It’s Not the Destination, but the (User) Journey

by Monica Paici, Internal Marketing Director, PIN Business Network

I am sure many of you have heard the phrase, “It’s not the destination, but the journey.” Often in our daily business lives we are so focused on the destination (sale), we lose sight of our customer’s journey to get there. Don’t get me wrong, we are all interested in the destination. It means a sale or purchase for businesses, but more importantly, a solution for a client.

I recently put together our customer’s user journey map (in becoming our client). It was a great exercise and very enlightening. Spending time ideating, discussing and illustrating why, when and how our clients end-up purchasing our solutions gave great insight into our process and brought to light some holes and missing pieces of the puzzle.

A user journey map itself, is typically very visual (think infographic). It depicts the experiences a customer has when interacting with your brand. The touchpoints along the journey are your company’s chance to interact with your potential customer or client. These touchpoint opportunities will either move your customer along the journey to an eventual purchase or unfortunately, possibly lead to a derailment. By drawing it out and listing the possible touchpoints, you have a better chance of ensuring the prospect will get to the end of the journey: a purchase. Think of a user journey map as a powerful tool reveals the customer’s interaction with your brand from start to finish.

User journey mapping for service design was first credited to use in the Acela high-speed rail project of IDEO (1999). The developers of this project wanted to visualize the customer experience and their interactions and feelings between them and the rail system. Since then, the use of this visual mapping technique has been adopted by companies world-wide.

Each business will look at and depict their user journey in a variety of approaches. There is no one right or wrong way. It helps to do some research online and view the many examples out there; talk with customers; calibrate your own experience as a typical consumer; and then start charting the experience from identifying a need to selecting a product/service or relationship. Sometimes finding similar approaches within your industry or other businesses is helpful.  Next, determine all the touchpoints your business could have with its potential customer—where would she first encounter your company or product?  What other touchpoints would further reinforce her interest or ability to make a purchase or decision to engage?

Do some research internally and collaborate with team members to sketch out the journey. Determine the key steps in the journey and list out the touchpoints i.e. email, phone conversations, web targeting, etc. Remember, this user journey map should be from the perspective of your customer. See it through their eyes, warts and all.

This map will help your business detect any missing links in your customer-driven growth strategy and could transform your business. It can help you knock down the silos within your organization by focusing on the needs of the customer and allow for additional collaboration. It can assist the business in determining future investments that best meet the needs of the prospect. It can jump-start

lead generation by demonstrating conflicts between internal departments that are creating friction for prospective clients. Ultimately, it will give voice to the customer experience to drive improved growth.