At the end of this activity participants will have learned skills and knowledge required to develop, implement and improve their customer journey map.

What is a customer journey map?

Customer journey maps are a visual representation of your customer’s journey with your business. They can be used as a reference point for yourself when you are making business decisions. All decisions must keep the customer journey in mind because the customer journey directly relates to customer experience.

A customer journey map creates a logically ordered sequence of events for your customers to interact with your business.

Each touchpoint is a potential “customer moment of truth”: a key moment in the customer journey where the brand has the opportunity to make a positive impression. A customer journey map is a powerful tool for helping you evaluate the quality of the experience the customer receives at each touchpoint. To ensure that no interaction or potential customer slips through the net, it is important for every touchpoint and interaction to be mapped.


The benefits of Customer Journey Mapping:

  • It helps you create a more efficient customer journey. Do you spend more time with clients then you have to?
  • It helps create a more effective customer journey. The route your customers take has to make sense to them. We all navigate sites differently or respond better to some things than others, and that’s fine. The key is to create an experience that is overall effective and captures most of the wants and needs of your customer base.
  • It helps you understand your customers better. To implement an effective customer journey, you need to understand your customers. This means you understand how they behave, what they want, and more importantly, what they don’t want. This is an important part of running a successful business, but it’s often missed by business owners who are too eager to create the perfect journey for them (rather than the customer).
  • It helps you create better goals. By taking a more scientific approach to your customer journey, you’re brought closer to the real things that make your business work. You can make changes and assess their benefit in real-time. This can then drive your decisions and goals going forward.
  • It helps you identify customer pain points. Customer pain points can cost your business. Before setting out on your customer mapping exercise, you might not realize just how many pain points there are for your customers, or how severe they are.
  • It helps you innovate. Innovation doesn’t happen by accident, and successful innovations certainly don’t happen by accident.

The celebrant’s customer journey map can be broken into 4 main areas:

  1. AWARENESS & CONSIDERATION

The initial stage where a couple finds you and decides to book your services.

2. PURCHASE

The process of booking your services.

3. EXPERIENCE & ENGAGEMENT

The journey from once they have booked to when the wedding has been completed.

4. ADVOCACY

How you can continue that relationship after the wedding.

  1. AWARENESS & CONSIDERATION

This is the first step on the journey where the customer needs to find your services and consider you as their celebrant. There will be a number of factors that determine whether they choose to book your services or not.

Consider the following customer journey map. Where do you think your strengths and weaknesses are leading to the ‘buy’ phase?

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CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:

SEARCH

How do clients find you? Online, referrals, advertising, social media, print, directories?

BRANDING

When they do find you, do you have a strong, striking and clear brand? Are you consistent across all channels? Your website, social media, directories, business cards?

REVIEWS

Do you have good reviews? Is it easy for them to find your reviews? Could you navigate customers to your reviews more easily?


MARKETING

  • What marketing do you have in place to persuade them to book you? Content marketing? Social media posts?
  • What info is available on your website? What info do you email them?
  • Are you upfront with your costs and services?
  • Are customers replying to your emails? If not, what could the reasons be?
  • Are you receiving referrals? If not, what can you do to change that?
  • Do you respond to inquiries in a timely manner?


TARGET

Do you target a specific audience? Do you make them feel like you are the right fit for them?

Is your location convenient?

The Celebrant Market Before we continue looking further at the customer journey, let’s examine the celebrant market and your customer market. Understanding these markets will allow you to maximise the experience you give a customer when they are considering your services as their celebrant.

The ABS (2017) report on marriages in Australia – https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/

Number of marriages in 2017 were 112,954 of which 78.0 per cent were conducted by civil celebrants = 88104 marriages.

As there were 8486 celebrants in 2017, this means an average of 10.4 weddings per independent civil marriage celebrant per annum compared with 35 in 1999, and 64 in 1995.


Question ‘are you happy with your market share of weddings?’ Are you
‘very satisfied’ / ‘fairly satisfied’ / ‘not satisfied’ / ‘seriously want more’.

