7 best practices for getting the most out of your customer journey map

Sara Korn

Updated: Nov 02, 2023 · 7 min read

You’ve learned what a customer journey is, mapped out the customer experience for your ideal customer persona, and shared it with your team.

But what’s next? What do you do after you've created your customer journey map?

The answer to this question is often more important than creating the customer journey map itself, because this is where you get real results from your efforts.

Let’s dive in!

Customer journey management best practices

If you want your customer journey map to help you grow sales, not just serve as a pretty graphic, then it’s important to think of customer journey mapping as a process rather than a one-and-done project.

Here are the best practices to follow, starting with the first steps after you create your map to continually reviewing your customer journey data and revising your map as time goes on.

1. Get real: Validate your customer journey map with real customers

You created your customer journey map based on your experience, your target customers and the data available to you and your team.

It’s always a good idea to validate your assumptions with actual customers and prospects. Run your journey map by a few customers and ask if it accurately describes their experience, and if there’s anything they would change.

Even if they generally confirm what you originally thought to be true, these conversations often reveal valuable nuggets of nuance in their experiences. This can help you hone in on what’s working and where you can iron out some kinks in your sales and marketing processes.

You don’t have to share the whole map with customers or prospects. It might be more helpful (and less overwhelming to the customer) to ask questions about specific areas of the journey, such as:

  • What questions or concerns did you have at the ______ stage?
  • Where did you get stuck or find it difficult to move forward?
  • What resources would have been helpful, and when?
  • If this were your business, what would you change to make it easier for people like you? Why?

You can do this using methods such as interviews, surveys, and focus groups. To get a good representation of your customer base, select customers and prospects who match your ideal customer profile, and enough of them that the data you gather is reliable.

2. Run the numbers: Identify key data measures for your customer journey analytics

Since the purpose of a customer journey map is to improve the customer experience — and by extension, sales and retention — you’ll need some way to measure if the changes you’re making are actually having an impact.

For each step of your customer journey, identify the key metrics that indicate how many people move from one stage to the next.

Some effective customer journey data metrics include:

  1. Problem stage: Ad clicks, landing page visits
  2. Awareness stage: New leads
  3. Consideration stage: Calls booked, lead magnet downloads, email open and click rates, webinar registrations
  4. Purchase stage: Contracts signed, invoices paid, products purchased
  5. Fulfillment stage: Products delivered, services completed, final invoices paid
  6. Loyalty stage: Repeat customers, new testimonials, new reviews, new referrals

Once you’ve identified the metrics for each stage of your customer journey, create reports and/or a dashboard to easily access the data on a regular basis so you can keep track of your progress.

3. Draw up a plan: Evaluate and prioritize opportunities for improvement

The process of creating your customer journey map probably identified some opportunities for improvement. Validating it with customers and prospects may have revealed more insights.

So what can you do from here? First, make a list of all the opportunities for improvement.

Next, classify each opportunity based on:

  1. Difficulty — easy, medium, difficult. Difficulty level can include a combination of time and team effort, financial resources, and practical obstacles.
  2. Impact — high, medium, low. Impact level can be measured by financial impact, customer satisfaction, and benefits to employees.

Then, prioritize the list with the low-hanging fruit at the top (high impact and easy), and then whatever sorting criteria makes the most sense for the remaining items.

4. Connect the dots: Tie your customer journey to internal processes

A customer journey map illustrates your sales and marketing processes from the customer’s perspective. But you can also look at your processes through the lens of the company experience — what your team members (and vendors and contractors, if applicable) experience as they interact with prospects and deliver the product or service to your customers.

You’ll want to connect the customer experience with the company experience. This can be done in one of two ways:

  • Match your company processes to the customer journey by adding a row to your customer journey map that identifies the internal processes at each stage.
  • Create a separate company journey map, and then compare the two maps.

Then ask yourself: For places where the customer experience needs to be improved, is it simply a matter of changing what information or messaging is shared, using the existing process? Or does the process itself need to change?

5. Get loud: Share your findings and get buy-in across teams

Improving the customer experience is a company-wide effort. For that reason, you’ll need to share your customer journey map and your plans for improvements throughout the business. The larger your organization, the more important it is to collaborate across departments to get buy-in.

In fact, it’s a good idea to bring other team members into the process early so they can help identify opportunities for improvement and provide insights into the parts of the customer journey they deal with directly.

6. Don’t DIY: Automate processes to improve the experience and free up resources

Yes, your business has a “secret sauce” — something special about what you do that gives you an edge in the marketplace. But underneath those unique qualities, all businesses perform the same essential tasks, including lead capture, follow-up, nurture, conversion, fulfillment, etc.

Automating the nuts and bolts of your business has several benefits:

  • Provides a consistent experience to prospects and clients
  • Improves efficiency, so your team can get more done in the same amount of time
  • Frees up team members to focus on whipping up your “secret sauce” instead of completing mundane tasks

For each column on your customer journey map, consider what repetitive processes and communications can be automated using software like Keap. Some examples include:

  1. Awareness stage: Lead capture, lead magnet download
  2. Consideration stage: Sales follow-up, call scheduling, email nurture
  3. Purchase stage: Contract & invoice delivery and follow-up, abandoned cart reminders
  4. Fulfillment stage: Onboarding communications, delivery confirmations
  5. Loyalty stage: Repeat customer follow-up, customer satisfaction surveys, requests for reviews, testimonials and referrals

7. And repeat: Revisit and revise your customer journey map annually

Your customer journey map may look like a static set of words on a piece of paper, but your ideal customer’s journey is dynamic and ever-changing. Some things will remain the same, but others will shift.

It’s important to stay aware of changes in the marketplace and customer preferences, and to update your customer journey map accordingly. Failing to do so can lead to a misalignment between your journey map and reality over time, which can then negatively impact your sales.

Reviewing and updating your customer journey map annually has a few important benefits:

  • Keeping up with changes in technology, competitors and customer expectations
  • Revealing the impact of the efforts you’ve made over the past year
  • Providing a chance to look for new opportunities for improvement

Businesses that thrive in the long term know their industries operate in an ever-changing landscape. Improving your customer experience on an ongoing basis will help you stay relevant and profitable.

Let us help you manage your customer journey

Business automation and analytics are two key components of managing your customer journey.

With Keap’s all-in-one sales and marketing automation software for small businesses, you can automate prospect and customer communications, as well as internal processes like your sales pipeline.

Keap also comes with built-in reporting capabilities, and integrates with more advanced analytics tools.

To see how it works, check out this short demo video, or dive into the software now with a 14-day free trial. There’s no credit card required, so it’s easy to try it out for yourself and see how Keap can help take your customer experience to the next level.

We also offer specialized coaching from business experts who can help you formulate a strategy to automate your customer journey, then show you how to implement it.

Managing your customer journey with Keap’s all-in-one sales and marketing automation software keeps you connected to your customers and helps you automate processes that can boost sales and create raving fans who recommend you to others.

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