Customer Journey Maps: How to Create Really Good Ones [Examples + Template]

Aaron Agius

Updated: April 17, 2024

Published: May 04, 2023

Did you know 70% of online shoppers abandoned their carts in 2022? Why would someone spend time adding products to their cart just to fall off the customer journey map at the last second?

person creating a customer journey map

The thing is — understanding your customer base can be very challenging. Even when you think you’ve got a good read on them, the journey from awareness to purchase for each customer will always be unpredictable, at least to some level.

Download Now: Free Customer Journey Map Templates

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While it isn’t possible to predict every experience with 100% accuracy, customer journey mapping is a convenient tool for keeping track of critical milestones that every customer hits. In this post, I’ll explain everything you need to know about customer journey mapping — what it is, how to create one, and best practices.

Table of Contents

What is the customer journey?

What is a customer journey map, benefits of customer journey mapping, customer journey stages.

  • What’s included in a customer journey map?

The Customer Journey Mapping Process

Steps for creating a customer journey map.

  • Types of Customer Journey Maps

Customer Journey Mapping Best Practices

  • Customer Journey Design
  • Customer Journey Map Examples

Free Customer Journey Map Templates

customer journey how to

Free Customer Journey Template

Outline your company's customer journey and experience with these 7 free templates.

  • Buyer's Journey Template
  • Future State Template
  • Day-in-the-Life Template

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The customer journey is the series of interactions a customer has with a brand, product, or business as they become aware of a pain point and make a purchase decision. While the buyer’s journey refers to the general process of arriving at a purchase, the customer journey refers to a buyer's purchasing experience with a specific company or service.

Customer Journey vs. Buyer Journey

Many businesses that I’ve worked with were confused about the differences between the customer’s journey and the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is the entire buying experience from pre-purchase to post-purchase. It covers the path from customer awareness to becoming a product or service user.

In other words, buyers don’t wake up and decide to buy on a whim. They go through a process of considering, evaluating, and purchasing a new product or service.

The customer journey refers to your brand’s place within the buyer’s journey. These are the customer touchpoints where you will meet your customers as they go through the stages of the buyer’s journey. When you create a customer journey map, you’re taking control of every touchpoint at every stage of the journey instead of leaving it up to chance.

For example, at HubSpot, our customer’s journey is divided into three stages — pre-purchase/sales, onboarding/migration, and normal use/renewal.

hubspot customer journey map stages

1. Use customer journey map templates.

Why make a customer journey map from scratch when you can use a template? Save yourself some time by downloading HubSpot’s free customer journey map templates .

This has templates that map out a buyer’s journey, a day in your customer’s life, lead nurturing, and more.

These templates can help sales, marketing, and customer support teams learn more about your company’s buyer persona. This will improve your product and customer experience.

2. Set clear objectives for the map.

Before you dive into your customer journey map, you need to ask yourself why you’re creating one in the first place.

What goals are you directing this map towards? Who is it for? What experience is it based upon?

If you don’t have one, I recommend creating a buyer persona . This persona is a fictitious customer with all the demographics and psychographics of your average customer. This persona reminds you to direct every aspect of your customer journey map toward the right audience.

3. Profile your personas and define their goals.

Next, you should conduct research. This is where it helps to have customer journey analytics ready.

Don’t have them? No worries. You can check out HubSpot’s Customer Journey Analytics tool to get started.

Questionnaires and user testing are great ways to obtain valuable customer feedback. The important thing is to only contact actual customers or prospects.

You want feedback from people interested in purchasing your products and services who have either interacted with your company or plan to do so.

Some examples of good questions to ask are:

  • How did you hear about our company?
  • What first attracted you to our website?
  • What are the goals you want to achieve with our company? In other words, what problems are you trying to solve?
  • How long have you/do you typically spend on our website?
  • Have you ever made a purchase with us? If so, what was your deciding factor?
  • Have you ever interacted with our website to make a purchase but decided not to? If so, what led you to this decision?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how easily can you navigate our website?
  • Did you ever require customer support? If so, how helpful was it, on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • Can we further support you to make your process easier?

You can use this buyer persona tool to fill in the details you procure from customer feedback.

4. Highlight your target customer personas.

Once you’ve learned about the customer personas that interact with your business, I recommend narrowing your focus to one or two.

Remember, a customer journey map tracks the experience of a customer taking a particular path with your company. If you group too many personas into one journey, your map won’t accurately reflect that experience.

When creating your first map, it’s best to pick your most common customer persona and consider the route they would typically take when engaging with your business for the first time.

You can use a marketing dashboard to compare each and determine the best fit for your journey map. Don’t worry about the ones you leave out, as you can always go back and create a new map specific to those customer types.

5. List out all touchpoints.

Begin by listing the touchpoints on your website.

What is a touchpoint in a customer journey map?

A touchpoint in a customer journey map is an instance where your customer can form an opinion of your business. You can find touchpoints in places where your business comes in direct contact with a potential or existing customer.

For example, if I were to view a display ad, interact with an employee, reach a 404 error, or leave a Google review, all of those interactions would be considered a customer touchpoint.

Your brand exists beyond your website and marketing materials, so you must consider the different types of touchpoints in your customer journey map. These touchpoints can help uncover opportunities for improvement in the buying journey.

Based on your research, you should have a list of all the touchpoints your customers are currently using and the ones you believe they should be using if there’s no overlap.

This is essential in creating a customer journey map because it provides insight into your customers’ actions.

For instance, if they use fewer touchpoints than expected, does this mean they’re quickly getting turned away and leaving your site early? If they are using more than expected, does this mean your website is complicated and requires several steps to reach an end goal?

Whatever the case, understanding touchpoints help you understand the ease or difficulties of the customer journey.

Aside from your website, you must also look at how your customers might find you online. These channels might include:

  • Social channels.
  • Email marketing.
  • Third-party review sites or mentions.

Run a quick Google search of your brand to see all the pages that mention you. Verify these by checking your Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. Whittle your list down to those touchpoints that are the most common and will be most likely to see an action associated with it.

At HubSpot, we hosted workshops where employees from all over the company highlighted instances where our product, service, or brand impacted a customer. Those moments were recorded and logged as touchpoints. This showed us multiple areas of our customer journey where our communication was inconsistent.

The proof is in the pudding — you can see us literally mapping these touch points out with sticky notes in the image below.

Customer journey map meeting to improve the customer journey experience

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How to create a customer journey map — a step-by-step guide with examples

Learning more about client experience is the best way to understand and improve it. As you are reading this article, you already know that 😉 

Here, you will find a detailed step-by-step guide on making a customer journey map (CJM), examples, expert tips, templates, and a PDF guide to download and save for later.

  • 1 What is a customer journey map?
  • 2 Benefits of client journey mapping
  • 3.1 Step 1: Define your persona
  • 3.2 Step 2: Set customer journey stages
  • 3.3 Step 3: Define journey map sections
  • 3.4 Step 4: Set customer goals
  • 3.5 Step 5: Define touchpoints
  • 3.6 Step 6: Processes and channels
  • 3.7 Step 7: Problems and ideas
  • 3.8 Step 8: Emotional graph
  • 3.9 Step ?: Be Creative!
  • 4 Customer journey map examples
  • 5 A customer journey mapping checklist
  • 6 The free guide to download

What is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is the final output of the collaborative visualization process called customer journey mapping. This process lets you reveal typical experiences the customers have over time when interacting with your organization, service, or product. A finished map provides insights into their actions, processes, goals, needs, channels, emotions, and many other aspects shaping the customer experience. 

Journey maps can be of different scopes. For example, a broad-scope map would include multiple customer journey stages like ‘Awareness’, ‘Decision’, ‘Purchase’, ‘Support’, and ‘Renewal’. In contrast, a map with a narrower focus would look at a few specific stages like ‘Decision’ and ‘Purchase’.

customer journey map example

CJMs focusing on the current experience are AS-IS maps, while journey maps visualizing the future, desired, state of the experience are called TO-BE maps.

There’s also a similar technique, customer experience mapping, which is often used interchangeably with journey mapping. Experience maps are variations of CJMs, but they typically cover a wider range of interactions and contexts beyond a specific consumer-business relationship. 

Benefits of client journey mapping

Why make journey mapping your tool of choice? There are plenty of reasons, the major of which include:

  • Gaining a deeper understanding of your customers 

For instance, a high-end fashion retailer may discover that its younger customers prefer online shopping, while older customers enjoy the in-store experience.

  • Getting a single view of your customer within the organization

Journey mapping will help you turn a fragmented vision of the customer experience into a unified, organization-wide one. It will have a massive impact on the decision-making process, encouraging you to consider how your actions will affect your clients and become customer-focused.

  • Breaking corporate and cross-department silos 

To make the way toward delivering a great customer experience, you will need to collaborate with others. Understanding why this collaboration is essential, departments and employees will be more inclined to participate in conversations and collaborate.

team work in customer journey mapping

  • Improving customer experience, retention, and loyalty

While working on a map, you will discover customer pain points at different stages of their journey with you. Fixing the most crucial one as quickly as possible will do you a good turn by eliminating the reasons for leaving you. If fixes take much time, look for quick wins first. 

For instance, adding details about your shipping policy on the website will take a developer half an hour, while it will set the right expectations among customers. They won’t be expecting the delivery the next day anymore, bombarding your customer support team with frustrated messages. Another example is a subscription-based video streaming service that can personalize content recommendations to keep subscribers engaged and less likely to cancel their subscriptions.

  • Better conversion and targeting of your target customers

Sometimes, it makes sense to focus on a specific segment or, talking journey mapping terms, specific personas. Customer journey insights will help you with this endeavor by giving you a glimpse into these people’s minds and ensuring the higher effectiveness of your marketing.

journey mapping helps understand target customers

How to build a customer journey map

Although there is no gold standard for creating a customer journey map, we’ll try to create a somewhat generalized map. So that you can use it as a reference when making maps of your own.

We’ll be using our CJM Online tool along the way for two reasons. Because it’s easy to use and lets you create a CJM fairly quickly without wasting time setting up the environment. Oh, and there's a Personas building tool that comes with it 😉

UXPressia training video

We’ll take a pizza restaurant as an example of business and learn how to make a customer journey map together.

Step 1: Define your persona

Creating personas is a crucial part of customer experience service and journey mapping in particular. We won’t go into details — you can find them in this post about defining personas .

Let’s just say that our persona’s name will be Eva Moline — 29, works as a journalist and loves pizza. Eva is not really tech-savvy, and she tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


Step 2: Set customer journey stages

Stages are the steps customers take when interacting with a business. The easiest way to identify them is to think of all the actions the person has to take throughout their journey, organize them into logical groups, and name these groups. These will be your map stages. 

The number of stages varies from business to business, but we’ll take 8 for this example:

💡 Expert tips: 

  • If you’re unsure about the order or names of the stages, don’t worry about that. You can change both at any time when working on the map.
  • If your stages are complex, you can break them into smaller ones. Read this blog post about defining customer journey stages to learn more.

Step 3: Define journey map sections

Sections are horizontal rows with data that, together with the stages you defined, make up a customer journey map.

When picking sections for a map, your choice will depend on your journey’s type and purpose. 

As for UXPressia’s Journey Map tool, it offers a set of more or less universal sections for all kinds of maps. 

We’ll use some of the sections in the current example.

Step 4: Set customer goals

Setting customer goals at each stage is great for multiple reasons:

  • It helps you understand how your business goals align with the goals of your customers.
  • You can meet your customers’ needs better, gaining their loyalty by helping them achieve their goals at each stage.

Eva's goals on customer journey map

Above, you can see some of the goals we set for Eva. They are self-explanatory, so there’s no need for extra details.

Step 5: Define touchpoints

Touchpoints are encounters that happen between your business and customers. In the pizza restaurant example, touchpoints happen:

  • At the Awareness phase, when Eva is actively looking for a pizza place nearby. She is asking around, searching locations on Google Maps, etc.
  • At the Research phase, when she is trying to find out what people say about the place by asking her friends and reading online reviews.
  • At the Arrival stage, when Eva searches for a parking spot and enters the restaurant to get seated after parking the car.
  • At the Order stage, when she makes an order and waits for it.
  • Time to eat! At this stage, touchpoints occur when Eva is being served and when she is eating her meal.
  • At the Leave stage, Eva interacts with the waiter, pays for the meal, etc.
  • At the Feedback stage, she goes to the pizzeria’s website and drops a few lines on Instagram.
  • At the last stage, Eva gets a promo email from the restaurant with discounts or other special offers.

Defining all the touchpoints is critical because each touchpoint leaves some impression, and your main goal is to keep it up to the mark.

You can also have a separate section to describe the actions your persona takes:

touchpoints on a customer journey map

Step 6: Processes and channels

Processes and channels

Now, you may want to add some processes and channels to the map. Just to see what channels your persona uses and what types of processes are in their journey. Luckily, our tool lets you do it in the most awesome way. Processes can be linear, non-linear & time-based, cyclic, or bi-directional. In UXPressia, you can specify up to 10 channels per process.

adding channels to a CJM

Step 7: Problems and ideas

It’s time to explore problems Eva might have when using our service. It could be a lack of info about the pizza house. Few reviews and ads do not show how our pizza differs from others.

Upon arriving, Eva may struggle with locating the place due to unclear information on signboards or just because of a hard-to-find location.

When making her order, Eva may look for detailed info on dish ingredients to learn whether it contains peanuts she’s allergic to. Descriptions may not be as detailed as she’d want them to be.

While waiting for the pizza, Eva may want to check out the place. Finding a restroom can turn into a nightmare if you don’t have clear signs showing what’s where in the restaurant.

Once you’re done with problems, it’s time to find solutions to these problems. Brainstorm for some ideas on how this or that problem can be solved. Here’s what we brainstormed for Eva’s case:

Problems and ideas

Step 8: Emotional graph

Never underestimate the power of visualization. And our Customer Journey tool is all about it. We added an emotional graph to see where our service example shines and where it stinks. Plus, we filled text boxes with Eva’s thoughts:

emotional graph on a customer journey map

There’s also a special section ( “Think & feel” ) to put personas’ thoughts.

Step ?: Be Creative!

This is a good start, but the map is far from being complete. So, keep exploring Eva’s journey to find more insights and then add all of them to the map.

If you use our tool (which we highly recommend you to do), check out other CJM sections:

  • Image section for screenshots, photos, or any other relevant imagery. You can even turn it into a storyboard , describing the journey from beginning to end with your images or those from our library.


  • Charts section for communicating data in a visual and meaningful way, just like we did it in the persona:

charts in UXPressia

  • Video and document sections for journey-related videos and documentation (e.g., an annual marketing report).
  • Personas section for visualizing different personas’ interactions within the same journey.

💡 Expert tip: The section with the persona’s questions works like a charm for marketing and content purposes. So be sure to add one 😉

The section with persona’s questions

Customer journey map examples

There are also a whole lot of free CJM templates for all sorts of journeys in our library. Here are three examples we picked for you.

  • Example 1: a mobile user journey

This user journey map template covers the digital experience of the persona who discovers a new mobile app, installs it, and uses the app for some time before deleting it.

mobile user journey example

  • Example 2: a client journey map for a corporate bank

This free template is an example of a multi-persona, B2B customer journey. The key persona is a newly opened company looking for a bank to run their business. The CJM also visualizes interactions between the personas involved. 

customer journey how to

  • Example 3: a digital customer journey

This customer journey map example shows the digital journey of three customer personas who want to buy a new pair of sneakers online. They go through the same stages, but if you look at the map, you will be able to see the differences in customer behavior, goals, and actions. It’s also a multi-persona journey map .

customer journey how to

A customer journey mapping checklist

As a quick recap, here is a checklist with key steps to follow when creating a customer journey map:

  • Do research

To represent real people, your real customers, and visualize their journeys, you must base your personas and journey maps upon actual data.

  • Define your customer persona(s)

Identify your target personas. Create detailed profiles focusing on information relevant to your journey mapping initiative. Include such details as background, customer needs, motivations, channels, etc. 

  • Specify journey map stages

Determine the stages you want to have on your map and come up with their names.

  • Decide on the map sections

Determine which sections to include in your map (e.g., actions, touchpoints, emotions, channels).

  • Set customer goals for each stage

Make sure that it is your customers’ goals, not your business goals.

  • Identify touchpoints between the persona(s) and your organization, product, or service

Consider both online and offline interactions.

  • Map out processes and channels

Visualize the journey-specific processes and the channels your customers use at each stage. Include both digital and physical channels.

  • Highlight problems and look for opportunities

Identify any pain points and issues customers might encounter. Brainstorm potential solutions and quick wins to improve the experience.

  • Add details about the emotional experience

Visualize the persona’s emotional journey. Include thoughts and feelings where it’s relevant.

  • Use more sections

Include illustrations, images, and charts to make the map visually engaging and easy to understand. Enrich your journey map with more data, like KPIs related to journey stages.

Feel free to tailor this checklist to the specific context of your business and your project's needs.

The free guide to download

As a bonus, download our free customer journey mapping guide. Fill in the form below to get a PDF file as an email.

Related posts

The post was originally written in 2017.

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How to create an impact map in 7 easy steps: A complete guide + examples

first of all, excellent example and I’m very happy to I could understand how to create user journey map, due to for a long time I can’t understand it and how, many thanks for your efforts 🙂 I have some question about ser journey map. I hope to open your chest for me,

1-no there are rules for user journey map? 2-I need another example ?(for example Uber)?further understand 3-have I create user journey map without customer?

Arthur McCay

Hello, Karim!

I am very glad that this article helped you understand customer journey mapping 🙂

In regards to your first question, I would say that journey maps differ from business to business. However, they tend to have the same structure give or take. So no matter what industry you make a CJM for, you will end up having several stages and a bunch of sections we mentioned in this post.

If you’re looking for CJM examples of Uber customers, here is one: Plus we have a lot more on our template page:

As for your last question, yes. You may have a journey map without a customer (persona) and use target audience segments instead (or have a generic map without personas at all, though I don’t recommend the latter as in this case it will be hard to empathize with real people). So you will certainly have to introduce a customer down the road to gain a deeper understanding of the journey.

many thanks for your reply to me and again I have some questions

1-why you don’t use in your example? user experience, empathy maps such as use goal touch point, and how to create it 2-As for the previous example (Uber) very confuse for me not as your example

Could you please rephrase your first question? And as for the Uber map, well, that’s all I managed to find. 🙂 But again, here you can find a hundred of map examples of all stripes and colors:

welcome again, my question is? what’s different between Aware and Research

The differences come from the names.

At the aware stage your client realizes that there’s a need for a service/product. Or they find out that your company exists and offer a desired service.

While at the research stage they either do research on your business (e.g. visit your website or ask their friends if they used your service) or they research what is out there on the market that can help them.

Makes sense? 🙂


Thank you for this,

I am wondering , Have you done examples on B2B services. I work in Accreditation & Certification, this seems to be the least visited topic in marketing platforms and blog sites.

Katerina Kondrenko

We have some B2B templates in our Template Library . Type B2B tag in the search placeholder and you will see all categories with the fitting templates. You can also explore the B2B mapping guide here .

Good luck and happy customers!


Great article, well articulated and detailed. I am starting off with service design and was wondering if I could get some advice mapping out a customer journey for a specific project. I was mapping out how do one approach to repair services?

Sofia Grigoreva

Hi Shreya, glad you liked the article!

If you’re dealing with home repair, I might suggest our pre-filled template for an interior design agency customer journey: . Templates can be a great starting point even if they’re not a 100% match to your use case.

Other than that, you will need to create a persona. If you don’t have any research data yet, do it based on your assumptions. Then, try to visualize what their experience across all stages and interactions with the repair service might be. Once you have the first draft, you can proceed with validating it and adding more data as it comes in.

If you have more context on the project, I can look into it and come up with specific tips 🙂

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I very delighted to find this internet site on bing, just what I was searching for as well saved to fav

Rok Software

Thank you for sharing, it was something I researched.

Hi Rok! Happy mapping 🙂

Level up your mapping with Chunks  | June 18

customer journey mapping

How to create a customer journey map

Lucid Content

Reading time: about 8 min

How to Make a Customer Journey Map

  • Conduct persona research
  • Define customer touchpoints
  • Map current states
  • Map future states

Steve Jobs, the genius behind Apple’s one-of-a-kind customer experience, said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”

Nowadays, a clear vision and strategy for customer interactions is no longer an optional “nice-to-have”—it’s essential. As you refine your customer experience, a customer journey map is one of the most powerful ways to understand your current state and future state.

Customer Journey Map Example

A customer journey map is a diagram that shows the process your customers go through in interacting with your business, such as an experience on the website, a brick and mortar experience, a service, a product, or a mix of those things.

