Getting Started with your Customer Journey

June 27, 2019

How well do you know your customer? Do you understand their needs, motivations, or frustrations? If you or your colleagues are struggling with these questions it may be time to consider putting together an oft-used sales & marketing tool - a Customer Journey Map.

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the “journey” your customer goes through to achieve a goal with your company, which includes their motivations, questions, concerns, and more at the various touch points during the journey.

Through the process of creating and putting a journey map together, you will have a better grasp of your customers and how your business can meet their needs at various touch or inflection points during the complete sales process.  

Creating your Customer Journey Map takes a fair amount of effort, but provides amazing insight into your customers. To start, we recommend getting an idea of what you want to measure, who will be involved, and get to know your customers.

Step 1: Put together the stages where your customers interact with your business.

While there are various formats you can utilize, your stages are basically going to reflect the following:

  1. Awareness: This is the stage where your potential customer becomes aware of an issue or need they have, which they want to get help for
  2. Discovery: Your potential customer is discovering more about their problem and possible solutions for it
  3. Decision: During this stage, the potential customer chooses a solution that best fits their needs and/or desires
  4. Retention: If they became your customer, this is the stage that occurs after the sale where you work to keep them satisfied and a long-term shopper

Step 2: Figure out what information you want to reflect on at each of those stages.

What does your business want to measure? What are you curious about? Think of this as an audit and these are the aspects related to your customer’s experience that you want to investigate and analyze further.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Touch points they’re interacting with
  • Tasks the customer is trying to complete
  • Questions they may have at that stage
  • Influences on their decision-making process
  • Feelings or emotions their experiencing
  • Issues they could have

Step 3: Gather research, workshop, and start putting it together

This is easily the most important part of the mapping process. Now that you have a better idea of what you want to find out, it’s time to gather the data to help you complete your map. Some ways of going about it include:

  • Comb through the customer information you have at your disposal
  • Go to the source and survey your customers about their experiences
  • Interview various co-workers from various departments to gather their knowledge
  • Hold a workshop for your co-workers where you collectively explore the journey map, filling in the information accordingly
  • Consider inviting some customers to your workshop

Step 4: Time to Map it out!

Now that you have your data, it’s time to put your journey map together. The easiest way to do this is to use a grid with one axis containing your stages and the other containing those items you wanted to measure.

Now you’re probably thinking you can only measure what your customers go through currently, but you can also decide to take your map in a slightly different direction:

  • Future state: These maps reflect the future state of your customers, mapping what you believe it will be. These are good to use if you’re planning to introduce a new service, product, etc. in the future and want to map the journey around that.
  • Day in the life: This dives a bit further into the everyday pains and needs your customers face on a daily basis. This doesn’t have to include anything about your business, but rather really analyzing what your customers need, looking for potential gaps that you could fill.
  • Service blueprint: This map builds off of a current or future state map, integrating the specific business functions, processes, employees, etc. that directly influence the customer at the respective stages. This is a great way of adding transparency to the mapping process, giving people a great jumping off point for developing strategy.

Looking for inspiration? Have a look at some of these examples:

Customer Journey Maps don't need to be overly complex. This example gives a "score" to each touch point, KPIs, and actions that can be taken to improve the business at each stage.
Getting a bit more visual never hurts and this one maintains a high level of simplicity and readability. We especially love the emotion/customer thoughts track at the top, which gives insight into the emotional experience path directly below.
This is a great example of a map of how a certain customer persona would typically use a product. It gives a great overview of the product user experience and the real-world activities and influences the user experiences in parallel.
This is a great combination of content and visualization, all coalescing into an easy-to-read, actionable journey map.
This is a great example of a clean, concise, and actionable map that has visuals that enhance the utility of the document, not distract the reader.

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