Customer Journey Maps

Your constantly-updated definition of Customer Journey Maps and collection of topical content and literature

What are Customer Journey Maps?

Customer journey maps are used to map the relationship between a customer and an organization over time and across all channels on which they interact with the business. Design teams use customer journey maps to see how customer experiences meet customers’ expectations and find areas where they need to improve designs.

Data often fails to communicate the frustrations and experiences of customers. A story can do that, and one of the best storytelling tools in business is the customer journey map.

Paul Boag, UX designer, service design consultant & digital transformation expert

Learn how to find hidden truths through customer journey maps.

Customer Journey Maps – Tell Customer Stories

Customer journey maps are research-based tools which design teams use to reveal typical customer experiences over time and visualize the many dimensions and factors involved. These enable brands to learn more about target users. Team members examine tasks and questions (e.g., what-ifs) regarding how a design meets or fails to meet customers’ needs over time when they encounter a product or service. Therefore, these maps should be detail-rich timelines that show the most important sub-tasks and events. Over this timeline framework, you add insights of what customers think and feel when proceeding along the timeline. The map should consist of:

  1. A timescale – a defined journey period (e.g., 1 week) including selected areas from awareness to conversion and beyond.
  2. Scenarios – the context and sequence of events in which a user/customer must achieve a goal (e.g., a user wants to buy a ticket on the phone), from first actions (recognition of a problem) to last actions (e.g., subscription renewal).
  3. Touchpoints what customers do while interacting and how they do it.
  4. Channels where they perform actions (e.g., Facebook).
  5. Thoughts and feelings -what the customer thinks and feels at each touchpoint.

The goal of a customer journey map is to gain an understanding of how the customer experience develops over time and show that in a deliverable which everyone in the organization can appreciate. It allows you to discover possible problems and improve the design so its more likely to exceed customers expectations at all touchpoints.

How to Make Customer Journey Maps for Exceptional Experiences

To create a customer journey map, you can follow these steps:

  1. Define your Maps Business Goal – Clarify who will use your map and what user experience it will address.
  2. Conduct Research – Use customer research to determine customer experiences at all touchpoints. Get analytical/statistical data and anecdotal evidence through, e.g., customer interviews, surveys, social media listening and competitive intelligence.
  3. Review Touchpoints and Channels – List customer touchpoints (e.g., pay a bill) and channels (e.g., online). Look for additional touchpoints or channels to include.
  4. Make an empathy map – Pinpoint what the customer does, thinks, feels, says, hears, etc. in a given situation. Then, determine his/her needs and how he/she feels throughout the experience. Focus on barriers and sources of annoyance.
  5. Sketch the Journey – Piece together everything (touchpoints, timescale, empathy map output, new ideas, etc.) however you like(e.g., a map). You want to show a customer’s course of motion through touchpoints and channels across the timescale, including his/her feelings at every touchpoint.
  6. Iterate and Refine – Revise and transform your sketch into the best-looking version of the ideal customer journey.
  7. Share with Stakeholders – Ensure all stakeholders have your map, understand it and appreciate how its use will bring beneficial changes to customers and across the organization.

Once the map is ready, you should measure the enhanced journey’s results. For instance, check key performance indicators (KPIs). The more touchpoints there are, the more complex the map will be. In any case, your entire organization should soon notice its value as a revisable, “living” document because members from all sections will have a common reference point for a wider, sharper customer focus.

Our Customer Journey Map template features 3 zones (top persona and scenario; middle thoughts, actions and feelings; bottom insights and progress barriers).

Learn More about Customer Journey Maps

Take our User Research Methods and Best Practices course:

Here are some compelling Customer Journey Maps:

This is an incisive blog showcasing examples:

This empathy-themed piece features an activity and field tips:

Find some additional insights here:

Literature on Customer Journey Maps

Here’s the entire UX literature on Customer Journey Maps by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Customer Journey Maps

Take a deep dive into Customer Journey Maps with our course User Research – Methods and Best Practices .

How do you plan to design a product or service that your users will love, if you don't know what they want in the first place? As a user experience designer, you shouldn't leave it to chance to design something outstanding; you should make the effort to understand your users and build on that knowledge from the outset. User research is the way to do this, and it can therefore be thought of as the largest part of user experience design.

In fact, user research is often the first step of a UX design process—after all, you cannot begin to design a product or service without first understanding what your users want! As you gain the skills required, and learn about the best practices in user research, you’ll get first-hand knowledge of your users and be able to design the optimal product—one that’s truly relevant for your users and, subsequently, outperforms your competitors.

This course will give you insights into the most essential qualitative research methods around and will teach you how to put them into practice in your design work. You’ll also have the opportunity to embark on three practical projects where you can apply what you’ve learned to carry out user research in the real world. You’ll learn details about how to plan user research projects and fit them into your own work processes in a way that maximizes the impact your research can have on your designs. On top of that, you’ll gain practice with different methods that will help you analyze the results of your research and communicate your findings to your clients and stakeholders—workshops, user journeys and personas, just to name a few!

By the end of the course, you’ll have not only a Course Certificate but also three case studies to add to your portfolio. And remember, a portfolio with engaging case studies is invaluable if you are looking to break into a career in UX design or user research!

We believe you should learn from the best, so we’ve gathered a team of experts to help teach this course alongside our own course instructors. That means you’ll meet a new instructor in each of the lessons on research methods who is an expert in their field—we hope you enjoy what they have in store for you!

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