Journey maps can help you improve and redefine the customer experience … but only if you have the right dynamic approach.
Having trouble getting into your customers’ heads and understanding the journey from their point of view? Journey mapping gives you valuable insight into their perspective. This exercise visualizes the customer’s relationship with your product over time and across multiple channels.
With the insight of a journey map, you can:
Account for all possible touchpoints
Redefine your customer relationships
Find and address customer pain points
Identify disconnects between your goals and the present journey
Integrate emotion and context into customer interactions
Track the customer’s emotional journey with your brand and products
The problem is old school journey maps give too much weight to the past and present when the future is the most important part of the equation.
It’s important to consider the past and present and use them to inform your plans for the future, even mapping out the current state and overlaying it with the future journey. In that sense, the current journey can help you identify gaps and resolve them, but the future is the meat and potatoes of the dynamic journey map.
What’s a journey map?
A journey map is a diagram or another visual representation of your customer’s journey with your brand over time. But it’s more than that, it’s also:
A timeline of all the touchpoints between the customer and your product
A window into the customer’s point of view for a better user experience
A valuable insight into the channels that customers use to interact with your brand
An answer to your product development team’s most important question (“What if?”)
A way to make strategic recommendations to improve quantitative and qualitative KPIs
Journey maps can take many forms, including:
A spreadsheet in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel
A flowchart on Gliffy (free) or Microsoft Vizio
An old-fashioned, hand-drawn roadmap on the whiteboard in your office!
Why should it be dynamic?
Dynamic journey maps are different from the linear maps of the past that show the customer experience and all the touchpoints, but no direction for the future.
Instead, a dynamic journey map considers the current state and the future state, which are both important to envisioning a successful customer journey.
After all, what kind of journey isn’t forward-looking?
In 6 steps, here’s how to build a dynamic journey map that leads to all-around better experiences:
Step 1: Set the scope
Is this an end-to-end experience map or a map that focuses on one type of interaction, like a point of sale? Making this distinction early ensures that you’re including all the right touchpoints and defining the scenario clearly.
Step 2: Build user personas
You may already have user personas, but even if you do, this is a great opportunity to redo them. In fact, your user personas can always use an update with the most current information about your target audience. The data and user research available changes constantly, so take the time to define:
Who your customer is
What your customer needs or wants
What their pain points are
What their goals are
What problems they face
Step 3: Create touchpoints
What are the touchpoints that your customers encounter and in which channels do they happen? A touchpoint is any user interaction with the product or your brand, such as:
Buying a gift
Subscribing to a monthly box
Downloading an app
Paying for microtransactions
Sharing social content that features the brand
The associated channels are where these touchpoints take place. For “downloading an app,” the channel is online via the App Store. For “buying a gift,” it could be in-person at a retail store or online via e-commerce.
Step 4: Consider user intent
What’s the motivation behind your customer’s actions when they engage with your product? Every time a user tries your product, it’s because they think it will solve a problem they have. You might have different user personas that have different intents, and that’s normal.
Motivation: Why are users interested in your product?
Channel: Where do users access your product?
Pain points: What are the problems that your users face?
Actions: What actions do users take along the way to find your product and put it into use?
Step 5: Outline the current state map
Using all the information you’ve gathered so far, draw a step-by-step interaction between your brand, service or product, and the end-user. Draw the interaction as it is today, not as you want it to be in the future.
This interaction should show a clear narrative and tell the user’s story from start to finish. What are they thinking about when looking for a solution to their problems? How do they stumble upon your product? What does it provide in terms of value? What actions does the user take at each step?
Step 6: Storyboard a future state journey map
Now, draw the same map, but in the context of the future state. Storyboard the map by drawing panels that loosely illustrate what’s happening at each step. This makes it easier to follow a narrative and cultivate emotion for the user’s experience during the journey.
What do you want your user journey to look like in terms of how they find you and what actions they take to get there? Overlay the current state map with the future state to see where you need to change and grow.
Map your current and future state journeys
Ready to build a better dynamic journey map that follows the user experience from the current journey to the ideal Future State? At The ExperienceBuilt Group, we cultivate better experiences through workshops that help you close the gap between what the journey looks like and what you want it to be.
The result is a future state map that’s forward-looking and kinetic. We’ll help you develop prototype methods to close the gaps using design sprints, co-creation workshops and interactive design submissions, then we’ll conduct the iterative research to see what works.
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