So I need a journey map. What do I do?

A customer journey is a way to represent the steps a customer goes through to use your product or service. (We focus on post-sales journeys here, so we do not consider the purchasing steps.) Journey maps are very useful to spot and fix issues along the way, from gaps to overly-complex or demanding steps, and they are also helpful to set expectations with customer and internal actors alike.

Journey mapping, although demanding, is not difficult. In this post, I show you how to create a journey map, or more likely journey maps, plural, to capture customers’ experiences.

Step 1: Segment customers

Most vendors do not have homogeneous customer bases. Perhaps you have small customers and large customers. Perhaps you have government customers and commercial customers. Perhaps customers of product line A are quite different from customers of product line B. So you will need different segments.

Note that we are talking here about segments for post-sales. You may have specialized sales resources that are organized by segments, but the segments do not matter for what happens after the sale. For instance, you may have a Federal Sales team because procurement processes are different for government purchases, but you may not need a Federal post-sales journey map at all if customers behave similarly after the sale. (And vice-versa, you may have a unified sales team but really need a K-12 post-sales segment and a commercial post-sales segment.)

Unless you have a very large organization with a wide set of products, it’s unlikely that you will end up with more than 3-4 segments.

Step 2: Define personas

It’s very common to have multiple personas or actors within each customer segment. For instance, let’s say you defined two customer segments, SMB and Enterprise. It could be that the SMB segment may have just one persona, the user, while the Enterprise segment may have three, user, LOB executive, and system administrator. Define a persona for each main role at the account.

Step 3: Define journeys

For each persona, define a customer journey, in other words identify the important touchpoint for that particular persona. Some journeys will be very simple, for instance a user journey may consist of just two steps:

  • go through basic training
  • use the product/service

while the journey for the system administrators may have half a dozen or more:

  • go through administrator training
  • get certified
  • customize the tool
  • use the vendor portal in self-service
  • place a support request
  • participate in vendor QBR
  • attend the user conference
  • get re-certified on new releases

Journeys are much more than a list of steps. They also include details on the various actors that participate in each step, channels for delivery, and of course metrics to measure the success of the steps, and gather important voice-of-customer data–which means that creating them requires collaborating with all the functions that interact with customers. The collaboration is a wonderful feature of the journey-mapping!

Opportunities for improvements are easy to spot during the creation of the journey maps, whether it’s the discovery of missing touchpoint (very common) or poorly-executed ones.

Step 4: Refine the journeys

Journey maps cannot be static. Especially with new, untested journeys, but at least yearly for mature ones, review and revise them to add or merge personas, to add and remove touchpoints, change the nature and outcome of touchpoint, or add data-gathering steps. And, of course, continue to improve each touchpoint.

Do you use customer journeys? How did you create them? How do they help you? Add a comment, below.

Need help with journey mapping? Hire FT Works for a mapping workshop, guaranteed to foster healthy discussions across functions.

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