We’re one month into 2015, and we’ve already noticing a few trending topics. One of those topics is customer journey maps. This is more than just a buzz word. With our every growing focus on the customer experience, we think this topic is here to stay.

So what is a customer journey map? It is a framework that maps the resident lifecycle. That’s the easy definition. The more complicated definition is below.

A customer journey map documents your resident and prospect experience from the perspective of their eyes. This helps you understand how your customers interact with you today, and it also identifies improvement opportunities.

 

That last sentence is the important one. Understanding your customers and what to invest in moving forward is half the battle. We get so much feedback from surveys, social media, reviews, and casual conversations that it can be difficult to know where to even begin! Defining your customer journey map helps you do that.

 

PREPARATION

 

Customer journey maps are excellent at showing the gaps between customer expectations and perceptions of the actual experience at your property. They also help you figure out the “why” and “how”. This means you must be abundantly clear on what you want to accomplish. If you begin with the end in mind, a journey map will define the right path for getting there.

 

Like anything, preparation is key. Before you start the journey map process, make sure you and your team fully understand your goals.

 

Before I ever have the actual journey mapping session, I always sit down with the stakeholders to talk about goals. We all must be on the same page about what we are working towards. And if you start a journey map without the goals discussions, the map will be a disaster!

 

You must also clearly identify whom you want to map. Customer journey maps are intended to be used for very specific target groups. Broad demographics won’t work, because there are too many variables within the group. Keep it small and focused. You can always do an additional map for secondary audience.

 

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