What is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s experience with your brand. These visuals tell a story about how a customer moves through each phase of interaction and experiences each phase. Your customer journey map should include touchpoints and moments of truth, but also potential customer feelings, such as frustration or confusion, and any actions you want the customer to take.

Customer journey maps are often based on a timeline of events, such as a customer’s first visit on your website and the way they progress towards their first in-product experience, then purchase, onboarding emails, cancellation, etc. 

Your customer journey maps may need to be tailored to your business or product, but the best way to identify and refine these phases is to actually talk to your customers. Research your target audiences to understand how they make decisions, decide to purchase, etc. Without an essential understanding of your customers and their needs, a customer map will not lead you to success. But, a well-constructed and researched customer journey map can give you the insights to drastically improve your business’s customer experience.

The benefits of customer journey mapping

Customer journey mapping is a powerful tool for uncovering insights into your customer experience, driving business goals, and building resilience in a changing market. In a 2022 report, Hanover Research found that 94% of businesses said their customer journey maps help them develop new products and services to match customer needs. Another 91% said their maps drove sales. 

But understanding a customer’s journey across your entire organization does so much more than increase your revenue. It enables you to discover how to be consistent when it comes to providing a positive customer experience and retaining customer loyalty. 

This was especially evident in recent years as top of improving marketing, customer journey maps emerged as a valuable way to understand evolving buyer behavior. In fact, 1 in 3 businesses used customer journey maps to help them navigate the changing landscape during the pandemic.

When done correctly, customer journey mapping helps to:

  • Increase customer engagement through channel optimization.
  • Identify and optimize moments of truth in the CX.
  • Eliminate ineffective touchpoints.
  • Shift from a company to a customer-focused perspective.
  • Break down silos between departments and close interdepartmental gaps.
  • Target specific customer personas with marketing campaigns relevant to their identity.
  • Understand the circumstances that may have produced irregularities in existing quantitative data.
  • Assign ownership of various customer touchpoints to increase employee accountability.
  • Make it possible to assess the ROI of future UX/CX investments.

Following the process outlined above, customer mapping can put your organization on a new trajectory of success. Yet, according to Hanover Research, only 47% of companies currently have a process in place for mapping customer journeys. Making the investment to map your customer journey and solidify that process as part of your company’s DNA can result in significant advantages in your competitive landscape, making your solution the go-to option that customers love.

Customer journey maps can become complicated unless you keep them focused. Although you may target multiple personas, choose just one persona and one customer scenario to research and visualize at a time. If you aren’t sure what your personas or scenarios might be, gather some colleagues and try an  affinity diagram in Lucidchart to generate ideas.

1. Set goals

Without a goal, it will be difficult to determine whether your customer journey map will translate to a tangible impact on your customers and your business. You will likely need to identify existing—and future—buyers so you can set goals specifically for those audiences at each stage of their experience.

Consider gathering the key stakeholders within your company—many of whom likely touch different points of the customer experience. To set a logical and attainable goal, cross-functional teamwork is essential. Gather unique perspectives and insights about each part of the existing customer journey and where improvements are needed, and how those improvements will be measured.

Pro Tip : If you don’t already have them in place, create buyer personas to help you focus your customer journey map on the specific types of buyers you’re optimizing for.

2. Conduct persona research

Flesh out as much information as possible about the persona your customer journey map is based on. Depending on the maturity of your business, you may only have a handful of records, reports, or other pre-existing data about the target persona. You can compile your preliminary findings to draft what you think the customer journey may look like. However, the most insightful data you can collect is from real customers or prospective customers—those who have actually interacted with your brand. Gather meaningful customer data in any of the following ways:

  • Conduct interviews.
  • Talk to employees who regularly interact with customers.
  • Email a survey to existing users.
  • Scour customer support and complaint logs.
  • Pull clips from recorded call center conversations.
  • Monitor discussions about your company that occur on social media.
  • Leverage web analytics.
  • Gather Net Promoter Score (NPS) data.

Look for information that references:

  • How customers initially found your brand
  • When/if customers purchase or cancel
  • How easy or difficult they found your website to use
  • What problems your brand did or didn’t solve

Collecting both qualitative and quantitative information throughout your research process ensures your business makes data-driven decisions based on the voice of real customers. To assist when conducting persona research, use one of our user persona templates .

Customer Journey Map Example

Discover more ways to understand the Voice of the Customer

3. Define customer touchpoints

Customer touchpoints make up the majority of your customer journey map. They are how and where customers interact with and experience your brand. As you research and plot your touchpoints, be sure to include information addressing elements of action, emotion, and potential challenges. 

The number and type of touchpoints on your customer journey map will depend on the type of business. For example, a customer’s journey with a SaaS company will be inherently different than that of a coffee shop experience. Simply choose the touchpoints which accurately reflect a customer’s journey with your brand.

After you define your touchpoints, you can then start arranging them on your customer journey map.

4. Map the current state

Create what you believe is your as-is state of the customer journey, the current customer experience. Use a visual workspace like Lucidchart, and start organizing your data and touchpoints. Prioritize the right content over aesthetics. Invite input from the stakeholders and build your customer journey map collaboratively to ensure accuracy. 

Again, there is no “correct” way to format your customer journey map, but for each phase along the journey timeline, include the touchpoints, actions, channels, and assigned ownership of a touchpoint (sales, customer service, marketing, etc.). Then, customize your diagram design with images, color, and shape variation to better visualize the different actions, emotions, transitions, etc. at a glance.

Mapping your current state will also help you start to identify gaps or red flags in the experience. Collaborators can comment directly on different parts of your diagram in Lucidchart, so it’s clear exactly where there’s room for improvement.

5. Map future states

Now that you’ve visualized the current state of the customer journey, your map will probably show some gaps in your CX, information overlap, poor transitions between stages, and significant pain points or obstacles for customers.

Use hotspots and layers in Lucidchart to easily map out potential solutions and quickly compare the current state of the customer journey with the ideal future state. Present your findings company-wide to bring everyone up to speed on the areas that need to be improved, with a clear roadmap for expected change and how their roles will play a part in improving the customer journey.

Customer journey map templates

You have all the right information for a customer journey map, but it can be difficult to know exactly how to start arranging the information in a digestible, visually appealing way. These customer journey mapping examples can help you get started and gain some inspiration about what—and how much—to include and where.

Basic Customer Journey Map Example

Don’t let the possibility of a bad customer journey keep you up at night. Know the current state of the customer journey with you business, and make the changes you need to attract and keep customers happy.

customer journey mapping

Customer journey mapping is easy with Lucidchart.

About Lucidchart

Lucidchart, a cloud-based intelligent diagramming application, is a core component of Lucid Software's Visual Collaboration Suite. This intuitive, cloud-based solution empowers teams to collaborate in real-time to build flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, customer journey maps, and more. Lucidchart propels teams forward to build the future faster. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit

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The definitive 8-step customer journey mapping process

In business, as in life, it's the customer's journey that makes the company's destination worth all the trouble. No customer wants to jump through several different hoops to get to your product: they want it fast and they want it now.

Following certain customer journey mapping stages helps you improve your user's experience (UX) to create a product they love interacting with, ensures you stay ahead of key workflow tasks, and keeps stakeholders aligned. But a misaligned map can derail your plans—leading to dissatisfied users who don’t stick around long enough to convert or become loyal customers.

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Product-led growth: what it is, how it works, and examples

This article walks you through the eight key stages of great customer journey mapping, and shows you how to adapt each to your unique business and product to optimize the customer experience from start to finish. 

Learn how customers interact with your product and website

Hotjar's Observe and Ask tools let you go ‘behind the scenes’ to understand your users’ product experiences and improve their customer journey.

An 8-step process for effective customer journey mapping

A customer journey map is a visualization of every point of interaction a user has with your company and product.

Mapping out the customer journey gives you insights into your buyers’ behavior to help you make changes that improve your website and the user flow between touchpoints. This helps you increase online sales and turn users into loyal customers and brand advocates.

Follow these eight proven steps to understand—and enhance—the customer experience.

Note: every business is distinct, so be sure to adapt these steps to your particular user and business needs. 

1. Define your purpose

The first step to creating a successful customer journey map is to define your product's vision or purpose. Without a clear purpose, your actions will be misguided and you won’t know what you want users to achieve during their journey on your website, product page, or web app. 

To define your purpose, consider your company’s mission statement and incorporate your specific user pain points as much as possible. 

Make your purpose specific to your company’s needs and goals—for example, the purpose of an ecommerce brand looking to help users navigate several different products and make multiple purchases will differ from that of a SaaS company selling subscriptions for one core product.

2. Make sure your team is aligned and roles are clear

Cross-functional collaboration is essential when mapping out your brand's or product’s user journey. Get insights from different teams within your organization to find out exactly how users engage with key touchpoints to derive a holistic sense of the user experience (UX), which will help you improve every aspect of the customer experience.

Lisa Schuck , marketing lead at Airship , emphasizes the importance of keeping “anybody that has a touchpoint with a customer” involved. She advises teams to “figure out how to align your external marketing and sales with your internal operations and service.”

Although sales, product, and marketing departments are often the key players in customer journey mapping, also involve your operations and design teams that are responsible for creating the user flow. 

If you have a SaaS company, for example, marketing creatives, sales teams, product owners and designers, and your customer experience department all need to participate in the process. Clearly define who’s responsible for different aspects of the map, and regularly check in to make sure your final map isn’t missing any important perspectives.

Pro tip: use Hotjar's Highlights feature to collect and organize key product experience (PX) insights and data on user behavior from teams across your organization to help you build your customer journey map. Then use Hotjar’s Slack integration to quickly share learnings with your relevant stakeholders to get buy-in and ensure everyone is aligned.

#Hotjar’s Slack integration Slack lets teams discuss insights in the moment, so they’re up to date with critical issues

Hotjar’s Slack integration Slack lets teams discuss insights in the moment, so they’re up to date with critical issues 

3. Create user personas

Once you’ve defined your purpose and involved all relevant stakeholders, it’s time to design your user personas . Use resources like UXPressia and HubSpot’s Make My Persona tool to help you design various product personas . 

Create a range of user personas to understand what each type of buyer needs to curate a journey that’s easy and enjoyable for every customer. This is an important early step in the customer journey mapping process—because if you don’t understand your users, you won’t be able to fully comprehend how they interact with your brand to better it.

Create user personas for all your product’s possible buyers—for example, to map out a B2B customer journey for a company in the hospitality business means developing personas for a range of different customers, from large chain hotel managers to small vacation rental owners. 

4. Understand your user goals

Once you’ve designed your user personas, it’s time to define their jobs to be done . What do your users hope to accomplish when they search for your product or service? What do they want to do when they click on your website? Address and answer these questions to build a deep understanding of your users’ goals and pain points to inform your customer journey.

In a SaaS customer journey , perhaps users are looking for helpful comparisons of product features on your website, or want to easily sign up for a trial account in the hopes that your product will solve their problems. But you won’t know until you ask . 

Once you have users or test users, get direct insights from them with Hotjar's Feedback tools and Surveys to ask buyers exactly what their goals are as they browse different pages of your website or interact with product features.

Since user goals are at the center of your customer journey map, define them early on—but keep speaking to your users throughout the entire process to make sure you’re up to date with their needs.

#Use Hotjar's Feedback tools to understand what your users want to do at key customer journey touchpoints—like when they land on your homepage

5. Identify customer touchpoints

After you understand your users and what their goals are, it’s time to identify the ways they interact with your company and your product. 

"Touchpoints are the moments the customer interacts with your brand, be it through social media channels, your product, or customer support. The quality of these experiences affects the overall customer experience, which is why it’s important to be aware of them. Consider what happens before, during, and after a customer makes a purchase or uses your product."

Key customer journey touchpoints for a website or product include your homepage, landing pages, product pages, CTA buttons, sign-up forms, social media accounts, and paid ads. 

Collaboration is key to identifying touchpoints throughout the entire customer journey. Include insights from different teams and stakeholders —your marketing and sales teams will have a strong understanding of the touchpoints involved pre-purchase, while the customer experience department can shed light on post-purchase touchpoints. 

Post-purchase touchpoints can help turn users into loyal customers and even advocates for your brand. 

In the words of Lisa Schuck, "When you create a raving fan, or a brand advocate, who goes out and tells the world how wonderful you are, you get social credibility and validity. It’s becoming more and more important to have advocates."

Pro tip : speak with your users regularly to get direct voice-of-the-customer (VoC) insights on what they love and what frustrates them on their journey. Place Hotjar Feedback widgets and Surveys at key website touchpoints like your homepage and landing pages to get valuable user insights on what you can improve. Use Hotjar’s survey templates to get inspiration for your survey questions. 

customer journey how to

An example of an on-site Hotjar Survey

6. Map out the customer journey

Once your user and product research are complete and all roles are distributed, it’s time to map out the full customer journey.

First, map out an overarching customer journey by putting your key touchpoints in order and identifying how your various user personas interact with them. Then, home in on the details, looking at how customers engage with specific aspects of your website, product, or social media accounts. 

Breaking down the mapping process into smaller phases will ensure you don’t miss any key interactions. 

Here’s how an ecommerce brand could lay out general touchpoints, then narrow each down into more specific actions:

customer journey how to

Pro tip : it’s helpful to think of the user journey in terms of different functions when mapping it out, like:

Connect: how are buyers connecting with your brand?

Attract: how are you convincing them to convert?

Serve: how are you serving customers when they want to purchase?

Retain: how are you promoting brand advocacy and customer retention ?

7. Test the customer journey

Once you’ve mapped out the customer journey, it’s time to take it for a spin. You can’t understand how your users move through customer touchpoints unless you test out the user flow yourself. 

Start with an informational Google search, then visit your website, check out your social media pages, and simulate the purchase process. This will help you get a better sense of how users interact with each touchpoint and how easy it is to move between them. 

Be sure to try out the journey from the standpoint of every relevant user persona. For an enterprise software company, this could mean looking at how decision-makers move through the user flow vs. the employees who’ll use your software day to day. 

By walking through the customer journey yourself, you can identify issues and difficulties that users may have to address them proactively. 

Try out the user flow with test users to get a realistic perspective of the user experience. Be sure to use focus groups that represent every one of your user personas. 

8. Use continuous research to refine your map 

Continuously map out, analyze, and evaluate the customer journey by observing users and getting their feedback. Hotjar Heatmaps and Recordings help you understand how your users are experiencing the customer journey on your website: create heatmaps to see whether users are clicking on CTAs or key buttons, and watch recordings to find out how they navigate once they reach your homepage.

Then, use Google Analytics to get an overview of your website traffic and understand how customers from different channels move through the user journey. 

Finally, once you have these combined user insights, use them to make changes on your website and create a user journey that is more intuitive and enjoyable.

#Watch your users as they navigate on your website during their customer journey to see where they're getting stuck with Hotjar Session Recordings

Pitfalls to avoid during the customer journey mapping stages

Jamie Irwin , director & search marketing expert at Straight Up Search , says companies should avoid these three common mistakes when mapping out the customer journey:

Don't map out the entire customer journey at once

Don't forget about the ‘hidden journeys’

Don't make assumptions about customer behavior

To sidestep these common pitfalls: 

Start by mapping out the overall journey, and only drill down into more detail once you have a broader, higher-level overview of the customer journey

Factor in every way that customers interact with your brand, even the ones you don’t have as much visibility on, like ‘dark social’ communications about your brand shared in private channels. Talk to your users to find out what they’ve heard about your brand outside of public channels , and use sticky share buttons to keep track of when your content’s shared through email or social media messengers.

Take a data-informed approach: don’t assume you already know your users —test out your hypotheses with real users and qualitative and quantitative data. 

Follow proven steps to successfully map out the customer journey 

Take the time to understand your business goals and users, involve the right teams, and test frequently to consistently improve your customer journey and make the decisions that will help you map out an experience that will get you happy and loyal customers.

FAQs about customer journey mapping stages

What is the purpose of customer journey mapping.

Customer journey mapping helps you visualize how users interact with your business and product, from the moment they find it until long after they make their first purchase. 

The purpose of customer journey mapping is to gain insights into the buyer's journey to create a more enjoyable, streamlined, and intuitive experience for your customers.

What are the benefits of following a customer journey mapping process?

The main benefits of a customer journey mapping process are: : 

Building on tried-and-tested processes

Not missing any key steps

Considering all buyer personas

Keeping all relevant stakeholders involved

Creating a valuable customer journey map 

Improving user experience

What happens if you don’t follow key steps in customer journey mapping?

If you don’t follow key steps when mapping out the customer journey, your map likely won’t give you the insights you need to enhance the experience users have with your most important touchpoints —like your homepage, landing pages, CTAs, and product pages. 

This can result in high bounce rates, low conversion, and unsatisfied users who fail to become loyal customers.

CJM benefits

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Customer Journey Mapping

Journey mapping helps you visualize how customers experience your product or service, and how they feel along the way. Scroll to step 6 for a real-life example from one of our product teams!


Understand the customer journey from a specific persona's perspective so that you can design a better experience.

User Team

Running the play

Depending on how many touchpoints along the customer journey you're mapping, you might break the journey into stages and tackle each stage in pairs.

Sticky notes Template

Define the map's scope (15 min)

Ideally, customer journey mapping focuses on the experience of a single persona  in a single scenario with a single goal. Else, the journey map will be too generic, and you'll miss out on opportunities for new insights and questions. You may need to pause creating a customer journey map until you have defined your customer personas . Your personas should be informed by  customer interviews , as well as data wherever possible.

Saying that, don't let perfect be the enemy of good! Sometimes a team just needs to get started, and you can agree to revisit with more rigor in  a few months' time. Once scope is agreed on, check your invite list to make sure you've got people who know the details of what customers experience when using your product or service.

Set the stage (5 min)

It's really important that your group understands the user  persona  and the goal driving their journey. Decide on or recap with your group the target persona and the scope of the journey being explored in your session. Make sure to pre-share required reading with the team at least a week ahead of your session to make sure everyone understands the persona, scope of the journey, and has a chance to delve deeper into research and data where needed. Even better- invite the team to run or attend the customer interviews to hear from customers first hand!

E.g. "We're going to focus on the Alana persona. Alana's role is project manager, and her goal is to find a scalable way for her team to share their knowledge so they spend less time explaining things over email. We're going to map out what it's like for Alana to evaluate Confluence for this purpose, from the point where she clicks that TRY button, to the point where she decides to buy it – or not."

Build a customer back-story (10 min)

Have the group use sticky notes to post up reasons why your target persona would be on this journey in the first place. Odds are, you'll get a range of responses: everything from high-level goals, to pain points, to requested features or services. Group similar ideas and groom the stickies so you can design a story from them.

These narratives should be inspired by actual customer interviews. But each team member will also bring a different perspective to the table that helps to broaden the lens.

Take a look at the example provided in the call out of this section. This back story starts with the pain points – the reasons why Alana would be wanting something like Confluence in the first place.

  • E.g., "Her team's knowledge is in silos"

Then it basically has a list of requirements – what Alana is looking for in a product to solve the bottom pain points. This is essentially a mental shopping list for the group to refer to when mapping out the customer journey.

  • E.g., "Provide structure"

Then it has the outcomes – goals that Alana wants to achieve by using the product

  • E.g., "To keep my team focused on their work instead of distracted by unnecessary emails and shoulder-taps"

And finally the highest-level goal for her and her team.

  • E.g., "Improve team efficiency"

Round off the back story by getting someone to say out loud what they think the overall story so far is, highlighting the main goals the customer has. This ensures a shared understanding that will inform the journey mapping, and improve the chances that your team will map it from the persona's point of view (not their own).

  • E.g., "Alana and her team are frustrated by having to spend so much time explaining their work to each other, and to stakeholders. They want a way to share their knowledge, and organize it so it's easy for people outside their team to find, so they can focus more energy on the tasks at hand."

Content search

For example...

Here's a backstory the Confluence team created. 

Map what the customer thinks and feels (30-60 min)

With the target persona, back story, and destination in place, it's time to walk a mile in their shoes. Show participants how to get going by writing the first thing that the persona does on a sticky note. The whole group can then grab stickies and markers and continue plotting the journey one action at a time.

This can also include questions and decisions! If the journey branches based on the answers or choices, have one participant map out each path. Keep in mind that the purpose of this Play is to build empathy for, and a shared understanding of the customer for the team. In order to do this, we focus on mapping the  current state of one discrete end to end journey, and looking for opportunities for improvement.

To do a more comprehensive discovery and inform strategy, you will need to go deeper on researching and designing these journey maps, which will need to split up over multiple sessions. Take a look at the variation below for tipes on how to design a completely new customer journey.

