When you think of “branding,” what comes to mind? You might think of taglines, visual identity, value propositions, or voice. But if you’re not also thinking about the end-to-end experience you offer your customers, you’re missing most of what your brand actually is. Customer experience defines brands. It doesn’t happen by accident, and what you don’t know about your customer’s experience can hurt you.  

Experience mapping, a.k.a. customer journey mapping, can help. Journey mapping is a user research technique that allows us to explore, diagnose, and document the experiences our customers, users, and employees have while engaging with our business, across channels and across time.  

What is an experience journey map? 

An experience journey map is a visualization of an end-to-end human experience. It describes the interactions a target audience has with a brand, product, company, or service. It helps to tell an outside-in story, in a very human and empathetic way.  

When we do journey mapping, we’re working to illustrate the things a person is trying to do; what they’re thinking, questioning, or worrying about; and what perceptions, positive or negative, they have while moving through a set of interactions and relationship touchpoints with a company. Our goal is to use that knowledge to make those experiences better, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

How does it help your customers and your business? 

Journey mapping helps us serve people better. When we develop empathy for the experiences customers are having, we can shape and improve them. Identifying and understanding each point of interaction and exploring people’s needs at various stages allows us to drive tactical initiatives. Assessing the full experience allows us to prioritize our efforts based on what will have the greatest positive impact and the greatest ROI.  

This work doesn’t just benefit our customers. Journey mapping helps us meet organizational goals. It’s a smart investment for any leader who wants to improve employee and customer retention, drive new business, increase revenue, promote department process consistency, and improve operational efficiency.  

When should you do it?  

Whenever increased empathy and understanding allow us to make smart decisions and offer better solutions, journey mapping is useful. If any of the following apply to your business, experience mapping is worth considering:

··· We’re not sure how cohesive the experience is across physical and digital channels 

··· We’re looking for the best places to make optimizations 

··· We want to implement something new and ensure it’s on target 

··· We recently implemented new processes and want to understand the effects 

··· We need to gain internal alignment so we can offer better service 

··· We have new team members who need to understand our customers

There’s a quote by Roy H. Williams that says, “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” Experience journey mapping is a strong investment into building customer empathy and understanding. It allows you to make good strategic and tactical business decisions toward better service to your customers, and that’s one of the strongest investments in brand you can make. 

Interested in learning about how a customer journey mapping initiative can help you move your business and brand forward? Contact us today; we’d love to help you take the first step. 

Want to dive a bit deeper? Check out our recent webinar

This August, Acumium partnered with our friends at FarWell on an Experience Mapping webinar. If you’re interested in a deeper overview of journey mapping, you can find the recording here.