Very satisfiedFairly satisfiedNot satisfiedSeriously want more
    

Improving your customer experience will lead to greater recommendations and referrals which will result in more business!

Market Research

Market research is the process used to identify clients, determine their needs and expectations and identify existing and potential clients. Knowing your target marketing is crucial so you can create a customer journey map that’s right for them.

Celebrants may find it helpful to evaluate their client base

The process of creating either a client profile or client persona will help you to clearly define your client’s needs by understanding their motivations for requiring your services. Your clients should be the driver behind every marketing decision in your business. Consider the following points. 

Who are your target clients and how do they behave?

  • What are the specific demographics of your ideal client? (such as age, social status, education and gender)
     
  • What are your clients’ lifestyles, activities, values, needs, interests or opinions?
     
  • Where are they located? What type of environment do they live in?
     
  • What are the key phrases or quotes that they would use to describe their needs (that your celebrant service will remedy)?
     
  • When are they likely to make a purchase? Is the service you provide associated with seasons or emotions – examples: Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Mother’s Day? How? Why? Statistics show that a lot of proposals happen around Christmas, the New Year and Valentine’s Day.

Business Location

In regard to the location of your celebrant business – whether that’s a home office, leased office or local café… How convenient is it for your clients?

Consider the following:

  • Easy to find – well sign-posted?
  • Is it inviting? Comfortable?
  • Good parking facilities or located near public transport?
  • Centrally located?
  • Workplace health and safety has been considered and hazards reduced for visitors? Well-lit / no potential trips or falls / pets out of the way / what else?
  • Are there complementary businesses located nearby?
  • If online – do you chat via a professional channel? Good connection?
     
  • THE PURCHASE

So the couple have gone through the first stage of a customer journey map and they want to book you. Congratulations! Then the next part of the journey begins.

Think about the next stage and the experience that the customer gets? Do you make it easy for them to book you? Do you send them a booking form? Agreement? Invoice? Is it easy for them to read and sign the agreement and pay your booking fee? Remember that the couple might be booking in multiple vendors at the same time so the more simple, easy and user-friendly you can make the booking experience, you will become a stand-out vendor.

Do you offer the couple different ways in which they can pay your booking fee? There a number of applications out there that provide small businesses with the opportunity to accept credit card payments.

Both Square and Paypal offer affordable and portable solutions.

3. EXPERIENCE AND ENGAGEMENT      

Once the booking has been completed, think about the next stage of the customer journey. This is the longest time spent with the customer and will have the greatest impact on their overall experience with you.

In this phase, there are three areas to explore, nurture and complete:

  • LEGAL
  • CREATIVE
  • RELATIONSHIP

LEGAL

First and foremost, we must complete our legal obligations which include signing the NOIM, seeing the appropriate documentation, preparing the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage and the required Marriage Certificates.

Think about the experience you create for the couple. Do you make it easy for them to sign the NOIM? Do you give them options? If they live far away, could you perhaps recommend they get it witnessed elsewhere and send it to you? Could you pre-fill the NOIM and send it to them? Do you give them options in how they can show you their documentation? In person, via email or online via a video call?

The key is to provide options to couples but don’t bombard or confuse them!

Do you get them to double-check all the spelling and information on all the legal documents to try and minimise errors after the marriage has been solemnised? It’s not a good look or a positive experience if a couple receive their marriage certificate and it has an error on it as a result of a celebrant oversight.

CREATIVE

This is where the real fun begins! The creative side is the journey the couple take with you to create their ceremony. How do you get from the very start to executing a beautiful, meaningful and heartfelt ceremony?

Most celebrants will meet with their couple and explain to them a range of different options from ceremony structure, music, vows, readings, involving family and friends and personalising the ceremony. After that meeting, it’s important to provide them with information and resources for them to take home and digest. How do you provide these resources to couples? Are they modern, up-to-date and user-friendly? Whilst some couples still like to incorporate traditional elements, many couples these days are opting for more personalised and relaxed ceremonies. Do you resources reflect that?

