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What Is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map which is also known as a user journey map is a visual representation of the user flow from the high-level perspective. In this map, product owners and designers commonly specify key touchpoints with your app or site. Also, CJMs contain users’ goals, thoughts and emotions, as well as motivations at each stage of interacting with the product.

 

Long story short, a CJM is a visualization of customer experience with your brand or product. You can see everything with the users’ eyes. As a result, you can deliver on their expectations, they are happy to pay for products and services, and it is a completely ‘win-win’ case.
 

User Journey Map Flowmapp

Importance of a UX Journey Map

You now know the answer to the question: What is journey mapping? And here are four reasons why you should create a CJM before developing your product:

1. Better Experiences

A detailed study of every iteration will provide you with insights into what should be improved or changed to meet users’ expectations. Customer experience is key to the success of any product. So, if you define frustrating and difficult points before release and avoid negative reviews on the web. 

2. Top Achievements for Developers

You will not only avoid 1-star reviews but get loyal clients, brand ambassadors from the crowd, and people who make more and more purchases. There will be less reputational risks, fewer complaints, lower churn, and better financial revenue!

3. Obvious Goals for Customers

Without any doubt, you want your customer to succeed. They have a pain point that could be resolved by your product or service, right? So, mapping user journeys might help you see how you will lead them to the result. 

 

If the process is too complex, users may abandon your website and never come back. CJMs give businesses a chance to take a reality check and see whether everything is simple. Keep only clear and effective touchpoints and be sure that your sales funnel will work!

 

User Journey Map Flowmapp

4. View from Various Perspectives

Since projects usually don’t have only one target audience, customer journey mapping will let you work with several ones. Hyper-personalization is the king now. So, understanding every customer (based on personas, of course) is crucial. Having your homework done, you’ll complete all marketing goals not depending on the type of audience. Finally, all of them will be thoroughly explored.

 

So, as you can see, it’s all about achieving the customers’ and business’ goals.

Key Components of a User Journey Map

You can find tons of different user journey maps online. Still, all of them have common five components:

#1 — Persona

A user persona is a collective term for a segment of your target audience. It represents WHO will experience the user journey you are describing. By the way, we have a definitive guide of user personas, as well as a separate tool for creating them.

#2 — Scenario and User Expectations

Define a goal of your persona, model a scenario for achieving this goal, find out whether user expectations are met. If your product is released, use real user scenarios. If you’re only developing your product or service, use an anticipated action plan. Anyway, it should be a sequence of events.

#3 — Phases

These are high-level stages of the customer journey. From phases all other components such as emotions and actions origin. Here is a couple of examples:

 

  • For a B2B project: research, buying, adapting, expanding, and advocating.
  • For e-commerce: discover a product, try it, then buy it, use this product, and ask for support if necessary.

 

So, it’s up to you to decide which global steps should a customer make to achieve their goals.

#4 — Emotions and Actions

Think of thoughts, emotions, and feelings your persona has during passing each stage. Which action do they take? This point is where your phases become more detailed. They grow into a log of interactions written as a story. Think of which questions users have, what motivates them, how they come through obstacles if there are some. Describe what they feel and think during each step. Emotions should be in your focus.

#5 — Opportunities

Insights you and your team get in the process of mapping are opportunities. They are about optimizing user experience. Classify all of them by their importance, focus on the most strong insights. Decide who will implement them and how to measure the success of the implementation.
 

User Journey Map Flowmapp

8 steps to Create an Effective Customer Journey Map

Step 1. Create Objectives and Personas

What is the goal of making a map? Who is it about? Based on this, create your personas — collective representation of your users. Finally, these categories of people will use your product, so it should be helpful and fascinating.

Making up a persona is not a 2-hours task, as you need to do user research. You might use pieces of market research or user testing, or questionnaires. Here is a guide on how it’s done. As for tools for creating a great persona, we recommend you starting with FlowMapp.

Step 2. Select a Couple of Personas

You might have more than ten personas, so would you like to spend a week creating journey maps for each of them? Of course, no! Choose a couple (two, and if you need, three) of personas that are the most suitable for your project. Also, don’t group several personas in one user journey map. This will make your map very vague and even confused. Finally, customer experience won’t be represented accurately.

 

UX Personas illustration

Step 3. Indicate Touchpoints

Set a starting point. Where does a user come from? If your project works and has a customer base, analyze users’ behavior. They might appear on the website or in the app via different channels:

 

  • Search systems.
  • Social media.
  • Email newsletter.
  • Direct channel.
  • PPC advertising.
  • Affiliate networks.

