What is Persona-Based Customer Journey Mapping?


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Persona-based customer journey mapping helps you understand core customer segments so you can add value to these groups.

As promised, this weeks’ blog is a continuation of last week’s post titled Aim Before You Fire. In that post, I shared my thoughts on the importance of immersing yourself in an understanding of the core customer groups for whom you wish to design loyalty building experiences.

After discussing a myriad of ways you can deepen your customer understanding (e.g., focus groups, surveys, etc.) I wrote:

In our next post, we will talk both about the how and why of persona-based customer journey mapping and a process I refer to as optimal future customer experience road mapping.

Since this is the next post, let’s dive-in…

The Pain of Reality

Frequently, I work with leaders who are trying to transition their company in the direction of customer centricity – knowing that their business is currently optimized for operational efficiency.  One of the early pain points encountered by leaders during this transition process is an appreciation that they have achieved excellence by crafting a “one-size” fits all experience.

Persona-based journey maps serve as a research and design tool to understand the current journey of core customer segments and to find opportunities to make improvements that add value for those groups.

Going Beyond Segments

Before I proceed with the virtues of persona-based journey maps, it is essential that we share an important distinction between core customer segments and customer knowledge needed to craft true personas.

To be clear customer segments do not translate into personas without work and investment.

For example, I can know that I would like to attract customers that represent households with incomes of over $150,000 and that my products best serve families with two children.

That level of knowledge about a consumer segment, however, is insufficient to craft the type of persona ultimately needed for worthwhile mapping.

Typically to build a persona you need to conduct a deep dive inquiry with a representative sample of individuals from that demographic segment to understand psychographics and lifestyle preferences for those who constitute that overall consumer population.

That inquiry looks at purchase preference, media consumption, an average day, fears, aspirations, values, buying behavior, etc. Armed with this knowledge then this segment can be humanized with a name and backstory that infuses the segment data into an amalgam we refer to as a persona.

That persona can then be used to help explore the interactions with your brand from the standpoint of the persona’s wants, needs, desires, and lifestyle.

Here are a few additional considerations, we’ve found essential to effective persona-based customer journey mapping.

  1. Start by building a map for a persona that represents a large portion of your existing business
  2. Map before you fix
  3. Think of fixing and elevating moments in the journey

Let’s look at each of these considerations in slightly more detail!

Start by building a map for a persona that represents a large portion of your existing business

My momma once said, “Remember the one you brought to the dance.” While stretching it a bit my mom’s wisdom is applicable. To develop the discipline of journey mapping it’s often best to, begin with a group you most likely know well and for whom your existing business should be optimized.

Map before you fix

By nature many leaders are doers, but mapping is initially about understanding.

Before we can improve the customer experience, we need to understand our business from their side of the interaction. Initial mapping is about what is happening from the customer’s vantage point.

Later the process shifts to what can or should be happening.

Think of fixing and elevating moments in the journey

There is a growing body of memory research that suggests humans remember moments, not days.

We tend to fixate on peak experiences (whether those peaks represent a high point or a pronounced low point) and we can focus on recent or end experiences. You don’t need to address a movie playing in the head of your customer you need to execute flawlessly at important highs and end events along their journey with you.

There is so much more to talk about concerning persona-based customer journey mapping but this experience moment has passed!

Should you wish to reach out to discuss persona-based customer journey mapping at your business, please contact us to set-up a time to talk.

The post What is Persona-Based Customer Journey Mapping? appeared first on Joseph Michelli.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Michelli, Ph.D.
Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., an organizational consultant and the chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, authored The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the best-selling The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary.


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