What is a Customer Journey Map?

customer journey map is a visual representation of the various stages a customer travels through, everything from learning about a new product or service to the post purchase experience.

The customer journey map helps marketers and business owners understand how they can more effectively market to the customer. It can also pinpoint roadblocks that are slowing down the process, preventing sales, and limiting positive reviews. Where are people getting stuck?

Why Is a Customer Journey Map Important?

The customer journey map is a powerful tool for marketers and business owners to visualize the actual experience their customers are having.  

This information is used to improve the interaction with your business leading to a higher likelihood of a purchase.  How are customers proceeding on the journey? Is there one place they seem to get hung up or abandon the check-out process? How can it be improved to keep potential customers seamlessly moving through the various stages?

For example, if the initial contact is through a social media account, how do you get them to the next stage of the journey?  If you want them to visit your website, how do you entice them to click on the link? 

Another example is the transition between devices and platforms. For instance, more than half of all organic searches are now done on mobile devices. If you find you are getting healthy interest from social media platforms and organic searches to your website, but you’re having difficulty getting them to stay. It might be a technical issue. 

Was your website designed for desktops and not optimized for mobile devices? If so, it may load too slowly for phones or display as a jumbled mess in comparison to the desktop version. Not all website designs translate well to phones or tablets.

A customer journey map can uncover vulnerabilities such as this so you can address them. The easier the transitions for the potential customer, the more likely you can hold their attention in pursuit of a sale. 

What Are the Customer Journey Map Stages?

The stages of a customer journey map will vary by business, but at a minimum you will have these five stages—Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Post Purchase and Advocacy.  

What to Capture for Each Stage of a Customer Journey Map.

There are specific types of information you’ll want to gather for each stage of the customer journey map. 

Customer Actions: The most important thing to document is what the customer is doing.  What action is the customer taking at this stage?

Touchpoints: Where are all the places the customer is interacting with us—advertising, social media, website, our product, customer service, etc.?

Customer Experience:  Is the customer happysatisfied, or unhappy with their experience at this stage?  Three levels are sufficient. This rating is only used to identify where to focus your efforts in improving the customer journey.

Pain Points: What problems is the customer encountering? Are customers confused about how to search for your product? Is the check-out process confusing? Does your customer service department need to respond more quickly?

Possible Solutions: This is where you’ll address the weaknesses you’ve found with specific solutions.

You may find that additional information would be helpful for your particular business. Feel free to add more categories to your customer journey map—just don’t overdo it. This should be a one-page table, which is easy to understand at a quick glance. 

How to Create a Customer Journey Map.

Don’t overthink it.  The best way to create a customer journey map is to start by filling it in with your initial thoughts. After the draft is completed, you can update and refine it. 

Customer Journey Mapping Tools.

A customer journey map has two basic components—the data and the graphic design. With this in mind, there are several ways to construct your customer journey map, though some come at a price.

One way is to create your customer journey map directly in Microsoft Word or in Google Docs by creating a table.  This option will not have fancy graphics, but it is an easy option, which is also FREE. 

If you have a graphic designer on staff, they can add illustrations and visuals to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

Or, there are several online tools for mapping the customer journey. These are not free, but they come with a polished template and some additional perks.

Here is a short list of some of the tools we like:

Customer Journey Map Example.

Below is an example of a customer journey map.  For this example, we used an ecommerce business in the DIY market.  The company sells DIY products for the home on their website.  The customer journey map follows the customer from awareness through to advocacy.

Customer ActionsPerforms a Google search. Visits our website.Compares products.Reads customer reviews.Calls us.Adds product to cart.Enters shipping address.Enters payment information.Tracks shipping status/eta.Waits for product to arrive.Receives product.Tries product.Decides to keep it.Shows the product on social media.Tells friends about it.Leaves a Google review for us.
TouchpointsOrganic search results.Advertisement.Landing page.Category page.Resources page.Product page.Contact Us page.Shopping cart.Checkout page.Order Confirmation page.Receives physical product.Instructions / Installation Manual.Materials included in packaging. Follow-up email asking about their satisfaction.Quick response to customer service inquiries. 
Customer ExperienceHappy Satisfied Happy  UnhappyHappy
Pain PointsHad a little trouble finding us. Unsure of what terms to search for.Too many products to select from.Not sure which they need.Preferred payment method isn’t supported.Doesn’t know how long shipping time is (ETA).Confused as to how to install it. Not sure how to leave a review on certain platforms.
Possible SolutionsTo improve SEO:Include more search terms on our website.Include more search terms in our advertising.Offer all-inclusive kits.Add what to purchase guide to website.Add more payment methods to website.Add shipping time to shopping cart based on delivery address.Proactive email with installation resources, and to contact us if needed.Include a “How to Contact Us” insert.Send an email inviting them to leave a review on social media or Google with corresponding link to make it easy.