What Is Customer Journey Mapping and Why Is It Important?

Learn how to tell the story of your customers’ experiences with your brand across all touchpoints
APRIL 6, 2023. 4 MIN READ

On the surface, customer journeys may seem simple – your business offers a product and the consumer buys it. But look more closely and it’s easy to see that the customer journey is becoming increasingly complex. New technology innovations and economic fluctuations are redefining customer expectations every day, with the average consumer now using more than three channels to communicate with businesses. All these touchpoints create increasingly complex customer journeys, making it more difficult to always ensure a great customer experience. But customer experience is more important than ever and according to recent research from Salesforce:

  • 88% of customers now consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products.
  • 71% of consumers switched brands at least once over the past year
  • 73% of consumers expect brands to understand their needs and preferences

So, customer expectations have undergone a major transformation. The question is then: how can brands meet these expectations and ensure every customer journey is smooth? One excellent way to understand and optimize the customer experience is a process called customer journey mapping.

What is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer journey (also called the buyer journey or user journey). It helps you tell the story of your customers’ experiences with your brand across all touchpoints. Whether your customers interact with you via social media, email, livechat or other channels, mapping the customer journey out visually helps ensure no customer slips through cracks.

This process also helps B2B business leaders gain insights into common customer pain points which in turn will allow them to better optimize and personalize the customer experience.

What is customer journey mapping?

Customer journey mapping (also called user journey mapping) is the process of creating a customer journey map, a visual story of your customers’ interactions with your brand. This exercise helps businesses step into their customer’s shoes and see their business from the customer’s perspective. It allows you to gain insights into common customer pain points and how to improve those.

Firstly, all the possible customer touchpoints are mapped out, for instance, a website, social channels, interactions with marketing and sales teams.

User journeys are then created across these various touchpoints for each buyer persona. For example, a millennial buyer persona may typically become aware of a product on social media, research it on the mobile version of your site, and finally make a purchase on a laptop computer.

The customer experience at each touchpoint should be included in a customer journey map. This can include what action the customer needs to take and how your brand responds.

Why is customer journey mapping important?

Customer journey mapping is important because it is a strategic approach to better understanding customer expectations and for optimizing the customer experience.

Customer journey mapping is just as important for small and medium-sized enterprises as it is for larger companies. Customer expectations are changing for all businesses, regardless of size – customers demand an omnichannel approach to customer service, marketing and sales.

One of the most important aspects of the customer experience is personalization. Customer journey mapping allows SMEs to create personalized experiences across all touchpoints – for every individual, across all channels.

Mapping the customer journey has a host of benefits such as:

  • Allowing you to optimize the customer onboarding process
  • Benchmarking the customer experience desired by your customers against what they actually receive
  • Understanding the differences in buyer personas as they move from prospect to conversion through the buying funnel.
  • Creating a logical order to your buyer journey

However, the biggest benefit is simply understanding your customers more. The better you understand their expectations, the more you can tailor the customer experience to their needs.

How does customer journey mapping enable omnichannel marketing and customer service?

Today’s consumers want a highly personalized experience and this includes your marketing and customer service efforts. This interconnected approach is called omnichannel marketing and omnichannel customer service.

In terms of marketing, customer journey mapping plays a vital role in this process, as marketers can target one prospect across multiple touchpoints. For example, a customer who browses a product on a website can be retargeted with a social media ad later on.

To offer the best possible customer experience, omnichannel marketing is often backed up by omnichannel customer service. This is where the customer can receive customer support across any channel, such as on social media, messenger apps, or live chat. Again, customer journey mapping can allow your Customer Service team to better understand the customer experience and improve their ability to resolve issues.

How can I optimize my customer journey map?

Mapping out many different customer journeys across many different buyer personas can be quite time-consuming. And once you have mapped them out, you still need a way to offer a personalized omnichannel customer experience based on your map.

So if you’re serious about customer journey mapping then you need to invest in software that can take the hassle out of doing this. Customer journey mapping tools are typically part of marketing automation software like Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. They allow you to easily create customized customer journeys and automate marketing actions. This takes your marketing automation efforts to the next level – which in turn helps build long-lasting customer relationships.

Astro standing in front of a device displaying a Marketing Cloud Account Engagement dashboard

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