Creating and Writing the Ceremony

When the time comes to writing the ceremony, how do you obtain the information from your clients? Some celebrants gather this information via face to face, others ask their couple to complete a questionnaire.

If you provide a questionnaire, is it simple, easy to complete, concise? Remember that every vendor is going to ask the couple to complete a questionnaire so make sure yours is detailed enough to gather all the information but not too long so it feels like a chore!

Delivering the Ceremony

Consider how and when you will deliver the ceremony to your couple. This may be influenced by when they return the information to you but do you aim to send them the ceremony enough time before the wedding, so they have plenty of time to review it and make any changes?

Is your ceremony clearly laid out with headings and easy for the couple to get a sense of how it will run?

Remember, whilst you may have done many weddings before, your couple have not so give them as much detail and instructions in the ceremony script as possible.

The Rehearsal or Final Meeting

What options do give the couple regarding a rehearsal or a final meeting? Are you flexible to work around their schedule? Think of everything you need to cover. This is the time our couples can be the most nervous and anxious so it’s imperative that you instil as much confidence and trust. This is a crucial touchpoint on the customer journey map, and for the couple, the final week is a very memorable and emotional time.

Use this time to confirm the following:

  • All ceremony details – date, time, location
  • All the people involved in the ceremony
  • All legal documentation is correct and prepared
  • All payments have been received (most couples appreciate a friendly reminder if they have monies owing)
  • The couple understand how the ceremony will run and what is required of them

Whilst unexpected things will always happen on a wedding day, the attention to detail you have at this stage will only lead to a smoother ceremony and ultimately, a greater customer experience for the couple.

The Ceremony

Show time! This is the climax of the customer journey map and if you have delivered excellent customer service up until this moment, then it will all come together in a very incredibly special ceremony.

Think about the experience and the engagement a couple receive from you on the big day.

  • Do you contact the couple the morning of to say good luck?
  • Do you arrive at the ceremony with enough time to go through everything?
  • Do you see the couple before they walk down the aisle?
  • Are you constantly reassuring and guiding them during the ceremony?
  • During the signing, do you remind the couple what’s going to happen next?
  • After the ceremony, do you take the time to say goodbye to the couple?

RELATIONSHIP

There will be times throughout your journey when there are no legal or creative obligations to be met but they are still your customer… so are you contiously engaging with them? Are you still providing excellent customer service?

Here are some ideas on how to engage during this time:

  • Post tips, hints and inspiration on social media
  • Send an email just touching base and seeing how their wedding plans are progressing – set a reminder 6 months before their wedding
  • Send newsletters to your couples
  • Invite them to any expos or open days you are attending
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, respond to any of their messages in a timely manner, even if their wedding is 12 months away. Always make your couples feel just as important to you, no matter how far away their wedding is.

Overall, ensure that your customer feels valued, connected and engaged every step of the way. After all, it’s all about the experience.


4. ADVOCACY

After the wedding and into the future…

Once the wedding is over, a crucial part of the customer journey map remains… advocacy. The aim is that the couple will recommend you to and it results in referrals.

Soon after the wedding, contact the couple to congratulate them and inform them about the process of obtaining their Official Marriage Certificate. This is the time to ask for reviews, photos and thank them again for engaging your services.

When should you contact the couple? Not too soon after the wedding for they might be on their honeymoon and basking in their newly married glow but don’t leave it too long for it may seem unprofessional. You might want to follow up a day or two later with a very short and sweet congrats message and then a week or two later follow up with the legal information and other info.

Looking into the future – how can you continue to engage and make that couple feel valued? Some ideas include:

  • Send them a thank you card or little present
  • Post about their wedding on social media. Obtain professional photos, if applicable. Make sure you credit the photographer, vendors and of course, the couple!
  • Contact them on their one-year anniversary to say congratulations
  • If you do receive referrals from them, contact them again to say thank you for the referral.

Consider … What is something you could do after the ceremony to make your couple feel valued?

