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8-Step Guide to Customer Journey Mapping in 2023

Table of Contents

What is a Customer Journey?

A customer journey is a complete experience a customer has with a business.  It includes all customer interactions across channels and touchpoints, throughout every stage of the customer lifecycle – from awareness to retention and loyalty.

Image Source: SuperOffice But what is the difference between the customer journey and the customer experience? The customer journey is what customers do at each step of the customer lifecycle. And the customer experience is how customers feel about the end-to-end customer lifecycle. And prioritizing the customer journey has proven critical to business success. Organizations that put the customer at the heart of their business outgrow their competitors. After all, 89% of successful businesses believe that anticipating customer needs and providing assistive experiences along the customer journey is critical to their growth.

How Can You Put Together the Optimal Customer Journey Map?

To derive the perfect customer journey for your business, you will need a customer journey map. A customer journey map is a diagram that outlines all of the stages customers go through while interacting with your company. 

While you’re building your customer journey map, keep the following tips and tricks in mind:

  1. Start with tangible goals

Setting goals from the beginning will ensure that your customer journey maps translate into a material impact on your customers and your organization.

  1. Let the data guide you

It could prove difficult or misleading to tackle your customer journey maps without any insights into your customers’ preferences or behaviors. So make sure you gather the relevant customer data through surveys, testimonials, interviews, and voice-of-the-customer programs.

At times, customers are not aware of their specific pain points. In this case, it could be helpful to survey your customer service team could be helpful. What are the most common questions or complaints they receive and what are the relevant solutions?

  1. Consider all relevant components

There are four generic components to any customer journey map. Firstly, start with your buyer persona. They represent your customer segments and can help predict emotions and actions. Secondly, map out your customer stages. For example, awareness, assessment, sale, installation, customer retention or loyalty, and so on. Thirdly, include all relevant touchpoints along these customer stages, such as calling into or chatting with the customer service team. Lastly, map out the correlated customer emotions, with a particular focus on pain points.

Bonus points? You should chart a sentiment line to map out how a customer’s emotion changes with each touchpoint. Pay close attention to the steep drops and think about ways to troubleshoot them.

Lastly, while most customer journey maps include common elements, the details might vary depending on your industry. Whether you’re in ecommerce, healthcare, logistics, or another industry, seek inspiration from existing templates relevant to your specific business niche.

Visual Paradigm Online
Image Source: Visual Paradigm Online
  1. Take a 360-degree approach
To be exhaustive, you should create as many customer journey maps as needed. For example, a customer’s first touchpoint with your company could be your landing page, a call to your customer service team, or a click via your social media account. Each differing journey should be reflected in your maps.
  1. Drop the linear approach
Most customer journeys cannot be represented on a linear path. Most customers engage in multi-channel, often cyclical journeys. So arm yourself with the right tools to represent your customer journeys, including infographics or Google Sheets.
  1. Map out both current and future states
Start by mapping out your current customer experience. Involve all relevant, cross-functional stakeholders. Once you’ve organized your findings, flag gaps or pain points as higher-priority areas.  Then get to work on your future state. Is there a mismatch between your current activities versus expectations or goals? Map out potential solutions to the identified pain points, compare current versus future state, and devise a strategy to get you to your ideal future state. Most importantly, prioritize activities that impact the sensitive areas of your customer journey and deprioritize the ones that don’t.
  1. Leverage the customer journey map across your organization
Customer journey maps can be helpful across functions. And they are particularly useful within the sales department as they can help guide the salesperson as to the optimal ways to interact with potential customers while they move through the sales funnel. 
  1. Iterate continuously
Putting the customer journey map together is only part of the effort. The true value lies in tracking and analyzing the results. Also, customer journey maps are not static documents given that customer preferences, behaviors, products, markets, and other relevant factors constantly change. So make sure to institute a periodic review of your customer journey maps. At a minimum, you should review your customer journey maps on a monthly or quarterly basis. And if you’re a product-led company, make sure you review them after every major feature or product release.


The recent pandemic only accelerated digitalization efforts and rising customer expectations. The average consumer now uses ten different channels to communicate with businesses. Moreover, 80% of customers consider their experience with a company to be equally as important as its products.

And customer journey mapping is an important piece of your toolkit in meeting these market pressures. The Aberdeen Group found that companies with a formal customer journey mapping process experience higher growth, including:

  • 350% more revenue from client referrals
  • 200% more employee engagement
  • 56% more up- and cross-sell revenues
  • 18x faster sales cycles

Clearly, putting the customer first is no longer a “nice-to-have,” but a “must-have” if you intend to stay ahead of your competition. So make sure you get to mapping today.

P.S. Need help in optimizing your end-to-end Customer Experience (CX)? Get in touch with us today. 

For example, our tool – Germain UX – is an end-to-end, Alerts, Insights, and Automation software platform built to improve User Experience (UX) in the broadest sense of the term. We can help you understand your user behaviors and conversion rates across each touchpoint and thereby help you improve your customer journey and overall experience.

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