Use different color sticky notes for actions, questions, decisions, etc. so it's easier to see each element when you look at the whole map.

For each action on the customer journey, capture which channels are used for the interactions. Depending on your context, channels might include a website, phone, email, postal mail, face-to-face, and/or social media.

It might also help to visually split the mapping area in zones, such as "frontstage" (what the customer experiences) versus "backstage" (what systems and processes are active in the background).

Journey mapping can open up rich discussion, but try to avoid delving into the wrong sort of detail. The idea is to explore the journey and mine it for opportunities to improve the experience instead of coming up with solutions on the spot. It's important not only to keep the conversation on track, but also to create an artefact that can be easily referenced in the future. Use expands or footnotes in the Confluence template to capture any additional context while keeping the overview stable.

Try to be the commentator, not the critic. And remember: you're there to call out what’s going on for the persona, not explain what’s going on with internal systems and processes.

To get more granular on the 'backstage' processes required to provide the 'frontstage' customer value, consider using Confluence Whiteboard's Service Blueprint template as a next step to follow up on this Play.

lightning bolt


Your map has heaps of branches and loops.

Your scope is probably too high-level. Map a specific journey that focuses on a specific task, rather than mapping how a customer might explore for the first time.

Map the pain points (10-30 min)

"Ok, show me where it hurts." Go back over the map and jot down pain points on sticky notes. Place them underneath the corresponding touchpoints on the journey. Where is there frustration? Errors? Bottlenecks? Things not working as expected?

For added value, talk about the impact of each pain point. Is it trivial, or is it likely to necessitate some kind of hack or work-around. Even worse: does it cause the persona to abandon their journey entirely?

Chart a sentiment line (15 min)

(Optional, but totally worth it.) Plot the persona's sentiment in an area under your journey map, so that you can see how their emotional experience changes with each touchpoint. Look for things like:

  • Areas of sawtooth sentiment – going up and down a lot is pretty common, but that doesn't mean it's not exhausting for the persona.
  • Rapid drops – this indicates large gaps in expectations, and frustration.
  • Troughs – these indicate opportunities for lifting overall sentiments.
  • Positive peaks – can you design an experience that lifts them even higher? Can you delight the persona and inspire them to recommend you?

Remember that pain points don't always cause immediate drops in customer sentiment. Sometimes some friction may even buold trust (consider requiring verification for example). A pain point early in the journey might also result in negative feelings later on, as experiences accumulate. 

Having customers in the session to help validate and challenge the journey map means you'll be more confident what comes out of this session. 

Analyse the big picture (15 min)

As a group, stand back from the journey map and discuss trends and patterns in the experience.

  • Where are the areas of greatest confusion/frustration?
  • Where is the journey falling short of expectations?
  • Are there any new un-met needs that have come up for the user type?
  • Are there areas in the process being needlessly complicated or duplicated? Are there lots of emails being sent that aren’t actually useful? 

Then, discuss areas of opportunity to improve the experience. E.g., are there areas in the process where seven steps could be reduced to three? Is that verification email actually needed?

You can use quantitative data to validate the impact of the various opportunity areas identified. A particular step may well be a customer experience that falls short, but how many of your customers are actually effected by that step? Might you be better off as a team focused on another higher impact opportunity?

Here's a user onboarding jouney map our Engaging First Impressions team created.

Be sure to run a full Health Monitor session or checkpoint with your team to see if you're improving.


Instead of mapping the current experience, map out an experience you haven't delivered yet. You can map one that simply improves on existing pain points, or design an absolutely visionary amazeballs awesome experience!

Just make sure to always base your ideas on real customer interviews and data. When designing a totally new customer journey, it can also be interesting to map competitor or peer customer journeys to find inspiration. Working on a personalised service? How do they do it in grocery? What about fashion? Finance?

After the mapping session, create a stakeholder summary. What pain points have the highest impact to customers' evaluation, adoption and usage of our products? What opportunities are there, and which teams should know about them? What is your action plan to resolve these pain points? Keep it at a summary level for a fast share out of key takeaways.

For a broader audience, or to allow stakeholders to go deeper, you could also create a write-up of your analysis and recommendations you came up with, notes captured, photos of the group and the artefacts created on a Confluence page. A great way of sharing this information is in a video walk through of the journey map. Loom is a great tool for this as viewers can comment on specific stages of the journey. This can be a great way to inspire change in your organization and provide a model for customer-centric design practices.


Now that you have interviewed your customers and created your customer journey map, circle back to your customers and validate! And yes: you might learn that your entire map is invalid and have to start again from scratch. (Better to find that out now, versus after you've delivered the journey!) Major initiatives typically make multiple journey maps to capture the needs of multiple personas, and often iterate on each map. Remember not to set and forget. Journeys are rapidly disrupted, and keeping your finger on the pulse of your customer's reality will enable your team to pivot (and get results!) faster when needed.

Related Plays

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Shared understanding

Different types of teams need to share an understanding of different things.


The team has a  shared vision  and collective  purpose  which they support, and  confidence  they have made the right strategic bets to achieve success.

Proof of concept

Project teams.

Some sort of demonstration has been created and tested, that demonstrates why this problem needs to be solved, and demonstrates its value.

Customer centricity

Service teams.

Team members are skilled at  understanding , empathizing and  resolving  requests with an effective customer feedback loop in place that drives improvements and builds trust to improve service offerings.

Creating the user's backstory is an important part of user journey mapping.

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The complete guide to customer journey stages.

12 min read If you want to turn a potential customer into a lifetime one, you’ll need to get to know every step of the entire customer journey. Here’s why the secret to customer retention lies in knowing how to fine-tune your sales funnel…

What is the customer journey?

What do we actually mean when we talk about the customer journey? Well, the simplest way to think about it is by comparing it to any other journey: a destination in mind, a starting point, and steps to take along the way.

In this case, the destination is not only to make a purchase but to have a great experience with your product or service – sometimes by interacting with aftersale customer support channels – and become a loyal customer who buys again.

stages of the customer journey

And, just like how you can’t arrive at your vacation resort before you’ve done you’ve found out about it, the customer journey starts with steps to do with discovery, research, understanding, and comparison, before moving on to the buying process.

“Maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also lift revenue up by 15% while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%”

– McKinsey, The Three Cs of Customer Satisfaction

In short, the customer journey is the path taken by your target audience toward becoming loyal customers. So it’s really important to understand – both in terms of what each step entails and how you can improve each one to provide a maximally impressive and enjoyable experience.

Every customer journey will be different, after all, so getting to grips with the nuances of each customer journey stage is key to removing obstacles from in front of your potential and existing customers’ feet.

Free Course: Customer Journey Management & Improvement

What are the essential customer journey stages?

While many companies will put their own spin on the exact naming of the customer journey stages, the most widely-recognized naming convention is as follows:

  • Consideration

5 customer journey stages

These steps are often then sub-categorized into three parts:

  • Sale/Purchase

It’s important to understand every part of the puzzle, so let’s look at each sub-category and stage in turn, from the awareness and consideration stage, right through to advocacy:

Customer journey: Pre-sale

In the pre-sale phase, potential customers learn about products, evaluate their needs, make comparisons, and soak up information.

Awareness stage

In the awareness stage, your potential customer becomes aware of a company, product, or service. This might be passive – in that they’re served an ad online, on TV, or when out and about – or active in that they have a need and are searching for a solution. For example, if a customer needs car insurance, they’ll begin searching for providers.

Consideration stage

In the consideration stage, the customer has been made aware of several possible solutions for their particular need and starts doing research to compare them. That might mean looking at reviews or what others are saying on social media, as well as absorbing info on product specs and features on companies’ own channels. They’re receptive to information that can help them make the best decision.

Consider the journey

Customer journey: Sale

The sale phase is short but pivotal: it’s when the crucial decision on which option to go with has been made.

Decision stage

The customer has all the information they need on the various options available to them, and they make a purchase. This can be something that’s taken a long time to decide upon, like buying a new computer, or it can be as quick as quickly scouring the different kinds of bread available in the supermarket before picking the one they want.

Customer journey: Post-sale

Post-sale is a really important part of the puzzle because it’s where loyal customers , who come back time and again, are won or lost.

Retention stage

The retention stage of the customer journey is where you do whatever you can to help leave a lasting, positive impression on the customer, and entice them to purchase more. That means offering best-in-class customer support if they have any issues, but it also means being proactive with follow-up communications that offer personalized offers, information on new products, and rewards for loyalty.

Advocacy stage

If you nail the retention phase, you’ll have yourself a customer who not only wants to keep buying from you but will also advocate on your behalf. Here, the customer will become one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, in that they’ll actively recommend you to their friends, family, followers, and colleagues.

What’s the difference between the customer journey and the buyer’s journey?

Great question; the two are similar, but not exactly the same. The buyer’s journey is a shorter, three-step process that describes the steps taken to make a purchase. So that’s awareness , consideration, and decision . That’s where things stop, however. The buyer’s journey doesn’t take into account the strategies you’ll use to keep the customer after a purchase has been made.

Why are the customer journey stages important?

The short answer? The customer journey is what shapes your entire business. It’s the method by which you attract and inform customers, how you convince them to purchase from you, and what you do to ensure they’re left feeling positive about every interaction.

Why this matters is that the journey is, in a way, cyclical. Customers who’ve had a smooth ride all the way through their individual journeys are more likely to stay with you, and that can have a massive effect on your operational metrics.

It’s up to five times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing customer, but even besides that: satisfied customers become loyal customers , and customer loyalty reduces churn at the same time as increasing profits .

So companies looking to really make an impact on the market need to think beyond simply attracting potential customers with impressive marketing, and more about the journey as a whole – where the retention and advocacy stages are equally important.

After all, 81% of US and UK consumers trust product advice from friends and family over brand messaging, and 59% of American consumers say that once they’re loyal to a brand, they’re loyal to it for life.

Importantly, to understand the customer journey as a whole is to understand its individual stages, recognize what works, and find things that could be improved to make it a more seamless experience. Because when you do that, you’ll be improving every part of your business proposition that matters.

How can you improve each customer journey stage?

Ok, so this whole customer journey thing is pretty important. Understanding the customer journey phases and how they relate to the overall customer experience is how you encourage customers to stick around and spread the news via word of mouth.

But how do you ensure every part of the journey is performing as it should? Here are some practical strategies to help each customer journey stage sing…

1. Perform customer journey mapping

A customer journey map takes all of the established customer journey stages and attempts to plot how actual target audience personas might travel along them. That means using a mix of data and intuition to map out a range of journeys that utilize a range of touch points along the way.

customer journey map example

One customer journey map, for example, might start with a TV ad, then utilize social media and third-party review sites during the consideration stage, before purchasing online and then contacting customer support about you your delivery service. And then, finally, that customer may be served a discount code for a future purchase. That’s just one example.

Customer journey mapping is really about building a myriad of those journeys that are informed by everything you know about how customers interact with you – and then using those maps to discover weaker areas of the journey.

2. Listen like you mean it

The key to building better customer journeys is listening to what customers are saying. Getting feedbac k from every stage of the journey allows you to build a strong, all-encompassing view of what’s happening from those that are experiencing it.

Maybe there’s an issue with the customer sign-up experience, for example. Or maybe the number advertised to contact for a demo doesn’t work. Or maybe you have a customer service agent in need of coaching, who only makes the issue worse. By listening, you’ll understand your customers’ issues and be able to fix them at the source. That customer service agent, for example, may just feel disempowered and unsupported, and in need of the right tools to help them perform better. Fixing that will help to optimize a key stage in the customer journey.

Qualtrics in action with sentiment analysis

The key is to listen at every stage, and we can do that by employing the right technology at the right customer journey stages.

Customer surveys, for instance, can help you understand what went wrong from the people who’re willing to provide that feedback, but conversational analytics and AI solutions can automatically build insights out of all the structured and unstructured conversational data your customers are creating every time they reach out, or tweet, or leave a review on a third party website.

3. Get personal

The other side of the ‘listening’ equation is that it’s worth remembering that each and every customer’s journey is different – so treating them with a blanket approach won’t necessarily make anything better for them.

The trick instead is to use the tools available to you to build out a personalized view of every customer journey, customer journey stage, and customer engagemen t, and find common solutions.

Qualtrics experience ID

Qualtrics Experience iD , for example, is an intelligent system that builds customer profiles that are unique to them and can identify through AI, natural language processing , and past interactions what’s not working – and what needs fixing.

On an individual basis, that will help turn each customer into an advocate. But as a whole, you’ll learn about experience gaps that are common to many journeys.

Listening to and understanding the customer experience at each customer journey stage is key to ensuring customers are satisfied and remain loyal on a huge scale.

It’s how you create 1:1 experiences, because, while an issue for one person might be an issue for many others, by fixing it quickly you can minimize the impact it might have on future customers who’re right at the start of their journey.

Free Course: Customer Journey Management Improvement

Related resources

Customer Journey

Buyer's Journey 16 min read

Customer journey analytics 13 min read, how to create a customer journey map 22 min read, b2b customer journey 13 min read, customer interactions 11 min read, consumer decision journey 14 min read, customer journey orchestration 12 min read, request demo.

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How to Create a Customer Journey Map: A Step-By-Step Breakdown

Nick Mann

There are often a lot of twists and turns in the customer journey, with each individual experience being unique.

That said, there is a predictable sequence of touchpoints throughout the sales funnel.

Mapping each customer touchpoint out effectively helps enhance the user experience and increases the chances of customer success.

What Is a Customer Journey Map?

Simply put, a customer journey map is a visualization of the process someone undertakes as they move through the various touchpoints of the customer journey.

It typically starts with the initial interaction they have, like visiting your website for the first time when gaining brand awareness, and then moves through the subsequent stages of consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy.

Here’s an example of what a typical customer journey map may look like.

customer journey maps

Notice how it concisely outlines the touchpoints customers take as they move throughout the customer journey.

It starts in the awareness stage with touchpoints like search results or paid content, moves on to the consideration stage with social media or email, then to the purchase stage, and so on.

There are four main purposes of customer journey mapping.

  • Flesh out the step-by-step process someone takes from being a potential customer to a lead to an actual customer and ideally, a loyal advocate
  • Understand the customer’s perspective
  • Identify friction points that are causing issues with customer engagement
  • Discover opportunities to reduce pain points and improve the overall customer experience

By doing so, you set the stage for better product design, more effective customer journey marketing, increased customer satisfaction, better customer retention, and ultimately, greater customer success.

How to Create a Customer Journey Map

1. define business goals.

Before doing anything else, you’ll want to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking to accomplish with customer journey mapping.

Some common examples include:

  • Optimizing each touchpoint in the customer experience
  • Identifying areas with higher than average dropoff
  • Resolving issues that are leading to excessive dropoff
  • Improving the overall customer experience both during the buyer journey and post-purchase

Clearly articulating what you’re trying to achieve is essential because it will direct the path you take for subsequent steps of customer journey mapping.

Note that a big part of effectively defining business goals is getting input from multiple key stakeholders in your company who are responsible for different aspects of the customer experience.

For instance, you may want to get input from your marketing leaders when developing the awareness and consideration stages of your customer journey map, input from your sales leaders when ironing out the purchase stage, and input from your customer service leaders when constructing the retention and advocacy stages.

It’s also smart to perform extensive user research and incorporate customer feedback to ensure you address the right pain points and tackle the issues that are most pressing for creating a positive user experience and long-term customer loyalty.

This should make for cohesive CX journey mapping where touch points flow smoothly from one to the next.

2. Identify Key Stages in the Customer Journey

Next, you’ll want to pinpoint the exact sales funnel stages involved with the customer journey.

The sales funnel stages can vary slightly from company to company, but as we mentioned earlier, some common ones include:

  • Consideration

customer journey maps with box

Fleshing the key stages out like this will show you the path users take as they go from being a prospect to a lead to a customer to an advocate.

By visualizing the key stages like this, you’ll see how each stage flows into the next — something that’s vital for making the customer journey as seamless as possible, meeting customer needs, and improving overall customer experience quality.

This is also what the next step in constructing customer journey maps is built on, which brings us to our next point.

3. Define Customer Touchpoints

You can think of the key stages in the customer journey on the macro level and the next step in the process — defining customer touchpoints — on the micro level.

These are the smaller interactions that customers take as they move from stage to stage in the user journey.

This can include digital touchpoints like becoming aware of your brand through an online ad, a search engine, paid content, and so on.

customer journey map arrows

It can also include physical touchpoints like word-of-mouth.

customer journey maps arrow word of mouth

Customer touchpoints will account for the majority of your customer journey map and help you visualize how people interact with your brand.

The exact number of touchpoints can vary considerably, so defining them is highly individualistic.

When identifying them, you’ll want to carefully consider the typical customer journey and write down every step involved. Then, arrange each touchpoint sequentially so you can see the big picture.

4. Design a Visual Representation of the Customer Journey

After defining business goals, identifying key stages in the customer journey, and defining customer touchpoints, it’s time to actually create your customer journey map.

Here, you’ll create a visual representation of what your business’s specific customer journey looks like for a bird’s-eye view.

To do this effectively, it’s helpful to use strong visual elements like different colors, symbols, bullets, and emojis so you can easily see everything at a glance.

Here’s an example of what an online shopping customer journey map could look like.

online customer journey map

When it comes to customer journey mapping tools, there are several options available.

If you’re looking for something bare-bones and simple, you can use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

customer journey spreadsheet

If you want something a bit more advanced, you can use HubSpot’s Customer Journey Map Template , which includes seven free templates (more on this later).

customer journey map hubspot template

Or, if you want software with extensive features that are specifically designed for creating customer journey maps, you can find a list of the top 10 products here .

Note that most companies have more than one customer persona. Therefore, you may need to create multiple customer journey maps while targeting each individual buyer persona.

Customer Journey Map Templates

When most people think of customer journey mapping, they think of the classic buyer’s journey.

And they wouldn’t be wrong.

Generally, that’s the most commonly used customer journey map and the type of mapping we used in the customer journey map examples above.

But it’s certainly not the only type of mapping you can use.

As we’ll learn in a moment, there are also customer journey maps that target specific segments of the buyer’s journey and customer journey maps that focus on what you want your ideal journey to be like.

For the rest of this post, we’ll cover four of the most popular customer journey map templates you can use for different situations.

That way you can cover all the angles and increase the chances of customer success every step of the way.

Buyer’s Journey

As we just mentioned, this is widely considered the most classic type of customer journey mapping.

When mapping the buyer’s journey, you follow the key stages in the customer journey (awareness, consideration, purchase, etc.) like we outlined above, along with customer touchpoints.

Here’s a simple template journey map example for the buyer’s journey from HubSpot, which you can find for free here .

customer journey map buyers journey from hubspot

The default starting point is extremely simple. It includes just three stages and a handful of questions to understand customer interaction.

However, you can easily add more stages, questions, and additional information to fully customize the buyer’s journey so that it’s specific to your business.

customer journey map buyers journey from hubspot write in

This template, admittedly, won’t provide the same depth as some of the more advanced tools for creating customer journey maps, but it should be adequate for many business owners.

If you don’t need anything fancy and are testing out customer journey maps for the first time, HubSpot should be more than sufficient.

Whatever template you use, buyer’s journey mapping tends to be a good starting point as it helps you visualize the entire process from someone entering your sales funnel to converting to becoming a loyal customer.

This is integral for optimizing every aspect of the customer experience end-to-end, and from a product standpoint, is essential for achieving UX mastery.

It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re looking to improve your UX design skills, The Interaction Design Foundation is an excellent resource for doing so. They offer a wide variety of courses from the beginner to expert level and only charge a flat monthly fee for access to all courses.

Now that we’ve tackled buyer journey mapping, let’s look at three other popular types of customer journey map template options that are also available.

Future State

In most cases, the buyer’s journey is the current journey customers are taking.

While there will likely be several areas you’re satisfied with, your existing customer journey probably won’t be ideal and likely isn’t meeting customer expectations 100%.

For example, there may be friction points along the way where customers are attempting to accomplish a goal. Or, there may be higher than acceptable dropoff in a particular area like using core features or becoming a paid customer after using a free product version.

customer journey analytics dashboard

By the way, if you want to holistically understand the customer journey and generate objective customer data, you can use a customer journey analytics platform like Woopra . This enables you to analyze essential customer journey metrics so you can see what it looks like end-to-end.

With future state customer journey mapping, you design a new map with new touchpoints and engagements based on your ideal vision.

That way, you’ll know what needs to be done to create the optimal customer journey.

If you’ve already experimented with creating customer journey maps and are looking to take the next step to refine the customer experience, you’ll likely be interested in future state mapping.

