How to Create an Effective Customer Journey Map

Updated: Dec 25, 2019

Effective Customer Journey Mapping

We’ve all experienced a brand website where finding the right information was an endless loop of confusion. Ironically, one of the biggest challenges can be finding where to contact support online and offline. If that is the case with your website, customers might abandon your page and head to one of your competitors. Getting inside the mind of your customer is no easy feat, even customer feedback, scattered post-its and unreadable bulletin boards can seem incomplete. So how do businesses track and address these gaps in user experience in an organized way?

Understanding each major and minor step users take, in the most natural way possible, is important for achieving business and client goals. Meet the customer journey map - a powerful tool which illustrates a holistic experience through the eyes of a single persona’s journey.

Simply put, journey mapping portrays how consumers engage, feel and think about your products based on actionable touchpoints (e.g. call center, social media channels, website). These clear visualizations portray the complete end-to-end customer experience, enabling companies to develop the necessary product improvements that cater to their users’ journey. You could hire an expert to map this out for you, but doing it on your own is a skill that every entrepreneur and business owner should possess. It’s worth it for the insights into how customers interact with your service, and how well they’re able to meet their purchasing goals.

Definition: Customer journey map

A customer journey map is a visual representation that details all the touchpoints your customers have with your business en route to achieving their consumer goals.

A touchpoint is defined as any interaction with your brand. Online touchpoints are those directly associated with your site (e.g. buttons, forms, closing a pop-ups). Offline touchpoints are any interactions that happen outside of your brands site (e.g. social media, reviews, forums).

For example, if you’re an eCommerce business and noticed customers are abandoning your cart page, you will want to track touchpoints (e.g. product pages, shopping cart) leading up to this in order to determine why they decided not to purchase a product.

The importance of a customer journey map

It is no secret that customers have high expectations when choosing a brand. Think about it - we all want things to go as planned, we want to succeed and we want it to be done faster than you can say ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’. The truth is, we want our experience to be seamless and user-friendly. Imagine if Amazon’s checkout process led customers on a wild goose chase around their site. Users would simply close the tab in protest and head over to a competitor. It’s true - customer experience is a top priority for all businesses. Therefore, it’s no surprise that interest in customer journey mapping has increased exponentially over the past decade:

Google Trends Customer Journey Map

It’s become very clear that customers are demanding more from companies. In fact, a Walker study found that by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

So if you’re struggling to understand why customers are not having the desired experience they thought they would have, or even why your marketing strategy isn’t performing well, a customer journey map can help you check all the steps along the way leading to the outcome. Here are seven reasons why you should start a customer journey map for your business today:

1. Helps create content based on customer searches. You may be already using marketing strategies for your business to attract potential clients. Believe it or not, customer journey mapping can unfold gaps of knowledge among your customers. For example, if you run a travel company, your map may indicate many users feel confused at the process of booking a flight. As a solution, you may create a blog post, self-service content or YouTube channel with straightforward tutorials.

2. Provides a micro and macro overview. Depending on the customer journey focus, you can cover a macro-level journey (e.g. customer awareness to retention) or micro-level journey (e.g. steps to book a flight).

3. Identifies gaps in your user journey. If you want to understand why prospective customers leave at a certain point in your product, a journey map will enable your business to adjust focus. For example, you may notice a site visitor reading your blog but never actually continuing on to your product pages. This could indicate your blog post does not relate to what they are searching for.