The purchase of a product or service is much more than the single second that the consumer grabs a product from the shelve. The customer goes through a whole process that shapes his experience in regards to the product or service. From the company’s perspective, examining the customer experience journey can provide significant insights on the customer’s perceptions, preferences and attitudes towards products or services. For this reason, customer experience mapping is a vital tool for the contemporary marketer that wants to understand its customers and adjust its business strategy accordingly.

What exactly is customer experience mapping?

As the name suggested, this tool helps you map the experience that the customer goes through from the very single moment he engages with your brand. These points of engagement are called touchpoints and can take numerous forms, including:

  • An ad seen on TV
  • A digital ad seen on social media
  • How the product is displayed in-store
  • An outdoor advertisement (out of home)
  • An online search
  • A flyer picked up from the street
  • A mention from friends and family (word of mouth)
  • An ad spot heard on the radio
  • After sales customer service
  • An offer email
  • And so much more…

How to use customer experience mapping?

Step 1: Set your goals and define your objectives

Think what you want to achieve. What is the purpose of mapping the customer experience? Do you want to identify some particular areas of your customer touchpoints that seem to be causing a problem or do you want to enhance overall customer satisfaction? Defining the scope of your objectives is the first step to customer experience mapping.

Step 2: Gain insights

Secondly, you will need to gather as much information and market insights as possible. This may be done through qualitative research such as focus groups and interviews or through quantitative research such as data analytics and market research. The goal of this step is to form a holistic picture of how the consumer perceives the whole experience.

Step 3: Identify all touchpoints

As defined above, touchpoints are all the channels through which you engage with your customers. In order to improve the overall customer satisfaction you will first need to be aware all these points of interaction, either they are offline or online.

Step 4:  Identify all stages

Following all previous steps, you will thereafter need to identify all stages that your customers go through. Try to look at the process from the customer’s perspective and identify each and every step they go through.

Step 5: Map the customer experience

Having gathered all information needed, it’s time to start mapping the customer experience journey. Make sure to consider all touchpoints from step 4 and all stages from step 5. The mapping can be done in many different ways such as through using graphs, simple timelines and diagrams. Some of the most popular methods for mapping are the Swan lane diagram and the Helical diagram (Cyclical illustration). Moreover, there have also been several digital tools that allow online digital mapping.