Customer journey mapping is a widely used and impactful technique that can help you make better product, marketing, UX, and merchandising decisions.
However, like other UX research techniques (including user personas), there’s some vagueness and obscurity around how to actually create customer journey maps.
This article will draw processes and customer journey mapping examples from experts in the field, and you’ll hopefully walk away with a real and clear picture of how to do it on your own.
We’ll start with a bit of a primer on building customer journey maps, but you can click here if you’d like to go straight to the customer journey mapping examples.
First, Outline Your Personas, Timeline, and Channels
First thing’s first, construct “the outline” of your customer persona (this is related to your understanding of customer psychology based on qualitative survey data and quantitative research). CXL has a very in-depth article on how to do that here.
Kofi Senaya, Director of Product at Clearbridge Mobile, a Canadian-based mobile app development agency, argues that “mapping out the customer journey is an effective way to understand what turns a viewer into a long-term, loyal customer.” Based on his experience, this process should focus on two things:
- Motivations. “Like actions, companies need to understand what motivates a customer to keep progressing in their experience. What emotions is the said customer feeling?”
- Moments of Truth. “Emotions are powerful determiners of how the customer perceives the brand, meaning they will either want to continue engaging with you or they will abandon you.”
Three other aspects to keep in mind are User Personas, Timeline, and Channels.
Defining Customer Journey Stages
Jennifer Havice does an excellent job in this article explaining what a customer journey map is and how it works. It was her piece that made me dive deeper into the topic.
Essentially, a customer journey map is a model. It’s an illustration or a diagram of all the touch points that your customers come into contact with your company online or off.
As is the nature of any model, customer journey maps are simplified. Like user personas, funnels, or any other marketing heuristics we’ve come up with, they aren’t 100% true to reality. Rather, we build models hoping to reflect reality with a certain degree of accuracy, but with the tradeoff that they’re usable and help us make customer-focused product, design, UX, and marketing decisions.
As such, no two journey maps are exactly the same. Depending on the expert you’re following and the product you’re mapping, the design will be different. Sometimes, the design is quite intricate and detailed.
Sometimes, customer journey maps are much more simple.
The important thing is that you can use and share the document in your organization to actually influence business decisions and move your company to being more customer-focused.
Going Forward: Expert Opinions on Customer Journey Maps
I had the pleasure of speaking to Dr. Chip about customer journey and innovative service metrics. He also offered an example of a customer journey map for “Telephone Repairs,” from the book he co-authored, “Service Magic: The Art of Amazing Your Customers.” Given this was 17 years ago, some things differ, but it’s important to see what is “evergreen” when building a customer journey map.
As the authors wrote back then, “a cycle of service is about what the customer experiences, and examines all Place, Process or Performance issues from their perspective along their journey.” Here’s an example of their model:
The answers from our conversation are as follows:
Q. What do you recommend in terms of consistent “evergreen” KPIs that are a must throughout the evolution of a company product/service?
Q. In your experience, what would be the biggest mistake(s) companies make when they map their “ideal” customers?
Q. Please recommend further reading to help companies that are stuck in the old ways of business and that will encourage them to understand the customer journey process.
6 Customer Journey Mapping Examples
If you’re still with me here, this is where the fun begins. Let’s get inspired by these companies’ successful customer journey map examples. While some weren’t able to share the entire process due to privacy issues, they did share a specific section in the process…
Finland-based Leadfeeder is a top (Google) analytics tool that shows the companies that visit your website. The company’s mission is to bring web intelligence into business.
Their customer journey maps the following path from Discovery to Sales, and Retention. They have identified their customer’s goals, touchpoints, assets, and channels, success factors, and secondary KPIs.
For example, a customer’s goal in the Discovery phase is to identify a tool that tracks unknown website visitors. In the Free Trial, the customer finds out how Leadfeeder works. Once the customer buys the subscription, one of their key goals is to obtain worth for their money (accurate access to data). If this is met, then the customer proceeds to the Retention phase, where they want to see return on investment.
As a touchpoint, for example, the top of the funnel consists of 50% of incoming traffic and 35% of free trial conversions from ads. While bottom of the funnel comes from Intercom, where all the new users are offered a free training session, one right away, and the sporadically.
Among top touch points in customer journey are the explanatory video (which is 4 times more likely to convert), and the content displayed (features, pricing, and use cases).
2. Dapper Apps
Dapper Apps is an Australian-based mobile app development company, that specializes in the design and development of stunning and intuitive apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, and the Web.
Dapper’s CJM has 5 phases: Research, Comparison, Workshop, Quote, and Sign-Off.
Chloë Constantinides from Dapper was nice enough to provide a full explanation of their customer journey mapping:
My friends at NinjaOutreach are an all-purpose influencer marketing tool designed for bloggers, startups, small businesses, digital marketers, agencies, and large brands. Their customer journey map is quite complex and consists of several phases. Below, Viktor Popovski from NinjaOutreach described one of the phases: Day 3, which translated into an email message based on the following assumptions:
- People need time to explore and use a new application, so if they don’t appear to be engaged in the first day or two, it’s probably natural.
- At the same time, people can easily forget about an application and become quickly disengaged, so if by day 3, 4 or 5 you are not seeing sufficient activity, then it may be cause for concern.
- Often, applications might require something from the user to allow the user to really experience the full benefits. This might be something like:
- Importing a list
- Integrating with another application
- Filling out a profile.
Tasks like these can be tedious and uninspiring, so NinjaOutreach looked at this as an opportunity to complete them for the user. Here’s Viktor explaining further:
William Gadea, Creative Director and Founder at IdeaRocket LLC, a provider of animated videos for businesses, says that “most of our lead generation comes from SEM, and we feel that the search term can be a clue for where in the Journey the searcher is.”
“This insight can let us focus the call-to-action on each of our blog posts to what is appropriate for the visitor’s circumstances,” he says.
Judd Mercer, Creative Director at ElevatedThird.com wrote an entire blog post about to make use of Customer Journeys in the Real Estate industry to develop your business.
For the customer journey maps, they outline six distinct phases: Design, Financing, Construction, Leasing, Model, and Completion.
The entire thing is a bit more granular, but at a high level, they’ve models out the process a customer goes through during the entire relationship. Read their article for more detail.
6. Website Setup
“Our customers have specific needs, and we have structured our website with targeted, problem-solving solutions,” says Robert Mening, the founder of WebsiteSetup. “For example, if someone wants to know the answer to a question such as “Is it hard to create my own website?” he/she could end up on one of our resource pages that talks about how to setup a website or a WordPress blog.”
Robert also shared some stats regarding social media and the customer journey map. Social is the main acquisition channel for the site, so the inflection points of the customer journey often start here. This focuses on post-click engagement metrics like pages/visit and bounce rate, but gives a good proxy as to the success of specific channels. It also includes the inquiries and search terms as mentioned above (for the problem/solution fit):
Customer journey mapping is a complex process. As you can see from the examples and interviews above, there is no one-size-fits-all model. Instead, customer journey maps, like user personas, should be backed by data and user research, but ultimately they need to be usable/actionable for your specific purpose.
In addition, just like user personas, customer journey maps shouldn’t be static; rather, you should continually be updating and improving your models.
There are many ways to research and build customer journey maps, and there are many more ways to create the end product (the map itself). Hopefully these customer journey mapping examples inspired you to create your own.