Customer Journey Map: what it is and how to use it to boost your Customer Experience

11 min

Fundamental to the constant improvement of the Customer Experience, o Customer Journey Map (Journey Map) combines two powerful instruments: Storytelling it's at Preview, to help organizations better understand and address their customers' needs.

There are several models of Customer Journey Maps, depending on the context and objectives of the business, however there are generally common elements. Below is a guide for you to follow the instructions and use the elements correctly.

How the Customer Journey Map (Customer Experience Map) can boost my company's Customer Experience?

First, what is a Customer Journey Map?

As this question is very common, let's start with a direct answer:

Definition: The Customer Journey Map is an overview of the process that a person goes through to achieve a goal. It is used to understand and meet customers' needs and their “pains”.

Journey mapping begins by compiling a series of goals and user actions into a timeline skeleton. Then, the skeleton is developed with users' thoughts and emotions, in order to create a narrative.

Finally, this narrative is condensed into a visualization used to communicate important that will inform processes of design.

Customer Journey combines two powerful instruments: Storytelling and the Process Visualization

Two powerful Customer Journey instruments

THE storytelling and visualization are essential features of Customer Journey because they are effective mechanisms for transmitting information in a memorable way, concise and that creates a shared vision.

Fragmented understanding is chronic in organizations where KPIs are assigned and measured by individual department or group, because many organizations never put the whole experience together from the user’s point of view, that is, don't usually have a macro view of Customer Experience.

This shared vision is a critical goal of journey mapping because, without this, agreement on how to improve the customer experience will never occur.

The Customer Journey Map creates a holistic view of the Customer Experience. This process of gathering and visualizing different results in customer interactions with the brand may end up involving people from other areas that were previously disinterested and stimulating conversations and collaborative changes..

Elements of a Customer Journey Map

Modelo Customer Journey Map Customer Experience

Zone A: The map header provides restrictions for the map, assigning a person (“who”) (1), the scenario to be examined (“what”) (2) and goal that this persona should achieve (3).

Zone B: The heart of the map is where we visualize the experience, usually lined up in “Phases of the journey” (4), "Actions" (5), "Thoughts" (6) and the “Emotional user experience” (7) throughout the journey that can be supplemented with quotes or videos from the NPS survey (read about NPS clicking here).

Zone C: In this area we have the output data (results) that will vary according to the commercial objective that the map offers. Here it is possible to describe points of view, “pain” discoveries, process improvement opportunities (8) that we should prioritize, as well as the area or internal responsible(9).

Why you need a Customer Journey Map for Customer Experience analysis and when you should have one?

Customer journey analysis

Journey maps should always be created to achieve a known business objective. Maps that do not align with a business objective, will not result in applicable insights.

The goal could be an external problem, how to learn about a specific person's buying behaviors or an internal issue, how to address lack of ownership over certain parts of Customer Experience. The potential business objectives that journey mapping can be applied to are listed below.

Change the perspective of a company that thinks "inside out" to an "outside inside" thinking.

How the map creates a view of the entire customer journey, they become a tool for creating conversations and collaboration between departments.

Mapping the journey can be the first step in building an action plan across the organization to invest in Customer Experience, because it helps to answer the question: "Where do we start?”. Highlighting customer contact areas.

Assign those responsible for touchpoints (touch points) key to internal departments.

Oftentimes, areas of inconsistencies and failures in the customer journey exist simply because no internal team has been appointed responsible for that process.

The journey map can provide greater clarity so that departments align more easily when assigning those responsible for improvements at each stage or interaction (touchpoints) in the customer journey.

Look at specific customers.

Journey maps help teams focus on specific people or customers, so that it means understanding differences or similarities in the journeys of several people, prioritizing a “high value” person or exploring ways to target a new type of customer.

Understand quantitative data.

If you are aware, through analysis or other quantitative data, that something specific is happening - maybe online sales are stabilizing or an online tool is being underutilized - journey mapping can help you find out why.

However,, do not limit yourself to analyzing only the digital environment. If you have a physical store, it’s essential to analyze your Customer Experience data too.

Key elements of the Customer Journey Map for your Customer Experience

Key elements of the customer journey

Although journey maps can (and should) have a wide variety of shapes, some elements usually repeat themselves:

Point of view.

