Best practices for designing an effective customer journey map

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Designing a customer journey map provides businesses with a visual representation of the customer's interactions, emotions, and touchpoints throughout their entire experience with a product or service. A customer journey map should show all the touchpoints the customer can (and is likely to) encounter on their journey when trying to achieve a certain objective.

Why is this important? Customer experience mapping allows you to adopt your customers' perspective and identify potential obstacles along their journey. It also prompts you to consider various customer types, defined as personas, who engage with your business, and strategize on how best to meet their diverse needs.

Creating an effective customer journey map requires more than just plotting points on a graph—it demands a deep understanding of customer behavior, meticulous research, and strategic thinking. 

Let's delve into some best practices to craft meaningful and impactful customer journey maps.

 

1. Start with research and data collection

Before beginning, gather relevant data and insights. This can include:

  • Customer feedback
  • Surveys
  • Analytics from various touchpoints (website, app, social media)
  • Direct customer interviews

Understanding the customer's motivations, pain points, and expectations at each stage of their journey is fundamental to creating a map that accurately reflects their experience.

2. Define customer personas

Segmenting customers into personas helps in personalizing the journey map. Each persona represents a distinct group of customers with specific needs, preferences, and behaviors. By defining personas, you can tailor your journey map to address the unique challenges and motivations of different customer segments.



3. Map out the entire journey

A comprehensive customer journey map covers every stage of the customer lifecycle—from initial awareness and consideration to post-purchase support and advocacy. It should include both online and offline touchpoints, highlighting interactions across different channels such as websites, mobile apps, social media, customer service calls, and physical stores.

 

4. Focus on emotions and moments of truth

Effective customer journey maps go beyond documenting touchpoints; they also capture the customer's emotional state at each stage. Identifying "moments of truth"—key interactions that significantly impact the customer's perception—helps prioritize areas for improvement. Understanding how emotions evolve throughout the journey enables businesses to design experiences that resonate on a deeper level.

 

See a great visual example of a customer journey map that includes touchpoints and emotions in this post.

 

5. Collaborate across departments

Creating a customer journey map is a collaborative effort that involves multiple departments within an organization, because the customer doesn’t just interact with one team. Sales, marketing, customer service, product development, analytics, and UX/UI teams should all contribute their expertise to ensure a holistic and accurate representation of the customer journey. This cross-functional collaboration helps align internal processes with the customer's needs and expectations.

 

6. Determine points of friction

Pinpoint any friction points in the customer journey to identify opportunities for improvement.

Consider these questions to start:

  • Where might friction occur in this specific interaction?
  • Are customers abandoning purchases due to this issue?
  • Are customers unaware of solutions we've already provided? If so, why?

Sumita Mullick, Vice President of Customer Service and Operations Analytics at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, suggests also looking at data—knowing why customers are contacting you, when, and their feedback.

While identifying potential friction points with a customer journey map is valuable, it’s always important to provide  accessible customer support at every stage of their journey.

This is where Guided CX can transform points of friction into moments of connection. Glance Guided CX solutions offer a streamlined way for customers to connect with your team instantly. This allows them to show where they're facing challenges and receive personalized support from a visible and responsive team member.

 

7. Iterate and improve continuously

A customer journey map is not a static document—it should evolve as customer preferences and behaviors change. Regularly updating the map based on new data and feedback ensures that it remains relevant and effective in guiding CX strategies. Continuous improvement is key to staying ahead in a competitive market and delivering exceptional customer experiences over time.

 

Customer journey maps are indispensable tools for CX leaders. Curious to learn more? Dive deeper into the world of customer journey mapping on our blog.




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