 

Do you get users from all the possible touchpoints? Don’t they use some of the anticipated points and why? Do they leave your website too early? Do they spend more time on the site than you expected? Maybe, they come across some difficulties. Your task is to identify them and fix every issue.

Step 4. Indicate Emotions and Actions

Customer journey map. Personas emotion indicator
Emotion indicator

 

Emotions and Motivations

Since every action of a user is driven by their emotions, you should find out what motivates them for preferred actions (purchases, subscriptions, etc). Discover how their emotions change while the customer journey unfolds. 

Keep in mind that all this is driven by pain points. Finding out users’ problems will give you the key to solving them. This will definitely cause positive emotions and a user will choose your product!

Actions

Once you have your phases (high-level stages of the CJM), list out the personas’ small interactions with your site or app. So, you know where your users come from. What do they do next? Which buttons they click and why do they do that? How many iterations are there in the whole process? How much time does a user spend on the site to fulfill their needs?

Keep in mind that customers prefer simple one-way processes. If you offer them too many opportunities, they might get confused and abandon the site at all. Reducing the number of actions can pay off in higher revenues!

Obstacles

Discovering stoppers that keep your customers from their decision will help you increase conversions. No one wants to see tons of abandoned carts… Some obstacles arise and you can find it through mapping customer journeys. For that, indicate everything that can affect this. For example, one is almost ready to purchase a subscription to your app but gets horrified by the bank’s commission.

Keep in mind that noting these potential issues on the CJM stage will keep you away from these mistakes after release. Also, create a FAQ page with helpful information so that users could easily find support without contacting the team.

Step 5. Select the Type of CJM

Types of customer journey map

 

There are four of them and each has specific benefits. Let’s take a look at what is the difference between all of them:

Type 1 — Current State

This is the most widely-used CJM type. It contains thoughts, emotions and actions of a customer who is experiencing them now, using your product as it is. So, this type of customer journey map is suitable for already running projects. They are aimed at improving the already existing user experience.

Type 2 — Day in the Life

This type reflects the everyday behavior and feelings of users who interact with any similar project. With the ‘day in the life’ CJM, you gasp into your customers’ everyday life and their usual pain points and successes. This type is perfect if you’re just developing your project and want to model your target audience’s behavior.

Type 3 — Future State

This type is about future emotions and interactions. Your assumptions can be based on the current experience. So, if you have a running project and are going to make changes to it, future-state CJMs are a perfect choice.

Type 4 — Service Blueprint

These maps begin as the previous ones, depending on the business needs, still, in a very simplified version. Next, add all essential factors of delivering a great user experience. They can be technologies, people, policies, and processes. So, you will make the causes of current customer experience obvious. What’s more, you will identify the issues you need to solve for attaining desired customer journeys and implementing it in the future.

Step 5. Distribute Resources

Every part (okay, almost every part) of your business will be revealed in your customer experience map. So, all resources necessary for fulfilling it should be mentioned. See which of them you possess now and which you’ll add later. For instance, you might need some customer support services to smoothen the communication between users and the brand. 

Adding new tools to the map will give you an insight of what can improve business results and increase revenues.

Step 6. Try It Yourself!

 

Once your map is done, analyze the results. First, pass all the stages of your customer journey, conduct a focus group to answer essential questions:

 

  • How simple is your journey?
  • Are there some issues and obvious obstacles?
  • How do users feel while heading to the final decision?
  • How can you improve the customer experience?
  • How can you support customers better?

 

After release, you’ll have data about real users. Make their experience as pleasant as possible before they notice major shortcomings. The clearer your CJM is, the easier your customer will make the desired decision (= will buy your product, subscribe to your service, and so on).

Step 8. Make Changes If Necessary

After proper testing and making conclusions, enhance problematic places. If you’re working on a website, try brighter call-to-action buttons, more detailed (or, on the contrary, brief) descriptions to increase conversions.
 

This will make your customer journey map a constant work-in-progress since users’ preferences are changing as fast as possible. New pain points and goals appear, so reviewing your map once a month or a quarter is a great idea. Collect customer feedback and discover whether there are any roadblocks. Finally, your business will only win from that! 

