Step 1 of Customer Journey Mapping: Build 3 Lists

First Step of Customer Journey Mapping is to Make 3 ListsCustomer Experience matters! The world’s leading companies obsess over it and you can too. But how do you begin the process of converting your business into an authentically customer-centric organization?

You can start by building three relatively simple lists – a list of customer types, touchpoints, and pain points.

The Brainstorm Meeting

But don’t attempt to do this alone. You’re about to embark on a process called Customer Journey Mapping and this exercise is best done in a group setting. So reserve a conference room, invite a few key stakeholders, order some pizza, and spend 2 hours brainstorming together.

Don’t make it complicated! Use whatever you’re most comfortable with to build your lists – paper, post-it notes, a whiteboard, Excel, Trello – the medium really doesn’t matter.

If you keep on task, you should be able to leave this meeting with three relatively complete and accurate lists that are ready to be optimized for immediate, radical growth.

List #1: Customer Types

The first list has two parts. To understand your customers better, write down all of your customer types starting with every market segment and then moving on to specific customer stages.

Market Segments:

If your company serves multiple market segments, list them all out because the Customer Experience may differ between each one.

If you’re in a B2B company, list out each market channel (e.g., retail, eCommerce, institutions, universities, distributors, libraries, hospitals, etc.). Someone already has this list so ask them ahead of time to bring copies that include the amount of revenue each segment generates. Then review it quickly together as a reminder and confirm that it covers everything. Easy enough, right?

If you’re in a D2C company, list as many categories of customer types that you target with your marketing (e.g., educators, business professionals, parents, doctors, etc.). Someone should already have this list too (along with some data about the size of each persona).

If your business is both D2C and B2B, list all market channels and individual customer types.

If you have a couple files prepared ahead of time, this portion shouldn’t take up more than 15 minutes of your 2-hour slot. This is just a refresher. The second half of the Customer Types list is where you should focus more of your attention.

Customer Stages:

Now shift gears a little and list the stages in the Customer Lifecycle according to the degree of engagement they have with you.

You’ll need to go against everything your mother taught you because it’s time to label people.

The way you break down your list of customer stages can vary but here are 6 stages from an eCommerce example to give you some ideas:

  1. Prospects: those who have never heard of your brand
  2. Visitors: those who have visited your site but have never provided contact information
  3. Subscribers: those who have provided an email address but have never made a purchase
  4. Active: those who have purchased at least one product and have opened an email in the last 90 days
  5. VIPs: repeat customers who are responsive to email and tell others about your products
  6. Disengaged: those who were once Active but are no longer responding to emails or visiting your site

Spoiler Alert: After all of these lists are built, the next step will be to find data to inform the current size of each customer stage that you’ve identified. This will help you determine which ones have the most potential for immediate growth if you focused on optimizing the Customer Experience at this point in their journey.

List #2: Touch Points

Now it’s time to list all of the touch points you have with customers. This should include every interaction you can think of, including digital and physical examples. Here are a few to get you started:

Digital interactions:

  • Search engine results pages for keywords related to your brand
  • Websites / landing pages
  • Blogs
  • Email (welcome email, transactional emails, newsletters, etc.)
  • Social Media (list every channel you participate in)

Physical interactions:

  • Entrance / reception
  • Point of sale
  • Conferences / trade shows

If possible, ask people to come to the meeting with whatever data is readily available (social following stats, website traffic, etc.). This will allow you to get a head start on sizing up which touchpoints need the most attention.

List #3: Pain Points

The last list requires more candor to complete. It’s time to get real and identify which of the touchpoints from the previous list are the most frustrating for customers. Which ones require immediate attention?

Here are a few examples:

  • Complicated User Interface on the website or app
  • Long hold time on Customer Service calls
  • Your price is higher than the competition

Encourage transparency but also carefully moderate the meeting so that blame isn’t assigned to people in the room who might manage those touchpoints.

What’s Next?

After the meeting, compile these three lists into a summary report. Then find data that confirms the size of any customer type, touchpoint, or pain point that you didn’t have stats for during the meeting.

Distribute the complete report to each person who participated and ask them to take 2 weeks to review everything.

The odds are that a few things were missed during your brainstorm session so take the next two weeks to record additional customer types, touchpoints, and pain points that come to mind as everything settles.

Regroup 2 weeks later and review each other’s notes.

But Wait, There’s More…

List-building is just the beginning but it’s an important place to start. This process alone will expose which customer types need the most attention, which touchpoints are the most important to optimize, where the gaps are that need to be filled within the Customer Journey, and which pain points are holding you back the most.

There’s a lot more to do before your company is as customer-centric as Amazon, Apple, or Adobe but this first step should get you off to a great start.

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