Use competitors to improve your customer journey map


Examining your fellow celebrants and their experience and engagement they provide to their couples can inspire you to improve your own business.

Identify three main competitors, answer these questions about each one. And be objective. It’s easy to identify weaknesses in your competition, but less easy to recognise where they may be able to outperform you:

  • What are their strengths? 
    • Price, service, convenience, extensive range of services are all areas where you may be vulnerable.
  • What are their weaknesses? 
    • Weaknesses are opportunities you should plan to take advantage of.
  • What are their basic objectives? 
    • Do they seek to gain market share? Do they attempt to capture premium clients? See your industry through their eyes. What are they trying to achieve?
  • What marketing strategies do they use? 
    • Look at their advertising, public relations, etc.
  • How can you take market share away from their business?
  • What do they provide couples during that “Awareness and Consideration” stage?

To gather information, you can: 

  • Check out their websites and marketing materials. Most of the information you need about products, services, prices, and objectives should be readily available. If that information is not available, you may have identified a weakness. Or is it really a strength?
     
  • Evaluate their marketing and advertising campaigns. How a celebrant advertises creates a great opportunity to uncover their objectives and strategies.
     
  • Browse. Search the Internet for news, social media and other mentions of your competition. Search blogs and feeds as well as review and recommendation sites.
     
  • Chat to your competitors – at celebrant seminars, association meetings and OPD. 

While most of the information you find will be anecdotal and based on the opinion of just a few people, you may at least get a sense of how some consumers perceive your competition.

Competitive analysis can also help you identify changes you should make to your business strategies and your customer journey map. Learn from competitor strengths, take advantage of competitor’s weaknesses, and apply the same analysis to your own business plan.

A good business plan anticipates and accounts for new competitors. Now consider:

  • Who are my current competitors? 
  • What is their market share?
  • How successful are they?
  • What market do current competitors target? 
  • Do they focus on a specific client type, on serving the mass market, or on a particular niche?
  • How will your business be different from the competition? 
  • What competitor weaknesses can you exploit?
  • What competitor strengths will you need to overcome to be successful?
  • What will you do if competitors drop out of the marketplace? 
  • What will you do to take advantage of the opportunity?
  • What will you do if new competitors enter the marketplace? 
  • How will you react to and overcome new challenges?


While your business plan is primarily intended to make sense of your business, keep in mind your strengths and weaknesses relative to that competition, and understand you will have to adapt and change based on that competition.


Ten good tips to help you stand out from the crowd:
 

1. Optimise your website for your target market – Ensure your website is optimised for search engines. Make sure you research keywords and insert them into your pages to drive traffic to your business online.

2. Your website should be your ‘home’ of branding – Once your potential clients act on your marketing campaign whether it be from print or online, they will connect with your website next. Having your website as the hub for your brand marketing is important.

3. Use the same logo, colours and fonts in all future marketing media – Consistency will allow your target market to recognise you instantly, whichever way they connect with you.

4. Tell your story – why you are in the celebrant business and how your business came to be. Your clients want to know who you are, why you do what you do, and how you came to be a celebrant. They want to like you and be able to trust you.

5. Make sure you work to keep your name in front of your market – ‘Out of sight, out of mind’. This also applies in business. If your market can’t see you or your brand on a regular basis, you won’t be at the forefront of their mind when it comes to needing your services.

6. Provide hints & tips for the clients on your database. Write a helpful Blog or send newsletters with helpful information through to your database either in print or via email. Keep in regular touch with your potential clients and let them know you are the best person in your field with expertise and knowledge.

7. Increase your content output – Link your newsletter back to your website to allow your market to connect with you on several platforms. Create a blog, write articles, use this content to increase your brand awareness online as well as in print.

8. Use social media – You can promote your brand further by using just a few social media outlets. Investigate Facebook for Business.

9. Think about multiple content platforms to distribute your branding – using video as a way to get your content out to your clients via YouTube, also podcasts would reach your market easier.

10. Be visible in the community – there is no better way to get your branding out to a wider audience than to support community events.