A consumer journey map clearly displays all of the customers' interactions with you. This helps to tell the story about your customer's experiences with your company from the very first interaction into potentially a long-term relationship.

Do you have a fundamental understanding of how your customers interact with your software, apps, and websites? It is tempting to assume that their trek through your digital platforms is just like a brick and mortar store: they enter through the front, take a turn, explore a few sections, make a decision, and then head to the checkout.

Unfortunately, the modern user experience is non-linear. Social media gets involved, multiple entry points are used, and often customers come and go before a transaction takes place. Your goal as a service or product provider is to make sure that existing and potential clients enter your digital realm easily, accomplish what they need to do, and leave with a positive feeling. When developing a new digital platform for customers, understanding what the customer’s journey looks like is a critical step in providing the experience that sets you apart in the marketplace. The first step in gaining that understanding is creating a customer journey map.

When we work with our customers to develop their custom software solutions, we start with a proven consumer journey mapping process. It helps tell the story of your customer’s experiences from the initial interaction to (hopefully) a long-term relationship.

Nine steps to understanding how your customers might interact

Here is an infographic that we use to show the critical components of a useful customer journey map.

Components Of A Customer Journey Map

You can also download a printable version as a PDF file[LINK].

To help explain these components here is a bit more information on each:

Review goals

Start with your organization’s end goals for the product or service you are mapping. Then use those goals to define what you want to achieve with your customer journey mapping effort. These goals will guide your brainstorming and the implementation of what you uncover.

Gather research

Use the information you already have on the current customer experience. Good and bad, qualitative and quantitative. Look at competitive platforms as well to understand what their customer journey looks like.

Touchpoints and channels

Work as a team—a team made up of people from across your organization and your outside consultants—to create a list of customer touchpoints and the channels. The touchpoints are “what” consumers do to interact with your brand. The channels are “how” customers interact: the technologies, locations, and platforms.

Empathy map

Having captured the “what” and the “how,” the next step is to understand how it feels to interact with your company. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Capture a well-rounded sense of what a customer persona might think, feel, see, hear, say, and do as they interact with your firm. Find pain points. Empathy mapping is especially important in industries like healthcare and finance, where you are dealing with people's physical and financial wellbeing.

Brainstorm with lenses

Imagine what your product will look like by brainstorming solutions for how customers will interact. We have found that brainstorming as a team, using different lenses to look at challenges and solutions from different points of view including the customer’s perspective, can generate a large number of ideas in a short period.

Affinity diagram

Organize the ideas you generated through brainstorming with an affinity diagram to gain valuable insight into typical customer needs. As you are mapping a user journey, group the solutions based on the user's experience and your understanding of the audience you are trying to enable.

Sketch the journey

Put everything you have learned together in a sketch of the user journey. Summarize the timeline, touchpoints, channels, emotional highs and lows, and the solutions created during brainstorming to document what it looks like to interact with the platform you are designing.

Redefine and digitize

Next, take what you created during your sketching step and turn it into a visual representation that is informative and efficient. If visual design is not your area of expertise, work with a visual designer to transform your team's work into something powerful.

Share and use

Publish your work and share it throughout your organization. Use the map as a guide in your software development process and testing. It can be a powerful tool in dealing with tactical issues that arise as part of your product's lifecycle

Start mapping what you want your customer’s experience to look like

We hope you have found our take on the essential components of a customer journey map useful. It has served us well for a variety of custom software development projects across multiple industries. If you are embarking on your own development project, Zibtek is ready to be your partner for the planning, management, development, and support of your endeavor. As one of the world’s leading custom software development companies we empower entrepreneurs, growth companies, enterprises, and visionary firms to achieve higher profitability and efficiency, valuation, and ultimate success by delivering the right tools. Take advantage of our free consultations to talk about the right way to map your customer journey and the rest of your software development needs.