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Examples of customer journey mapping

Techniques for mapping your customer journeys across different touchpoints

Understanding your customer and how they interact with your business directly and indirectly is critical in driving improved value, repeat business and longevity of relationship. To deliver this and to be able to create a communication strategy which builds a conversation with your customers, it helps to visualise current and planned customer journeys and the key touch points across different marketing channels.

So, where do you start when looking at your business and the journey a customer takes in the initial phases of a decision-making process and in follow-up phases as the relationship builds? This post has been written to provide advice and guidance to marketing professionals on the key steps to mapping your customer’s journey with you.

Understanding the Customer Touch Points and Channels

When beginning to look at a customer journey, a good place to start is the various touch points a customer has with your business. Although this is likely to expand with the following steps, it is an area where several stakeholders can be actively involved with different views on how the customer interacts with your business, be that from a customer service view-point, eCommerce, fulfilment, etc. To begin the discussion look at the core purchase channels as this will be well-defined within the business and should cover areas such as those in Fig 1:

Customer Mapping Touchpoints

You can then expand this to look at other areas such as:

  • Marketing Channels (Email, Postal, Telephone, Facebook, Blogs, etc);
  • Order Fulfilment (Delivery, Payment, Returns, etc);
  • Research Channels (Website, Consumer Forums, Store, Customer Services, etc).

The items covered above look at direct contacts, but not indirect contacts via social sites, word of mouth, customer reviews, etc; which should also be considered to build a complete picture of various touch points:

CM Full Touchpoints

Customer Journey Activities / Actions

For each of the touch points in Fig 2 the customer will complete several actions and activities, which will be different for each industry and business, but could be summarised into the following classic types:

  • Awareness
  • Discover
  • Purchase
  • Use of product of service
  • Bonding with product

This can be expanded to cover key areas for your business (e.g. For a Hotel chain the use of product/service may want to be expanded to look at key elements such as check-in, use of amenities, check out & departure), but is best kept simple to begin with to allow initial customer journeys to be mapped and additional activities discovered and defined.

Mapping the Customer Journey

Now you have an idea of the customer touch points and activities completed, a simple table can be used to map the customer journey with activities listed across the top and the touch points down the left hand side, for example:

CM Journey Map

This can then be used to look at typical customer personas to map their journey from initial awareness, through purchase to bonding and sharing their satisfaction.

In the first instance use your own frame of reference to plot your journey when making that initial purchase with your business. For example in Fig 4 I have plotted a recent journey I completed when choosing a new mobile phone:

CM Phone Journey Map

This provides key points on my journey and identifies influence and decision points, such as:

  • Decision to stick with existing Mobile Operator (Step 3 – Review of available phones and costs);
  • Influence on phone selected (Step 4 – Review of phones and opinions & Step 5 – Trial of potential phones at store and recommendation);
  • Purchase Decision (Step 6 – Purchase at Store).

In this example I am a returning established customer and a new customer would have a different path, as would other customer personas for example, Early Adopters (Want latest technology), Basic Users (Only interested in using phone in emergencies), Social Connectors (Heavy users of twitter, facebook, etc). The key is to understand the path and steps each type of customer takes, using actual customer feedback and research if available.

Using the Customer Journey

Having built an understanding of the customer journeys with your business you are now in a position to improve the customer experience enabling:

  • Minimising of negative customer experiences, through identification of key steps and decision points to ensure the correct information is available and accessible to all customer types.
  • Improved customer retention, through understanding how they transition though each stage in their purchase lifecycle, enabling relevant and connected conversations to the customer to help them move towards a positive decision point.
  • Identification of communication GAPs, where no or conflicting messages are being received. For example, use of social media to respond to customer feedback whether positive or negative.
  • Understand core customer journey paths, where additional development will provide biggest impact.
  • Understanding of required metrics to identify customer’s progress and fall out points, providing opportunities to bring customers back on board.

In summary when mapping you customer journey remember the following key points:

  • Complete the exercise from the customer’s view point, not how you expect them to use your process/system.
  • Where possible use actual customer feedback to determine the path taken.
  • Identify key customer persona, you cannot map every customers path individually!
  • Keep it simple, the idea is to provide context and understanding to help identify areas for improvement or influence in the customer’s journey.

Editor's note: More examples of customer journey mapping are available for Expert members in the Customer Persona Toolkit.



Share your thoughts

  • Hello, Jim!
    Thank your for your article. You’ve described the concept really well in a very simple manner.

    Previously we also were creating journey maps in excel or on paper. Both ways have their own advantages and disadvantages. We decided to create a tool that eliminates most of the disadvantages. And we created it.
    The tool is called UXPressia and it can be found here – http://uxpressia.com.
    It is a web application that allows to create appealing and easy to support Customer Journey Maps (Experience Maps). Unlike some alternatives (sticky notes, Excel, Photoshop), our product is friendly to users who is novice in service design field by providing meaningful defaults, real map examples, tips on discovering problems and improving services and help. Besides it gives more beautiful output to present clients and team without making user invest their time in graphic design.

    Please feel free to try it out. And I would really appreciate your comments and feedback.

  • However, much more is needed than just a shift in mindset and processes.
    This advanced technology provides the capability to identify and
    recognize your customers, collect and distribute customer information
    for operational decisions, and provide a holistic view of your customers
    to aid your airline in fulfilling its customer promises. Fantastic
    article! Thank You.

    Ian Johnson Infinite Group

  • lammyng commented on May 17, 2014

    I’m working on a research that involves customer journey mapping, this article is one of the best I came across. Thanks

  • NipawanCh commented on October 25, 2013

    I truly believe that taking into account of this customer journey with the omnichannel including both digital and conventional platforms could provide an overview touchpoints to engage with customers as well as reveal the customer shopping pattern. This could potentially allow company to create a strong strategy to attract, maintain, and retain customers with the pleasing, seamless, and holistic customer experience.

  • Hi Jim

    Really like your use of customer journey mapping. Great tool

  • SteveW commented on October 23, 2013

    The key section here for me is Using the Customer Journey. There is a need to make the service experience seamless across the channels so that it is truly omni-channel and not merely multi-channel. At Qmatic, we use the Customer Flow methodology to deliver this seamless experience. Great approach though….

    • Cheers Steve, good point! We’d be interested in a post outlining your omninchannel approach, showing how it translates to design.

      Please get in touch via LI or the Contact if you’re up to that.

  • Matthew Lawson commented on October 22, 2013

    I am a strong believer of customer journey mapping as it allows businesses to focus on something specific rather than scatter gun everything. The thing I would stress is making your “Actions” are very relevant to your industry and is understandable to everyone in your business. This will make it accessible to more and will promote collaboration and debate around the map outside the CX team who made / defined it.

    • Hi Matthew – thanks for the comment and advice to make it “Actions-oriented” to help it work across teams – good to have the endorsement of the technique from a UX/CX/CRO specialist – if that’s accurate. Tks for LI connection btw.

  • Simon commented on October 22, 2013

    A great tool to understand your customer better – will be using this approach going forward..

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