Second of a two-part series

Ask someone to create a customer journey map and you may encounter a bit of resistance.

While interest in customer journey mapping has grown rapidly in the past five years, marketers continue to express varying degrees of trepidation about creating them.

Some feel overwhelmed or unqualified when tasked with tracking their customers’ journeys. Others say they just don’t know where to start.

Hire Professionals or DYI

It’s understandable. Unless you create journey maps every day, you may not know the right questions to ask.

But you have options.

You can engage a professional services company such as Arke, which can add a ton of value from its experience.

You can also follow a few simple guidelines to start the process and the discussion on your own. This is an introspective process that requires you to think honestly and clearly about your customers and prospects.

Start With a Template

A customer journey map template is a matrix of customer acquisition and retention stages.

Arke Customer Journey Map Template

Arke Customer Journey Map Template

The columns outline the stages of the journey: Awareness, Research, Nurture, Conversion, and Advocacy. The rows invite you to address these stages for People, Process, Technology, Data, and Content.

Starting in the top left quadrant, ask yourself some questions. How does someone usually find out about your company? Most roads lead back to Google, or, secondarily, referrals.

Now fill in the first quadrant. What words would someone search that could lead them to you? How do they contact you once they gain awareness? Do they send a web form or email or pick up the phone? Where do you record that type of data (email, Excel, or as part of your customer relationship management (CRM) system)?

What’s the next process? What data are you capturing? What information can a prospect learn about your company before speaking with someone?

Researching Your Company

Now move onto the research stage. How can you help prospective customers learn more about you? Where would a prospect find more data out about you? What do you think they would like to know? Do you make it easy or difficult to get this information?

Fill in the squares. What can you learn about customers and prospective customers in the process? Do you start a profile from the initial contact? Do you make your prospects talk to multiple parties, forcing them to explain their needs and wants over and over?

Entering the Nurture Stage

Now, let’s move into the nurture stage. What if prospective customers delay buying something? Do you pummel them with “buy now” messages?

Do you provide some education and relevant, valuable content while they are in a nurture stage? Or do your emails communicate you only care about them when they are ready to buy from you?

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Great Conversion Experiences

Let’s talk about the conversion experience. Most sales teams create a huge sense of urgency to get a prospect to buy. But then, the process can come to a screeching halt as the delivery process kicks in.

Does your delivery team provide continuity in that message of urgency from sales? Does the customer have to start the education process all over yet again?

Many companies miss a huge opportunity to create fans during the onboarding process. This is the time to express gratitude to your clients for placing trust in you.

This is the time to check in with them every step of the way and make sure they know what to expect and to ensure you’re delivering. You can collect a tremendous amount of information about your new clients and, selfishly, their next intended interactions.

Your New Company Advocates

Once you flawlessly execute each stage of the customer journey (or as close to flawlessly as possible), you have the opportunity for a deeper relationship. Your new customers can become advocates for your service or product. Be sincere. Be grateful. And ask for their help.

Ask them for social reviews. Ask them for referrals. And gently ask them for the next bit of business.

Ready to get started? Try being one of your own customers and work through the customer journey process. How does it feel? What can you do better?

Walk in your customers’ shoes, and have the empathy to feel both their pain and pleasure.

Read part one of this series, Now Is the Time to Embrace Customer Journey Mapping

Margaret Wise leads Arke Systems' initiatives related to their strategic technology partners including Microsoft and Sitecore. Margaret joined the Microsoft CRM ecosystem with the introduction of Microsoft CRM v1 and has been contributing her extensive CRM experience ever since. Margaret holds an MBA with a concentration in Finance from Brenau University. Margaret has also volunteered around Atlanta through Hands On Atlanta, Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, at her church and her children’s school in Dunwoody. She has been a member of TAG (Technology Association of Georgia), CRM Society for 8 years and a board member for 3 years. As a member of WIT (Women in Technology), her favorite volunteer opportunities have been to mentor through Girls Get IT. Margaret is an avid reader and runner but mostly enjoys spending time with her husband, 10 year old son and 7 year old daughter.