How to start your customer journey map design process
1. Gather data and build a story
Without data, a customer journey is just a story – but without a story, data is just data. Building a cohesive journey for customers means using your data to create a story for your audience to follow.
A customer journey map details the sequence of events that happen when a customer experiences your brand – but knowing exactly what is happening through data analysis is vital to create a story that has weight. Make sure you’re not just gathering information, but turning data into insights that can be used to tell a story to your customers. A customer journey map is a visual representation of your data and knowledge about your customer and the processes they undergo, but it’s also the brand story your customers will remember.
2. Select a customer persona to target and a customer journey to map out
Your route to designing a customer journey map starts with customer personas, complete with characteristics such as name, age, job role, and more.
3. Appoint a diverse mapping team
Your customer journey mapping team members should cover all areas of your company. With frontline staff, management members, and other individuals at various levels of your business, you can create a customer journey map that covers every aspect.
Customer journey mapping process steps
To help make the customer journey mapping process clear, we’ll use our Customer Journey Template and an example customer journey.
The customer journey map template
Our tried-and-tested customer journey map template will help you to clarify what your customer is aiming to do, how they feel about their interactions with you and how you need to set up their experience. This will help you to create an effective customer journey map.
This template helps you narrow down, for each step of the customer journey map:
- Customer behaviour: What is your customer’s desired outcome or goal for this step?
- Customer attitudes: What are your customers feeling? What are they telling you?
- The on-stage experience: What interaction is your customer experiencing during this step, and with whom?
- The off-stage experience: What is going on in the background of this step from your side of the business? Who needs to be present for this step to proceed?
Customer journey mapping example
Let’s use the following customer persona, goal, and journey to help us map out the steps we’ll need to take.
Job role: Hospital director
Family status: Married with children
Professional goals: Creating a sympathetic and efficient healthcare environment for patients, helping staff to grow professionally Personal goals: Wants to be able to make purchases quickly as she is time-poor, prefers in-person interactions when making big decisions
Joan wants to purchase a new vacuuming device from an e-commerce organisation to replace one that is broken.
A new buyer journey for your e-commerce business’ product or service
You might also want to consider your customer’s pain points based on their persona to help tailor your journey. For example, Joan’s pain point might be that she needs something quickly but feels unable to make a choice without speaking to a person before making a purchase.
Mapping the first step in the customer journey
As Joan is a new customer, it’s likely that her initial step might be to search for a new vacuum online.
We can use our template to build out this first step.
- Joan’s customer behaviour: Going to an online search engine and looking for a new vacuum cleaner
- Her customer attitude: Looking for a good price or a deal
- The on-stage experience: Search engine, your e-commerce website, search engine advertising
- The off-stage experience: Your marketing agency (Advertising and SEO), internal marketing team, device manufacturer
The above covers this step on a basic level. However, for an effective customer journey map, each stage needs to be built out further.
We also need to consider:
- Moments that matter
Though it might seem that Joan is the only person involved in this step, there are many individuals on your side of the interaction that need to have their input to make it a reality.
For example, your product managers will likely have decided which products to offer to your customers, based on data for what will sell. Your marketing team and senior management may have worked with a web design agency and an SEO agency to create a website that appears top of search engine results, perhaps using advertising to help catch the eye of potential customers above your competitors.
Making sure that you understand who is behind the off-stage experience of this step will help you to understand who to consult about this customer journey section. If there are representatives for your business who will directly interact with the customer during a step, those people need to be noted and considered for their input on the on-stage experience.
As mentioned, Joan might potentially be interacting with several aspects of your brand, for example:
- An online search engine
- Your company’s e-commerce website
- An advert your company has created
Ideally, her interaction with parts of your brand and processes you have control over – such as advertising, or your website – should lead her to the next step of the customer journey.
Considering the data behind these processes can help you to make this step more effective. For example, if you find that your advertising isn’t leading potential customers to your products or your website isn’t helping customers complete their desired tasks, adjusting your marketing approach or website processes might help you to create a more effective customer journey.
Your customer’s attitude might start out being basic – in this case, Joan seeking a good price on an item that she needs – but to create a truly successful customer experience, your customer should feel emotions such as satisfaction, or elation.
In this example, Joan could feel excitement at a great offer on a vacuum that you’ve advertised on a search engine. She could also feel relief at finding something quickly, or satisfaction that she’s able to source a new vacuum easily.
Moments that matter
Creating moments that matter is vital for retaining customers throughout their journey with your brand. Each time a customer takes a step on their customer journey with your brand, you should be aiming to identify the greatest moment of emotional load. Their attitude should be transformed from the banal – completing their journey – to having a memorable experience.
In this example, creating that emotional sense of relief, excitement, or satisfaction for Joan in this step will encourage her to choose your brand over competitors.
Understanding and anticipating Joan’s needs will help you to create a customer journey map that fulfils her goals. This is where drafting a persona from user research helps you to develop a journey that meets expectations and exceeds them.
In this customer journey map step, knowing what Joan might be searching for and offering her an advert or website product description that matches that search will fulfil her need. Offering her a deal takes that fulfilment to the next step by providing an additional emotional component such as elation or satisfaction.
Creating each step of the customer journey is the first process that you need to complete, but the work doesn’t end there. Once you’ve traced out your journey map stages, you’ll need to track progress and analyse the data you collect to make sure your steps are accurate and are optimised for the best user experience.
Measuring your customer experience using metrics and insights is the best way to make sure that customers like Joan are having the best experience possible, and improving the areas where they’re not.
Subsequent steps in the customer journey map
Planning the next steps
Using data on how your customer currently moves through the purchasing journey can help you to pinpoint how to optimise the customer journey, and make it as easy as possible for the customer. Each step should be considered using the template and the further aspects outlined above.
An important factor to remember is that customer behaviour and attitudes might not reflect the internal stages you think are part of the customer journey. Remembering to design the customer journey based on data you’ve collected from the real world and the emotional journey you want to provide is key for success.
Subsequent steps for Joan’s customer journey could be:
- Step 2: Visiting your e-commerce website via your search engine advert
- Step 3: Browsing your online product directory for other options and comparing products
- Step 4: Purchasing a vacuum and going through your payment process
- Step 5: Receiving the vacuum and setting it up
Additional steps might be:
- Using a self-service help center on your website to understand your delivery process
- Speaking to a frontline employee via chat to ask a question about the vacuum
- Calling your customer service center once the device has been delivered to get set-up assistance
- Leaving customer reviews on your social media or third-party review platforms
These might become subsequent customer journeys in themselves. These could be:
- Issue resolution through customer support (such as an issue with the device)
- Renewal of services (such as a warranty on the vacuum)
How to improve your customer journey maps
Choose the appropriate touchpoint
Understanding how to tailor the customer journey is key for a successful customer-focused approach. How every customer interacts will be different – so make sure you take customer feedback into account when deciding how best to interact with your customers. Each touchpoint needs to address user pain points and meet their needs – this is how you improve the customer experience.
Read our guide to customer touchpoints to learn how to craft a memorable experience for your customers.
Use an effective customer experience platform
We’ve provided a very simple example of customer journey maps, with only one journey outlined. Often, customer journey maps can become incredibly complex, with multiple trajectories, touchpoints, personas, and personnel to consider.