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5 Steps to Create and Use a Customer Journey Map

5 min read
A customer journey map is a visual illustration of what a customer goes through while trying to complete a task with your brand. It’s a mix of customer data and storytelling, and makes your customers’ needs and frustrations much more tangible - both to your CX team and your wider organisation. Here’s how to create and use them.

1. Build a customer persona

To create a customer journey map, you first need a customer.

The easiest way to do this is to create a customer persona, which is something that goes well beyond basic market segmentation. Your customer persona should be as real as possible, in order to help you build a deeper understanding of what drives your customers.

Your customer persona should include:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Job
  • Any family details
  • Professional and personal goals
  • Current pain points
  • Level of brand awareness

You can base your personas on existing insights, demographic data or customer interviews. You could even use a real customer and just anonymise their data.

B2C brands ought to start with a maximum of 3 personas. Any more and your maps can become unwieldy. In B2B, you may need more, as you’ll be working with many different business functions during your interactions with another brand.

2. Build a customer journey

First, you need to select a journey from one of these 4 categories:

  • Onboarding eg taking out insurance, buying a car or opening an account
  • Maintaining eg taking car to mechanic, calling for technical help or changing address
  • Using/owning eg buying a bus ticket, making an insurance claim or using a smartphone
  • Renewal eg magazine subscriptions, buying a new car or upgrading service levels

You could look at one customer going through journeys across all 4 categories. For example, someone choosing, maintaining and using a car, then buying a new one later.

You could also look at how different customers go through a single journey. This might be more suitable for journeys that don’t differ much for each customer – for example, verifying your identity in a log on process, or taking a bus or train journey.

You can document your customer in a variety of ways, including:

  • Process flows – horizontal timelines that plot out every point in the journey in a linear fashion
  • Infinity loops – a figure-of-eight diagram where at the end of a journey, a customer returns to the beginning again
  • Post-it notes – you can keep things lo-fi and put post-it notes on the wall, making your map easier to move around and amend
  • Digital tools – if you’re after a more attractive journey map, there’s software and online applications you could use

Try not to invest too much time in putting together your first journey map, as it’ll continue to evolve as your business and customers change. Your journey maps should be living and breathing entities, and sometimes the more stylised ones are harder to edit.

Research: The Customer Journeys That Matter the Most

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3. Recruit your mapping team

Next, assemble your mapping A-team. You should get people from around the organisation, including:

  • Frontline staff – they give great feedback from direct contact with customers
  • Day to day management – for example, team leaders, store supervisors or area managers
  • Leadership – someone who can allocate budget, based on the outcome of the mapping work
  • HR – because employee experience is absolutely critical to delivering great customer experience
  • Business support – don’t forget finance or marketing, as you might miss their crucial insights into the customer
  • Customers – if you can make it happen, including real customers in your mapping team can drastically improve outputs

Learn how to run a journey mapping workshop

4. Find the moment that matters

There’s a moment in any customer journey that matters more than all the others. It might be something that causes the most amount of annoyance, affects the most amount of people, or has the biggest effect on core metrics like conversion or CSAT.

It’s the moment that, if it were absolutely perfect, would have the biggest impact on overall experience.

Think about the people, products or processes involved in that moment. Then…

5. Innovate and measure

At the moment that matters, you need to innovate. Run a workshop, maybe with your mapping A-team, where you come up with new ideas using this process:

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Filter
  3. Assess
  4. Test

For every idea, you should ask whether it’s feasible, viable and desirable. For example, a no-frills airline might come up with the idea to give a free chauffeured airport ride to anyone whose flight has been cancelled. Feasible? Yes. Viable? Just about. Desirable? Not really, as it doesn’t really fit the brand image of a no-frills airline. Maybe free drinks or a free checked bag on the customer’s next flight would be better ideas.

Learn how to optimise key customer journey touchpoints

Original Research: The Customer Journeys That Matter the Most