How to effectively plan customer experience touchpoints using user story mapping

Celia Faure 11th January 2021 Customer Experience

Our agency formula for ‘B2B marketing to be proud of’ consists of three core components: Customer Experience, Integrated Marketing and Brand Communications.

We believe these elements working together ensure that your audience connects with your brand, your customers are nurtured towards an ultimate sales goal, and you turn engagement into long-term customer loyalty.

If any element is not aligned, the ‘B2B marketing to be proud of’ is impossible.  More often than not, those moments of truth in a customer’s experience are where failings can creep in.

User stories are a simple but effective way to plan customer experience touchpoints.

Do you want your customers to have the best experience online?

Have you got an internal tool that you need your team to adopt and use?

Or maybe you just want a flyer to resonate and encourage people to take action and follow a journey.

The answer to planning out high impact touchpoints is using user story mapping.

What are user stories?

User stories are short stories that identify what an individual user wants to do and why.  The stories build to a compendium of all the user cases so you can plan a journey and test it.

An example is below:

Story As a I want to… So that I can…
Validating who are Velo after receiving a recommendation Head of Marketing in a B2B company Know in which sectors Velo operates Assess if the company would be suitable to partner with
Validating who are Velo after receiving a recommendation Head of Marketing in a B2B company Know about Velo’s existing client base Assess the company’s credibility and experience

 A story can (and should!) have more than one scenario. As a B2B marketer you’ll want to think about as many ‘As a’, ‘I want to…’, ‘So that I can…’ per story as possible to ensure you give each user the experience they’re looking for.  It builds into a rather large list. 

The main objective of building user stories is to cover every journey a user might want to take. By taking time to understand this and what the end goals are, you can ensure their journey is optimised and has the right calls to action, throughout. It provides test cases to evaluate your work too.

For example, on a website, user stories will tell you what a user is aiming to achieve by visiting a particular part of your site. The story directs how the journey is going to work, what the user will interact with and where information and features need to be positioned. This will help inform decisions such as; on which pages certain information should be displayed, what the call to action would be most effective and what the different routes are that a user can take to complete an action. You can make sure journeys are quick, simple and easy to complete to craft a customer experience to be proud of. 

How do you create user stories?

User stories are an essential piece of work and a significant amount of time should be allocated to identifying them – but they’re worth every minute and save you a lot of time further down the line!

User stories come from understanding key areas of your business and your marketing strategy:

Identify your audience personas

It is impossible to write user stories without knowing your audience. Different personas might have the same end goal, but they will require different routes or different levels of information to achieve what they need to. So, it’s worth writing up the same user story for different user types to make sure you have your audiences covered.

Your goals and objectives

This one can be overlooked as part of user story mapping work because we tend to think that user stories are about what a user wants. That is correct to a degree, but this work should also reflect what you want users to do.

If your objectives are to demonstrate compliance, expertise and training opportunities, then they should be included in this piece of work. Mapping out journeys based on your objectives will help you achieve them.

Analytics

Mostly related to website projects, analytics can be an insightful source of data to identify journeys. Understanding how users interact with your website will massively help to identify the paths they want/need to take to complete your desired action.

However, using analytics to build out your user stories has to be thought about carefully. If you’re using data from a well-built site, with strong tracking in place then it can be a highly informative and useful tool.

On the contrary, if you’re working off a site that is not performing well and has minimal existing tracking in place, the data provided by your site analytics may misdirect you. Therefore, analytics should not be relied upon in your user story mapping, but rather used to supplement other methods.

Merchandising strategies for products

In the B2B space, product offerings can be quite complicated, for both companies and end-users. Without an understanding of the full offering, features, functions and how they interact together to provide a solution, it is challenging to prepare user stories.  Consider getting the product marketing team involved and get their input on how they see user stories shaping up.

Why bother?

User story mapping is an intense process that takes time when done properly; but can help define WHY your customers are interacting with each touchpoint.  Here are a few reasons why we encourage user story mapping to create meaningful customers experiences with our clients here at Velo:

Improve Understanding

User stories must be thorough and require attention to detail. This alone will naturally enhance your knowledge of your company’s customer personas, objectives and key actions in the process. The process will highlight what you do know while simultaneously revealing what you aren’t so sure about.  Identifying these gaps in knowledge will allow you to focus your attention and improve your understanding of key areas in your business. Ultimately helping you understand the why.

Planning

As you work through your user stories, you’ll start identifying the journeys needed allowing you to layer up your experience to all the stories. This way, few stories can be answered with only one journey.

Justification

Probably the most important reason for this piece of work is that it provides a reference point to evaluate your decisions and justify them.  When presenting the journeys to stakeholders, you’ll need to justify ‘why’ you have some content in a specific place and links from X to Y.  User stories will allow you to do this: ‘We know X user, needs to do Y action on the site, to achieve Z’ so this is the journey we created to lead them there. User story mapping presents the reasoning behind particular CX decisions in a clear, digestible way.

User story mapping will be used and referred to throughout a project. The process helps to; outline critical tasks, make conversations with your stakeholders easier, keep your platform/website consistent and action-orientated, and develop user journeys more efficiently.

Good luck!

Celia Faure

Celia Faure

Account Manager