The Fundamentals of Customer Experience Journey Mapping

Do you know how your customers feel about their experience with your brand? Do they love it, or does it leave them feeling frustrated?

If your customers don’t love their experience with your products or services, your market share is likely at risk. According to a study from PWC,

Even if people love your company or product, in the U.S., 59% will walk away after several bad experiences, 17% after just one bad experience.

You cannot afford to not know how your customers are experiencing your brand.

Understanding your customers’ experience can identify product or service flaws. It can be important, even if you are coming from a place of strength. It allows you to build stronger customer relationships, seize new growth opportunities, and maintain a competitive edge in the market. Companies that prioritize a strong understanding of the customer experience are better positioned to meet the needs of their customers where they are and how they want to be served. This allows companies to thrive in today’s customer-centric business environment

The customer journey is typically divided into sequential stages that represent the key phases of the customer’s interaction with the brand. Stages typically align with the marketing funnel and include “Awareness,” “Consideration,” “Purchase,” “Retention” and “Advocacy.”  These stages may differ, depending on the industry, category, or channels that the brand is competing in.  

A customer experience (CX) journey map is a visual illustration that outlines the steps a customer takes when interacting with a company, brand or specific products or services. It helps organizations gain a deep understanding of the customer’s experience, including their motivations, decision moments, delights, pain points, and emotions that come into play, across all the touchpoints with a brand. Companies may also map the customer journey for competing brands to better understand product strengths and opportunities in a competitive context. 

Building a customer journey map requires comprehensive qualitative research exploration and is often followed by quantitative validation.  CX Insights Experts start with a combination of observation and qualitative methodologies (e.g., mobile missions, bulletin boards, shop-alongs, in-home visits) to facilitate in-depth conversations with brand or category users. This allows them to delve deeply into each key milestone and brand touchpoint within the customer journey.  With the qualitative exploration completed, experts will often conduct an online quantitative survey to validate the journey and quantify the consumer experience with statistically significant sample sizes. Note that the journey may differ for various user segments (e.g., younger vs. older customers, multicultural customers, households with kids vs. no kids, etc.) so the research must be inclusive of customer groups that are important to the business.  

Once the CX Journey Map is complete, it is time to bring the team together to immerse and align on the learning and develop an activation plan.  SIVO recommends a 1-day workshop with key team members and stakeholders to: 

  • Immerse in the CX journey (including images, photos, insights, quotes) to create a common understanding and language 
  • Identify and prioritize steps with the greatest opportunities for improvement 
  • Develop design criteria and starter ideas for product or service improvements  
  • Ideate next steps, assign owners, and create timelines 

Hiring a strategic market research agency with proven CX experience, or a fractional Customer Experience (CX) Insights professional to lead the journey mapping process will set you up for success. You will need experts who have a strong background in CX research design, journey mapping, research execution and activation planning. They will help your team: 

  • Assess the state of your brand experience from the customers’ point of view 
  • Identify CX improvements that can drive value for customers and the brand 
  • Work with your cross-functional team to deliver CX assets (e.g., customer profiles, journey maps, a comprehensive report) 
  • Collaborate with your team to develop customer-centric recommendations and activation plans for product/service improvements that lead to growth 

Contact SIVO, Inc. at Contact@SIVOInsights.com to discuss how SIVO can help you map your customer experience.  Also, check out SIVO’s On Demand Talent Profiles to learn more about how a fractional Customer Experience (CX) Insights Manager can be an asset to you and your team.  

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