HubSpot offers a free future state template as well, which allows you to outline the series of steps that need to be taken to make the customer journey as perfect as possible. And it’s completely customizable.

customer journey future state

You simply list the steps you want to take to create an amazing customer experience and ask key questions regarding customer behavior.

It’s nothing over the top, but it should get the job done for many business owners.

Lead Nurturing

Although technically part of the buyer’s journey, some marketers choose to create a lead nurturing customer journey map because of the extreme importance of lead nurturing.

After all, any major holes in the lead nurturing process can disrupt sales as a whole. And no matter how good your marketing team is at generating leads, the impact will be negated if you can’t successfully nurture them.

To optimize this area of sales, you can create a lead nurturing map using a template like this one.

customer journey lead nurturing

Here, the default starts with someone being a stranger, then moves on to them being a subscriber/lead, then a marketing qualified lead (MQL), a sales opportunity/demo, then a deal closed/handoff.

Again, everything is customizable, so you can adjust the lead nurturing customer journey to your exact specifications. And, it too, is available for free from HubSpot .

Customer Service and Support

Once again, a truly rewarding user experience goes beyond the purchase and ensures a customer is satisfied well after they’ve bought a product.

Like lead nurturing, customer service and support are also technically part of the buyer’s customer journey map.

However, it dives deeper into this area of the sales funnel with the intention of increasing customer retention and advocacy.

And I think we can all agree that this is incredibly important given that “Happy and satisfied customers are 87% more likely to purchase upgrades and new services.”

Here’s yet another free customer journey map template you can get from HubSpot that focuses specifically on customer service and support.

customer journey service and support

With it, you can follow how a customer goes from engaging in the normal use of a product to noticing an issue/having a complaint to asking for help/contacting customer support to speaking with support to conflict resolution.

Having a clear overview of the touchpoints involved with this process should help you fully understand the flow so you can 1) see things from a customer’s point of view and 2) identify issues that may be detrimental to customer support.

For inspiration from real-life major brands like Spotify, TurboTax, and Amazon, here’s a list of customer journey map examples you can learn from.

Crafting an Exceptional User Experience with Customer Journey Maps

Customer journey mapping is a simple yet effective way to visualize each touchpoint in the user journey holistically for each buyer persona.

From the initial moment someone becomes aware of your brand to the time of purchase and beyond, customer journey maps allow you to see how users move throughout the entire lifecycle.

And as we’ve learned, this serves several important purposes, including seeing the buying process from a customer’s point of view, identifying customer pain points, and unearthing opportunities to improve the customer experience end-to-end.

It’s just a matter of following the correct customer journey mapping guidelines and using the appropriate template to outline the buying process.

Then, tracking key customer journey metrics like engagement, churn rate, and customer satisfaction with an analytics platform like Woopra or Google Analytics should help you refine your customer journey mapping to fully optimize the customer experience.

Full insight into the customer journey. No SQL required.

Get started with Woopra for free to see who your customers are, what they do and what keeps them coming back.

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The Complete Guide To Customer Journey Mapping (With Examples)

SEO Title | The Complete Guide To Customer Journey Mapping (W/Examples) | FieldRoutes

FieldRoutes helps field service companies simplify, scale, and grow.

How to understand, use, and build customer journey maps

How to understand, use, and build customer journey maps

A customer journey map is key to building a solid marketing strategy. We cover everything you need to know about customer journey maps, their different types, examples, and the steps to making your own.

What is a customer journey map?

Why do you need a customer journey map, characteristics of customer journey maps.

  • What are touchpoints?
  • Different types of customer journey map

Journey map variations

  • How to create a customer journey map

Customer journey map tools

  • How to build an empathy-based, data-backed customer journey map
  • How to use empathy to create stronger customer journey maps
  • Customer journey tools: Top rated and best available

The customer journey is a long and often unpredictable road. Understanding it can be even more complicated. 

That’s why customer journey maps were invented: to understand the roadmap of a customer, from the very first touchpoint throughout the lasting life of their relationship with your business. 

Customer journey maps (or user journey maps) can be an invaluable resource for companies, from marketing to sales to UX, and are known to help businesses increase their ROI by 13–22% if done correctly. 

Below we cover journey maps from top to bottom, their importance, characteristics, and review examples, along with what you need to make your own. 

Key takeaways: 

Customer journey mapping is a strategic (and successful) approach to truly understanding your customers.

There are real and valuable business reasons to journey map.

There are six basic types of customer journey maps.

Customer touchpoints are every instance of interaction or engagement that happens along the journey. 

There are current- and future-state customer journey maps that can help predict future behavior .  

A customer journey map (sometimes called a user journey map, UX map, or CJM) is a visualization of the steps and experiences a customer has with a brand, from first contact to ongoing engagement, revealing both seen and unseen interactions.

Customer journey road: Start, awareness, interest, purchase, retention, advocacy.

User journey mapping lets you create personalized experiences across all touchpoints —for every individual—across all channels.

Companies can use this shared understanding to identify opportunities for innovation and improvement.

These maps can be simple or complex, depending on what you're looking to gain from them.

For any company, a customer journey map helps to enhance the customer experience and increase customer loyalty. 

A customer journey map can prove invaluable for optimizing across multiple departments—marketing, sales, product, and customer service—in many, many ways. Mapping your customer journey can help you:

Promote a customer-centric culture internally and externally 

Identify your ideal buyer and connect with customer needs

Glean customer journey insights into your audience that can drive revenue

Improve sales funnels & conversion rates authentically 

Amplify customer experience by understanding the customer’s perspective 

Reduce customer support tickets by locating customer pain-points 

Aid in marketing campaigns

Generate repeat business

Decrease customer churn and increase customer lifetime value

Together, these advantages translate into higher sales for your business.

Benefits of customer journey mapping: optimize the customer onboarding process, understand customer experience vs. what customers actually receive, create a logical order for your buyer jounrye, visualize the end-to-end customer experience, understand multiple customer pathways and complex user experiences, increase empathy for current and prospective customers, target personas and solve problems more effectively, improve internal alignment and break down silos, uncover and prioritize new pain points and roadblocks, tell better stories to improve stakeholder buy-in

A typical customer journey map includes: 

Actors—or potential profiles of customers—usually align with personas and their actions in the map are rooted in data . These actors will be the foundation of your map, and they will dictate the actions needed to create the desired outcome. 

Customer personas and buyer personas: What’s the difference?

A buyer persona is a profile that showcases your ideal customer based on existing customer data and market research. Buyer personas help humanize the ideal customer you are trying to attract, which helps you understand them better and pick the right marketing strategy to convert them.

Customer journey stages: Awareness, information, evaluation, decision

A buyer persona is your ideal customer—they’re in research mode. You can have more than one buyer persona for your company, and understanding this buyer is the key to creating a successful customer experience. This buyer will turn into your customer.

Here’s what makes up your buyer persona: 

Demographics —including personal, professional, and specific (age, gender, location, education, income, marital status, skills, routines, etc.) 

Goals —including personal and professional, priorities, and challenges

Values —including personal and professional, and what they find to be important in products and companies

Preferences —including the content they consume, their communication choices, communities, groups, or associations, and how they spend their day, on and offline

All of these characteristics make up customer journey maps on the buying path. 

Journey phases

Journey phases are the different high-level stages in the customer roadmap. They provide organization for the rest of the information in the journey map (actions, thoughts, and emotions).

The stages will vary from scenario to scenario, and each organization will usually have data to help it determine what these phases are for a given scenario. Often you will see awareness, research, evaluation, and decision making in the customer phases. 

Customer expectations

Journey maps are best for scenarios that involve a sequence of events, describe a process, or might involve multiple channels.

Pain points are a specific problem that customers or prospective customers of your business are experiencing in the industry.

Scenarios can be real (for existing products and services) or anticipated—for products that are yet in the design stage. 

Actions, mindset, and sentiment

Every customer has a particular action that they take, because of a mindset that they have and will express it in their own sentiment. 

Actions: When a customer engages with your brand with a purpose. 

Mindset : Correspond to users' thoughts, questions, motivations , and information needs at different stages in the journey.

Emotions : How customers feel about your brand, whether positive, negative, or neutral. Plot these emotions in a single line across the journey phases, signaling the emotional highs and lows of the experience.


Opportunities of a customer journey map are desired outcomes. Maps should include key components, which can depend on the goal of the user journey mapping initiative.

Opportunities are also insights gained from mapping—they speak to how the user experience can be optimized.

To create a customer journey map, identify the personas, map the triggers that lead to desired outcomes, and discuss opportunities.

Customer journey map components: Touchpoints, customer sentiments, pain points, actions.

What are customer journey touchpoints?

Customer journey touchpoints are individual transactions through which the customer interacts with a business. 

Customer journey touchpoints for omnichannel brands are everywhere, here are a few examples:

Social media posts

Product demos


Brick and mortar visits

Website visits

You’ll also have the added returning customer touchpoints to consider—like how engaged they are with your product, if they are returning to your website or if they are attending your events for the second or third time. 

Examples of customer touchpoints 

Identifying each touchpoint is crucial for creating a customer journey map that will drive a better customer experience. Once you’ve identified the touchpoints, list out possible customer actions for each. 

Some actions that derive from customer touchpoints might be: 

Downloading an eBook

Clicking on your FAQ

Requesting a demo or call

Subscribing to your blog

Clicking a paid ad

It’s important to know which touchpoints to invest time and resources into. Your map maps out the areas you can improve, retain and scale. 

The customer journey: awareness, consideration, convert, loyalty, advocacy.

Types of customer journey maps

Each customer journey map has a different objective and business focus. There are six types to familiarize yourself with:

Current state —These illustrate what customers do , think, and feel as they interact with your business currently. 

Future state —These illustrate what customers will do, think, and feel as they interact with your business in the future. 

Day in the life —These examine everything that customers or prospects do, think, and feel (within a specific area), whether that involves your product or not. 

Service blueprint —This is a diagram that usually starts with a basic version of an existing or future state journey map. 

Circular —These are used for subscription-based models to visualize the customer journey as a circle or loop. This helps reinforce the importance of customer retention and lifetime value.

Empathy —These are used to create a shared understanding around the wants, needs, thoughts, and actions of a customer.  

Journey maps are meant to be used as a strategic planning tool. Use these definitions to guide you towards aspects of other methods that your team has not previously considered.

Journey map vs. Experience map

A journey map is specific to a product or service, while an experience map is more general and can be used outside of a business's scope.

Since experience maps are more generic in nature, they can also be used to find pain points in a product or service for a future journey map.

Journey map vs. Service blueprint

If journey maps are a product of experience maps, they will need a blueprint to direct them there. 

Service blueprints are a continuation of journey maps in the service industry. They lead the roadmap for service-based customer journeys. 

Journey map vs. User story map

User stories are used in Agile to plan features or functionalities, much like a future customer journey map.

In the user story map case, each feature is condensed down to a deliberately brief description from a user’s point of view. The typical format of a user story is a single sentence:

“As a [type of user], I want to [goal], so that [benefit].” 

How to create a customer journey map 

To create a customer journey map , it helps to have an idea of the steps involved. You can break the process of creating a customer journey map down into the following steps:

Define —Define your map goals with the customer’s journey in mind and your business goals at the finish line. 

Describe —Describe your customers and personas in detail from all aspects of their lives. 

Determine —Identify customer touchpoints from the beginning of the roadmap of engagement with your brand. 

Design —Lay out the customer journey every step of the way.

Designate —Mark customer milestones, motivations, frustrations, and turning points . 

Decide —Flag events that require action and make the necessary arrangements to fix any errors. 

Deploy —Adjust and optimize for a smoother customer experience.

Customer journey map templates 

Having a template is a great way to get started. There are a few different templates to choose from: 

Current state customer journey map 

The current state journey map visualizes the current experience with your product or service. It involves defining the scope of the customer experience with customer touchpoints.

Current State Customer Journey Map: Stages, research, initial contact & information gathering, quote, decision-making process, close of deal, follow-up

This type of customer journey map is designed with the considerations, thoughts, feelings, and actions of your customers in mind. Current state mapping is a practical approach to identify existing pain points and create a shared awareness of the end-to-end customer experience. 

Day-in-the-life customer journey mapping 

A day-in-the-life journey map is another simple grid map based on time, created especially for the daily grind of the customer. Instead of different journey stages, it represents times in the day related to actions based on decisions in the path of purchasing. 

This template helps you visualize your customer’s daily routine even if these actions are outside your company. It typically is organized chronologically to systematically show the course of the habits of the day.

Day-in-the-life's are great for giving you insights into all the thoughts, needs, and pain points users experiences throughout their day. You can use this type of map to evaluate when your product or service will be most valuable in your customer’s day. 

Future-state customer journey map 

With a future-state journey map template, your goal is to learn how your customers feel about a new product launch or about how they will require your service in the future. 

Future-state journey mapping is a useful approach to explore possible customer expectations and to create new experiences. Mapping out a future customer journey helps to align your team around a common goal—the betterment of the customer experience.

Service blueprint customer journey map 

A service blueprint helps you design a roadmap of your service process—much like building a house. The goal is to be able to make projected changes to the service where needed and to be able to visualize each step in the eyes of the customer. 

Service blueprint maps reflect the perspective of the organization and its employees and visualize the things that need to happen behind the scenes in order for the customer journey to take place. 

Service blueprints are created when making procedural changes, or when trying to pinpoint solutions to roadblocks in the customer journey on a website.

Circular customer journey map 

A circular customer journey map is just that—circular instead of linear or graph-like to showcase a different type of business model. For instance, a SaaS company may find it more useful to visualize the customer journey as a loop or wheel. 

This subscription-based journey map does a nice job of portraying both the customer interactions and sentiments, as well as their journey from awareness to purchase. 

Empathy customer journey map 

The empathy journey map is a bit different because it aligns with the customer's feelings and emotions. Empathy is a big factor in the customer journey and this template is designed to help teams align their customer journey mapping exercise with these types of needs. 

With empathy, you can get into your customer’s shoes and truly feel what they feel as it pertains to your product or service. 

As with anything, you’ll need customer journey mapping tools to help you . The key is to find the right tool that works with your team and workflow. 

Here are a few tools to consider:


PowerPoint or Google Slides

With the right map and the right tools, you can overcome roadblocks and open a path to scalability and success.

Enhance your journey mapping process with customer intelligence. Look at data points like heatmaps , scroll maps , and other insights you can glean from session replay . Combining these quantitative and qualitative insights will help you in your journey mapping process.

Using journey maps to drive organizational change

It may not be easy to get buy-in to support the changes in strategic planning that result from customer journey mapping. 

You can use what insights you’ve gleaned from the current state journey map in these beneficial ways:

Align your organization around the customer viewpoint. Engage with each department and set up a commitment to put the customer experience moments top of mind with an initiative for growth.

Enlist team members and partners to generate empathy for customers. Use your journey map to bring together relevant teams to train on customer experience best practices. 

Supplement a new strategy with internal communications that encourage better customer service. As new initiatives roll out, use internal channels to communicate how you’re improving the experience of the customer, and how team members can help.

Optimize your user journeys with Fullstory

Understanding your users' digital experience and optimizing your most important touchpoints can be make-or-break.

With Fullstory Journeys, you can easily see how users explore your site or app and see step-by-step page navigations and other key interactions along the way. This lets you identify if users are using your site how you intended; what the most common navigation paths are; and how users typically arrive at your most critical pages. 

It's no longer a guessing game—it's data-driven and actionable.

Fullstory's DXI platform combines the quantitative insights of customer journeys and product analytics with picture-perfect  session replay  for complete context that helps you uncover opportunities.

Sign up for a free 14-day trial  to see how Fullstory can help you combine your most invaluable quantitative and qualitative insights and eliminate blind spots.

Frequently asked questions about customer journey maps

Who uses customer journey maps.

For any brand or company that wants to learn their customer, from the point of motivation to the turning point of frustration, a customer journey map is the best tactic to do so. Journey maps are best for scenarios that describe a sequence of events. You might want to map multiple scenarios for one persona, depending on your project goals.

How often should I update a customer journey map?

If business goals change, so could your customer’s goals. If you roll out a new product or service, you may want to edit or update your customer journey map. Keeping your maps updated can help you reach your goals as a team. 

How many customer journey maps do I need?

The number of different customer journey maps needed all depends on your target audience. If you have multiple customer personas, it would be best to create different journey maps to suit each one. 

At the very least, be sure to create a customer journey map for the current and future state so you can aid in predicting future trends of the customer journey in alignment with your product and service.

Who should be involved in the mapping process?

Anyone that is involved in making your product or service successful should have a hand in the mapping process. Sales, marketing, customer success, and product teams all should be involved in customer journey mapping. Every team member will benefit from truly understanding their customers to make for a better customer experience. 

What is a user journey map in design thinking?

User journey maps for design thinking is an iterative process of studying the user so that they can engage with a system with more agility. It redefines customer problems in an attempt to identify alternative solutions that might not be obvious with the initial level of understanding.

Related resources and further reading

Map out how your customers navigate your website or app—and determine where you need to improve.

Jennifer Pyron from brand performance agency Mighty & True on building a customer journey map.

What is a customer journey map, how does it relate to product and marketing teams, and where can empathy help? Let's find out.

Fullstory helps you visualize customer interactions so you can understand and improve customer experience, one glowing review at a time.

A comprehensive guide to product analysis and analytics platforms, how important they are, and why they’re a valuable asset for your bottom line.

Journey mapping tools help marketers identify pain points, tailor interfaces, and cultivate efficient, enjoyable experiences for customers.

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9 Steps to your Winning Customer Journey Strategy

Author Image

By   Julie Choo

Published: October 3, 2023

Last Update: January 9, 2024

TOPICS:   Service Design

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, one thing remains constant: the customer is king. And to keep the king content, a well-defined customer journey strategy is paramount. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of customer journey strategy, exploring its intricacies, the importance of customer journey mapping, and how it all contributes to enhancing the customer experience. Buckle up; we’re about to embark on a journey of our own.

Customer Journey: What is it?

Step 1: define your objectives, step 2: identify customer personas, step 3: collect customer data, step 4: create a visual representation, step 5: define touchpoints, step 6: walk in your customers’ shoes, step 7: capture emotions and pain points, step 8: analyze and iterate, step 9: implement changes – bringing it all together, elevating customer experience: the north star of your strategy.

At its core, a customer journey represents the route a customer takes from their first interaction with your brand to the final purchase and beyond. Understanding this journey is the first step in crafting an effective customer journey strategy. It’s akin to setting up signposts along a road – guiding your customers on a seamless voyage.

A well-mapped customer journey not only benefits your customers but also your business. It enables you to anticipate customer needs, identify pain points, and optimize touchpoints to foster loyalty.

customer journey how to

9 Steps of the Customer Journey Map

Customer journey mapping is the cartography of your customer’s experience. It’s where you take a deep dive into each step of their journey, from awareness to post-purchase engagement. Mapping allows you to see the journey from the customer’s perspective, highlighting pain points, moments of delight, and opportunities for improvement.

When crafting your map, consider customer personas, touchpoints, and channels. Visualizing the customer’s path helps in aligning your marketing, sales, and support teams to provide a cohesive and delightful experience.

Magnifier by strategy journey representing identifying objectives

Before setting sail, you need to chart your course. Start by defining your objectives. What specific aspects of the customer journey are you looking to understand or improve? Here’s a few common example of ideas to look at when considering your company’s objective

  • Churn Reduction : One of the most common objectives is reducing churn or customer attrition. Your goal might be to pinpoint the exact stages in the customer journey where customers tend to drop off and identify strategies to retain them.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization : If your primary aim is to increase conversions, your objectives could revolve around understanding the barriers that prevent prospects from moving smoothly through the sales funnel. What’s stopping them from becoming paying customers?
  • Enhanced Customer Loyalty : For businesses seeking to boost customer loyalty, objectives may focus on identifying the touchpoints and interactions that contribute most to customer satisfaction. What can you do to turn satisfied customers into loyal advocates?
  • Improved Customer Support : If customer support is a priority, you might aim to uncover pain points in the support journey. Are customers waiting too long for assistance? Are their issues resolved effectively? Your objectives could involve streamlining the support process for better customer experiences.
  • Personalization and Engagement : In a world where personalization is key, objectives might be centered on tailoring the customer journey to individual preferences. What data points can you gather to offer more personalized recommendations and interactions?
  • Cost Reduction : For cost-conscious businesses, objectives could revolve around optimizing the customer journey to reduce operational costs. Are there redundant touchpoints or inefficient processes that can be streamlined?

