5 things you shouldn’t forget to include in your customer journey map

Key takeaways:

  • Include options for potential customers to stay in touch at every step of their journey.
  • Maintain flexibility in the customer journey map to accommodate unforeseen behaviors and changes.
  • Assign accountability by listing responsible team members for each touchpoint.
  • Define customer personas to personalize interactions and tailor marketing efforts.
  • Provide a clear manual for editing and updating the customer journey map to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Creating a customer journey map is a complicated task – it can take many forms and is often done by people who haven’t come across it before or were used to doing it differently, which are perfect prerequisites for forgetting to adhere to basic principles or not including essentials. To make sure your new marketing addition is complete and ready to go, we compiled a list of 5 things your customer journey map should definitely include.

1. Worst case scenario – try to stay in touch

All customer journey maps primarily deal with positive scenarios – a potential customer goes from Stage 1 to Stage 2, from Stage 2 to Stage 3, then on to Stage 4, and so on. No matter how good your marketing strategy is, the truth is that not all potential customers will be interested in becoming actual customers (or at least not immediately). 

There is always a cohort that kind of likes what you have to offer, but isn’t ready to make a purchase yet. If you don’t want to take your chances with them remembering you, make sure every step of your customer’s journey offers your customer a way to stay in touch with your company. Whether it’s by following some of your social media accounts, signing up for your newsletter, or something more creative – it’s important to catch as many thank-you-maybe-later customers as possible.

2. Flexibility

Customer journey maps are sometimes created very rigidly with exact timelines and steps that are expected to be taken in a set order. But customers never behave exactly how you anticipate – to be fair, this is to some extent out of your control. That’s why your customer journey map should be created in a way that keeps it flexible in two different ways:

First, have it ready to be changed or adjusted from the get-go. Don’t let replacing a single touchpoint make your whole map unusable without further significant modifications. This is especially important in the beginning, when your understanding of your actual customer journeys is not complete.

Second, don’t be too hung up on the exact order of steps a customer will make. It’s just not possible to create, account for, and track all possible combinations of steps and scenarios, i.e. all possible journeys a customer could possibly take. Instead, have a rough understanding of how he can move and create connections between different touchpoints that aren’t explicitly set in your map.

3. Accountability

It’s great to have a visualized way of looking at how potential customers interact with your company or whatever you offer – it shows you and helps you realize things you haven’t thought about before. This means that potential problems or weak spots of your marketing strategy will be easier to identify. But then, especially if you’re working in a bigger team with many moving parts, it’s crucial to know who is responsible for what. Otherwise, you will have to always spend a lot of time just figuring out who is actually able to make the adjustments you need, or who are the people that will have to green-light them.

The solution is to include a list of people who are responsible for each touchpoint. Again, if your team is bigger, it’s very useful to go further and sort these people into 4 categories: Informed, Consulted, Responsible, and Accountable. If you establish this practice, whatever touchpoint you look at, you’ll instantly know who are the people to talk to about it, and who are the people who can actually do something about it.

4. Customer personas

Unless your product or service is targeting a single clear-cut niche, it’s very likely your customers are divided into multiple personas. Even seemingly simple products and services have multiple pricing tiers, and thus are meant for different audiences or demographics (or our fancy word, personas), so it’s not difficult to realize that businesses with broader offering will have quite a few personas to work with.

In short, personas are fictional characters with assigned sex, age, location, interests, social and economic status, and character traits that best describe your main customer groups. Every persona will take a different approach and channels to interact with you, will respond to different marketing campaigns, is interested in different things, etc.

Defining personas and adding them to the relevant touchpoints (or maybe even creating separate touchpoints for different personas) will substantially help you to personalize your interaction with customers and tailor it to their specific needs and expectations.

5. Manual for editing the customer journey map

This is not necessarily part of a customer journey map per se, but it’s a useful addition if the map is going to be created and edited by multiple people. Customer journey maps are notorious for being hard to maintain and keep up to date even if they are relatively small, let alone if they balloon to gigantic proportions, which is not uncommon.

It’s always a good practice to have a very precise guide on how exactly and by whom it can be edited or expanded. Letting your team members apply their individual style preferences is a recipe for disaster.

Your guide should include:

  • Who can edit or expand the customer journey map (or which parts of it)
  • Whether editing and/or expanding a customer journey map has to be reported to superiors and/or team members (or what kind of expansions and edits are subjected to reporting)
  • Who is responsible for manually entering performance data and/or keeping them up to date (if applicable)
  • Who is responsible for maintaining dynamic/live performance data from API or other sources (if applicable)
  • Whether all types of manual or dynamic data used should be added to a separate list along with people responsible for them
  • What text and design structure to adhere to (colors, headline, what to include in a description, how/whether to include images or data, graphic layout rules if applicable, etc.)
  • Whether and how can the customer journey map or its parts be shared

Do you want to create an interactive and easy-to-use customer journey map with powerful touchpoints, personas, automatic KPI import & monitoring, and much more?

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