Rick Barron
Rick Barron 10 September 2018

A journey that never ends

A customer journey map? What is it and why should you care? Fair question. Let’s start with a definition first. A customer journey map is a detailed diagram that represents the stages your customers go through [or try to] while interacting with your company. Journey mapping provides insight into the strengths and shortcomings of the user experience you deliver. How might this be valuable to you but more so, your customer? Does it sound like it’s worth the time to read more about this?

Why Journey Map?


Customer journey maps are a compact visualization of an end-to-end customer experience. This picture of what the customer encounters empowers your business to make value-driven decisions based on a customer experience model of performance.

The bottom line is that journey maps can shed light to help stakeholders deepen their understanding of their customers’ behaviors, thoughts, and feelings across touchpoints in their journey and they should be actionable. Building your customer journey maps with these key attributes will help to ensure that they meet these goals, making them central components when developing an experience strategy for your organization.


Another way to look at customer journey mapping is that they are much like personas. The difference being is that they focus more on tasks and questions. They also express the customer’s experience over time, rather than as a snapshot, meaning the two work well together. That said a persona focuses on the person, while a customer journey map focuses on their experience.

Three tips on the value of conducting a customer journey map for your company

1. Improve organizational alignment: Journey maps are crucial tools for establishing a common understanding of the experience your company delivers to customers now and a vision for how to improve it.

2. Identify gaps in the journey: Where is the customer stranded without a clear next step? Where are the customer pain points, dissatisfaction, or annoyance caused by disconnects that the customer finds as move through or organizations website? Armed with that data, how can your organization unite around initiatives to improve the customer experience?

3. Pitch and position new offerings: Many maps take an end-to-end approach, making them perfect for pitching and positioning new services or features. With a data-backed journey map, you can identify the moments worth focusing on improving with new features or offerings.

Best Practices for Building and Sharing Effective Journey Maps

Journey Mapping requires the team

Any map is only as good as its ability to spark innovation; to do this, it needs stakeholder buy-in and alignment. Prior to starting your research, schedule coworking sessions with leaders from each and every team touched by a customer’s journey (e.g., product, sales, marketing, engineering). Collaborate in getting their assumptions and understand their learning goals from new research. Come publication, walk through the finished map with the leaders from each team, calling out team-relevant findings to engage specific departments and organizational leaders.

Include Key Performance Indicators

It is pointless to create a customer journey map if you have no way of measuring its success. The main function of customer journey maps is to recognize opportunities based on qualitative research of your customers’ perceptions and experiences. Key performance indicators (KPIs) provide the necessary framework for making your map actionable.

KPIs may include insights of customer highs and lows. For example, “meets/does not meet/exceeds expectations” are common examples of KPIs companies use to identify opportunities for improvement in the customer journey.

Map ‘everything’

Most journey maps focus on the entire flow of a customer through a product or service offering. But what about before they’re even aware of your offering? What happens after they’ve visited your site for the first time? How do customers become evangelists or churn? What are the journeys of your competitors’ customers? Broaden the scope of your map and watch your customer-centricity grow.

Keep Your Map as a Living Document

Journey maps are not a one-time project; they’re more like an interactive community installation. Invite comments, suggestions, questions, and challenges by displaying it your office space, printing it on paper, and handwriting notes of your own. If stakeholders see that the physical product invites collaboration, they’ll join in [encourage it], creating opportunities for synergy. The map then grows, evolves, and snowballs to maximize its organizational impact. To extend the life of your journey map, run small studies regularly over time so the insights stay fresh. Keep the map alive and ongoing…always test.

Below are some key components to include for your own journey mapping project:

  1. Personas: the main characters that define the needs, goals, thoughts, feelings, opinions, expectations, and pain points of the user
  2. Timeline: a finite amount of time (e.g. 1 week or 1 year) or variable phases (e.g. awareness, decision-making, purchase, renewal)
  3. Emotion: peaks and valleys reflecting where the user shows frustration, anxiety, happiness, etc.
  4. Touchpoints: customer actions and interactions with the organization. This is the WHAT the customer is doing
  5. Channels: where interaction takes place and the context of use (e.g. website, native app, call center, in-store). This is the WHERE they are interacting.

Helpful links

How to start creating a customer journey map

  1. Make every step count across the entire customer journey
  2. How to build a customer journey map that works
  3. When and how to create customer journey maps

How to build personas

  1. How to create personas
  2. Your guide to successful persona building
  3. The complete, actionable guide to marketing personas
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