Customer journey mapping: the best way to retain users

Customer journey mapping and customer journey automation, can help startups understand their users and increase retention.

Have you ever heard of customer journey mapping? Even if you're new on the market, you've probably ran into this word once or twice through your research. More than a thorough analysis of your users' behavior, the customer journey mapping (or CJM, for friends) should be the first item in your startup's list if you're looking to increase your user retention.

And if you already know how to map your customer journey, don't go now: at the end of this blogpost, we'll be giving some pretty good tips on how to use your user's behavior to increase retention and reduce churn rates. Plus, an incredibly handy way to manage your users' journey through customer journey automation. Ready?

What exactly is Customer Journey Mapping?

Remember that famous quote "the customer always come first"? Well, it's still true, but it's time to change it to "customer journey" as startups and companies should take care of the entire experience of its users.

A customer journey map focus on telling the users' whole story, starting from the motivation which led users to find your product and how did they found it; their first contact with it; the purchase moment; the engagement and relationship with your company; the users' evaluation of your product; feedback; the way users recommend your product; what's encouraging them to keep using it and paying for your service.

A customer journey map documents every step of the relationship between startups and usersClick to tweet

Essentially, the customer journey map can focus on:

  • A particular moment: a detailed analysis of one specific part of the story, e.g. the onboarding process of the user.
  • A journey overview: a high-level map of the entire experience of the customer.
  • Each step of the relationship between your company and users must be tracked and documented on a customer experience management plan. With it, companies not only can understand customers behavior, but also predict actions and behavior just before acquiring leads and customers.

    Is the Customer Journey Mapping the same as the Buyer's Journey?

    Quick answer? No. They may look similar, but the customer journey mapping and the buyer's journey are different concepts.

    The buyer's journey is a process that can be identified on almost every company. Customers tend to pass through different "stages" before making a purchase, starting with the awareness of the product or company, the consideration and the purchase decision.

    On the other hand, every company or startup must have their own customer journey maps, according to their personas, customers' actions and their relationship with the company and its products.

    Things to consider before mapping your users' behavior

    Okay! Are you ready to start mapping your users' journey? The first thing you must know is that customer journey mapping isn't a quick task, but also isn't impossible. As any other strategy or action, this requires great planning.

    Here are some important things you must take into account when mapping your customer journey:

    • Persona: who's your ideal customer? Defining the ideal user with a persona is essential for every company or startup. Knowing your customer helps you develop your strategies, target your communication and also predict your users actions before and during the purchase.
    • Time frame: the map must cover the entire user's story, from its beginning to its end. It may be a short time frame, such as a customer who's looking for a new place to eat, or a long time frame, for example, a driver who wants to buy a new car according to his needs.
    • Channels: customers may know about your product and contact your company in many ways. Email, in-app messages, social media, forums, recommendations from friends, and your own product.
    • The first action: usually, the first step of the customer's journey map is what led users to search for a solution to their problem. E.g. the product they're using isn't working properly, the company developing it doesn't have a customer service or the app simply doesn't pay off for the features it's offering.
    • The last action: every journey must come to an end, so the customer's journey as well. Be sure to define what's the last action of users on their experience, such as recommendation to friends, subscription renewal or any other action.
    • Customer touchpoints: the way customers interact with your product or company. There are major touchpoints (the user starts a trial period) and minor touchpoints (the user starts reading your blog), but both of them are really important to define which moments create (or requires) more proximity between company and customers.

    Acquiring data for your Customer's Journey Map

    In order to understand the customer behavior, you need real data. Don't make the mistake of developing strategies and trying to understand your users through unconfirmed information or assumptions.

    Don't make the mistake of trying to understand your startup's customers through assumptionsClick to tweet

    How to acquire relevant information about your users, you may ask? Well, you need the right tools for that. Tools for providing user behavior analysis since their first visit to your website all the way to the purchase moment, and beyond. You can use different tools to acquire data for your research, or you can use customer journey automation (don't worry, we're getting there) to get all the information you need on one platform.

    This is how you can get relevant data to create your customer journey map:

    Acquisition strategies performance

    By analyzing the results of your customer acquisition strategies, you can determine how most of your users have reached your product, such as ad campaigns, social media and app directories. In addition, newsletter subscription forms and landing pages can get you more relevant information about your visitors, including how they've heard about your product.

    User engagement with emails

    Pay attention to the way your customers interact with your messages, both in-app and email. Opens, clicks, shares, everything is important. Check if your newsletters and nurturing emails are impacting on your customers' decision, or if your engagement strategy with transactional emails is a part of the buying process. If yes, consider including these steps to your customer journey mapping.

    Content marketing reports

    Speaking of nurturing emails, educational content such as webinars, ebooks, checklists and infographics on content marketing can be a decisive step in your customers' journey. If your startup is working with content marketing, its results are great data as well. They tend to download, watch or read your content before contacting your sales team? Is your webinar converting the most of your signups? Check if your content is a part of the user story.

    User tracking and analytics

    Even if you know that your acquisition strategies are doing fine, it's also important to know which web pages your users are visiting before, during and after purchasing your product. Are they looking for the Pricing page often, or are they going straight to the Signup page? Are they looking to know more about your product's documentation before clicking the "Buy" button? User tracking and analytics can give you these answers.