User Journey Map VS Experience Map

Many designers and product specialists confuse these similar terms and definitions. Let’s see how they differ.‍ An experience map is bigger than a CJM. The latter has a persona and a certain scenario for this persona while the first is about a generic undergoing of a whole human experience. An experience map is about human behavior in general. CJMs reveal the behavior of a particular audience category in a relationship with a specific business or product. So, the main difference is the point of view level.
 

Journey Map VS Service Blueprint

Service blueprints are more granular than CJMs. So, the system is as follows:

 

  • 1 level: Experience maps.
  • 2 level: Customer journey maps.
  • 3 level: Service blueprints.

 

They show us connections of various service components at specific CJM touchpoints. Consider them as a type of extension focused on business, not on users. Service blueprint describes the process behind the scenes, which makes the entire UX smooth and clear.

Journey Map VS User Story Map

Though these terms seem similar, their meaning differs much. Specialists might confuse them because a user story map may look like a CJM. So, user stories tell Agile teams which functionality and features are necessary. CJMs state the journey a user undertakes from his first touchpoint with the project to their final decision (purchasing, subscribing, and so on).

 

So, a user story map is a visual structure of briefly described features from the customer’s point of view. Check out our definitive guide on user stories! Having both CJMs and user stories involved will bring your product to the next level!

Customer Journey Mapping Examples

Let’s consider several examples of how user journey maps help businesses. 

#1 — Jane

First example is how a persona named Jane from the segment of young parents decides to purchase a product and comes back for more. This example belongs to the Heart of the Customer company.
 

#2 — John Quincy

The next example made by TandemSeven shows even more details about their persona — John Quincy, a business traveler. They show actions and emotions at each phase of his path from research to actually traveling. 
 

#3 — Young Families

And one more example from Heart of the Customer. It shows how a user from the young family segment searches for the best health insurance option and comes to the decision.
 

Customer Journey Map Templates

If you are looking for a service that has done nearly everything for you, try Flowmapp! First, you have clear step-by-step instructions about how to get started. Next, we offer you a variety of templates. So, you can only switch the default data to what you need and… Voila! Your customer journey map is ready! And you haven’t spent 40 hours on it! ;)

Start with Template #1 or choose any other from the CJM Examples section!

Bonus Tips: 5 Customer Journey Mapping best practices

1. Set Understandable Objectives

Unless you know why you need a CJM, creating it will be senseless. You shouldn’t do that cause everybody does. Once you know your business reasons, you’ll get plenty of useful insights about the target audience. These questions may help:

 

  • Will a map help in discovering weak points in the sales funnel?
  • Will it bring you insights into why customers leave before making a purchase?
  • What points of the user journey are the most challenging for your customers? Will the map help fix that?

2. Work Out Personas and Goals

A persona should be thoroughly explored and based on real people. There is no imaginary character who’ll buy your product just because you want them to. Here are the questions for you:

 

  • What does your analysis say? Who is interested in your product?
  • If you are only launching, what audience do your competitors have?

 

Collect the data about their demographics, geography, income, needs, etc. 

3. Note ALL Possible Touchpoints

Follow these tips to be sure everything is in place:

 

  • Awareness and acquisition. How do your customers learn about your brand? How do they interact with it for the first time?
  • Decision. How do customers decide to purchase/subscribe?
  • Target action. Do customers buy/subscribe? What keeps them from finishing the purchase?
  • Post-purchase. What do they do after the first purchase? Do they buy more? Do they leave feedback?

4. Test Your CJM Live

Sure, the best way to test your CJM is to take the customer journey yourself. However, the results can be not ideal and reality can make adjustments. So, A/B testing is key to better understand the audience and their needs.

 

You’ll get real feedback about both options and track which path is working more efficiently. This will help you omit unnecessary steps and paths, as well as increase the effectiveness of the sales funnel!

5. Constantly Improve CJMs and the Product

The market does not stand still. Additional steps that used to be crucial in the past might not work today, so you can just omit them. Once useful things may become obstacles for new users or for another trending audience. Customers’ needs are evolving with technology and marketing trends, so only constant development can guarantee your brand success.

Key Takeaways

So, we hope all your questions like ‘What is a journey map?’, ‘What is journey mapping?’ and so on were answered by this article. Get started with creating your best map in the FlowMapp app! Grab this guide, sign up to the system (it’s free!), and embody your ideas into graphics!

 

You might have seen the beta version of our CJM (Customer journey map) tool. If not, you can test it for free by signing up for FlowMapp. Still, let’s connect the dots between user flows and mapping them. 

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