Businesses that intend to understand their customer base must develop sound strategies to attain this goal. Customer retention and acquisition largely depends upon the experience a customer has when interacting with your business. If you want to learn more about customer journey maps, you can read our article on the concept of customer journey mapping; our aim is to offer insights as to how you might capture your customers’ experiences and turn them into a useful resource.
However, there is a common pitfall that afflicts novice journey mappers: when the end goals are not clearly and purposefully defined, the results can be hit and miss at best. It is crucial to decide on clear and realistic objectives so that you are able to match them to the correct type of customer journey map for your business.
There are many types of journey map, and however subtle, each has significant differences that will yield varying results. Understanding the most effective types of journey map is a good place to start:
Common types of customer journey maps
Customer journey maps tend to look pretty similar in appearance, but there will be differences depending on your end goal. Three of the most common journey map types are current state journey maps, future state journey maps, and day in the life journey maps. These are adapted by businesses in all markets in accordance with their unique vision and goals:
Current state journey maps
Current state journey maps are used to understand the way customers are interacting with your business in the moment; i.e. right now. They pertain to the customer’s experience throughout the process, and they aim to prevent customers from leaving interactions feeling dissatisfied. This kind of map is preventative in nature; after all, customers may not intend to tell you they are unhappy.
So for example, your social media channels may not be particularly well monitored, meaning that customers approaching you this way are met with radio silence. You might develop a current state journey map to identify weak spots in your communication processes. It is a little like taking a cupboard inventory before creating a shopping list. Current state journey maps are one method of tailoring every part of your customers’ experience from start to finish.
Future state journey maps
Future state journey maps focus more on how a customer might act under certain adapted circumstances. It is designed with the intention of predicting and creating an ideal process for your customers - one that benefits the customers and consequently, the business. Although very useful, future state journey maps are less common than current state journey maps, despite going hand-in-hand. Using data from Forrester back in May 2018, Opinion Lab reported that only 26% of businesses use future state journey maps.
Like current state journey maps, future state journey maps still focus on customer perspective, but with regards to how they behave at a specific point compared to how they would ideally behave. You can then shape your services according to this projection. Future state journey maps are typically used for things like measuring sales processes, and upgrading marketing strategies and materials.
Day in the life journey maps
Day in the life journey maps are often created to enhance the sales process and profile customers correctly. They focus on the demographics of your typical buyers, establishing a clear picture of their behavior in relation to your products and services. They are also good for improving after sales care and communication, which makes them a useful tool for customer retention.
The name of the day in the life journey map indicates that the focus is on customers’ general behavior day-to-day. It might focus on prospects’ pain points and issues and how those influence decision-making. The aim is often to use this information to refine products and services, making them effective solutions that will be integrated into customers’ daily lives.
To conclude, journey maps are among the most efficient tools around for fast-tracked development of businesses - provided that there is a genuine intention to understand customer perspectives, rather than merely prioritization of profit expansion.
By delving deeply into the mental and emotional processes customers go through when interacting with a business, legitimate and lasting solutions can be found. In this way, pain points are eased and consistent customer retention becomes attainable. If you are interested in learning more, we have produced some in-depth information on this topic, including customer journey map examples and how to create a journey map for your business. We hope you find it useful!