How to Map Out a Customer Journey to Optimize the User Experience

Last updated: 10-16-2020

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How to Map Out a Customer Journey to Optimize the User Experience

Do you need to increase conversions for your startup? Discover how mapping out the customer journey can help you optimize engagement and ROI.

As a B2B startup business, it can be difficult to fully grasp the minds of your customers. You can spend hours dwelling on why a customer spends so long on your website without converting or why it’s taking them several steps to take a final action. Whatever the confusion, the root cause could be that you don’t have a full understanding of your customer journey. 

Whether it involves learning  about your brand through social media or receiving a transactional ‘thank you’ email after filling out a form, your customer journey includes many steps. Mapping and optimizing these steps allow you to influence every stage in your lead funnel to increase your ROI and engagement.

However, with only four in 10 B2B companies prioritizing the customer journey, building an effective map gives you a competitive advantage within the consumer landscape. How does a mapping framework help you visualize the customer experience? Let’s dive into how a customer journey map can lead to big results for your startup business.

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the process a prospective customer goes through to achieve your end objective. The map gives you a deeper understanding of your prospect’s motivations and pain points so you can more effectively meet their needs. With a comprehensive customer map, you’ll be more effective at engaging and converting your customers.

However, understanding the journey isn’t simple — especially when you have other stakeholders involved in the process. For startups, it is beneficial to develop a visual diagram for your team that outlines customer touchpoints and areas of friction. 

Many startups are working with limited resources and experience immense pressure to meet annual objectives. For these reasons, you may think focusing on an experience map isn’t worth your time. However, breaking down the process step by step will maximize your overall customer success rate.

If you’re not sold on the idea yet, consider the following benefits of mapping out the customer journey:

A traditional customer journey is no longer a linear path from point A to B. For B2B startups trying to earn new business, your journey will include multi-channel, cyclical paths that will need robust visualizations for your team to utilize. To map out your customer journey, start with the following steps:

With any business initiative, setting attainable goals will help keep you focused. What objectives will the map help you achieve? Who are you targeting? What’s the main action?

Once you have these answers established, you can build buyer personas that represent your average customer and will act as the focal point of your map. Use this opportunity to establish critically-important  demographics and psychographics. 

With your personas in hand, you need to use valuable customer feedback to better develop your brand. Your research should focus on actual prospects or customers so you have a deeper understanding of their real experience. 

Focus on asking a few targeted questions:

These questions will give you a baseline for your journey map and need to be re-evaluated over time to ensure you solve customer challenges.

Your prospective customers can interact with your brand through multiple channels. Based on your feedback, list out all the current and future touchpoints your prospects receive. Touchpoints may include:

Touchpoints will give you insight into where strengths and potential gaps exist. For example, are there unexpected touchpoints that are turning away users? Are there too many steps, making the process complicated? 

So, what should your map look like? Your journey map will be unique to your particular business objectives. When planning the format and visual elements, you have three main types to choose from:

It’s important to note that your customer journey won’t just influence your sales and marketing teams. It will affect nearly every part of your business, including customer service, information technology, and more. You’ll want to take inventory of your existing resources and what you will need to optimize the customer experience moving forward.

For example, your map may highlight flaws within your customer service team. You might notice that your team isn’t properly equipped with the right education or tools. Utilizing your map, you can advise that your startup should invest in better service tools or build an FAQ page to answer common inquiries. 

Now that you’ve built an accurate customer map, you need to test the results. Figuratively follow the journey of each of your personas through your social media channels, website, email marketing, and elsewhere. 

Your findings should give you a better sense of where you should adjust your map or channels to support customer needs. Whether it’s updating a call-to-action button or improving product descriptions, small changes within the experience can dissolve pain points and increase your conversion rate.

After developing and testing your customer journey map, you’re not done yet. Sure, you’ve gotten more insight into your customer’s motivations and solved their challenges. However, it’s essential to embrace a proactive and agile approach as you move forward with your brand development. As your startup continues to evolve, you should build new personas, ask your customers for feedback, and adjust the journey as needed to keep meeting objectives.

Ready to get started? Download our Persona Template and Guide to build deeper customer insights today.

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