customer journey map

Contributor(s): Lauren Horwitz

A customer journey map is a diagram or several diagrams that depict the stages that customers go through in interacting with a company, from buying products online to accessing customer services on the phone to airing grievances on social media.  

In order to create effective visual maps that reflect customers’ journeys through these channels, these journey maps must be rooted in data-driven research, and visually represent the different phases your customers experience based on a variety of dimensions such as sentiment, goals, touch points, and more.

To be comprehensive, companies often need to build several journey maps to encompass the various different scenarios and paths that customers may take to engage with a company. So, for example, one journey map may begin with a customer tweeting a comment about a company, product or brand on Twitter, then using the phone to reach a customer service line then using the company website. Another scenario may begin with online browsing, then proceed to a phone call inquiry and so on.

A customer journey map thus helps identify gaps in the customer’s experience, including the following:

  • gaps between devices, when a user moves from one device to another;
  • gaps between departments, where the user might get frustrated.
  • gaps between channels (for example, where the experience of going from social media to the website could be better).

There are important requirements to map customer journeys effectively.

  1. Focus on customer perspective. The journey map needs to focus on how a customer experiences interactions, not a company.
  2. Account for customer segments. Account for the fact that different customer segments experience products, brand and service differently.
  3. Research your maps. Use tools like customer analytics to develop your maps to best reflect your constituencies and their likely behavior.
  4. Ensure that maps reflect all touch points. Maps must reflect all potential communication points through which customers want to connect with companies: email, text, website, social media platforms and so on. Maps must also reflect different sequences for these maps, in which customers take different paths.


This was last updated in July 2015

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What kinds of integration challenges does your company have to overcome to pull off customer journey mapping?
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