6 Simple steps to create a customer journey map

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be your own customer??

What would you find good and what not so good??

Would there be a moment when you would be really unhappy and disappointed? Or maybe at one point your expectations would be exceeded?

Seeing the world through your customer’s eyes can teach you a lot about your offering.

In this post you will get the tool to do this. You’ll learn how to create a simple customer journey map.

A customer journey map helps you be empathetic with your customer and better understand their experiences and decisions.

If you want to read up on the basics of the Customer Journey beforehand, check out this post by Vladi.

If you’re more of a hands-on kind of guy, then move right along.

Step 1: Define a Buyer Persona

With the first step, you lay the foundation for your customer journey map. A product should never be there for everyone, because then it is not right for anyone.

That’s why your customer journey map should be based on a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a concrete description of the characteristics of the customer to whom your product or service is to be tailored. (It is, so to speak, a further development of the target group definition.)

To design a buyer persona, ask yourself questions such as the following:

  • Who uses my product or service?
  • How old is the person?
  • What are their circumstances?
  • Does she have a family? A job? Hobbies? If so, which one?
  • What values does the person stand for? Innovation or tradition? Simplicity or attention to detail?

Think about whatever might be useful in the context of your product.

It is helpful if you make notes on these points. Also add one or more images that best represent your persona. Also give it a name – because the more alive it becomes, the easier you can put yourself into it afterwards.

May I introduce? Jacob, my Buyer Persona:

Most likely, there is not only one, but several Buyer Personas in your customer base. Sooner or later, each of them should get their own customer journey map. But start with one first.

Step 2: Think about the steps and describe them

Now you can think about how this persona perceives your offer.

The best way to do this is to think in steps. Steps denote any Experience, that a person makes in relation to your product or service.

The first step therefore often happens at a time when they are not yet aware of your solution. For example, when a person realizes that he or she needs to solve a problem and needs help to do so. Or when friends talk about a service, or recommend it to others.

The term "touchpoint" is often used Used synonymously with step. Touchpoints describe direct and indirect points of contact between the customer and the provider. Often, however, experiences are significant, too no can be assigned to either. For example, it’s the moment when the person realizes a need. Or the hand-delivery of a new TV to its new location. Both are steps, but no points of contact with the provider – i.e. no touchpoints.

For the customer, however, these are often significant events that he will remember for a long time in connection with the product. Managing not only touchpoints, but steps can influence the customer’s associations with the product. Therefore, for a meaningful customer journey map, you should slip into the shoes of your persona. What exactly is she experiencing?

The following could be steps in Jacob’s Customer Journey:

Step 3: Create a storyboard

Add a very simple but very effective component to your Steps: Draw a storyboard.

Create a small sketch for each step. This will help you to clearly visualize the situation again.

This can also help you uncover any illogical sequences. You don’t need to be a great artist to do this – stick figures will suffice. Really! ;)

A storyboard, as Jakob would depict it, looks like this at this point:

Step 4: Create a Swimlane

This is a topic that is very close to my personal heart. Digital service providers in particular often have a big problem: they forget that their online products are also perceived offline. This happens for several reasons.

First of all, every online provider also has offline presences. At a trade fair, for example. Or when a newspaper article is written about him.

The line between online and offline perception is blurred.

For example, also when an online provider sends a package by mail. But also when it comes to the real environment of the user: How a visitor experiences a web page, for example, depends strongly on the visitor’s environment. Even the most exciting website will not be fun in an unpleasant environment.

People do not distinguish between the perception of an offer. They don’t care if online or offline. They always think of the one product, the one supplier – whether they read about it on a website or in the newspaper.

Therefore, when optimizing, you should always consider all channels that could influence the customer journey. Customer experiences can differ greatly depending on the channel.

Later on, compare the experiences of your personas across channels as well. Is the persona who prefers online reading happier with your book than the one who reads it offline? If so, then you should take a closer look.

Jakob’s Swimlane could now look like this:

Step 5: Evaluate the Emotional Lane

Every step triggers an emotion – positive, negative or neutral. On your customer journey map this can be shown on a graph with the values from +2 (very positive) to -2 (very negative).

To improve your offer, you should start by removing negative experiences from the customer journey. A really cool video can lose value if the visitor has to install unusual programs beforehand in order to watch it at all. Therefore applies:

Your goal doesn’t have to be to trigger a positive experience with each and every step. Often it is enough for an experience to be neutral. The registration for your newsletter works technically fine? Good so!

But no customer will be particularly happy about it – they rather take it for granted. Subscribing to your newsletter may therefore be a neutral experience. However, if there are technical problems, registration quickly becomes a negative experience. And that’s what you should avoid.

Finally, you can start building positive experiences into moments of excitement. The video can be downloaded without any problems – and then it not only conveys content, but you even manage to entertain your audience? Cool! Then you are on the right track.

This is what Jacob’s Emotional Lane might look like:

Step 6: Evaluate the Dramatic Arc

Experiences can mean very different things to different people.

Registering for a gym can be a big step into a new life, or it can be taken for granted. If a step has great meaning for your buyer persona, then it should have great meaning for you as well.

You can show the importance of the Steps in a Dramatic Arc. Give each step a value from 1 (low) to 5 (high) and estimate: How important is an experience for the persona?? How excited is she at this moment? How much "drama" or tension is in the situation?

Then compare the Dramatic Arc with the Emotional Lane. A step has great importance for your persona (+5 on the Dramatic Arc), but results in a negative experience (-2 on the Emotional Lane)? This should ring your alarm bells!

Drama can also be positive. The best example is a roller coaster ride. Two people sit in the roller coaster. One of them loves to fly, one is afraid of heights. The same service triggers an experience with high drama twice – but one of them is strongly negative.

At first glance, the presentation of the Dramatic Arc is not much different from the Emotional Lane. But don’t forget that the scale is different: The Dramatic Arc has no negative values!

Accordingly, Jakob’s Dramatic Arc might look something like this:


The Customer Journey Map for Jakob’s vacation experience is now ready and looks completely like this:

Let’s summarize again: First of all, you should define your buyer persona. Then you should think about their steps, design a storyboard and create a swimlane. Finally, you evaluate the Emotional Lane and the Dramatic Arc.

Now you can start. Try your hand at your own customer journey map for one of your personas. And always remember one thing not around perfection. Just start. You’ll see, in the process, a lot of things will come up on their own. You are allowed to make mistakes, you are allowed to forget steps and you are allowed to put illogical sequences on paper.

It is important that you simply take a look at your Customer Journey. That you try to take a different perspective. Because this change of perspective alone will give you new perspectives and lead you to new insights that you can immediately turn into new ideas.

You can do this by simply talking to your customers talk, them watch And use your insights to challenge your Customer Journey Map.

You are already on the right path to an offer that makes your customers feel good. Or even inspire it.

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