Guido van Glabbeek
Customer journey mapping: the three phases that matter
agosto 29, 2014
Business insights
1 Comentarios

One part of almost all digital transformations is mapping out your customer´s journey to and beyond purchase. This is essential to most digital transformations, because you’ll want to know how your customers are experiencing their journey with your product; before, during and after the purchase. Especially in this new age of technology, connectivity and access to information. Much has been said about the initial mapping phase, but what comes after? How do you go from having today´s map, to the vision you established for your (digital) company? This article proposes three phases in customer journey mapping that apply to digital transformation and that you should consider during your transformation.

Phase 1: the ‘dirty’ customer journey

So, what’s a customer journey? Basically, it´s a way of visualising all your business / marketing efforts from a customer´s perspective. It´s a way to get you thinking about how a customer will experience every single step in his journey, from discovery to buying your product and from enjoying the product to recommending it. How will they feel about every touchpoint with your brand and the integrated experience of touch points combined. One example is´s customer experience wheel:

Essential elements to consider in every customer journey map are: A brief description of the customer (“Persona”), The phases in the customer experience, the specific journey a customer has through these phases, including touch points and interactions with your brand, points of pain and points of delight, and customer emotion. This type of mapping is usually done based on interviews, questionnaires, observing customers and actually experiencing the journey yourself.

Once you have your actual customer journey in place, you will have an overview of all your customer´s touch points and other moments that matter; which efforts are points of delight, where there are pain/stress points and what are opportunities for improvements. Also, you will probably know by now (if not, try to find out!) which of your efforts on this map are returning you money and which ones don´t (you could even be losing money in some of them). 

This is when your customer journey map is really ready. It´s not uncommon to start Wow-ing here. You´ll have a complete picture of all your marketing efforts. You know which effort makes people happy and which ones cause pain or stress. And if that´s not enough, you know now which one cost and which one generate you money. You will be thanked by many, but don´t stop here.

Phase 2: The early improved customer journey

Now it´s time to start designing and building the customer journey you actually want. As a first step in this, try to map out your early ‘improved customer journey': one that reflects where you want to be in one to three months. You will want to think about the easy things: what can you improve on the short term? Where is it easy to cut costs? Which points could use a look and feel refresh to better integrate with other efforts? What simple steps can you take to make your customer’s experience just a little better, with only a small effort? 

Try to build on platforms or media or touch points where you are already present. Use your imagination, but not too much (remember, you have to complete this within a couple of months). 

If you have a newsletter, you might think of creative ways to improve click through rates to your site, using a small re-design. Or if you have several Facebook pages, as a legacy of the Social Media Intern you had 2 years ago, you could start gathering all those pages and direct fans towards your (only) oficial Facebook page. Or what about that old microsite from a Superbowl 2013 campaign? Think about what you want to do with it. Another example could be to create an improved conversation guide for your Community Manager, totally aligned with your new, digital vision and with what you learned about your customers (talk with them, not to them).

Also, start measuring results. Every effort will be perfectly aligned with your business goals and will have a clear strategy and KPI´s. Know where you are now and where you will want to be (what´s the target for each KPI?). Measure it, improve it. 

In just a few months, you will be able to show results of what your doing. That´s another Wow-moment right there.

Phase 3: The visionary customer journey

This is when things can get really interesting for you. Do the complete second phase all over again, but this time think about where you want to be as a company in three years. You probably already have a vision for this, if not, read all about it in CMO´s talk of this Blog. 

This time you think big. Don´t think about what you can or can’t do with today´s resources. This is vision, think about how your customer’s journey is today and what you would want it to be as a customer, in three years time. Consider how our lives have changed in the past three years: the same will happen in the next three, but faster. Also think about how other industries, like photography, movies and taxi´s, have been disrupted by technology. 

All envisioned projects or efforts can make a business case if in the end it makes you more money than it costs you. If senior management has seen your results from phase 2 and you can make a credible business case, they will support you. Use your knowledge of the customer experience in combination with the expertise you have in your industry, to redesign this experience and meet nowadays customer expectations. Rethink your industry. 

Once you have this visionary customer journey, you can start prioritising projects. Which ones are more important or necessary? Which can you execute relatively easily? Which projects will help you better achieve your business goals? Make a decision on where to start and then execute it. Learn from your mistakes during this process and if necessary adapt priorities or aspects of this journey on the way.

If you have these three customer journey maps in line, you can be sure you have a solid base to build on for the coming years. Combined with the right vision, team and technology  you will be set up for (digital) success.