How to Map Your Customer’s Journey
Written by Kevin Nelsen
A purchase doesn’t just happen.
When we all make buying decisions, whether as a consumer or in business, we go through a long process. It might not seem like it, but buying decisions can take weeks, months, and sometimes even years before a purchase is made.
Every product, business, and customer is going to be a little different in what that journey looks like, so it is important for you as a business to understand what the journey of YOUR customer is.
How to map your customer’s journey
Start with Personas
The first step in figuring out what the journey of the customer is is to.. Well… figure out who your customer is. Start by creating your buyer personas – Profiles for each type of customer you see most often and what their motivations might be. For example, a flower shop might see a lot of future brides but also gets a lot of married men looking for flowers for their wives. Go through and create their profiles, give them names, list out their typical age and gender, what they are interested in and like, and any other information you might find valuable. By the end, you should have a pretty good idea of who your customers are.
What motivates them to move?
Next up is to take each of the personas you developed and ask yourself one simple question: Why do they buy? Again, get creative here. Think about specific events that might get people to realize that they need to take action. To keep the flower shop example going, you might say your male customer forgot an anniversary or needs a gift quickly. Or maybe your bride-to-be wants to have an easy solution because she has hundreds of things to think about. As you do this for each persona, you will start to see the next step in the journey take place.
Map the Journey
Now, this is the meat and potatoes of customer journey mapping. Once you understand who your customers are and why they do what they do, start to walk yourself through their process. Say to yourself, if I were that person and I was motivated by X, what would I do? Would you do a Google search? What would I search for? What link would I click on? Would I go look for their Facebook page? What things would I want to see?
And so on and so on…
Keep going until you reach the final step. The purchase. Once you are done, go back and see where you can make adjustments to create an entirely new scenario. Keep building out your journeys until you feel like you have covered every way that someone with a problem becomes a customer.
Now that your journey is complete, start to take action. Remember that husband that forgot his anniversary? Maybe offer a quick grab station so he can get in and out quickly. The more business decisions you make to meet the needs of your customers sooner, the better.
Are you getting a little stuck and are just not sure why certain customers do what they do or why? Ask them. Talk to your customers and buyers and they will tell you everything you need to know about how they got from realizing they have a problem, to being your customer.
Customer journey mapping is not only an important process but a fun one! Trying to get into your customer’s head and figuring out why the heck they do what they do allows you to use your imagination and to be creative. So enjoy the process, have some fun with the personas, but most importantly, start thinking about the business decisions you can make in order to make the process easier for your customers which will hopefully lead to more sales.