Customer journey map: step-by-step guide

Use this online generator to create your buyer persona.

Customer friendliness is the order of the day! If you want to make the customer experience as enjoyable as possible, you can trace your customer’s journey from their initial need to purchase to understand what their experience is along the way. How to do it in the form of a Customer Journey Map you can find out in this article.

This is why you should create a customer journey map

Why does a user diligently fill his digital shopping cart, but does not complete the purchase? Why another customer interacts diligently with company posts on Facebook but never visits the company page once?

To find an answer to these questions, you need to find the so-called Customer Journey can understand. It describes all relevant interactions between the company and the user, while the latter is trying to find a solution to his individual problem.

So that all complex Experiences, expectations and feelings In order to be able to take the potential customer’s needs into account, it is a good idea to visualize the process by means of a Customer Journey Map to. Here’s how to make sure the customer experience is aligned across the the entire Buyer’s Journey away is optimal. The following section explains how you can proceed in the most structured way possible when creating a persona.

How to create Customer Journey Map?

  1. Collect data
  2. Define visualization
  3. Determine buyer personas
  4. Define individual steps
  5. Design a storyboard
  6. Establish processes for the individual channels
  7. Include emotions
  8. Evaluate the importance of the steps
  9. Test and adapt

Customer Journey Map: A template

In order to understand the needs of your customers, a Customer journey map the best option. Use it to visualize all results of your inbound marketing efforts. How you go about this is shown by these 10 steps:

1) Collect data

To understand the customer experience as realistically as possible, you first need to know as much as possible about it. To do this, the marketing team should collect information in the form of data.

The obvious procedure at this point is to Tracking user behavior; however, you should not rely on this alone. Direct questioning of customers or interested parties is also a good idea, as this is the only way to take into account the thoughts and perceptions of the people concerned. Web analytics, Information from customer service and customer surveys should therefore be used equally as sources of information.

The data collected then forms the basis for further action and should therefore be incorporated into each of the following steps.

2) Determine visualization

Basically, there are various options available to you, a Customer Journey Map represent. The decision depends on personal preferences, but most importantly, on which aspects of the Buyer’s Journey to focus on:

Linear models are very simple and stringently focus on the different phases of the Customer Journey. This makes it clear, but often also tends to make it too simple.

The presentation in a Table enables the integration of a wide variety of extensive information, but usually does not contribute to clarity.

Alternatively, the customer journey can also be Oriented to the sales funnel so that it takes on a funnel or hourglass shape – depending on whether purchase completion or customer retention is defined as the "end" of the journey (ToFu, MoFu, BoFu).

The "Day in the Life" model outlines a typical daily routine of the potential customer. This can be used to analyze at which time of day which form of confrontation with the product is most effective. This approach is particularly suitable for everyday products or impulse purchases, less so for high-priced and long-considered purchases.

Regardless of which model you ultimately choose, it should absolutely include the five W-questions (Who, What, How, When, Why) answer to really provide you with added value.

3) Define Buyer Personas

The definition of a clearly outlined Buyer Persona is the The basis of every customer journey map, as it must relate to their experience. If you don’t know who exactly your customer is or should be, you can of course use their Decisions, feelings and mindsets do not follow.

Therefore, you should draw as concrete a picture as possible of your ideal customers, taking into account the following aspects:

personal values and the

Potential value added by the product or service

Ideally, you add a picture to the fictitious persona and give it a name so that it becomes as real and approachable as possible.

4) Define individual steps

At this point, it is first important to emphasize, That steps and touch points are not synonymous.

Steps relate to any experience, That the persona has with the product in the broadest sense. This can also simply mean that the persona identifies a personal need without having already encountered the product as a possible solution.

Touchpoints (or touchpoints) against it concrete interactions between persona and company, such as a visit to the website or a conversation with a service representative.

In the customer journey map you should by no means limit yourself to touch points, but actually describe all steps that are relevant within the Customer Journey.

You may even want to include experiences that, strictly speaking, don’t even. A typical example in this context is a broken predecessor product, which creates a renewed need for the customer.

