For every startup, there are several questions to answer early on. How do I uncover my customers’ needs and then design a product that meets these needs? How do I identify opportunities to improve customer experience? And how do I nurture my customers with relevant information at the right moment?
I bet you want to hear the answer.
It’s simple: draw a customer journey map for your product. If you already know how complicated it might be, in this brief article, I’m about to give you the shortest guide.
The customer journey map is a visual path a user takes from the beginning to the final point. In a simple case, it starts with product discovery and ends up in a purchase (or advocacy).
I suggest the following process to create a customer journey map:
1. Set goals both for your product and for the journey mapping.
What is the goal of your product (or service)? What specific customer problem does your product solve? Why do you do customer journey mapping? Do you want to define the product roadmap? Identify innovation opportunities? Find out how well your product supports the user experience?
2. Research on your users.
Tools you can use are: in-depth interviews, customer surveys, complaint logs and tickets, web analytics (e.g. Google Analytics), and social media listening.
3. Define buyer persona(s).
Buyer persona: a fictional character to represent your ideal customer. The description may include demographics, needs, goals, thoughts, feelings, opinions, expectations, and challenges.
4. Chart stages of the buyer’s journey and all touchpoints.
First, decide on the timeline: a finite period (week, month, year) or phases (e.g. awareness, consideration, conversion). Then, draw all customer interactions (touchpoints) with your product and where these interactions take place (channels). Keep it as simple as possible.
5. List actions, thoughts, and emotions along the journey.
Describe how it feels to have this experience as a customer. Refer to empathy maps: think & feel, hear, see, say & do, pains & gains.
6. Brainstorm improvement ideas.
Come up with specific ideas for a better experience at all touchpoints. Use affinity diagram to group ideas into categories and name them.
7. Sketch and digitize the journey.
Now it’s time to put everything together: stages, goals, behaviors, thoughts, emotions, and opportunities. Besides that, you can add features of a competitive product to visualize differences at each stage. Use a tool like UXPressia (there are plenty of them, pick the one you like most :).
8. Share it.
Use your customer journey map to empathize with your users and share the same understanding in your company. Otherwise, why would you do that?
If you liked this article, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments, or send me a message in case you have questions. I’m welcoming you 🙂