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Journey Mapping: Understanding Customers’ Critical Needs

By Kristyn Corrigan

There’s certainly a lot of buzz around journey mapping as of recent.  And while many companies are building beautiful maps, the question remains – are they actionable?  In practice, I’ve noticed many journey maps don’t contain enough detail.  While high level data is certainly great for an executive audience, product developers and customer experience professionals need to understand the granular detail of journey maps to innovate.

The best and most actionable journey maps consist of four elements: stages, tasks, touchpoints and needs. At a high level, stages are the major steps in the customer journey, punctuated by moments of truth. For a typical consumer product such as a blender, the steps in the journey may be research, purchase, use, troubleshoot and repair/replace. Tasks or subtasks are the objectives that a customer wishes to achieve at each stage.  Touchpoints are the channels where customers and brands interact, such as your website storefront, customer service reps or social media sites. Customer needs are the benefits that customers realize as they complete each task in a given stage of their journey.  To fully empathize with customers, it’s important to understand the critical needs they have at each phase in their journey.  Needs can be functional, emotional, experiential or financial.

  • Functional needs are the most basic needs that products or services must satisfy. Take, for example, buying your morning cup of coffee. There could be several functional needs associated with this part of your daily routine, such as getting your daily dose of caffeine.
  • Emotional or psychological needs are needs that evoke a deeper feeling beyond the surface. When you choose to buy your morning coffee from your neighborhood coffee roaster rather than the larger chain up the street, you get to make a statement, feel a bit trendier, and feel good about supporting a local business.
  • Experiential needs are the benefits that customers seek while interacting with your service, product or brand. Often time the mere act of purchasing coffee is almost as enjoyable as the consumption.  Growing up, my dad would routinely stop at the country store down the road from my house for his morning coffee to converse with friends in the community before heading to the job site.  He wouldn’t dream of going elsewhere. 
  • Financial needs are the needs that customers have related to the value or cost of your product. Financial needs are critical to understand and can be functional, emotional and experiential.  For example, patrons may frequent coffee shops because of their loyalty programs, easy in-app ordering or for the value they feel the coffee is for the money. 

The best journey maps understand the interaction of customer needs with tasks and touchpoints along the various stages of the customer journey. 

Learn more about how journey mapping is changing how companies innovate in Kristyn's upcoming webinar, "Using Journey Maps to Transform the Customer Experience". Register today!

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Journey Mapping

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