    Contact before, during and after the purchase

    The way your users contact your company can be one of the user's journey steps too. For example, users who send emails with questions or request calls from your sales team during the purchase process. When they're already using your product, users may also contact your customer success team to know more about your product's features. If that's common in your company, it's probably worthy for the customer journey mapping.

    Feedback and surveys after the purchase

    You can also acquire valuable information directly from your users. Shortly after they sign up, start a trial or purchase a premium account, ask for feedback via in-app messages or send surveys by email. They may give you important data about how they perceive your product and what motivated them to start using your product.

    Brand mentions and product reviews

    The user journey doesn't end after the purchase. Customers might comment about your company and make reviews of your product on specialized websites and communities. This may require an active social media monitoring activity, but it can be a gold mine for startups looking for feedback from users.

    Get your beta access for Pipz - Customer Journey and Marketing Automation Platform!

    Example of a startup's Customer Journey Map

    So far, so good. Now that you already know to create a map for a successful customer experience management, it's time to check an actual example of a customer journey map.

    Let's say a startup developed an app for tagging and organizing books customers read and want to read. The company created its ideal customer persona after an extensive research: Bruce, the 36 years old bookworm with a large book collection. With customer data, feedback and analytics, they can represent their ideal and actual customers' journey map:

    The Startup's Customer Journey Mapping example, a great way to understand and retain users | Pipz Automationm

    1. Bruce has his own personal book collection and needs to properly organize it. At this point, the sentiment is neutral: he's just looking for a way to organize his books.
    2. He searches and asks for ways to organize his books in a community, the "Bookworms Association Forum". Again, the sentiment is neutral.
    3. The members of the forum recommend him the book organization app of the company. Now, his sentiment is positive: apparently, he found a new exciting solution for his problem.
    4. Bruce accesses the app's website and learns more about its features and famous people who is already using the app. His sentiment is positive as his expectations grow.
    5. The user continues browsing the app's website and clicks on the Pricing page. Unfortunately, he thinks that the app is too expensive for the features it's offering. At this point, his sentiment is negative, but it doesn't mean that the journey ends here.
    6. Knowing that the app offers a 14-day trial, Bruce creates his account and start using it to categorize the books he has. At this moment, his sentiment is neutral, because he didn't perceive the app's value right away.
    7. When using the app, Bruce discovers that he can tag books he's reading and already read. More than that, he can share his readings with other fellow bookworms. The sentiment now is positive, as the user started engaging with other users.
    8. Having finished his 14-trial period, Bruce purchases the app with a monthly subscription, despite its high price. The sentiment is neutral.
    9. After purchasing the app, the user enters in a "user loyalty program", where books can be purchased with great discounts. It's a great deal for Bruce: his sentiment now is positive!
    10. Bruce starts recommending the app to his friends and colleagues, talking about its features and how was his experience with the app. With that, more users are likely to start using the app.

    Increasing user retention with Customer Journey Mapping

    Both of these things seem totally unrelated, right? Wrong.

    More than a way to understand user's behaviour, customer journey maps can be used to find points that need to be improved and problems that must be solved.

    For that reason, it's possible to use CJM to improve customer retention strategies, identifying on which stages users are more likely to stop using your product and what can be done to retain them. Take a look at a few examples:

    • Before the purchase, discover what drive users to purchase your product and what encourages them to keep using it;
    • Identify the need for tweaks or improvements on the user onboarding experience;
    • Create surveys and ask for feedback from users to solve problems and issues that must be resolved;
    • Discover if there are bottlenecks that may be making difficult to purchase or renew the product subscription;
    • Find ways to improve user communication and engagement;

    Pay attention to what your users are telling you. Their actions, the way they interact with your product, how they perceive the value of your product. Everything is valuable when developing your startup's CJM. There's no doubt it can drive great growth opportunities for your business!

    Hot-tip: manage your users' journey with customer journey automation

    Picture yourself in control of every step of your customers' experience, from acquisition all the way to the growth of your business. Sounds good, right? Well, that's pretty much what customer journey automation does.

    While you can acquire valuable data about your users using different platforms and apps, the main difference of customer journey automation is its ability to manage the entire user journey. It's a fully automated customer experience management tool.

    Remember when we teached you different ways to acquire data for the customer journey mapping? With a customer journey automation platform, you can:

    • Understand your users' behaviour through event tracking and analytics;
    • follow the performance of your acquisition, engagement and retention strategies;
    • develop a fully integrated nurturing strategy with marketing automation;
    • engage users with in-app messages, from notifications to surveys and feedback forms;
    • connect your teams to improve CJM touchpoints with app integrations.

    That's it! You're ready to create your own users' map. Remember that it must be carefully made especially for your users, taking into account each one of their interactions with your product and your startup. With a complete customer journey mapping, you'll be able to leverage the growth of your business based on real data. See ya!

    It's time to move forward. Let us tell you how!

    Download our free ebook, find out all about the customer lifecycle and increase your company's revenue!