5 Steps to Building a Customer Journey Map

Salespeople and marketers need to face it — the path to purchase is seldom a straight line. Antje Helfrich and Marc Steiner of Lenati break down the process of building a customer journey map to help you better understand your customers and optimize their experience with your brand.


Today’s consumers engage with brands across multiple channels and devices in what is now an Omnichannel environment. With customers now able to interact with a brand in multiple ways sometimes using two or more channels at the same time, consumers’ paths to purchase are growing more and more nonlinear. In order to better understand your customers and how they experience your brand, you can use a customer journey map.

This methodology analyzes and documents how customers engage with a company’s products or services, and provides a customer centric representation of the decision making and purchase process.

For example, a simple customer journey map can show how a customer moves through the process of queuing, selecting, ordering, and paying. When done effectively, mapping a customer’s journey through these four stages will help you:

  • identify representative journeys for specific sets of target customers (aligned along behavior, motivations, attitude, and product use)
  • show general patterns of the decision-making and purchase path
  • illustrate key forks in the road, detours, and road blocks that impact different groups of customers in different ways

The results of this process can solve business problems and shed light on customer needs, objectives, perceptions, and motivations. Other benefits from an effective customer journey map can include uncovering opportunities for product differentiation, identifying friction during the purchase process, and ensuring marketing tactics harness sources that influence customers during their decision-making.

5 Steps to Build Your Own Customer Journey Map

Step 1: Develop Framework, Build Team Consensus

Before you begin building your customer journey map, bring together all of your internal stakeholders to articulate the business decisions that you are facing, determine the questions you hope to answer through the mapping process, and align the objectives and inputs for your map. Based on the outcomes of your sessions, choose a framework that will answer your questions.

Frameworks you can use include lifecycle, path to purchase, touchpoints, quantitative decision modeling and physical pathing. Also in this stage, determine how much new research is needed to build the map, and what can be derived from existing data or customer research. Examples of customer insights include in-store observations, online communities, and social media sampling.

Step 2: Gather Intelligence

In this stage, mine your existing data for the information that you need for your map. Existing data can be in the form of surveys, focus groups, and transactional data. In light of your objectives, fill in any gaps in your data using additional sources such as online analytics, customer interviews and reviews, social media, and in-store observations.

Step 3: Map the Current State

Once you have gathered the data that gives you a picture of your customers’ habits, feelings, and interactions with your brand, take the data and visualize the journey from your customer’s perspective. Be sure to focus on what the customer is actually doing, feeling, thinking, interpreting, and buying, while avoiding operational language.

Include key “moments of truth,” which describe detailed interactions at each touchpoint from the customer’s perspective, including perceptions, needs, goals, and path. This is your opportunity to identify customer pain points, barriers, soft-spots, and opportunities for better engagement.

Step 4: Define the Future State

Now that you have thought about the current journey that your customers take, it is time to imagine the ideal journey. A few questions you can ask as you think about improving the journey are: where are the opportunities to enhance the experience? To acquire most customers? To convey our brand?

Other considerations include multiple paths between touchpoints, what the ideal touchpoints look like, and where they occur.

Step 5: Develop a Plan to Make it Real

Once you have a complete understanding of your current and ideal customer journeys, socialize your map and insights with your key internal stakeholders. Examine the differences between your current state and ideal state through a gap analysis and prioritize insights according to the level of investment and impact of changes.

From here you can develop a roadmap for short-, mid-, and long-term improvements. The improvements may well cross multiple parts of the business including marketing, sales, operations, and customer support.

To learn more about creating your own Customer Journey Map, including a full breakdown of the anatomy of a map, please visit the Lenati website.

Photo by: Phil Whitehouse

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