expect empathy from companies and brands. In fact, customers and users always experience a problem. This may be that a consumer expects a brand to be sustainable. It can also be something much simpler: customer needs. Is an Internet user looking for a new washing machine? Then the problem is clear: something is missing – a device to do laundry with.

Sounds easy, right? Empathy goes beyond that. In fact, the UX process does not just focus on offering products. An important part of UX is solving problems by offering customers an easy experience. Think error messages on your site or a cluttered web shop. It is your duty as a company to experience what your users and customers are experiencing. Every possible route and scenario should be highlighted to offer an optimal experience.

Improvement and conversion optimization

The above points actually indicate it. Your service is never perfect or optimal. There are always processes you can improve. It’s about identifying the customer experience and then improving it. A customer journey map allows you to eliminate pain points and improve them. A good journalist or writer also has his or her writing proofread by an expert. You can think of a customer journey map that way, too. You play out scenarios to experience the customer experience for yourself.

In addition
conversion
also plays a big role, of course. We have already established that everything is about money and profit margins. And the user’s experience, of course. Yet money is the oil that keeps the digital machine running. And that requires paying customers. To truly convert as many visitors as possible into customers, a site needs high conversion rates. That’s exactly what you create a customer journey map for. After all, you want to see exactly where, why and how people drop out. If you solve this problem, your conversion will become optimal.

Components

Now that you know what a customer journey is for, the next step is to determine the components of the process. These are the parts relevant to visualization. There are, of course, variations based on different business models. Broadly speaking, your customer journey map should have the following components.

User

This is the persona; a user or customer. An individual who will experience your brand during a digital walking tour. You can create buyer personas for this purpose. These are fictional customers with a backstory. Consider small details: gender, age, hobbies and interests.

Scenarios

A scenario belongs to a buyer persona. Think of every possible scenario that could apply to your fictional client. A sports subscription website can have a huge number of scenarios. One persona is overweight and has never exercised, the other is a retired boxer who wants to take his fitness to the next level. Each customer journey map has multiple personas with multiple scenarios. These do not have to be dozens. It is important to know broadly what kind of customers you want to attract.

Phases

A customer journey map is a kind of roadmap. It is a multi-step route. These are also called phases. Not only does this provide an overview, it is also a realistic view of the user experience. The best example is a web shop. A user lands in the digital store, goes to the assortment, looks around there, adds a product to the basket, goes to pay and is shown a confirmation. These are six steps. All six are easy to visualize and work out in scenarios.

Actions and emotions

A customer experience is based on behavior and on feelings. This involves actions and emotions. The actions broadly define how a user will move through the phases. An emotion is determined by the trajectory you provide as a company. While walking the digital route, several emotions come into play. Curiosity while searching, doubt while choosing, possible resistance at checkout, and joy at checkout.

Why is this important? Because you have to be able to respond to this as best you can. That potential resistance, for example, how can you eliminate it? For example, by including a disclaimer: 30-day cooling-off period.

Roadmap

Now that the components are clear, it is immediately clear how to set up a customer journey map. Before you begin this, there are several other steps to take. To create a good visualization, you can take the following steps:

  • Set the goal. What do you want to measure, who is the directory for and what kind of user experience do you want to assess
  • Do your research. Make sure you already have all relevant customer experiences listed, back this up with analytics data from if necessary
    Google Analytics
    .
  • Identify channels: how are your users coming in? Through social media, Google, or ads?
  • Create an empathy card. Try to determine what users do, think, say and see in a specific situation. Identify your users’ needs so you can respond to them.
  • Outline the walking route: Based on the above points, you can establish the stages. Do this as accurately as possible and sketch the walking route as best you can
  • Share your customer journey map with everyone involved in your company. As mentioned earlier, it is always important to have your work checked. An experienced UX designer will do the same, because extra eyes always provide new insights.

Having a customer journey map created

The above roadmap seems simple to work out, but practice is different. Throwing out a good customer journey map can sometimes take months. Experience is also required. All of the aspects mentioned – creating buyer personas, collecting data, and developing a targeted plan – can be time-consuming. Fortunately, there are templates that you can use. These will also give you an idea of a customer journey map.

If you really want to make a difference with your web shop or website, you would do well to hire a digital agency. Customer journey maps are an integral part of UX design. And that is precisely what Dusver specializes in.

We can introduce you to our services with no obligation. Or have a Quick Scan do from your website. Then we can immediately explain what could be improved.

Too much information?

Just goes to show that there are an awful lot of things marketers need to pay attention to. Marketing a brand well is not easy either. Fortunately, Dusver has the necessary experience with websites and web shops. User Experience and User Interface are our expertise. So if you have any questions about building a website, feel free to contact us!

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