Practical implementation of this step involves convening a cross-functional team to brainstorm, discuss, and define your objectives. Each department, from marketing to customer support, should have input to ensure a comprehensive perspective.

Objectives should be documented, and their importance should be communicated throughout the organization. This clarity ensures that everyone is working toward a common goal, enhancing collaboration and alignment.

Every explorer needs a crew, and in this journey, your crew comprises customer personas. There are questions you should consider and ask. Create detailed profiles of your typical customers, considering;

Customer Data with graphs and text for for identifying customer personas

  • Demographics and Psychographics : Start by defining the basic demographics of your personas, such as age, gender, location, and income. Dive deeper into psychographics, understanding their values, interests, and lifestyle choices. For example, are your potential customers tech-savvy millennials seeking convenience, or are they older, price-conscious consumers looking for reliability?
  • Goals and Pain Points: Delve into the goals and pain points of each persona. What are they trying to achieve when interacting with your brand? What obstacles or frustrations might they encounter along the way? Knowing these aspects allows you to provide solutions at critical touchpoints.
  • Behavioral Patterns: Explore the behavioral patterns of your personas. How do they typically engage with your brand? Are they frequent visitors to your website, or do they prefer in-person interactions? Understanding these patterns helps in optimizing customer touchpoints.
  • Communication Preferences: Identify how your personas prefer to communicate. Do they engage via email, social media, or phone calls? Tailor your communication channels to align with their preferences for more effective interactions.
  • Decision-Making Process: Determine the decision-making process of your personas. Are they impulsive buyers, or do they conduct thorough research before making a purchase? This insight helps you align your marketing strategies and content with their decision journey.

In the realm of customer journey mapping, gathering customer data is akin to excavating precious gems of knowledge, crucial for achieving a deeper understanding of your audience and ensuring customer retention. It serves as the compass guiding your business through the intricate maze of customer preferences, behaviors, and expectations while minimizing customer churn. Effective data collection is not just a task but a strategic endeavor that requires precision and purpose, allowing you to engage with your target audience more effectively.

Customer data gathering | by Strategy Journey

To embark on this data collection voyage, you must first identify the sources of valuable information within your reach. These sources span a spectrum, from website analytics and social media metrics to customer surveys designed to survey customers for insights. Categorize the data into distinct types, including demographic, behavioral, psychographic, and transactional data. For instance, understanding the preferences of tech-savvy millennials or the cautious spending habits of older customers can offer insights into customer churn and retention. Ensuring the quality and accuracy of this data is paramount, as it’s the cornerstone upon which insightful decisions are made. Implement data validation processes to minimize errors and uphold data integrity. Moreover, always respect customer privacy and adhere to data protection regulations, seeking clear consent for data collection to foster trust.

In practice, customer surveys can directly capture feedback and insights, uncovering a few examples of pain points or preferences that influence customer retention. Tools like Google Analytics help track website visitor behavior, providing essential data for tailoring your strategies. CRM systems centralize customer information, offering a unified view of interactions and preferences that can inform customer retention efforts. Social media listening uncovers sentiment and trends, guiding your engagement with the target audience. Additionally, data mining techniques reveal customer preferences that, when acted upon, boost customer retention. Regular data audits and cross-referencing data from various sources ensure data accuracy, while stringent data security measures and compliance with regulations protect sensitive information. By mastering the art of data collection, you not only unlock the secrets of the customer journey but also pave the way for crafting meaningful and personalized experiences that resonate with your target audience, thereby enhancing customer retention and reducing churn. With data as your guiding star, you’re equipped to navigate the seas of customer insights with confidence and purpose.

Check Boxes IPad representing collected data

Now, it’s time to put pen to paper (or rather, pixels to screen) and create a visual representation of the customer journey. Use software or even a whiteboard to sketch out the different stages and touchpoints your customers go through. Each stage represents a milestone in their journey.

Team members working together to draw out visual mind map of customer journey

In the intricate tapestry of crafting an effective marketing strategy that caters to customer expectations and cultivates loyal customers. A touchpoint is any interaction between a customer and your brand, a moment when your customer journeys through your offerings, and their experience is shaped. Understanding and strategically defining these touchpoints empowers you to orchestrate a seamless, delightful journey that resonates with your audience.

customer journey how to

To begin this journey of touchpoint definition, it’s essential to comprehensively map the customer’s journey. This involves identifying every instance where a customer comes into contact with your brand, whether it’s through a website visit, a social media interaction, a customer service call, or even an in-store experience. By recognizing these touchpoints, you can tailor your marketing strategy to meet customer expectations at each juncture.

The goal is to ensure that every interaction leaves a positive impression, fostering loyalty and trust among your customers. Whether it’s a user-friendly website interface or a personalized email campaign, every touchpoint is an opportunity to engage, delight, and convert customers into loyal advocates of your brand.

Creating a customer journey that truly engages and resonates with your audience is about stepping into your customers’ shoes, cultivating empathy, and fostering customer success. It’s not just about understanding their needs but also their emotions, challenges, and aspirations throughout their buying process.

To effectively walk in your customers’ shoes, start by revisiting your customer personas and immersing yourself in their characteristics, preferences, and pain points. Conduct interviews and surveys to gain deeper insights into their experiences and expectations. Organize workshops where cross-functional teams can collectively analyze the customer journey and identify areas for improvement. Employ mystery shopping and competitor benchmarking to uncover hidden gaps. Analyze customer feedback to spot recurring themes and issues.

Walking in your Customers Shoes | By Strategy Journey

Empathy should not be a one-time exercise but an integral part of your decision-making process. When empathy becomes ingrained in your organization’s culture, every team member considers its impact on customer success. By walking in your customers’ shoes, you gain a profound understanding of their journey, which becomes the foundation for designing meaningful interactions, fostering customer satisfaction, and driving brand advocacy. So, lace up those metaphorical shoes and embark on a journey to create a customer journey that ensures customer success throughout the buying process.

In the intricate world of customer journey mapping, Understanding your customer’s emotions and pain points plays a pivotal role in cultivating a deeper connection with your audience. This step revolves around the art of capturing emotions and pain points that shape customer interactions. Emotions are the driving force behind customer decisions and actions, while pain points represent the obstacles they encounter. Recognizing and understanding these aspects empowers businesses to create solutions that resonate with customers’ feelings and alleviate their concerns.

Representation of Customer Pain Points and Emotions by | Strategy Journeey

To capture emotions and pain points effectively, businesses can employ various strategies. Emotion-centric surveys can be designed to prompt customers to express their feelings and experiences at different touchpoints, be it during a purchase or while engaging with the customer service team. Empathy mapping workshops encourage collaborative creation of empathy maps, visually representing customer personas’ emotions and pain points throughout their journey. Customer interviews should go beyond the standard questions, urging customers to share emotional experiences and elaborate on their pain points.

Feedback analysis can be enriched by incorporating emotional tags to categorize responses and identify sentiments. Social media listening offers a real-time glimpse into customer emotions as they discuss brands online, providing opportunities for businesses to engage and gain a deeper understanding of their audience’s perspectives. Ultimately, applying these insights can transform ordinary interactions into memorable experiences, fostering customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy in the process.

In this step, we dive deeper into understanding and enhancing our customer journey maps. It’s like finding hidden treasures in a treasure hunt. First, we dig into all the information we’ve gathered about our customers, like feedback and surveys. Then, we use cool tools to turn this data into easy-to-understand pictures. These pictures show us how customers behave on their journey with our business.

But we don’t stop at just looking at pictures. We take action ! We listen to what customers say and what the numbers tell us. If something’s not right, like customers not staying with us for long, we figure out why and make changes. We also keep an eye on what other businesses are doing to see if we can do things better. It’s like always trying to make our customer journey maps more effective and exciting.

This isn’t a one-time job; it’s an ongoing adventure. As customers’ needs change, our journey maps should change with them. We work together across our teams to make sure our business strategy lines up with these maps. This way, we’re not just meeting but exceeding our customers’ expectations. And that’s how we keep them happy and coming back for more, making our business stand out from the crowd.

Once you’ve charted the course, it’s time to steer the ship. Implement changes and improvements based on your findings. Ensure that all departments and teams are aligned with the new strategy and understand their roles in enhancing the customer journey.

Through these nine steps, from defining objectives to implementing changes, we’ve embarked on a transformative journey ourselves. We’ve learned to see our business from the customer’s perspective, understand their emotions, and continuously adapt to meet their needs. By mastering these steps, we ensure that our customer journey maps are not just diagrams on a wall but effective tools that drive our business strategy. In doing so, we don’t just satisfy customers; we create loyal advocates who keep our business thriving. So, as we implement changes, we do it with a sense of purpose and a commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Customer experience (CX) is the heart and soul of your customer journey strategy. It’s not just about a single transaction; it’s about fostering long-term relationships. A positive CX ensures customers return, become brand advocates, and fuel business growth.

To enhance CX, focus on personalization, responsiveness, and consistency across all touchpoints. Leverage data and feedback to refine your strategy continuously. Remember, it’s the little things that make a big difference.

Customer Journey from start to end | Strategy Journey

The Power of Customer Journey Mapping

Now that we’ve delved into the importance of customer journey mapping, let’s explore how it can transform your customer journey strategy.

Identifying Pain Points: Mapping helps pinpoint pain points in the customer journey, allowing you to address and eliminate them. This leads to a smoother and more enjoyable experience.

Optimizing Touchpoints: With a detailed map, you can optimize touchpoints, ensuring that each interaction aligns with your brand’s values and objectives.

Predicting Customer Behavior : A well-constructed customer journey map allows you to predict customer behavior, enabling you to proactively meet their needs.

Enhancing Personalization: Personalization is key to exceptional customer experiences. Mapping facilitates tailored interactions at each stage of the journey.

Measuring Success: By mapping the customer journey, you can establish clear metrics and KPIs to measure the success of your strategy.

In the realm of modern business, crafting a winning customer journey strategy is not just an option; it’s a necessity. A well-mapped customer journey, combined with a relentless focus on customer experience, can set your brand apart and drive sustainable growth. 

About the author

Julie Choo is lead author of THE STRATEGY JOURNEY book and the founder of STRATABILITY ACADEMY. She speaks regularly at numerous tech, careers and entrepreneur events globally. Julie continues to consult at large Fortune 500 companies, Global Banks and tech start-ups. As a lover of all things strategic, she is a keen Formula One fan who named her dog, Kimi (after Raikkonnen), and follows football - favourite club changes based on where she calls home.

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Customer Journey Stages: Guide, How-To & Best Practices

Customer Journey Stages: Guide, How-To & Best Practices

What Is the Customer Journey?

Why is it important to understand the different customer journey stages, how to create an effective customer journey, best practices for an efficient customer journey stages.

It’s easy to fall into an if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it mindset when thinking about customer journeys—why mess with a system that’s served you well so far? The rather unsurprising answer is that your customer journey isn’t nearly as efficient, enjoyable, and profitable as it could be.

According to McKinsey , when the average business makes systematic, targeted improvements to their customer journey, they increase revenue by 15-20% while also cutting service costs by 15-20%.

Interested in this win-win scenario? You’re going to need a solid understanding of the journey stages and what they mean to your business. And in this Customerly guide, we’ll be giving you a crash course to get you started.

Let’s dive in.

A customer journey is the life cycle of a customer’s relationship with your business—from the point of initial contact to post-purchase follow-up.

The customer journey is a fluid spectrum—but that’s not an especially helpful way of thinking about it. To simplify things, people usually break the customer journey down into stages (five, to be exact) that are defined by customer needs, behaviors, and touchpoints.

When you understand each stage, you’re much better equipped to give each customer the experience they’re looking for at any given moment. 

Check out how Feed Donkey uses Customerly to engage with their clients at every stage of the journey.

Customer Journey

What are those stages? Let’s go over them now.

The Stages of a Customer Journey

  • Awareness : The customer becomes aware of your product or service. Maybe they saw an ad, or maybe they clicked on a blog post—the important point is that they know your company exists.
  • Consideration : The customer isn’t simply aware of your existence; they’re actively considering your company as a solution to their problem(s). This usually involves fairly surface-level research and comparison.
  • Purchase : This is the point when a customer has decided to purchase something from your company. They’ve put aside any hesitations or doubts and moved forward with their purchase.
  • Retention : The customer made a purchase (congrats)—now your goal is to retain their business. In practice, that means offering incredible post-purchase support, demonstrating that you value the relationship (e.g., offers and rewards), and delivering an excellent overall experience. 
  • Advocacy : This is one of the most powerful stages in terms of impact on your bottom line. In this stage, the customer is not only satisfied—they actively champion your product or service to their friends and family. This can create a snowball effect that fast-tracks growth.

We already covered two very good reasons to care about customer journey stages—increased revenue and decreased costs. But those benefits are really side effects of far more important reasons:

Allocate Resources Effectively

Your customer journey is a complex mess of touchpoints, channels, mediums, features, benefits, use cases, landing pages… you get the idea.

When you understand the stages (and what they mean for customers), it helps you identify where to invest, what features and tools to prioritize, and how best to engage with customers along their entire purchase journey. The result is a system that’s working as close to maximum efficiency as possible when it comes to generating revenue.

Personalized Customer Experience

On a related note, these stages also give you a quick and easy way to segment leads and customers into intuitive groups. These groups are easy to target for personalized messages, tailored content, and relevant product recommendations.

With Customerly, you can build custom lists of customers in our CRM using a range of characteristics, including:

customerly crm

  • contact properties
  • company properties

This helps you create much more rewarding experiences for each customer group—the kinds of experiences that earn purchases, retention, and advocacy.

Build Longer-Term Relationships

Customers want their experiences with businesses to be simple, straightforward, and rewarding—no moments of confusion, no moments of frustration. If you consciously work to make that dream a reality, you’re setting yourself apart from the competition and earning long-term advocates.

1. Create a Customer Profile

If you want to create an effective journey for your customer, you need to know who that is—in clear, concrete terms.

A customer profile (or ideal customer persona ) is like a character sheet for a TV show, movie, or D&D campaign. It’s a generalization of a customer group that’s important to your business, either because they make up a sizable portion of your total customer base or revenue.

For each customer profile you create, you’ll want to cover:

  • Demographics : Who the customer is (e.g., “Chief Customer Officer at a growing B2B SaaS”).
  • Psychographics : What their needs and interests are (e.g., “looking for a partner to guide the process”).
  • Goals : What they hope to achieve in their journey (e.g., “boost customer support efficiency”).
  • Pain Points : What keeps them awake at night (e.g., “confusing onboarding processes”).
  • Current Solutions : How (if at all) they’re meeting their needs without your solution.

To get your hands on the data needed to make these generalizations, you’re going to need to run surveys to supplement CRM data. With Customerly, you can create and run custom surveys or use our pre-built customer persona template to speed the process up.

All the data you collect is automatically added to your CRM for use in analysis and automated marketing campaigns.

2. Make a List of Customer Touchpoints

Once you have a customer profile, it’s time to make a list of the customer touchpoints—or, the points of contact between them and your business.

There are an absolute ton of touchpoints that you can use to your advantage, but there’s a caveat here—not every touchpoint is well-suited to every customer at every stage of their journey.

There’s some overlap, but here’s a simplified list of common touchpoints and the stages they apply to:

  • Awareness : SEO, PPC, word-of-mouth, blog content, PR, etc.
  • Consideration : Organic social, case studies, demos, website visits, etc.
  • Purchase : Reviews, testimonials, sales staff, branded content, etc.
  • Retention : Surveys, email campaigns, etc.
  • Advocacy : Loyalty programs, offers, organic social, etc.

3. Identify the Pain Points

Pain points are reliable predictors of behavior.

If you really understand a problem someone is having and know for a fact that you can solve it,  it’s much easier to make a sale.  So, the next step in this process is listing the pain points that bring customers to you—either on a segment-by-segment basis or in general.

Not sure where to start?

A product positioning survey is a great way to find out why customers choose your company over the competition. Start by using Customerly to target a valuable segment (paid customers, perhaps?) and launch our product positioning template to start generating data.

4. Create a Customer Journey Map

Now that you have a customer profile, touchpoints, and pain points identified—you can create a customer journey map. This is an interactive diagram that shows (in broad strokes) how a customer segment progresses from awareness to advocacy. 

The map should include key touchpoints, pain points, needs, customer emotions, and the owner(s) for each stage. You should also be creating a map for each persona you identified in the first step.

Here’s an example of what this might look like:

Customer Journey Map

5. Determine the Course of Action

This final step is where you start using your customer journey map to fine-tune your processes.

Start by finding out which touchpoints are influencing customer satisfaction the most. Identify what’s working well and what needs improvement.

Then, brainstorm ways to improve each stage of the journey and measure success at each stage. This includes optimizing processes, running experiments, and implementing changes that will make customers feel heard and valued—ultimately leading to better engagement.

1. Establish a Good First Impression

The first impression is the most important one. That’s why it’s so important to establish a good one from the very start—especially in the awareness and consideration stages.

2. Understand What the Customer Is Getting and Why

In every stage of the customer journey, it’s important to understand what your customer is getting and why. Your messaging should be focused on communicating the value they get from your product or service—not just on pitching them something.

3. Demonstrate Value

Withholding value is an important sales tactic—but it’s important to find a balance. Demonstrate your product or service’s value without revealing too much. Simple, transparent free trials let customers experience the offering fully and allow you to showcase its value. The trial serves as a reference for informed decision-making once it ends.

4. Stay in Contact with Customers After-Sale

It’s not enough to just make a sale—you also need to stay in contact with customers after they’ve made their purchase. This will help you build a strong relationship with them and encourage repeat business. Make sure your post-sale messaging is focused on customer success—not just upselling or cross-selling.

5. Measure Your Success

To create an effective customer journey, measuring success is crucial. Track customer satisfaction , purchase frequency, and lifetime value to understand how your strategy is performing. Use tools like analytics software, surveys, and user tests.

Every well-designed customer journey begins with a deep understanding of the stages that make it up.

At Customerly , we arm businesses with all the tools they need to understand and enhance every stage of their customer journey. From marketing automation tools to intelligent live chat support, we’re here to help you create a seamless customer experience that will increase satisfaction and loyalty.

Want to see for yourself? Start your 14-day free trial and take Customerly for a test drive.

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Luca Micheli

Luca Micheli

Luca Micheli is a serial tech entrepreneur with one exited company and a passion for bootstrap digital projects. He's passionate about helping companies to succeed with marketing and business development tips.

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Home Articles Customer Journey How To Build A Customer Journey Map

How To Build A Customer Journey Map

Chloe Annas

Chloe Annas

Understanding your customers’ paths is no easy task. Each user has their own unique reason for visiting your site and an individual route that they take as they explore your pages.

How can you gain insights about your customers to improve your website’s usability and understand buying trends?

The answer is simple: build a customer journey map .

What is a customer journey?

A customer journey is the start-to-finish interaction customers have with your brand before reaching a specific goal.

Creating a compelling journey helps you stand out and shows customers that you care about their experience. An enjoyable customer journey promotes positive engagement, making for more satisfied customers that are more likely to return for repeat purchases.

In fact, a study from Forbes found that positive interactions lead customers to spend as much as 140% more .

Each step along the journey will provide you with valuable, real-time insights into customer behavior.

By better understanding your customers, you will be able to provide them with the best possible user experience every time they visit your online store. The best way to do this is by creating visual customer journey maps that present all this information about customers at a glance.

Visually mapping the customer journey

A customer journey map is a visual representation that helps you gain better insight into your customers’ experiences (from start to finish) from their point of view.

There are two vital elements to creating a customer journey map :

  • Defining your customers’ goals
  • Understanding how to map their nonlinear journey

By mapping out a customer’s digital journey , you are outlining every possible opportunity that you have to produce customer delight. You can then use these touchpoints to craft engagement strategies.

According to Aberdeen Group (via Internet Retailer ), 89% of companies with multi-channel engagement strategies were able to retain their customers, compared to 33% of those that didn’t.

To visually map every point of interaction and follow your customer on their journey, you can use excel sheets, infographics, illustrations, or diagrams to help you better understand.

Customer journey maps also help brands with:

  • Retargeting goals with an inbound viewpoint
  • Targeting a new customer group
  • Forming a customer-centric mindset

All of these lead to better customer experiences, which lead to more conversions and an increase in revenue.

Choosing The Right Map

There are four different types of customer journey maps to choose from. Each map type highlights different customer behaviors as they interact with your business at different points in time. Choosing the right template is essential based on your goals.

1. Current State Template

The current state template is the most commonly used journey map that focuses on what customers currently do, their way of thinking and how they feel during interactions.

It’s great for highlighting existing pain points and works best for implementing incremental changes to customer experiences.


