5 Questions Every Customer Journey Map Must Answer

By | 2016-11-04T16:57:25+00:00 January 12, 2015|Insights, Viewpoints|

For a market researcher, creating a holistic customer journey map can be challenging. Most customers interact with you in order to achieve something else; something more important to them than your company. We are inherently wired to think differently. When people are part of the company, they think differently than they do when they are customers (even though they are customers every day).

There are many techniques to creating a customer journey map and there isn’t one method that works better than the rest. The goal is to create a map that will help brand teams uncover moments of truth as well as highlight unmet needs and growth opportunities.

I recently attended the Tempkin Group customer journey mapping workshop that had professionals from many different industries—luxury automobiles, wireless service provider, insurance, furniture, consulting, healthcare, etc. A lot of ground was covered and creating a map requires many steps and extensive research, but I would like to highlight the 5 questions that drive customer journey thinking.

1. Who is the customer?

In healthcare, your customer could be the patient, the physician, the payer, the pharmacist, or all of the above. Each map should focus on one customer. Of course, the customer can have interactions with others along each stage of the journey. Develop a specific persona for that customer. The map should be from the persona’s perspective and not use company-centric language.

2. What is the customer’s real goal?

Customers don’t usually contact your company just to learn about what you do. They’re doing it because of a deeper need. It’s important to understand their expectations and purpose for embarking on the journey. This will help to optimize the interaction with your company.

3. What did the customer do right before?

A customer’s journey doesn’t start with your company. It’s almost always part of a longer path. Think about the stages the customer has gone through prior to the first interaction with your company. Where the customer has been will impact what they do and how he or she perceives the next steps in the journey. For instance, when developing content, think about what has already been consumed on social media and websites before the first touch point with your company.

4. What will the customer do right afterwards?

A customer’s journey will go beyond their interaction with your company. Try to understand what he or she will do next so that you can enhance the overall customer experience. These subsequent interactions may involve people and organizations outside of your company.

5. What will make the customer happy?

Go beyond meeting a customer’s basic need and think about ways to create a positive experience so that there will be future relationships with the customer. This requires a focus on the customer’s emotional state of mind. What do you want a customer to remember and how do you want them to feel? A customer journey map is never complete without the thoughts and sentiments of a customer.

While I only posed 5 questions, the answers to these are not straightforward and won’t be found just based on existing internal knowledge and secondary data. The most important resource to creating a journey map is the customer.

I leave you with a quote below that embodies what this is all about.

“There may be customers without brands, but there are no brands without customers. ”

— Anonymous

About the Author:

Phung Nguyen
Senior Research Manager

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