5) Design a storyboard

Subsequently, it is advisable to describe the steps of the Customer Journey with the help of a To record storyboards. This does not have to happen in the context of a sophisticated design, in case of doubt simple sketches are enough. These also help to better empathize and keep track of the situation through the additional visualization.

6) Establish processes for the individual channels

Once the individual steps are defined and visualized, it becomes more concrete and complex. Now it must be recorded, at which point which channel is used. For example, the search for information can take place in the store, on the website or via a print article, but the purchase may only be made offline in the store.

It is important here that also pure online providers use the Offline aspect not neglect. For example, shipping the item by mail must also play a role and the persona may be exposed to the product via outdoor advertising.

It is essential to take this into account in order to to always be able to design customer experiences optimally, no matter which channel a user chooses. For optimizing the customer journey, it is also useful to consider experiences of different compare channels with each other:

Significantly more prospective customers who have obtained information online buy than those who have taken advantage of a personal consultation? If so, this should absolutely be a starting point for improving the customer experience in channels that are performing less well.

7) Include emotions

In more complex Customer Journey Maps in the next step, the persona is additionally Emotional world of the user included. The basis is the assumption that every step is connected with an emotion, even if this is only "neutral.

For the sake of clarity and comparability, it is a good idea to compare the feelings for each step with a Scale to be specified, ranging, for example, from -2 to +2.

In the next step, steps with negative connotations should be removed completely if possible, or modified in such a way that they are No negative feelings trigger more. This could apply, for example, to a very cumbersome newsletter registration process. While not every experience needs to be (and cannot be) absolutely positive, a minimum neutral perception should be aimed for.

Of course, this should End of the journey – i.e. the (renewed) purchase or the transition to a promoter status – always Trigger positive emotions. If this is not the case, something fundamental is wrong.

For example, the solution offered by the product might not really be tailored to the defined persona’s problem. As the process moves from problem to solution, the development of the emotions of a successful Customer Journey should continuously become more positive.

8) Evaluate the importance of the steps

Not every step will be equally important for every user. For example, buying a car can be almost routine for a wealthy businessman, but a long-awaited major event for an 18-year-old teenager shortly after passing his driving test.

If each step is judged according to its importance – here, too, an appropriate scale lends itself – the overall course results in the so-called "Dramatic Arc" of the Customer Journey.

This must necessarily be compared with the development of emotions: In particular, individually very important events must not in any case trigger negative feelings, For example, by focusing on the high maintenance and purchase costs of a car, rather than driving pleasure and independence. But even neutral feelings can already lead to a decision against the specific product at this point.

9) Test and adapt

After the Customer Journey stands as the first draft, it should definitely be "itself" and To be checked for plausibility. Put yourself in the position of your buyer persona and honestly question whether the conceptualized steps match your experience.

In the next step, the map should once again be thoroughly compared with the data collected at the beginning:

Does the Customer Journey Map correspond to the reality of your users in all facets?

If this is not the case, the question arises whether the map needs to be adjusted. If the ideal customer journey and the reality of the data drift apart, this is precisely the point where it becomes apparent what is going wrong in the current process and needs to be improved. For example, if only a few prospects convert at a certain point in the buying process, perhaps a better call-to-action is needed here.

After appropriate testing, if necessary Adjustments be made to the map. In addition, their creation should always be dynamic process be grasped, which never really ends. The map should be reviewed regularly and adapted as the Buyer’s Journey changes.

More tips for creating a customer journey map

Clearly determine whether the Customer journey map represent the status quo or the desired course of action. Both are possible, but have different implications. While a map of the current state is mainly useful to find possible sticking points, a map of the ideal situation already starts with their elimination.

For the B2B area it should be noted that, without fail, the End users should be included. This is not directly relevant to the purchase decision, but is nevertheless an important part of the process.

You may want to create different customer journey maps not only for the different buyer personas, but also for other stakeholders, such as partners or suppliers.

Make an effort to collect and analyze as diverse data as possible. This is the only way to make the process as objective and realistic as possible. If data is missing at a certain point, it is basically also legitimate to make justified assumptions. But this is what should emerge from the map.

Cover photo: sabelskaya / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Originally published on 22. June 2020, updated October 27 2021

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