2. Future State Template

The future state template focuses on what customers will do, think, and feel during future encounters .

It’s useful for conveying a picture of how customers will respond to new products, services and experiences.

customer journey how to

3. Day in the Life Template

This template is similar to the current state template because it visualizes present-day customer behaviors, thoughts and feelings. However, this template assesses how customers behave both with your organization and with peers in your area.

This type of journey map works best for spurring new initiatives by examining unfulfilled needs in the market.


4. Service Blueprint Template

When creating a service blueprint template, you typically begin with an abridged version of a current or future state journey map. Then you add a network of people, methods, procedures and technologies responsible for giving a simplified customer experience, either in the present or in the future.

Current state blueprint maps are beneficial for recognizing the source of current pain points, whereas future state blueprint maps help create an environment that will be necessary for providing a planned experience.


Steps to create a customer journey map

Creating customer journey maps may feel repetitive, but the design and application you choose will vary from map to map. Remember: customer journeys are as unique as your individual customers .

Step 1: Create Buyer Personas

Before creating a journey map, it’s important to identify a clear objective so you know who you’re making the map for and why.

Buyer personas help define customer goals, providing a deeper understanding of their needs and topics of interest. More detail makes for more realistic personas, which means you’ll need to do a fair amount of market research to acquire this data.

Start by creating a rough outline of your buyer’s persona with demographics like age, gender, occupation, education, income and geography. When you have that in place, you’ll need to get psychographic data on your customers. This kind of information may be harder to collect compared to demographic data, but it is worthwhile to understand customer preferences, needs and wants.

In short, demographics tell you who your customers are and psychographics provide insights into the why behind their behavior.

Collecting concrete data on your customers helps you serve them better and deliver a more  personalized user experience .

Step 2: Select Your Target Customer

After making several customer personas, it’s time to do a “deep dive” into each to build a more accurate reflection of their experience.

Start by analyzing their first interaction with your brand and mapping out their movements from there.

What questions are they trying to answer? What is their biggest priority?

Step 3: List Customer Touchpoints

Any interaction or engagement between your brand and the customer is a touchpoint .

List all the touchpoints in the customer journey, considering everything from the website to social channels, paid advertisements, email marketing, third-party reviews or mentions.

Which touchpoints have higher engagement? Which touchpoints need to be optimized?

Step 4: Identify Customer Actions

Once you have identified all your customer touchpoints, identify common actions your customers make at each step .

By dividing the journey into individual actions, it becomes easier for you to improve each micro-engagement and move them forward along the funnel .

Think of how many steps a customer needs to reach the end of their journey. Look for opportunities to reduce or streamline that number so customers can reach their goals sooner. One way to do this is by identifying obstacles or pain points in the process and creating solutions that remove them.

This is a great time to use the personas you created . Understanding the customer will help you troubleshoot problem areas.

Anticipating what your customer will do is another important part of mapping the customer journey. Accurate predictions lead to you providing better experiences, which ultimately leads to more conversions.

Step 5: Understand Your Available Resources

Creating customer journey maps presents a picture of your entire business and highlights every resource being used to build the customer experience.

Use your plan to assess which touchpoints need more support, such as customer service . Determine whether these resources are enough to give the best customer experience possible. Additionally, you can correctly anticipate how existing or new resources will affect your sales and increase ROI .

Step 6: Analyzing The Customer Journey

An essential part of creating a customer journey map is analyzing the results .

As you assess the data, look for touchpoints that might drive customers to leave before making a purchase or areas where they may need more support. Analyzing your finished map should help you address places that aren’t meeting customers’ needs and find solutions for them.

Take the journey yourself and see if there’s something you missed or if there is still room for improvement. Doing so will provide a detailed view of the journey your customer will take.

Follow your map with each persona and examine their journeys through social media, email, and online browsing so you can get a better idea of how you can create a smoother, more value-filled experience.

Step 7: Take Business Action

Having a visualization of what the journey looks like ensures that you continuously meet customer needs at every point while giving your business a clear direction for the changes they will respond to best.

Any variations you make from then on will promote a smoother journey since they will address customer pain points.

A great way to test your variations to find out what betters serves your customers throughout their user journey is by leveraging A/B testing .

AB Tasty is a best-in-class A/B testing tool that helps you convert more customers by leveraging experimentation to create a richer digital experience – fast. This experience optimization platform embedded with AI and automation can help you achieve the perfect digital experience with ease.

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Analyzing the data from your customer journey map will give you a better perspective about changes you should make to your site to reach your objective.

Once you implement your map, review and revise it regularly. This way, you will continue to streamline the journey. Use analytics and feedback from users to monitor obstacles.

The truth about customer journeys

Customer journeys are ever-changing. Journey maps help businesses stay close to their customers and continuously address their needs and pain points. They provide a visual of different customers which helps to understand the nuances of their audience and stay customer-focused.

Customer journey maps can vary widely, but all maps share the same steps. With regular updates and the proactive removal of roadblocks, your brand can stand out, provide meaningful engagement, better customer experiences and see positive business growth.

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Customer Journey Mapping: Your Path to an Optimized Customer Experience

Customer Journey Mapping: Your Path to an Optimized Customer Experience

Do you lead a small or medium-sized business, and can’t quite work out how customers come to you? Or are you struggling to keep them—once they do?

One Salesforce study showed that 80 percent of customers value their interactions with your company as much as your product. And according to PWC , 86 percent are willing to pay more for a good customer experience.

So, your product could be fantastic. But a poor customer experience will cost you dearly.

To avoid that? We have the answers, right here. 👇

What is the Customer Journey?

The customer journey is the sum of interactions that customers have with your company—and product—from pre-purchase through post-purchase. It covers all the touchpoints, channels, and engagements that make up the customer experience. 

But isn’t that the buyer’s journey ? Nope! The buyer’s journey follows the entire decision-making process—from awareness to purchase. 

The customer journey focuses on the specific touchpoints customers have with your company , even after purchasing. It reflects where—and how—you interact with customers as they go through the buyer’s journey and beyond. Make sense? 

The 5 Stages of the Customer Journey

Your customers’ journey is as unique as your brand. However, there are generally five stages in the average customer journey, which are:

  • Awareness: The customer becomes aware of their problem and begins searching for solutions. 
  • Consideration: The customer knows they need a solution—and now, compares alternatives. 
  • Decision: The customer decides to purchase your solution—or not.  
  • Retention: The customer is your customer—for now—but requires continued support. 
  • Advocacy: The customer is happy and willingly advocates for your brand via social media, friends, family, online customer reviews, etc. 

With all those stages, wouldn’t it be great to have some kind of visual image, so you can dissect the entire customer journey, touchpoint by touchpoint?  

Enter the customer journey map. 

What is a Customer Journey Map, and Why Do You Need One?

The customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s experience and interaction with your company, throughout his or her lifecycle. It covers customer touchpoints—and attitudes toward your brand—as they progress from awareness to advocacy.

And what are the benefits of customer journey mapping, you ask?

Proper mapping provides a unique view of the customer journey, as you analyze the user experience and elevate your sales approach—from the customer’s perspective.

It helps to increase customer engagement with channel optimization, identify ineffective touchpoints, eliminate process loopholes, enhance your customer targeting—and much more.

Journey mapping shifts the perspective from company-focused to customer-focused. And that’s pretty important.

There are many types of customer journey maps, here are a few common ones:

  • Current state: This map visualizes the actions, thoughts, and attitudes of your customers in their current interactions with your organization—as-is.
  • Future state: This map visualizes the actions, thoughts, and attitudes your customers will or could have via future interactions.
  • Day-in-the-life: This map follows the actions, thoughts, and attitudes of your customers in their everyday lives, even separate from your company. (It helps anticipate customer needs and pain points—opportunities you–and even they aren’t aware of.)
  • Renewal process: This map zeros in on the renewal process, specifically, and the actions, thoughts, and attitudes of your customers throughout. (For example, are customers using different channels to research—and renew? And why?)
  • Churn journey map: This map covers the lifecycle stages from onboarding to upselling—and customer actions, etc.—to catch customers at risk of churning.

The maps are different, but they have this in common: they force you to question your assumptions about the customer experience. And that’s an important exercise that can lead to growth and innovation. 

What to Include in a Customer Journey Map

Sure, there are different kinds of maps, and each will have its unique components. 

But these are the general must-haves, and you can adjust as you see fit:

  • Buying process: What is the buying process for your customers?
  • User actions: What do your customers do at each stage in your buying process? Do they contact your sales rep, or download resources? Scour social media? 
  • Emotions and attitudes: Pain points evoke pain , but quick payment options and a streamlined sales experience spark joy and excitement about your brand. So, what will customers feel throughout?
  • Customer pain points: Which pain points brought them to your doorstep? And which will manifest as they interact with your product and customer journey?
  • Solutions: Pain points demand solutions. Brainstorm with your team about how you’ll answer customer demand for certain features, improvements, pricing, and so on.

These are the basic elements of the customer journey map, but once you nail down the fundamentals, the rest of the map begins to take shape. 

Customer Journey Map Template

New to customer journey mapping and don’t know where to begin? 

A solid template will serve you well. And we’ve created this one, just for you!

How to Create a Customer Journey Map in 8 Steps

Customer journeys aren’t often linear, and involve a good deal of variation. But if you focus on one customer segment at a time—and follow these eight steps—you can create a map that works for you.

1. Define the Scope and Goal of Your Journey Map

What’s your goal with this journey map, exactly?

Are you trying to create an effective, predictable sales process? Working to eliminate long-standing roadblocks? Aiming to improve the customer experience, or launch a new product? And are you targeting new or existing customers?

Know your goal before you start on the map. Be specific and state it clearly, along with the steps you’ll take to reach it. 

Say, for example: “Our goal is to reduce churn on [X] service by [Y] percent within the next six months. This customer journey map will articulate the actions, thoughts, and attitudes of existing customers with [X] service, between onboarding and renewal” … etc.

Goal setting helps to track progress—and gives direction to the map-building process.

Concerned how your new product launch will impact future customer interactions? Start with the ‘future state’ map. Worried about exorbitant churn numbers, as above? Choose the ‘churn’ map.

Ideally, the map scope covers the experience of one customer persona—one scenario—and one goal. 

If you have more than one customer persona, scenario, and goal? Draw up different maps. You need to keep the map focused—or else, you won’t reach your goal.

2. Choose a Customer Segment to Map

Customers' sales paths vary greatly. And what works for Customer A may not work for Customer B.

If you sell SaaS , for example, you’ll discover that enterprise buyers behave differently than SMEs. The challenges, expectations, and emotions? Those vary.

So, you can classify your customers and target audience into groups, based on:

  • Behavior: Each customer type has a unique goal, and behavior reflects it.
  • Demographic: Age, role, company size, industry, etc.
  • Attitude: What do they say, how do they feel, and how do they communicate?
  • Channels: How do they interact or use your site? What social media do they visit? 
  • Offscreen behavior: What’ll they do outside the sales talk? Chat with stakeholders in their company (for B2B), or consult with their families?

These segmented groups are known as the buyer persona, or ideal customer profile (B2B). And you may need to create separate customer journey maps for each. 

If you have more than a few personas? Just focus on two or three. Having too many may overwhelm your sales team. 

3. Gather Real-World Customer Data

Market research—and real customer data—provide valuable insights, and validate (or disprove) your assumptions about the customer journey.

Here’s where to collect the data:

  • Customer surveys: Solicit customer feedback during follow-ups or via social media. 
  • Sales and customer support teams: These folks know all about customer behavior, complaints, and objections at each different stage of the customer journey.
  • CRM software: CRMs ( like Close ) deliver metrics and advanced insights on customer data—from first to last touchpoint.
  • Review sites and social media: Review what customers are saying on G2 and Trustpilot, and the most popular social platforms.
  • Stakeholders: Speak with marketing, finance, and product—each team will offer unique points of view on the customer experience.

Figure out what questions you need answered by the data you gather for your customer journey map.

Your data should tell you:

  • How do people normally find our company?
  • Where are they getting stuck in the journey?
  • What pain points are they feeling at different stages?
  • Which triggers move them to purchase? 
  • Who else are they interacting with? 
  • Which touchpoints work well? Which don’t?

Customer surveys are especially good for this. You can dive deeper, too, and discover:

  • What attracted you to our website / what makes you hesitate?
  • If you’ve purchased from us before, what was the deciding factor?
  • How can we better support your experience?
  • Is there any information missing that would help you make your decision?

Now that you have the data, it can inform your customer journey map. 

4. Build a Backstory for Your Customer Persona

Let’s say you’ve identified and documented your customer persona. Great! But it’s time to flesh out the character—and build the backstory. 

Start by defining the entry point. Why is this person entering the customer journey?

What are their high-level goals or pain points? Are they seeking X feature or Y service? Those are the reasons why they are seeking your solution. 

Then, why turns into what .

What are they seeking from your solution? What requirements will the customer have? With those pain points or goals—specifically—will they be looking for better pricing? An improved user experience? Real-time customer support?

Then finally, outcomes —what goals do they want to achieve? Think both in terms of your solution and overarching goals for the buyer’s journey.

This backstory should be based on interviews , surveys , and team insights —no guessing here. Apply this information as you chart out touchpoints and related customer sentiment.

5. List Out Your Main Touchpoints with Customers, and Map Those Touchpoints to Customer Needs and Sentiment

What are your main touchpoints, anyway? Attack this list in the context of stages.

For example, awareness-stage touchpoints might include:

  • Social media outreach
  • How-to guides
  • Free courses
  • Old-fashioned flyers

The consideration stage could involve:

  • Demo videos
  • Product reviews
  • Customer stories
  • Competitor comparisons

Decision stage touchpoints may include:

  • Pricing pages
  • Sales & promotions
  • Free consultations

Retention stage may involve:

  • Dedicated customer success 
  • Help Center content
  • Access to subscription renewals

And the advocacy stage might include:

  • Referral programs
  • Shareable content
  • Customer feedback surveys

Those are some of the potential touchpoints. 

Now find each touchpoint across each channel, including your:

  • Social media
  • Organic search
  • Marketing content
  • Third-party sites

Now that you have your list of touchpoints, review the analytics. Are your ‘main’ touchpoints the touchpoints customers are using?

What are your customers’ actions, throughout the customer journey?

On your website, do they poke at a few links and then leave? Or do they hit so many links, that your website map is clearly overcomplicated?

What are the pain points of the customer experience? And what are the original pain points that drove them to take those actions? 

… and what are their feelings about those pain points? 

Then as they move through the customer journey, how do those feelings shift?

To illustrate, consider the free trial sign-up process. If you ask for their email address, work address, company title, social security number, credit card, and first born child, they are going to feel frustrated . And likely, they’ll drop from your sales process. 

So, map your touchpoints to pain points to customer sentiment.

By the end of this, you should have a clear understanding of customer pain points at each stage—and how that impacts the experience. 

You should also have specified which team owns each touchpoint. 

And overall , you should know what actions are being taken by customers—and your team.

6. Travel Your Own Customer Journey

Is your map … crap? No, seriously. 

Your strategy may be solid and your omnichannel engagement impressive. But how do you know your entire customer journey is airtight, unless you’ve walked the path yourself? 

Traveling your own customers’ journey reveals first-hand where roadblocks might impede potential customers—and where they might fall off the sales cliff entirely.

Evaluate the value of your guides and tools. Review the user experience on your website. Check for broken links—literally (404s) and figuratively (in your process). Examine your outreach approach and consistency.

Do you feel frustrated at any point? Relieved? Persuaded?

This step takes "customer-centric" to the next level. So, lace up your customer’s shoes and get to stepping. 

7. Make This Map Accessible to All Teams

It’d be a crying shame to build an accurate, powerful customer journey map—and then keep it locked in the sales department.

Eliminate information silos by making all relevant stakeholders aware of the map and involved in its upkeep. Give teams access—and encourage them to tap in regularly.

If you contacted marketing, product, customer success, and others for the data-gathering part, keep those lines open. Most—if not all—of the folks at your company have some impact on the customer journey.

So, learning the customer’s perspective is important to keep everyone aligned and heading in the same direction. 

8. Continue to Iterate and Improve

Once you have mapped out the customer journey, you’re done! It’s perfect, don’t look back.

Just kidding.

Keep tabs on the real-life customer journey. Evaluate the data and regularly survey customer attitudes toward your brand. Look for roadblocks early and often—monthly or quarterly.

Even the best maps require adjustments over time. In fact, iteration should be pretty constant. 

So, hone your calls-to-action. Improve your website and social media content. Identify the gaps and opportunities, as buyer personas shift and the market adjusts.

Keep stakeholders involved in the process, and stay relentless about meeting customer pain points—with effective customer touchpoints.

The results? A better map, a better plan, and waaaay better customer retention. 

6 Customer Journey Map Examples to Inspire You

Still need some inspiration on what your map should look like? Here are some examples to spark your creativity.

These five examples can be broken down based on business goals (for the map), and even industry. Take a peek!

Current State Customer Journey Map

"Current state" maps depict your customer journey as it is. They reveal underlying sources of churn and failed conversions, and opportunities and gaps in your approach.

This is the most common type of customer journey map.

This example by UXMatters visualizes a fictitious customer persona and company. But the insight is solid. Notice how each interaction impacts the customer’s emotional state—and how it’s illustrated. 

Also, check out the recommendations for improvement. Connecting those to each customer stage will help focus the teams’ efforts—and partition touchpoints, based on department.

This next example of a current state customer journey map comes from a (real) retirement home referral business, who partnered with SayYeah .

First thoughts? Wow, that’s … a lot!

Try pulling up the larger image here and look over the details.

According to SayYeah, the map was designed to gain a deeper understanding of the market—and identify opportunities and threats. 

During preliminary research, they found that adult children were making the majority of care home decisions, so that’s the customer persona. 

The map follows the decision-making process, to uncover the alternatives these customers consider. And then, covers how the business could expand to meet their needs. 

Customer Journey Map for Service Businesses

Are you a service business? So is Telus, a Canadian telecommunications company. And they partnered with Bridgeable to create a customer renewal journey map . 

Makes sense, right? Keeping renewals strong is central to the success (or failure) of service-based companies.

This map was designed to transform the renewal process—and reduce service costs. The process revealed two primary streams of customer behavior: the "passive optimist" who goes with the flow, and the "proactive warrior" who hunts down the best deal.

This end-to-end customer journey map tracks both customer types, along with their emotions and actions (such as, calling the customer service team). 

With these map-given insights, Telus employed an AI-driven omni-channel solution to personalize the renewal experience for customers, regardless of how they did research. And in an initial test phase, they saw a 20 percent boost in customer satisfaction!

So ask yourself: does it make sense for you to adopt aspects of the approach in their map? 

Customer Journey Map for SaaS Businesses

SaaS maps look different—but just a bit. 

SaaS journeys are often self-reliant, since customers might not connect with anyone before testing out your app (via your free trial, for example). So, they need early access to how-to content. They also really need seamless onboarding.

And speaking of free trials, that’s a unique touchpoint here. 

Ready for an example? Here’s a basic, generalized one for a SaaS customer, from a medium-sized business.

Getting the hang of this? Ready to try out your own? Grab the template … or keep reading for more inspo. 

Future State Customer Journey Map

"Future state" maps are used to plan the ‘ideal state’ of customer journeys with your brand. 

They are most useful in conjunction with ‘current state’ maps in order to track the improvements—and chart your trajectory. 

Consider this example from Argos . Traditionally a catalog retailer, they later expanded to an omnichannel shopping experience—following this map.

Notice that the old customer journey is included. Why? They are looking to improve—not necessarily eliminate—former customer pathways and touchpoints. 

This map is pretty bare bones. We’d like to see customer sentiments and more detailed touchpoints—but for an aerial view of the customer journey, it works!

Advocacy Journey Map

What happens when you exceed customer expectations, and eliminate pain points in the customer experience? You’ll get higher customer satisfaction. 

And higher customer satisfaction? That encourages customer loyalty—and often, brand advocacy.

Spotify created a customer journey map to detail (and we do mean detail) the journey for existing customers, in order to promote music sharing on their app.

At each stage and touchpoint, the brand articulates customer engagement—and what customers might be thinking, feeling, and doing as they traverse the customer journey. 

They identify that the average user journey begins on the phone, with neutral emotions, and progresses from there. Also, tagging the second stage as ‘listen’ reveals that they are targeting existing customers. Review it for yourself!

The result of Spotify’s efforts? Precise insight into customer actions and in-app pain points. 

That insight was used to streamline the music sharing experience, and convert customers into enthusiastic brand advocates. 🤘

Elevate the Customer Experience With the Right Journey Mapping Companion

So, do you know what you want from the customer journey map? Have you determined what it will look like, and what it will track? 

