Knowing your customer – Journey Mapping

Knowing your customers is not only essential for meeting regulatory demands but also makes good business sense. Being able to tailor your services to a customer’s objectives is an effective way to create positive customer experiences and establish loyalty. Salesforce reported that 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. Additionally, understanding your clients is critical for identifying those who may be vulnerable, minimising harm, and ultimately, providing good outcomes for all.

Every organisation will have different client bases and varied customer interactions, so truly knowing your customers can be challenging. Often you may think you have considered their demands and needs but changes in the market, the economy, or buying trends can develop.

A useful method for gaining better insight into your clients and how they interact with your business and its products, is journey mapping. This involves analysing and charting customer experiences, from first contact to closure of transaction and, potentially, beyond e.g., brand loyalty, reviews, and social media interaction. Successfully conducting this process requires building personas and identifying key touchpoints specific to these identities.

Personas are created by considering individuals, their backgrounds, and motivations and identifying patterns and groupings, to create profiles that represent key audience segments. It is important to consider a variety of user journeys, created using a selection of personas, as when engaging with your business, every client will have different goals and will experience different interactions and emotions, which influence outcomes and opinions.

Touchpoints are instances where existing or potential clients make direct contact with your business, whether through advertising, recommendations, customer service interactions, or your website. Recognising these can be key to identifying pain points (e.g., unnecessary process steps or lack of support in certain areas) which can help businesses to mitigate against circumstances which may cause harm to customers. Touchpoints are also usually areas that will influence a client’s opinion of a business and therefore improving these is key to creating a lasting positive impression.

When developing personas and identifying touchpoints, information should not be based on generalisations and broad market research. To be effective, these elements of the user journey map need to be supported by data specific to your business and built around your real-life consumers. To inform this process you may already have a variety of evidence you can use, such as age, location, or product purchase data. However, it would also be useful to gather more qualitative information through communicating with clients and asking about their experiences e.g., how easily they found the necessary information or how they felt throughout the process.

If effectively constructed, journey maps will provide a comprehensive view of client experiences and can be used to unify thinking across teams, influence change, and improve customer interactions. However, it’s important to remember that your environment and consumers are constantly adjusting. As your business progresses and products and services develop, firms must continue to collect data and update journey maps, to ensure customer’s demands and needs are met.

About the author

Chloe joined us in 2020, having graduated with a 2:1 in Graphic Communication at the University of South Wales. Her role at RWA involves designing new e-learning modules and the creation of articles for Insight.

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