How To Create A Customer Journey Map: A Complete Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses use maps to identify the requirements of a customer base and develop effective strategies for addressing these requirements. These maps can help professionals in marketing, sales and business development understand how end users interact with a company's offerings and what issues affect the experience of end users. Understanding what this tool is and how to create one can help you excel in a role in these domains. In this article, we examine what a customer journey map is and how to create one, explore different types of maps and provide an example.

What Is A Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map is a tool that helps professionals in sales, marketing and business development visualise how users engage with the offerings of a brand or business. Maps may consist of diagrams, illustrations and infographics that provide insights into user experience pertaining to a brand or its products and services. When the number of users of a product or service increases, tracking and analysing customer behaviour often reveals patterns. Working with these patterns, professionals can develop strategies for identifying and addressing user concerns and recommendations.

Related: Audience Segmentation: Definition And Comprehensive Guide

How To Create A Customer Journey Map

Follow these steps to create an effective map for studying customer journeys:

1. Identify core objectives

Before you start creating a map, identify the core objectives that you wish to achieve with the tool. For instance, a business in its initial phase may want to reach potential customers and establish a client base. An existing business with a physical retail model may want to expand its operations to the digital domain through an e-commerce platform. You can also consider the users of the map while devising a strategy to create it.

For example, if you are creating a map for management personnel, consider the metrics that may be useful to them for studying customer behaviour. You can optimise the visualisations involved to ensure that viewers can develop a comprehensive understanding of a customer's experience, from introduction to the brand to a final purchase decision and repeat business. Identifying such aspects and reflecting upon their relevance and utility can help streamline the process of creating the tool.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition And Examples

2. Create customer profiles and personas

After you have identified the intent of the map and who may use it, you can consider who the map represents. Customer demographics play an important role in shaping marketing materials. Most businesses tailor their materials to target a particular demographic that is representative of a majority of their customer base. If a company's offerings target individuals belonging to several demographic sectors, it is ideal to create multiple personas and profiles to help create appropriate marketing materials.

For example, if a company makes and sells children's clothing, two major demographics it may target include children and the parents of children. It may develop marketing materials that can appeal to both these demographics, although purchase decisions may only come from one of these groups of individuals. If the brand expands into clothing for adolescents, its marketers may create an additional persona or profile to apply to that demographic.

3. Conduct market research

Market research is crucial for developing maps, as it can provide valuable insights from external data, as opposed to what in-house analysis of internal data can offer. You can use a variety of methods to collect data, including requesting feedback from existing customers, using online surveys and polls, or through in-person interviews. Social media can also be a helpful platform to gain insights regarding customer engagement and satisfaction. Web analytics tools can help marketing teams generate useful inferences for product development and promotion.

Related: How To Become A Market Research Analyst: A Complete Guide

4. Identify customer touchpoints

A touchpoint refers to an avenue or instance of contact between a brand and its customers. Customers interact with touchpoints when they click on ads, get in touch with customer support teams or use an e-commerce platform. A map can comprehensively identify and list all touchpoints in relation to a product or service line to generate an understanding of the user experience. It can also specify missing touchpoints, which may be beneficial to incorporate, for improved user engagement.

Related: Attribution Modelling: Definition, Types And Benefits

5. Experience the journey map

After creating a map that depicts a typical customer's journey, you can experience the journey yourself to gain a nuanced understanding of a user's perspective. This can help you identify and address basic issues like unreasonably long wait times or lapses in information updates. Many user-experience flaws reveal themselves only after a product enters a market and customers start using it extensively. By experiencing the customer journey personally, marketers can identify a few potential issues regarding product or service roll out.

6. Incorporate changes

After experiencing the journey map personally, it is good to reflect upon your experience and use the data you have gathered to guide and incorporate changes to the customer journey or roll out strategy. For example, if you realise that customer service is a pain point, while creating the journey map, you can call upon management personnel to work with HR teams and address that specific requirement. These maps are about making targeted and actionable improvements to a customer's experience based on verified information.

Related: How To Manage Customer Relationships: A Complete Guide

Types Of Journey Maps

There are different types of journey maps that are based on the various requirements of a company:

  • User experience map: This type of map works for companies with a large online presence and whose customers rely on the use of websites and online applications.

  • Sales automation journey map: This map is suitable for sales and marketing teams who use email marketing and social media to understand a company's current customers and optimise sales strategies.

  • Customer experience journey map: This type of map is the most common, and it tracks the entire experience of the customer from the awareness stage to sales and feedback.

  • Future state journey map: This map is suitable for companies that wish to make upgrades to sales tactics, create new experiences for their customers and understand how a customer might behave at certain journey points in the future.

Related: What Are User Onboarding Tools? (With Benefits And Examples)

Example

Here is an example to consider:

Objective

To understand why customers are not completing their purchases on the company website. This map is for the use of the marketing and web departments.

Customer persona

Anita is in her early forties and lives in an upper middle-class neighbourhood in Kochi with her husband and two children. She works from home as a graphic designer and does not have time to purchase home furnishings at a physical store location but relies instead on online shopping. The household enjoys a comfortable income.

Data

Anita visits the company website once a week to browse home decor items and unique pieces of furniture. She usually has an average of 15 items on her wishlist but fails to ever transfer them into a shopping cart. She has a very specific taste and does not want to deal with any hassles regarding the shipment and return policy if she chooses the wrong item. Research shows that the average customer, such as Anita, often clicks on photos of each item and dwells on them for up to a minute.

Touchpoint

Anita has called customer service in the past to ask questions about the type of fabric used to make the furniture and to enquire about the details of some items, such as the exact colour.

Personal experience of the customer journey map

There are not enough photos of the items, or the images are poorly lit, causing uncertainty in myself as a buyer and an inability to imagine what the product would look like in my own home. The images do not expand to an appropriately large size, leaving me confused as to the visual details of each item. The result is that I put the items into my wishlist, but do not have enough confidence in the item to complete the purchase.

Changes and resolutions

Hire a professional photographer to re-take photos of items on the website. Ideally, the photographer should have experience in furniture photography and photo editing software. Also, offer new directions for the web developer to ensure that priority is given to image quality and accessibility.

Explore more articles