Walk in Your Customers’ Shoes: A Guide to Customer Journey Mapping

One of the biggest challenges web designers face is understanding the needs and motivations of their target audience. For most, it’s easy to intuit a user’s goal–to solve a problem, purchase a product, or gain knowledge. However, the user’s journey to that goal matters just as much as reaching it.

So, how do you go about walking in your customers’ shoes? The answer to that question is simple yet complex. A journey map will light the way, but developing it can be challenging.

Starting the customer journey

When you want to go on the user journey with your site visitors, you must start at the beginning. What is your user’s goal when they reach your site? How did they come to your site in the first place?

Knowing your user’s starting mindset can better inform your decisions on how to process data gathered from subsequent steps. From there, you’ll be able to put yourself in your users’ shoes and start creating an informative journey map.

Understand customer personas

Personas are a fictional representation of your target audience. When crafting your journey map, you should understand and be able to represent your market. You can create personas using market research, customer information, and website data.

However, take time to create one journey map for each persona. This step will allow you to view your site from the perspectives of multiple groups. Examples of things you’d include in a persona are demographics, favorite brands, goals, and motivations.

Consider all touchpoints

Many users might think a user’s interactions with your website are relatively straightforward. They land on your site, find what they need, and complete a conversion. However, the reality is a bit more complex when you factor in your site’s touchpoints.

Touchpoints are places where your user “touches” your content. Examples of touchpoints include advertisements, the point of sale, your web content, and reviews. In each instance, your customer interacts directly or indirectly with your content.

Identify all pain points

Where touch points are a neutral designation of how your customer interacts with your brand, pain points are more specific. Pain points are each area where your customer could potentially feel frustrated with your content.

Pain points include customer support interactions, slow loading time, misleading advertisements, or poor site design. When creating a customer journey, factor in potential pain points.

Recognize emotional needs

When a customer lands on your website, they’re seeking a solution. The solution they need will depend on your company’s service or product. For example, if you’re a therapist with an emotional support blog, it’s safe to assume your users might hold negative emotions and are looking for help.

When you understand your customer’s emotional needs, you can craft their journey and site around them. Your website’s aesthetics and layout will directly impact your user’s mental state during their visit. Addressing that will require deep levels of research into your market’s psyche.

Remember the customer

One of the most important things to remember is that you’re creating your journey map from the user’s perspective, not the company’s. Stepping back to view your content and website objectively can be challenging to manage, but it isn’t impossible.

With the proper determination, you can step outside the box and look at your brand through your customer’s eyes. In doing so, you’ll be able to see the nuance required to create a genuinely user-friendly site.

Make sure your team is on board

Another critical component of a practical customer journey map is a cohesive team, which requires you to be a strong leader. Your chances of success will be improved if each of your team members is on board for the project and well informed on your goals.

To ensure your team is on the same page, work together to develop personas. Let everyone know they’re welcome to toss ideas on the table and keep an open mind regarding metrics. Ensure everyone on your team knows they have a voice and encourage them to use it.

Find innovative solutions

A customer journey will give you a clear picture of where your pain points lie and what your customer seeks. When you know and understand those crucial elements, you can develop innovative solutions to address the issues.

In many instances, pain points and struggles have simple solutions. For example, if your site has significant downtime, you can look at switching your host to increase loading speeds. On the other hand, revamping your site’s aesthetics for a user-friendly experience might require time, effort, and money to repair.

Wrap up

Creating a customer journey map is a great way to view your customer’s experience from their perspective. Once you create your journey map, you’ll be in a better position to empathize with your target market. From there, you can continue to build your brand to be the best it can be.


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