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Online Store | Tasting Room & Hospitality | Wine Club

How-to Guide: Map the Customer Experience

By  Jay Christianson
July 22, 2020

This is a guest post courtesy of our friends at Tin Sheets, a business consulting company serving the wine industry.

You may have seen or heard the term “customer experience journey mapping” but may not be familiar with what it entails or have a good grasp on how it applies to a winery. So, what exactly is customer journey mapping and how can you leverage your existing DTC software to get started?

The customer journey map is simply a visual representation of an interaction with your customer from the very first contact to the end of a customer’s life with your brand. As you can imagine, the scope of any interaction can be quite varied. At the lowest detail level, it is entirely possible that you would only have one single map that covers the relationship between you and all of your customers. Opposite to that, at the highest level of detail, you could have almost as many maps as you have customers. As there is very clearly not a one size fits all option, here are some general guidelines to help you get your customer cartography project rolling.

1. Identify your main inbound pathways

For a typical winery, we generally pick four inbound paths: on-site, off-site, online, and analog. While there are lots of ways to break this down, this set seems to cover the most common ways in which we see customers arrive at the winery.

  • On-Site = Customer visits your winery or attends an event at your facility
  • Off-Site = Customer interacts with your brand at a location not in your direct control (i.e. festival, restaurant, or liquor store)
  • Online = Customer has a brand interaction through your online presence (i.e. website or social media)
  • Analog = Customer interacts with your brand through any means not covered above, this includes typical passive advertisements like print and any other interaction that does not fall into the above categories.

2. Within each pathway, identify the primary decision points

We could focus on each of these pathways in much more depth, but for the sake of brevity have chosen to focus on the online experience, which is particularly relevant based on the current state of interactions caused by COVID-19 restrictions. In creating the online experience map, our first reference point is the customer’s first trackable interaction with the brand. Possible decision points to consider mapping outcomes from would be based on the type of online interaction:

  • Ad click (i.e. Google Ad)
  • Website visit
  • Newsletter signup
  • Email inquiry
  • Digital press mention
  • Search engine results
  • Social media

Each of these decision points is part of a different experience path and thus a different journey map; however, it’s important to remember that the key to building great journey maps is to find points of commonality between multiple paths and make them meet at single points of interaction. This allows you to begin to assign actions and metrics to different maps and still get meaningful results.

Using the above decision points, there will be significantly different experiences for the customer whose first interaction with your brand is via a digital press mention versus one that visits your website directly. Building a map for each decision point will help show you points of commonality along the customer experience journey that are both points of possible interaction and metric points.

As a potential customer progresses from initial interaction to subsequent ones eventually leading them to becoming an actual customer, the interactions begin to spread unevenly across time and in volume. Another way of saying this is that the value to the brand of an ad click is very different than that of a newsletter signup, and the number of steps that follow each of those interactions until a purchase is completed will likely be different.

Right now, you are probably feeling overwhelmed and thinking that this is an immense amount of work. While it may seem a daunting task, every map you make puts you one step closer to discovering trends in your interactions and helps you identify challenges your customers face in interacting with your brand, just as much as it helps you identify challenges you face when interacting with your customers.

3. Identify each interaction following a decision point

To see a sample progression, we’ll look at the points of interaction when a customer’s first point of contact is via newsletter signup. A possible map moving forward through time could include:

  • auto-response email confirming signup
  • email promotion set (pre-planned or built a-la-minute)
  • customer’s first online sale
  • overall sales experience
  • order follow-up email: tracking and other pertinent order information
  • delivery experience
  • post-delivery follow-up email
  • request for product reviews
  • customer review
  • a re-order

This is by no means a comprehensive list but gives you an idea of how many points of interaction can occur between you and your customer.

Now that you know what a sample journey map may look like, the next step is to determine the best way to create these maps specifically for your business.

Start with a 10,000-foot view

There are a multitude of customer journeys, begin by mapping a few very broad common paths before you start dividing out cohorts that represent small segments of your customer base.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes

We know that sometimes this is really hard, especially with a web workflow that makes sense to you. People see things differently, which is why a review of the content and workflow of your website by as many different individuals as possible is a huge benefit.

Google Analytics is also an incredibly useful tool for reviewing how your current and potential customers are interacting with your website. Use as many tools as possible to broaden your understanding of the customer’s point of view – it will be of huge value.

Seeing your business from your customer’s perspective can and should become a habitual attitude and might even lead to you evaluating your experiences with other brands, all of which will help you build a more complete experience.

A few things you can do:

  1. Make a purchase on your website, complete a transaction from start to finish.
  2. The next time you visit your favorite local bakery or a nationwide department store, take notes on what parts of the experience were positive, as well as negative. Review your experiences, and if applicable, find a way to incorporate the positive into and remove highlighted negative interactions from your workflow.
  3. Consider your customer and the attitude they are bringing to your business. A group celebrating an upcoming wedding would benefit from a different experience than a group of wine tourists even though their inbound path and primary division might be the same!
  4. Offer a guest survey that asks questions about your chosen interaction points to assess if your workflow translates properly to your customers.
  5. Use Secret Shoppers as a way to review your experiences firsthand from an unbiased point of view.

Capture all the data you can

Although data capturing may feel burdensome, it can pay off in the future with increased sales. Capturing every scrap of data that you can about your customer interactions, so long as it is in accordance with your organization’s privacy and data collection policies, as well as local laws, provides you with a valuable tool. The more you know about your customer’s journey, their difficulties, purchasing timelines, lifetime value, and most importantly, where you can interact with them to change those values, the more complete your journey map.

  1. Have a central system. Whether you get a full-fledged CRM, use a card catalog, or somewhere in the middle, this is a key detail to help you organize the information. A beneficial tool provided by WineDirect’s CRM is the system classification of customers- Prospect, 1stTimeCustomer, RepeatCustomer, and ClubMember, which allows for a quick snapshot of the current stage of the journey in which your customers are located.
  2. Build metrics into everything you do. If you buy a billboard ad, you’d better have metrics to support that buy. Tasting room interactions are hard to categorize when you don’t know the total number of people through the door. WineDirect offers a great segmentation and metric tool with its List Builder functionality, allowing you to create focused lists to more accurately and specifically target your advertising.

Prepare for customers to switch maps

One of my favorite military sayings is that “no plan survives contact with the enemy”, this is how customer experience journey mapping should be approached. Despite building great plans and paths, the likelihood that one customer will follow each step of one map in order is next to zero. Instead, building these maps allows you to be responsive, flexible, and on-brand in managing constantly changing customer needs.

Customer experience journey mapping is a critical step in building an overarching brand plan and business strategy. There are multiple systems that can incorporate customer experience journey mapping into a business plan. At Tin Sheets, we have developed a system, Business Administration Response Control System (BARCS), which incorporates everything from customer journey mapping to managing disaster response. To learn more about BARCS and to discuss customer experience journey mapping and what steps you need to take to get started, feel free to contact us at or visit our website at

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