You’re on your way to a better customer experience—and more closed deals. Win!

Now you can look into streamlining your sales process and making those touchpoints count. And the best way to do that is with Close.

Our CRM was designed for startups and SMBs, as they navigate the complexities of cross-team work and shifting customer journeys. It helps to track the metrics you need, and hone your sales process—in the process. 

Close optimizes your outreach efforts—and elevates the customer experience to new heights. 


Anna Hunyadi

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How to Create Customer Journey Maps You Can Actually Use

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Customer journey maps tell the story of how people behave when interacting with your brand across different touch points. Creating a journey map helps businesses make sense of consumer behavior—ultimately helping to improve and optimize the user experience. 

Lots of “experts” out there make this process way too complex.

At Crazy Egg, we take a simple and logical approach to creating customer journey maps–we cut out the noise and get straight to what matters.

How to Create a Customer Journey Map from Scratch (In Just Four Steps)

With a customer journey map, your business can easily visualize all of the steps and experiences a customer has with your brand. Framing this experience as a story helps put yourself into the shoes of buyers so you can better understand their wants and needs at every stage.

Using a visual representation of your customer journey provides a bird’s-eye view of every potential turn or action someone can make while interacting with your brand.

Then you can make critical changes to your marketing and business strategy to improve the customer experience based on all potential scenarios. 

Step 1: Create Content for Each of the Five Purchasing Stages

The first thing you need to do is understand the five stages that drive every purchasing decision—awareness, consideration, conversion, retention, and loyalty. 

Then, you need to have a good mix of quality content that appeals to buyers at different stages of the purchase process.

Here’s a closer look at the types of content you should have for each of these five stages:

Awareness — The goal here is to create content that attracts leads and encourages them to become customers. People in this stage may not even know what products or services you provide yet. So you’ll need to create educational and informative content, like a variety of blog posts , podcasts, ebooks, explainer videos, and social media campaigns to help boost awareness.

Consideration — By now the customer knows who you are and what you offer. You can use content like case studies, webinars, testimonials, and product comparison guides to help steer them toward your brand over market alternatives. 

Conversion — All content in the conversion stage should directly trigger the consumer to make a purchase. Highly targeted email campaigns, free trials, free demos, and cart abandonment campaigns all fall into this category. 

Retention — Retention content should always deliver some kind of value to your existing customers while also keeping your brand top of mind. At this stage, you could encourage users to download your mobile app or send them emails with helpful tips for getting the most out of your products or services. You can also create promotional content to encourage upgrades and cross-sells. 

Loyalty — At the loyalty stage, everything you do should be about getting your retained customers to spend more money and increase their purchase frequency. Aside from creating customer loyalty programs, you can also develop referral programs at this stage that allow your best customers to become your biggest advocates. 

Five stages of the purchasing journey plus different types of content to create for each stage

We’re just barely scratching the surface here with the types of content you can create at each stage. That’s because this content will look really different depending on your industry and what you’re selling. That’s really a much larger topic that falls outside the scope of this guide, so let’s get our focus back to the journey map. 

The goal of this step is to ensure you’re drawing in people from all parts of your conversion funnel.

If you’re missing content at different stages, spend some time to create high quality content that fills those gaps. This is super important, and it’s ok if it takes a while. 

Step 2: Map Out All of Your Touch Points

The first step was identifying all of the content you have already and making sure you’re reaching people at every stage of the funnel–this next step involves laying them all out and organizing them into touch points.

Touch points are broader than pieces of content. Rather than an individual piece of content or asset, it’s a group of assets that share the same goal. A touch point could also be an interaction instead.

Here are some examples:

Social media ads — Simple and quick ways to boost awareness while customers are scrolling in a non-buying mindset. 

Homepage — Should clearly articulate who you are and what you do, so the visitor understands your brand in a matter of seconds. 

Landing pages — More specific product or service verticals that get reached as a visitor progresses further down your funnel.

Someone else’s social media posts — People might see your brand mentioned on social media by another customer or another business you’ve partnered with. 

Third-party reviews — Either on specific customer reviews platforms (like Yelp or Tripadvisor) or in long-form blog-style reviews from third-party websites. 

Your own blog posts — People can land on these pages through your organic SEO efforts or if you’ve sent them to a new blog though an email campaign or social media post. Unlike third-party reviews, in total control of what’s being said on your own blogs. You may have different types of blog posts, like top lists, comparisons, tutorials, or something else entirely. You can break these different types into individual touch points if each type has a different goal in mind.

Inbound phone calls — Customers and prospects can dial your call center for sales, support, or general questions. It’s important to give them this option, and it’s worth setting up a virtual call center even if you have a small or one-person business. 

In-store or face-to-face — In many instances, customers visit your store with the intention of buying something. However, some face-to-face interactions may be accidental (like a shopping mall, where a buyer just happens to pass your store while browsing from something else). 

Email — These can come in all shapes and sizes, like a newsletter blast to your entire subscriber list or a targeted cart abandonment email to specific users. 

Live chat — Live chats are often prompted when a customer has questions about a product, order, or problem. But it can also be initiated by your business using a chatbot to encourage further interaction while a visitor is navigating your website. 

Billing — Each time you send an invoice or automatic payment receipt to your customer, it counts as a touch point. 

There are literally dozens of different potential touchpoints for your business. The list above is a good starting point, but make sure you go through all of the possibilities for your business.

To map them all out, we recommend Figma because it makes it really easy to stay organized–plus, you can use it for free. You can use whatever tool you want (pen and paper, Canva, etc.), just make sure each touch point you identified has its own box. 

From there, tie all the pieces of content you identified or created in step one to your touch points.

Mapping out CrazyEgg touchpoints and content

Step 3: Tie Everything Together & Fill in the Gaps

By now, you should have a box for every touch point and all the content or assets you have for each one. Now, it’s time to map out how a customer will get from each touch point to your end goal.

For many businesses, the end destination is making a purchase. However, it could also be subscribing to your newsletter, clicking an affiliate link, buying a specific product, signing up for a free trial, or filling out a form.

Basically, how will a customer get from touchpoint one to the action you want them to take?

If they land on a blog post at the top of your funnel (the awareness stage), how do you get them to buy something from you? Shoving offers in their face isn’t going to work because they aren’t ready. You need to guide them to the consideration stage first. You could link to comparison guides, webinars, or case studies instead. And then within those, you can start showing offers as they get closer to the conversion stage.

Different touch points may have different end destinations, too. If someone’s calling you for help with something, they don’t want to buy anything–they just want help.

Your end goal may be providing an excellent experience so they’ll recommend you to their friends.

It’s all about understanding where they’re at in the purchasing process based on how they’re interacting with you. Then planning out how you’re going to nudge them towards an end goal.

This is where Figma really comes in handy. It allows you to visually map each journey from start to finish and add all of the content you need along the way. 

Full customer journey map of someone landing on a CrazyEgg info post or social media ad

Visualizing this makes it much easier to identify gaps and truly understand how customers flow through your business.

You’ll eventually come up with a bunch of different intended customer journeys that clearly outline the various paths someone can take from each touch point.

Now that you know what you want each journey to look like, you can update your content and touch points to ensure they’re all working harmoniously to get customers to the next step you want them to take. This could mean reorganizing your brick-and-mortar store, updating your landing pages with more direct calls to action, removing sales language from top of the funnel blog posts, training your call center agents, writing scripts, or something else entirely.

Step 4: Map Alternative Customer Journeys

Not every customer journey will do what you expect them to. Even if you’ve mapped out several intended journeys, some of your customers will break all the rules and create their own paths. 

That’s totally ok. 

But you should try your best to anticipate these variations. Even if a customer doesn’t do exactly what you want them to, you can map out alternative routes to ensure you don’t lose them. From there, you can create new content that will guide them back to your desired path or create completely new journeys for them.

For example, say you originally anticipated that someone would see a social media ad and then take one of four paths—click the ad, click your social profile, Google your website, or just keep scrolling. 

But what if someone decides to go straight to YouTube and search for a video demo or review of your product instead? You can account for this by creating YouTube videos yourself or encouraging affiliates to create them for you.

Here’s another example: say someone subscribes to your email list. Most of your existing map may assume that this person wants to receive email communication from you.

But what happens if they opt out after the first message? You could try retargeting them on social media or a well-crafted opt-out email designed to bring them back in.

7 Ways to Use Your Customer Journey Map

Your customer journey map is done. Now what?

You can apply some different strategies to truly get the most out of your customer journey map, and these seven tactics are the best places to start. 

Create Buyer Personas for Different Touch Points

Buyer personas that will help you zero in on who your customers are and what they want. The more detailed your personas are, the better.

The secret here is to think of your customers as human beings as opposed to numbers or data points. By humanizing your personas, you can get a more holistic picture of what they’re looking for—and then use that to further improve your journeys. 

Here’s an example buyer persona :

A buyer persona to enhance your customer journey map further

Do you see how realistic and detailed this is? That should be your goal with each persona. 

Based on Max’s occupation, you might assume that he’s more likely to interact with your brand via live chat. Whereas another persona of an elderly woman who isn’t as tech-savvy may be more likely to get help by calling your main phone number. 

Create as many personas as possible for as many touch points as possible. 

Get Really Targeted With Your Messaging

Once you understand exactly who will be interacting with different touch points at each phase of the journey, you can begin speaking directly to those individuals. 

For example, you’ve mapped out how someone could potentially land on your ebooks landing page. From there, you might even have different personas or maps to specific ebooks. 

So your CTAs and value propositions for downloading, “How to Create a Mobile App” can be different from your “How to Get More App Downloads” ebook. 

This is a fairly obvious example, but you can break it down at a granular level for all campaigns by simply referring to your journey map. This will ultimately help increase your conversion rates . 

Monitor Your Most Important Metrics

This is another instance where the metrics you track will vary slightly based on your business type. For example, B2C ecommerce KPIs will be a bit different from a B2B SaaS product. 

But you’ll want to look at traffic, leads, conversions, sales volume, revenue, opt-ins, subscribers, email bounce rates , open rates, average order volume, etc.

You can also zoom in on channel-specific metrics. For example, you could look at something like page sessions, average time spent on page, or page-specific conversions without worrying about sales. This could help you correct any potential UI design mistakes that have a domino effect on the KPIs that drive sales. 

What needs to be on each specific landing page to target potential buyers landing on it? Your customer journey map holds the answer. 

Update and Optimize Existing Content

You don’t necessarily need to re-create every piece of content from scratch. Instead, it’s easier to identify existing content that just needs to be tweaked to target customers based on what they need to see in that particular buying phase . 

Maybe you already have really good blog posts explaining how to use your products. But existing customers may not necessarily be using organic search to find tutorials. 

So you could turn those into emails that get sent after a product has been delivered to focus on buyers in your retention phase. Or maybe you add tutorial videos to your product pages to provide more information to customers in the consideration stage. 

Be More Strategic About What You Create

Your buyer persona can help provide you with a blueprint for content creation. Rather than just blindingly deciding to write more blogs or increase your social media posting frequency, you can refer to your customer journey map for inspiration. 

Looking to fill content gaps is the most obvious place to start. But even after those gaps have been filled, you can continue expanding on your content to cover your most frequently traveled journeys or create content that covers your less traveled paths.

In either scenario, you’ll know who you’re speaking to and why. It’s much more effective to create content that speaks to a narrower group as opposed to your entire customer base. 

A/B Testing for Continuous Improvements

You can run A/B tests at every stage and with nearly every touch point throughout your customer journey. 

These tests are great for validating a particular hypothesis, but they can also be used to just make your content better. Why settle for what’s working if you can squeeze even more juice out of it?

Beyond A/B testing the obvious stuff like email subject lines or landing page CTA buttons , you can take this a step further and run tests on what content should be served up for various touch points. 

You might think a customer subscribing to your email list from a particular landing page should be sent a whitepaper as the first message. But maybe you experiment with sending them a video introduction instead. 

Add New Customer Journeys as Needed

Your first round of creating a customer journey map wouldn’t and shouldn’t be your last. 

There will always be new journeys to map out, especially if you’re continuing to expand and launch new products or services. These launches are always a good time to assess your existing journeys and add new ones. 

Just make sure you’re always being actionable with your journey maps. Creating them but not using them is a wasted effort. So don’t just add more for the sake of adding them. Each additional journey needs to serve a purpose. 

Best Practices to Keep in Mind

Here are some pro tips and best practices to keep in mind as you’re creating your customer journey map and implementing it:

  • Make it a team effort—working with sales, marketing, and service departments to get everyone’s input. 
  • Don’t be afraid to get hyper-specific. Once you’ve mapped out a particular journey for a certain persona, it’s ok to go really deep with those touch points even if it means neglecting other buyers. You can eventually target those other buyers separately.
  • Think outside the box. Rather than focusing on how you want or hope customers will behave, get creative and think up some unconventional steps they might take along the way.
  • Use data to back up your claims or strategies whenever possible. For example, visitor data from Google Analytics can be really helpful when creating buyer personas.
  • Prioritize user experience with every touch point and at every buying stage. 
  • Keep your branding the same across different touch points. While your buyers might have different wants or needs, your branding should always stay consistent. 
  • Make sure your journey maps are organized and easy to read. Things can get complicated when you start adding lots of variations, which is why using a tool like Figma is super helpful.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your customers what they’re thinking. Rather than trying to guess what it’s like to be in their shoes, you can use surveys and run tests to actually see what they’re thinking.
  • Take the customer journey yourself. Go through each stage of the map to see if it makes sense. This is the best time to brainstorm alternate routes. 
  • Make sure your journey map is shareable and can be easily accessed by your entire team.
  • Start small and focused. Don’t worry about having everything mapped out on day one. Start with what can get you results, and you can always add more later. 
  • Use a low-fidelity map when you’re getting started. Don’t worry about the map looking perfect right now. Get what you need diagrammed, and you can have someone fix the aesthetics down the road. 

Make your website better. Instantly.

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Last Updated on June 24, 2021

What Is a Customer Journey? And How To Get It Right

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Page Flows Team


When you use a product or service, you want to feel like a VIP, right? That’s customer experience and it begins the moment someone learns that your brand exists. You want your users to associate your brand with a positive–if not exceptional–experience. So, you really need to roll out the red carpet. That raises the question: What is a customer journey?

Understanding customers’ journeys and how to wield them effectively is crucial for business growth. Here’s the good news: the key to customer satisfaction isn’t all that complicated. This is how to get it right.

An LED sign on a gray wall that reads, "The Journey Is On."

What Is a Customer Journey?

Every basic journey is a sequence starting with brand awareness and resulting in a purchase. Most go beyond that to also include customer loyalty.

Businesses from all industries use this framework to understand their consumers. The idea is that, with the right information, you can aim to provide a better experience at every customer touchpoint. 

But, optimizing this journey is essential. Remember, customers are interacting with dozens of companies every day. Each one is vying for their attention, so what makes them want to be loyal to you? What keeps you at the forefront of their minds?

customer journey how to

The Stages of the Customer Journey

Generally, each journey has five stages. As they travel through this journey, the individual goes from a potential lead to a loyal customer. But you’ll need some careful nurturing to get them there. As a result, your customer service team, sales rep team, website, and products are all a part of this process.

So, what are the five stages?

1. Awareness

Step one is where your target customers first encounter your brand. Here, it’s time to make it clear how your product or service provides a solution to their problems. 

Customers may learn about your brand through social media, paid ads, web content, or referrals. Whichever channel they arrive from, this is not the time to push sales. At this point in the pipeline, customers are just collecting information. What you need to do here is build trust.

2. Consideration

During the consideration stage, customers think of your brand as a solution to their pain points. Here, you need to give them a compelling reason to keep you in mind.

Crucially, you need to provide further details about your goods and services. Show consideration-stage shoppers how you can solve their problems in more detail. Again, you don’t need to push a sale. Instead, show, don’t tell is the motto to live by.

3. Purchase

Eventually, the customer makes a purchase decision, so this is the make-or-break stage. Sadly, some customers will choose a competitor–as is the nature of business. However, others will convert and buy from you.

It’s your job to persuade them to buy. Provide pricing information, comparison guides, and more to guide them along the funnel. Don’t neglect strategies like abandoned cart email sequences, too.

4. Retention

You don’t want customers to bail on your brand following a purchase. Why? suggests that returning customers spend 67% more than new ones. Plus, winning new customers is more costly than retaining loyal ones.

In other words, retention is key. The question, though, is how to do it. You can use various strategies, such as email outreach, sales, and community-building, to transform one-time buyers into loyal customers. 

5. Advocacy

If you’ve done it right, your buyers will be happy enough to tell their friends. Referrals like this come at no extra cost to you, so they’re a great way to gain new business. Of course, you can even encourage them to spread the word with loyalty discounts and referral programs.

By the way, this might be the end of the map, but your job isn’t over. Successful businesses use this opportunity to create feedback loops and keep loyal customers happy for years to come.

customer journey how to

Customer Journey vs. User Journey

User experience (UX) designers might wonder how the customer journey relates to the user journey. First, a definition: user journeys focus in-depth on how a user moves through a digital product.

Both provide a visual representation of user/customer interactions. And, to some extent, both focus on customer experience.

Yes, there is some overlap, but there are also some key differences between the customer journey vs. user journey. 

  • Channels: The customer’s journey considers both physical and digital channels. However, the user journey is all about the digital medium, so there are fewer touchpoints. Often, the user journey is about just one digital channel, such as a website or app.
  • Interactions: The customer’s journey includes the customer service you provide. It focuses on the entire customer journey, in other words, including their experiences with sales reps and more. The user journey is a part of the customer’s journey, too. However, the user journey itself focuses on this one moment of contact between the user and your digital platform.
  • Processes: The customer’s journey is about the purchase process. However, the user journey is about the use process. So, in other words, the customer’s journey relates to the whole process of a buyer looking for a product. They then find something that works for them, purchase it, and interact with it. They might even buy it again. User journeys, meanwhile, show how the user interacts with a product to achieve their goals.

Both journeys work together to generate conversions.

Are Customer Journey and Experience the Same?

So, what about customer experience? The customer journey and experience share some similarities, and they must also work together. However, they’re not quite the same thing.

Customer experience (CX) is what customers think of a brand after interacting with it. Their perception influences their customer behaviors, driving them to purchase or fostering loyalty. At least, that’s the positive side of the coin. Bad CX can drive customers away.

CX spans every interaction with your customers, from discovery to customer service. No matter how much you want to, you can’t control this interaction entirely. However, you can try to improve the customer experience and give your target consumers what they want.

The journey is one strategy for improving CX. Knowing exactly where the touchpoints are along the journey means you can optimize each one, honing the CX.

customer journey how to

Customer Journey Enhancement: Best Practices

Customers need a premium experience to stay. Some experts call this “the white-glove experience,” and it’s the key to customer journey enhancement. 

These five best practices will help you get it right.

1. Start With a Strong Foundation

Since the journey starts with awareness, you need to plan for that first touchpoint .

Create a marketing strategy that helps you serve your ideal customer every step of the way. Creating customer personas can help you target and reach them. However, your strategy should serve not only your buyer personas but also your business goals. 

Thus, a strong strategy should cover your vision for customer support, goals and metrics, and any relevant tools or software.

2. Collect Feedback

Your users can tell you everything you need to know. Up-and-running businesses can collect feedback from real users. From there, you can figure out where you’re going wrong. Or, perhaps, celebrate where you’re getting it right. 

If you don’t have a business yet, now is the time to conduct in-depth user research .

3. Map the Journey

Next, it’s time to actually map the journey. But before you draw up your customer journey maps, you’ll need a strategy. 

Start by outlining how your customer interacts with your brand with a step-by-step process. Make sure you consider a range of possibilities; remember, customers might enter the funnel from different places.

Then, start to draw your maps.

4. Consider Different Perspectives

This is where customer journey mapping gets complicated. A lot of departments and stakeholders need to participate in this stage because customers will interact with all of them. This includes:

  • Marketing: This team is often the first to interact with customers. They know how to engage target audiences and trigger brand awareness. They also know about customer expectations and improving your reputation.
  • Sales: This team understands the early interactions you have with customers. They understand what turns leads into buyers and what obstacles might get in the way. 
  • Customer service: This team often interacts more directly with customers. They understand the realities of the journey, including the frustrations your users encounter. They also collect general feedback. As a result, they can provide valuable insights into improving the experience.

Involving all of these teams will help you build the best journey possible.

5. Personalize

Without personalization, your journey is nothing. You need to implement ways to make your customers feel special. After all, nobody wants to feel like they’re one of a hundred. The white-glove experience is all about providing premium service, after all.