First of all, choose the “actor” of the story. Whose Purchasing Journey is this? For example, a university can choose students or faculty members, which would result in very different journeys. The “actors” are usually the personas of your business, are those who experience your company's Customer Experience.

As a guideline, when creating a Customer Journey Map, use a map point of view to provide a strong and clear narrative of your entire Customer Experience.


Then, determine the specific experience to be mapped. This could be an existing journey, where the mapping will discover positive and negative moments within this current experience or an “to be” experience, where the mapper is projecting a journey for a product or service that does not yet exist.

Make sure to clarify the user’s goal during this Customer Experience. Journey mapping is best in scenarios that describe a sequence of events, like buying behavior or taking a trip.

Actions, mindsets (Mentality) and emotions.

The heart of the narrative of a customer journey map is what the user is doing, thinking and feeling during the journey. These data points should be based on qualitative research, like the Likes and Dislikes of the search SoluCX or the NPS open question (Net Promoter Score).

Touchpoints and channels.

The mapping should align the touchpoints (times when the actor on the map actually interacts with the company) and channels (methods of communication or service delivery, like the website or physical store) with user goals and actions. These elements deserve special emphasis because they are where brands often discover inconsistencies and disconnected experiences.

Insights and responsibility.

The goal of the customer journey mapping process is to discover gaps in the user experience (that are particularly common in omnichannel days) and, then, take steps to optimize the experience. Information and responsibility are critical elements that are often overlooked.

Any information that emerges from the journey mapping must be explicitly listed. If politically possible, also assign responsibility for different parts of the journey map, so that it’s clear who’s responsible for what aspect of the customer’s journey.

Without an owner, no one has responsibility or empowerment to change anything.
Even with all the critical elements listed above, two customer journey maps can look completely different, but both are perfectly suited to the context in which they were designed.

Scope obligations, focus and breadth versus depth are needed when deciding which elements to include. To make informed decisions about these trade-offs, consider the following:

  • What level of detail is needed to tell the full story?
  • Which elements (as equipment, canal, found content) are also needed to provide the truest narrative?
  • The purpose of this customer journey map is to diagnose problems with your current Customer Experience or to design a new experience?
  • What is the balance between external actions (client side) and internal actions (on the organization side)?
  • Who will use this Customer Journey Map?

Rules for creating a successful Customer Journey Map

Regras DO Customer Journey Map

Successful customer journey maps require more than just the inclusion of the “right” elements. The journey mapping must be a collaborative process with well-defined goals and built from research.

This requires hard work to keep the process on track for every organization to buy the idea, in order to evangelize the insights that the map provides. Below are some tips to make sure the process starts and stays on track:

Establish the “why ”and“ what”.

First, identify the business objective that the journey map will support. Make sure there are clear answers to the basic key questions before starting the process:

  • What is the commercial objective of this Customer Journey Map?
  • Who will use it?
  • Who is the Client (Person) and what is your experience?
  • How it will be shared?

Base it on the truth of your Customer Experience.

Journey maps must result in true narratives, not in “fairy tales”. Start by gathering any existing research, but additional journey-based research is also needed to fill in the gaps that existing research will not cover. This is a qualitative research process.

While quantitative data can help support, validate or help convince stakeholders that they may see qualitative data as “diffuse”.

Collaborate with others.

The customer journey mapping activity (not the result itself) It's, oftentimes, the most valuable part of the process, so as to involve others. Therefore, remove the curtain and invite stakeholders from various groups or departments to be part of the data compilation and map construction.

Don't skip ahead to the visual.

The temptation to create an aesthetic graphic or jump into design can lead to beautiful journey maps, yet imperfect. Make sure your data synthesis is complete and well understood before moving on to creating the look.

Involve others in creating the final product.

Don't expect everyone to buy the idea and promote it on their Customer Journey Map simply because they sent a lovely graphic as an email attachment. Create an interactive document that people can be a part of.
Bring your story into meetings and conversations so you can promote a narrative that others believe in and start referencing. One idea is to create a journey mapping showroom where anyone who is not on the direct team can experience the process and the resulting artifacts.
The idea is to always add value by bringing together different information and points of view after research and our own opinion, but when we have a perfect description for what we want to explain, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel.
The text above is a translated reproduction of the publication of Nielsen Norman Group, written by Kate Kaplan.

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