Definition of a customer journey map
A customer journey map visually shows how customers engage with your company, starting from when they discover your company through purchases and after. Common elements of a map include touch points, pain points and action points. It’s typically arranged in sequential order, so you can follow the journey logically.
These maps can come in different forms, including diagrams, illustrations and infographics. Choose the visual representation that best allows you to explain, explore and understand the customer’s experience with your company and products.
Benefits of creating a journey map
Journey maps deepen your understanding of how customers find and engage with your brand. The mapping process has several purposes and benefits for your company, including:
- Identifying gaps: Maps identify gaps within the customer experience, including between channels, departments, services and products. With a customer journey map, you can determine whether customers have access to necessary information and links, which is essential to improve customer communication and potential reviews.
- Creating empathy: Deeply understanding your customers helps your team understand what they need from you. It can encourage them to look at situations from a different perspective to improve on your products or services.
- Discovering new pain points: Successful companies remedy the pain points of their target audience. Mapping can help you find new pain points that you hadn’t previously considered, allowing you to improve products, create new products or market current products to better appeal to your customers.
- Aligning internally: Having the customer journey map to guide your team helps everyone align around the common understanding of the customer. It can help the team work efficiently.
Types of customer journey maps
There are various types of journey maps that are best suited for certain situations, goals and companies. Examples of customer journey mapping types include:
- Current state:This type of map evaluates how customers currently interact with your business. It identifies any issues or gaps, so you can develop and test alterations within the journey.
- Day in the life:These maps examine and analyze the lives and actions of your customers both outside of and relating to their engagement with your business. This analysis determines their pain points and how new services and products could address them.
- Future state:Future state maps use upcoming product releases and trends to evaluate how customers may engage with your business in the coming months or years. This type of map helps identify the best methods for changing the customer journey to accommodate for new experiences or services.
- Service blueprint:This is a simplified version of the other map styles that you can layer with elements that deliver your customers’ experience, such as processes, technologies, policies and people. Blueprints help you identify the cause of your current customer journey or the actions needed to create your desired customer journey.
How to create a customer journey map
Customer journey mapping templates make it easy to construct a customized map for your business. A typical customer journey mapping template has many of the same components. Follow these steps to create a customer journey map with or without a template:
1. Identify your objectives
Clearly define the goals and audience for your customer journey map. For example, if you want to improve your customer’s online experience, focus on your company’s mobile apps and website SEO.
In this case, the map would be for your web and/or marketing department, so you need to create a document that best illustrates the customer journey for their understanding and use.
2. Create a customer persona
Pinpoint your target audience and establish a customer persona based on that information. As a result, you can gain insight into your customer base and how they interact with your brand’s touch points, which are areas where customers come in contact with your business.
To create a customer persona, analyze the demographics and age of your most frequent customers. If you have a variety of customers who interact with your business, you can create several personas and customer journey maps.
3. Conduct research
Get feedback from interested customers, so you can create an accurate customer persona and journey map. You can conduct this research using several methods, including:
- Social media:Look at your engagement to see what your company is tagged in and what people are saying about your products.
- Website analytics:This information can tell you the geographical location of your customers, the number of clicks your site gets, which pages and items are getting the most engagement and how long the average customer spends on each page.
- Questionnaires:This customer feedback gives you valuable and honest information about the customer experience.
- Anecdotal research:Listen to customer feedback and experiences on the phone, online or in-person forextra insight.
4. Outline the customer touchpoints
In your customer journey map, outline all touch points that your customers use throughout their experience with your company. Some touch points come in the form of ad clicks, customer service calls, brick-and-mortar store visits and online shopping.
5. Take the customer journey yourself
Get a better understanding of the buyer experience by going through your touch points from their perspective. For example, put yourself in the shoes of a customer looking for a specific item, and go through the online purchase process on your website. During the process, make note of the pain points or challenges you encounter, so you know what to improve.
6. Resolve issues and make changes
Using all of your data and research, determine what changes you need to make to create an effective customer journey. Create actionable steps to put those changes into effect. Then, revisit the customer journey to see how the changes are affecting the experience.
Customer journey map template
You can use this user journey mapping template to guide you as you create your own customer journey map:
Objective: List what you hope to accomplish and the departments or people the map is intended to inform.
Customer persona: Detail the persona of your target audience.
Data: Use your research to outline the customer persona’s patterns and concerns when interacting with your company.
Touchpoints: Explain where and how often the customer persona comes in contact with your business.
Personal experience of the customer’s journey: Write out your thoughts and impressions of the customer journey.
Resolutions and changes: Provide a plan to improve the customer experience and address your gaps and needs.
Customer journey mapping example
Here’s a user journey mapping example using the template as a guide:
Objective:This map is for the internal marketing department, so we can better understand why customers decide not to purchase an item.
Customer persona:Aubrey is an independent, single woman in her early thirties. She lives in a condo in Nashville, Tennessee, and she has a demanding but successful career as a reporter. Because of the unpredictable nature of her job, she primarily shops for clothing and accessories online.
Data:Aubrey goes online about once a week to look at clothes for both work and leisure. Research shows that customers like Aubrey usually find these sites on social media platforms, either through ads or influencer recommendations. She wants the clothing to be chic and unique, and she doesn’t have time to hassle with a complicated return policy or shipping process. For that reason, she clicks on the photo for each item, analyzing it for up to a minute.
Touchpoints:Aubrey read our item reviews and the FAQ section on our site to learn more about our products and policies.
Personal experience of the customer’s journey:When searching for our brand on social media, our feed has poorly lit photos. This makes it difficult to imagine what the pieces would look like in person and on an average body type. This is also the case on our website. On the site, I’m unable to zoom in on the items to see the details of the material. As a result, I ended up having more questions than answers about an item’s fit and quality.
Resolutions and changes:Hire a professional photographer to take new photos of our products for social media and the website. We also need a web developer to prioritize image quality and accessibility.
When it comes to gaining informed insight into your customer experience, a journey map is one of the most effective tools at your disposal. Customer journey maps identify gaps in your customer experience, so you can improve your customer experience and increase your business’ success.
Customer journey mapping FAQs
Do I need multiple user journey maps?
The number of journey maps you create depends on where you want to focus your attention. Creating a journey map for each different persona you have is ideal, as it allows you to customize them and go into detail. This personalization makes the mapping more effective in improving your brand. However, if you’re only focusing on a particular buyer persona at the moment, you might only create a map for that target audience.
Who should be involved in creating customer journey maps?
Collaborating with different departments helps you create a well-rounded user journey map. Each employee has a different perspective and unique data to make the map more detailed and accurate. Your customer service team talks directly with customers and can share common issues they hear. Marketing team members have analytics on previous marketing campaigns and how customers interact with them. Salespeople hear directly from customers about what they want and what your products are missing. Product designers can give details about current models, as well as the feasibility of proposed changes.
What tools should I use to create a map?
Don’t worry too much about the aesthetics of your map. The information is more important than how it looks. You can use general software for creating diagrams and infographics, such as Visio or PowerPoint, for simplicity. You can get specialized customer mapping software, such as Custellence and Smaply, but these products add to your expenses and aren’t necessary. Ensure everyone involved has access to the chosen tool and knows how to use it well.