Personalization can be as simple as using first names in emails. It even relates to sending thank-you emails following a purchase and involving your customers through surveys . 

Basically, the message is this: the journey should not be one-size-fits-all. Instead, you can develop several customer journeys for each user persona .

customer journey how to

Customer Journey Map Template

A customer journey map template can take you a long way. However, you still need to understand your audience and personalize the process.

Follow these steps to fill out the template above.

  • Understand your buyer personas and who you want to target.
  • Figure out what the purchase intent of these buyer personas is. What does the buyer want to achieve?
  • Map all the touchpoints for a new customer.
  • Think about potential obstacles your customers might face and how you can satisfy their expectations.
  • List your priorities so you can focus on the most important areas that foster customer loyalty.
  • Fill out the template.

Improve Your User’s Journey With Page Flows

Hopefully, this guide answered your question: what is a customer journey? Armed with this information, you can start to improve your customer experience.

From there, you just need to create great designs. So, if you’re looking for design inspiration, why not learn from proven products? Page Flows is a helpful resource for finding interaction design ideas. Get started today to access our growing library of user flow recordings and finally stay up-to-date with current design trends.

Page Flows Team

The Page Flows Team is a collective of passionate UX design professionals dedicated to delivering insightful content on user experience and design principles. With diverse backgrounds and expertise, our contributing writers bring you the latest trends, tips, and research in the UX field. Each article is crafted with a focus on empathy, innovation, and a commitment to enhancing user interactions. Outside of writing, our team members draw inspiration from various pursuits such as outdoor activities, art, and continuous learning, fueling their creativity and drive to push the boundaries of UX design. The Page Flows Team is committed to providing valuable resources and engaging content to help you stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of user experience.


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Customer engagement at the right time, on any channel..

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Adobe Journey Optimizer unlocks real-time personalization.

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Real value added to the customer journey using generative AI.

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Better define journeys and evolve how you deliver experiences.

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“We can feed profiles into Adobe Journey Optimizer to deliver more relevant emails and other communications across channels. We’re even looking to use location information through the mobile app to activate location-based communication. If a tourist is walking near a museum, it can trigger a push notification or email inviting them to visit.”

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Related content.

Questions? We have answers.

Adobe Journey Optimizer is an agile, scalable application built on the Adobe Experience Platform for orchestrating and delivering personalized, connected customer journeys across any app, device, screen, or channel. It lets brands optimize and personalize experiences across the entire customer journey — whether it's a brand-initiated engagement like weekly promotional emails or personalized real-time interactions, such as providing customers with contextual information as they engage with products or services they've purchased from your business.

Brands can use a single application to put consumers at the heart of the customer journey, whether orchestrating individual campaigns or intelligent management of the entire customer journey.

Adobe Journey Optimizer — built on the Adobe Experience Platform — enables journey orchestration, customer segmentation, and content and delivery capabilities all within a single solution. Capabilities include intelligent personalization, dynamic customer journey designing, and real-time insights.

Adobe Journey Orchestration lets you tailor individual journeys for customers based on their prior preferences and behaviors.

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Watch overview

Take a tour, more power with generative ai., read article, journey mapping, customer experience (cx), customer journey orchestration, what is adobe journey optimizer, what is the difference between adobe journey optimizer and adobe journey orchestration, what is a user journey map, what is customer experience, what is customer journey orchestration.

The Forrester Wave™: Customer Journey Orchestration Platforms, Q2 2024, Is LIVE!

Joana de Quintanilha , VP, Principal Analyst

In our 30-criterion evaluation of customer journey orchestration (CJO) providers, we identified the most significant ones and researched, analyzed, and scored them. The Forrester Wave™ evaluation highlights Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders, and Challengers. In alphabetical order, these are the vendors we included: Alterian, CSG, Engage Hub, Genesys, inQuba, Medallia, Qualtrics, Quantum Metric, and Roojoom.

CJO Is The Journey-Centric Firm’s Nerve Center

Customer journey orchestration is the heart of the journey-centric technology stack. It connects journeys and fosters a culture of data-driven decision-making based on a customer’s path and perceptions as they pursue a goal. Reference customers for CJO vendors say their two biggest challenges are 1) integrating data sources for a real-time, unified view of the true customer journey to uncover issues across channels and act on opportunities and 2) hyperpersonalizing increasingly conversational journeys for ever-changing customers. Solving these challenges takes the guesswork out of orchestrating journeys and accelerates journey-centric transformation.

New Criteria In The Forrester Wave™: Customer Journey Orchestration Platforms, Q2 2024

We added some new criteria, to reflect changes in the market and in buyer persona needs. We added criteria such as:

  • Predictive journey AI and generative AI. Predictive AI and machine learning have been key CJO criteria since our inaugural evaluation in 2018. But generative AI (genAI) now dominates tech discussions and all CJO vendors are incorporating it into their offerings, with some developing stand-alone genAI-driven products. AI is accelerating journey discovery, analysis, testing, and recommendations. Generative AI’s transformative impact on journey mapping, journey analytics, and journey orchestration has only just begun. It promises to connect humans to complex journey data in more natural ways and generate hyperpersonalized recommendations for people and systems working with customers. It has the potential to turn orchestrated journeys into conversational ones at the pace of customer behavior.
  • Journey hierarchy and strategy optimization. Why? Because journeys don’t occur in isolation; they flow into each other, connect, and influence each other. By viewing individual journeys in the context of other journeys, you can gauge the relative impact of a journey, share best practices and create consistency across journeys, understand the accumulated impact of journeys, and scale fixes across journeys and not be caught out by unexpected effects of changes in one journey on another. Journey-centric firms are managing journeys at scale, making criteria such as journey hierarchy and strategy optimization critical. Embedded AI-enabled tools can help automate strategy recommendations, assess impact, prioritize journeys, and aid in scenario planning. Tools like advanced journey atlas creation and dashboarding capabilities make it easier to track, measure, and optimize both journey strategy and overall business performance.
  • Business operations intelligence. Journey-centric firms are laser-focused on the flow of journeys from customers’ points of view across touchpoints, as well as silos, policies, and procedures. They deliberately detect, act on, and orchestrate the most critical events in the journey, and to do that, they need to connect metrics like journey completion and Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS) to journey cost, operational efficiency, employee experience (EX) metrics, friction, sentiment, emotion, and overall journey profitability across customer, employee, and partner journeys. Vendors increasingly offer customer experience (CX) and EX correlations and dashboards that bring together customer and employee journey insights and employee and partner journey orchestration.

Some Advice For CJO Buyers

If you are a Forrester client, check out the new report, The Forrester Wave™: Customer Journey Orchestration Platforms, Q2 2024 . I also recommend reading The Customer Journey Orchestration Landscape, Q1 2024 . You can also reach out for a guidance session or inquiry with me . No matter which CJO solution best fits your needs, keep in mind the following:

  • Data fusion across channels and data sources is critical to quickly reveal the reality of customers’ experiences and act. Look for out-of-the-box data integrations to enable immediate use without IT integration, as well as preloaded market and competitor data and orchestration playbooks to improve journey discovery and time to value.
  • Prepare to navigate industry hype to determine where AI can help the CJO solution realize value. Look for solutions that combine predictive AI and genAI to facilitate responsible business decisions and build customer trust. Whether embedded AI functionality enhances EX or powers CX use cases, make sure that your CJO solution adheres to the highest standards for privacy, regulatory compliance, and ethical data use.
  • Metrics matter more than ever. CX pros are increasingly looking to measure journey outcomes, health, and profitability across an expanding number of use cases to drive journey centricity. Look for vendors that go beyond typical metrics such as journey completion and NPS to measure journey cost, operational efficiency, EX metrics, friction, sentiment, emotion, and overall journey profitability across customer, employee, and partner journeys.
  • Age of the Customer

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Five ways to drive experience-led growth in banking

Customers’ needs are changing. They expect more from service providers in the form of fast, frictionless, and personalized journeys. Their banking practices have also altered, with many of them now using digital and looking for it from their banks. Customer experience (CX) is proving to be the strategic differentiator for banks, with experience leaders outperforming laggards.

In this article, we explore how banks can improve customer experience, identify five bold moves they can make to gain the competitive advantage, and why they must act now, given the current dynamic macroeconomic environment.

Our research shows that banks that are frontrunners in customer satisfaction lead in financial metrics such as total shareholder return (TSR), increased growth, and decreased costs (Exhibit 1). We also see a positive correlation between customer satisfaction and purchasing decision—customers who are satisfied with their banking experiences say they will purchase more of that bank’s products. And satisfied customers are six times more likely to say they'll remain with a bank than dissatisfied customers are.

In this uncertain economic environment, excelling in customer experience is more important than ever for banks—the past year has seen one of the most dynamic macroeconomic conditions in the past several decades. Over the past 12 months, interest rates have risen by more than 300 basis points, mortgage originations have dropped by 60 percent, and the flow of money between financial institutions has increased four times.

Confidence is waning—more than 65 percent of customers are pessimistic about the economic outlook for the coming year, about a ten percentage point increase compared to last year. Their biggest concerns are inflation, the rising cost of goods, and savings for emergency funds.

With the dynamic macroeconomic environment and the overall pessimism consumers are feeling, customers are thinking to the future, shifting their financial practices, and reevaluating relationships with their financial institutions. We notice a move toward increasing household spending and accelerating paying down credit card debt, as well as reducing savings for retirement and emergency funds. New financial accounts are being opened at twice the average rate, and new banking relationships and switching banks are being considered (Exhibit 2).

Five critical CX moves banks can make to get ahead

Here are five get-right moves for those that want to seize the moment and become industry leaders.

Reimagine, not just de-friction, priority journeys

A typical regional bank has over 1,500 customer journeys (across business units, product lines, and customer interactions). 1 McKinsey analysis. Looked at simply, these journeys can be categorized into two broad categories—those that a bank needs to “de-friction” and those that need to be reimagined. Most journeys fall into the de-friction bucket, as streamlined, seamless experiences still matter and drive customer satisfaction. However, our research shows that the “bookend” journeys of shopping, onboarding, and problem resolution disproportionally drive the overall experience that a customer has with their bank. It is here that a bank could consider flexing its reimagination muscle (Exhibit 3).

To truly reimagine a given journey, banks can take the following steps:

  • Assemble a cross-functional group that can bring diversity of experiences and thinking.
  • Understand the competition, including recognizing that experience leaders also come from adjacent and other B2C industries outside purely banking—for example, a mobile payment application.
  • Take inspiration from other industries as a customer’s bar for great experiences is driven by interactions and experiences outside banking.
  • Leverage the concept of a zero-based design (“clean sheeting”): start with a blank canvas and imagine a new journey without considering the current state or any constraints; layer on (technical and operational) constraints afterwards.
  • Co-create with customers to increase the chances of success, especially for novel signature moments.
  • Push innovation to the next level. For example , how could something happen with no user-inputted data, with one click (or even no clicks)?

As a case in point, a large North American bank established an innovation factory to redesign critical banking processes and digital journeys. This brought together cross-functional teams—across product, business, technology, design, marketing, risk and compliance, legal, operations, finance, etcetera—to work on reimagining key customer journeys. Over the course of two years, more than 30 reimagined journeys were developed and rolled out. The resulting impact was a 25 to 50 percent increase in customer satisfaction of those journeys.

Radical shifts in customer behavior can be disruptive, but by delivering differentiated value for their customers, banks can take advantage of this defining moment to stand out.

Help customers migrate to digital

Most banks have highly inconsistent digital adoption. Even for banks that have similar levels of digital migration, McKinsey’s proprietary Digital Migration Index shows a two to four times variation in digital adoption of the underlying products and journeys. Our research reveals that customers who regularly use a bank’s mobile app or website (or both) have the highest average satisfaction compared to customers who use other interaction channels or infrequently use the digital channels (Exhibit 4).

So, while banks have correctly focused on building digital experiences to enable customers to bank in their channel of choice and self-serve for many interactions, there is still an opportunity for banks to actively help customers migrate to digital channels. This, in turn, will likely not only drive higher customer satisfaction, but result in a lower cost-to-serve and convenience.

Banks can actively migrate customers to digital in several ways:

  • Enable: Banks can streamline enrollment into digital, seamless login, pre-authentication, and more.
  • Educate: They can drive awareness of new digital offerings or features with marketing and communications, such as “how-to” videos on the website and mobile app.
  • Redirect: Banks can utilize in-branch and call center or IVR intercepts to direct customers to digital channels, for example, in-branch digital and co-browse tutorials.
  • Motivate: They can consider charging fees for using non-digital channels, and reward employees who redirect customers to digital channels, for instance.
  • Nudge: Lastly, they can encourage customers to migrate with messaging on statements, reminders in emails or mails, gamified experiences, and so forth.

A leading Latin American bank launched a holistic digital adoption campaign to drive digital migration for its new web and mobile experiences. The bank rolled out a broad advertising campaign to encourage customers to download the new mobile app, developed incentives for recurring digital users (such as digital payments), sent out targeted customer messages after non-digital transactions were completed (for instance, in branch transfers), and thoroughly trained its front-line branch employees so they could redirect customers to digital. This broad campaign resulted in a 20 percent increase in customer satisfaction, a 5 percent increase in digitally active customers, a 25 percent increase in digital payments, and a 10 percent reduction in branch costs.

(Re)establish and (re)fortify trust

Our research shows that around 60 percent of customers currently trust that their primary bank will be helpful in navigating the next financial downturn. And this number jumps to more than 80 percent for customers who report high satisfaction with the experience their bank delivers.

Banks can take several actions to establish (or reestablish) trust

First, they can be transparent for emotionally charged interactions such as the ways fees are charged and explained (for example, on statements), the status of a loan application, and how disputes are handled. One leading payments player recently underwent a company-wide program to dramatically simplify its customer communications—from everything such as statements to the terms of loan applications to product offers on its mobile app. This program resulted not only in higher customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, but also fewer calls coming into the contact centers (for example, for customers not understanding bills or terms and conditions clauses).

Second, they can deeply know how customers want to bank and then give them the power to interact across any channel. For example, the marketing messages they want to opt into, what channel with which they prefer to interact (email, mail, phone call, or text message), and what data they would like the bank to use when making them product offers.

Third, banks can proactively identify and help customers resolve fraud by leveraging advanced analytics. Fraud resolution is one of the most emotionally charged journeys for customers, and anything that can help them feel at ease dramatically drives trust, as well as “advocacy” by the bank on their behalf. Several banks now send text messages or emails and phone customers at the first sign of potential fraud—offering customers an opportunity to “dismiss” the alert or follow through with a fraud claim. Many banks also use this to drive advocacy by removing the charge from statements while they investigate (versus charging customers first and then refunding the charge).

And last, banks can offer a window into a customer’s financial wealth, based on customer spend and transaction history, credit bureau data, balance information, interest charges, fees, and so forth. This opens the space for banks to offer a “financial-health” score for their customers. For example, a fintech company took this to the next level by not only showing a financial-health score for its clients, but also offering advice on how to improve that score (for instance, through paying off high-interest debts and savings strategies). With this move, they aimed to become more customer-centric and develop clients’ trust.

Close the loop on measurement

“You cannot manage what you don’t measure” is a common adage in business. This is especially true for customer experience. Traditionally banks have relied on surveys, which are necessary but not sufficient to achieve these capabilities. In fact, only 16 percent of chief customer experience officers believe surveys are granular enough to act on, and only 4 percent think that surveys allow them to calculate the ROI of a decision.

Organizations that measure up well do so across four capabilities: capture (how feedback is collected and integrated), interpret (how feedback is analyzed and insights produced), act (how insights are implemented), and monitor (how dashboards are updated in near real time).

  • Leaders in the industry use predictive analytics, machine learning, and big data (augmenting survey data with operational data) to overcome the well-known limitations of customer feedback. 2 “Experience DNA data and analytics platform,” McKinsey, February 2023. For example, only 7 percent on average complete surveys, 25 percent believe surveys provide timely insights to act on, while just 4 percent allow banks to quantify ROI. 3 “ Prediction: The future of CX ,” McKinsey, February 24, 2021. Banks can leverage the analytics-driven customer feedback system to personalize the experience by identifying unique customer needs and trends at scale that may go unnoticed with one-off surveys.
  • They can also proactively resolve issues by ensuring that drivers of customer experience are updated in real time from all available data—as opposed to the limited survey questions that are only updated sporadically to quickly resolve trouble areas.
  • Banks can predict with confidence the satisfaction for 100 percent of customers with a “single source of truth” versus the 7 to 10 percent in typical survey responses.
  • Lastly, they can improve “hidden” customer interaction points; that is, quickly see how customer experience changes along a customer’s interaction with various parts of a given journey.

For example, a global bank is building a capability that scores the experience of every customer based on data such as transactions, balances, recent branch and contact center experiences, and location. It then uses machine learning to predict customer satisfaction for each customer based on their individual experience. This new capability allows the bank to dramatically improve its follow-up with customers immediately after poor service experiences and identify opportunities to deepen relationships.

Ingrain the philosophy of “customer success” in every part of the organization

Customer success is a proactive, data-led, and client-centric approach that seeks to understand client priorities and help B2B customers optimize their outcomes. The customer-success discipline is well developed in high-tech companies and the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry but is still only slowly finding relevance in banking. Customer success equates to understanding existing B2B customers’ needs and helping them achieve their objectives (which often includes improved outcomes or experience for an end consumer or user). As a result, customer success can be successful in driving growth and reducing churn, while also increasing adoption and usage of products and services.

To implement an effective customer success model, banks can consider taking the following steps:

Build customer success capabilities: Like sales, customer success is a discipline with established practices. Setting up a customer success function requires dedicated capability building, especially if a bank is converting a team of existing client-relationship executives (such as bankers or account managers) to become customer-success managers.

Create capacity for high-value activities: In many organizations, an existing account or relationship manager is inundated with servicing requests and has limited capacity to be proactive. To create space, banks could find a way to reduce the demand on these teams to react to client “problems”, through product improvements, automation, or off-loading servicing activities to lower-cost teams.

Define the operating model with sales: Successful customer success representatives will uncover upsell and cross-sell opportunities as they work with clients to help them achieve their objectives. Therefore, it is critical to have a defined operating model and success-to-sales motion, which may differ based on the customer segmentation and coverage model (for example, teams of customer success and sales reps working together on accounts or using a model that “passes on” customer success opportunities to the sales team).

Measure customer health: A deep understanding of customer health is beneficial to customer success as it helps indicate likely-to-churn customers and assists customer success teams to prioritize how to invest their time across their customer portfolio. Banks can use all the data they have available for a customer—such as financial performance, industry trends, engagement with product and digital journeys, customer satisfaction (for instance, NPS, CSAT), product performance, and the ability to meet customer service level agreements—to develop a predictive measure of “customer health” as a key enabler of customer success.

For instance, a large wealth management player is moving to a customer-success model for its B2B business. It has introduced a “teaming” coverage model, in which large customers each have a dedicated representative for sales and customer success. The company has also defined an operating model for how sales, customer success, and sales operations will work together throughout the customer’s lifecycle. This new model has helped it better understand the needs of its customers and increased the opportunities to pursue new products and services with its existing customer base.

Bringing it all together

So how can banks achieve CX success in a competitive environment where customers want more, quickly? The good news is that we have seen companies attain leading positions by addressing three core building blocks of customer experience: a clearly defined, strong aspiration; a disciplined transformation journey; and thoughtful deployment of new capabilities such as analytics (Exhibit 5). 4 Victoria Bough, Ralph Breuer, Nicolas Maechler, and Kelly Ungerman, “ The three building blocks of successful customer experience transformation ,” McKinsey, October 27, 2020.

McKinsey research shows that this approach has delivered powerful results: a 15 to 20 percent increase in sales conversion rates, a 20 to 50 percent decline in service costs, and a 10 to 20 percent improvement in customer satisfaction. 5 Victoria Bough, Ralph Breuer, Nicolas Maechler, and Kelly Ungerman, “ The three building blocks of successful customer experience transformation ,” McKinsey, October 27, 2020.

By using these building blocks to achieve successful customer-centric transformations, and embedding the five bold moves described above, banks can take gold in the customer-experience race and attain a competitive advantage that boosts growth, lowers costs, and provides superior customer satisfaction.

Shital Chheda is a partner in McKinsey’s Chicago office; Jonathan Goldstein is an associate partner in the San Francisco office, where Robert Schiff is a senior partner; and Tim Natriello is an associate partner in the New York office.

The authors wish to thank Tim Bail, Anubhav Choudhury, Kate Ford, Alex Lapides, and Adrian Nelson for their contributions to this article.

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