Build a mobile customer journey map for successful app development

Frank Zinghini

Founder & CEO
Build a mobile customer journey map for successful app development

Mobile app revenues grew by 35 percent in 2017, reaching nearly $60 billion. Building a successful mobile app allows you to maximize revenue from this growing market.

Despite what marketing gurus tell you, success is largely driven by your users. Do they like your app? Do they keep coming back, and do they recommend it to others?

Mobile app developers often begin projects with a design-first mindset. Work begins with User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design to make sure users will like the end product. UX and UI designers focus on the look and feel of the app. They consider what buttons are required, how they should be designed, and where they should be placed, for example.

While design is a very important part of the development process, a successful mobile app development strategy requires a customer-first approach rather than design-first. Customer-first starts with a mobile app customer journey.

Customer journey analysis takes a step back from the actual technology of the app and asks the question, “Why is someone using my app in the first place?” Emotions and motivations, for example, are important factors that must be considered.

This journey often begins before a user even opens your app. What are the reasons a user needs it? What prompts them to search for it? Are they interested in researching prices on cars, or are they looking to buy a custom piece of furniture?

Stepping back from the actual technology of your mobile app helps you focus your attention on its actual purpose. UX and UI design is more powerful when armed with this information.

Why is a mobile customer journey map important?

  • Create a better product—Customer experience journey mapping keeps you focused on the customer and the end product. This naturally results in a better mobile application that meets the needs, desires, and expectations of end users. An Agile Product Owner is typically responsible for making sure the right steps are taken to create a valuable end product.
  • Generate more revenue—Data from Forrester’s Customer Experience Index show a direct correlation between a positive customer experience and increased revenue. The research found the top performing companies enjoyed a 17 percent compound average growth rate over a five-year period. The purpose of customer experience journey mapping is to create a more positive customer experience. Mobile apps built with the end user in mind typically generate more revenue for your business.
  • Help retain existing customers—Customer experience journey mapping is part of a customer-first approach. The customer comes before design. Placing your customers’ needs above everything else has direct ties to increased customer retention. They will keep using your app if it meets their needs, and it will meet their needs if you have done your customer journey map properly.
  • Win new customers—A mobile customer journey map results in a usable app. A successful mobile app sells itself in many ways, as word spreads and users recommend it to others.
  • Create more effective marketing campaigns—When you know why your mobile app is valuable to customers, you can make smarter decisions about how to best market it. Marketing dollars are better spent, and marketing efforts see a better return. If your primary users, for example, are fitness enthusiasts between the ages of 18 and 30, you can target that group by advertising in the channels where they spend the most time. If you have multiple user groups, campaigns can be created for each one. Each campaign should promote the features and functionality that are most important to that user group based on the data you gathered from journey mapping.

How to perform an effective mobile customer journey analysis

Step 1: Define user personas

A user persona is a description of an expected user of your mobile app. You may need to create multiple user personas if people will be coming to your app for different reasons.

One user may be looking for a specific product, while another may need to browse options and compare features and prices. If your app is service-based, some users may be new and need assistance navigating through the app, while others may be well-versed in the service you offer, and need more advanced features. Each user persona you create should address the goals, motivations, and pain points of that typical user.

Step 2: Gather data

An effective customer journey analysis is built on relevant data. Surveys, interviews, competitive analysis, and other testing methods can all be used to collect data on potential users of your mobile app.

The data should, of course, come from users who accurately represent your target user base. Revisit your user personas regularly to make sure all customer types are represented when gathering data from potential users.

Step 3: Identify user behaviors

What will users do in your app? These actions may be very general, such as checking their savings account balance, or they may be very specific, such as setting up certain amounts of money to be transferred from one account to another on set intervals.

Step 4: Identify user goals

What benefit(s) do users obtain from your mobile app? What will motivate them to make your app a part of their daily routine?

Step 5: Identify interaction points

Where and how will users interact and engage with the app? How will the app engage with them? Will the app send push notifications to users? How will users log in and navigate to accomplish their goals?

Step 6: Identify obstacles

What, if anything, slows down users from achieving their objectives in your app? Is their journey smooth and efficient? Barriers need to be addressed to keep the journey as efficient and user-friendly as possible.

Tips for mobile customer journey mapping

  • Think like the customer—An effective mobile customer journey map requires putting your business hat aside and stepping outside of technological systems and processes. Think like a customer, envision what they will do with the app, and why they are using it. Systems and the technology associated with them will come later.
  • Include key stakeholders—Include representatives from the design, development, and security sides when sketching out customer journey maps to make sure all possible user scenarios are captured.
  • Share it—Once your mobile customer journey map is created, make sure your entire mobile app design and development team is aware of it and its importance. It should serve as a guide for the rest of the mobile app development process.
  • Keep it simple—Users do not want to spend more time than necessary in a mobile app. The more time you can save users and the simpler the process of using the app is, the more likely you are to satisfy users and keep them coming back.

A customer journey map is the first step in successful mobile app development. It sets your team up for creating a usable app that will be valuable to customers and generate revenue for your business. For additional information on how to build a successful mobile app, consult our blog.