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Customer Journey Map: What It Is & How to Create One

By Jennifer Gaskin, Dec 10, 2021

customer journey map blog header

Creating a customer journey map gives a business the opportunity to visualize the path a person takes to become a loyal customer with your organization. A customer journey map is an excellent way to understand how consumers interact with your business.

Many companies use the customer journey map creation process to identify areas of improvement in their internal processes to help ensure all consumer interactions are the best they can be.

With Venngage’s Customer Journey Map Maker, you can easily create a customer journey map that aligns with your brand guidelines and helps all team members better understand your target customer.


Click to jump ahead:

What is the customer journey?

Broadly, the customer journey describes how your customers or users interact with your organization. It is a way for companies to understand the complete customer experience and learn how to optimize it.

For a brick-and-mortar shop, that could be physical interactions like taking their trip through your store.

For companies that produce mostly digital products and services, the customer journey describes the consumer’s perspective as it relates to your company and its goods and services.

Mapping the customer journeys means understanding the path a person takes from becoming a lead or potential customer to transforming into a loyal patron of your business, so that you can visualize how a customer interacts with your organization at various points, as in the example below.

customer journey map

This customer journey map describes the journey the average customer of GLIDE App will experience, divided into different stages. You also see the steps the customer is expected to take, which customer touchpoints they’re going to interact with and how each touchpoint is coordinated with each business department.

What is customer journey mapping?

As we’ve touched on, customer journey mapping means creating a visual representation of the entire customer journey: how existing and potential customers interact with your business. Some customer journey maps are map-like, while others are more linear, flowing in a straight line, and still others have unique shapes.

What all customer journey maps have in common is that they focus on the customer experience as it relates to the product you make or the services you sell.

mobile buyer journey map

This customer journey map is represented in a circle: customer journey begins with Discovery and ends in Conversion. You can also tell that this customer journey map illustrates the importance of continual customer engagement even after leads have turned into customers.

customer journey map

In this customer journey map, activities, motivations, emotions and barriers are all plotted against the stages of the buyer’s journey. At the start, customers have little to no awareness of the product and by the end, they are reliable returning customers — in an ideal world. Of course, to make this even more seamless, customer training software can be deployed as it helps understand customers’ use of products in their daily life.

customer journey map

This infographic takes the traditional customer journey map a step toward the customer by depicting a theoretical client, lead or consumer—or in other words, a buyer persona. This allows the organization to ensure they’re keeping the buyer top of mind at all times.

To learn more about buyer or customer personas, check out our posts:

customer journey map

Taking into account the customer perspective, this customer journey map template plots the buyer’s activities along the top, from the moment they realize they need to purchase something until they’ve paid for it. The business can then populate the cells with the appropriate answers based on the metrics they are attempting to visualize; in this case, emotions, experiences and customer expectations.

Why do businesses need to map their customer journey?

Mapping the customer journeys can help businesses understand bottlenecks or pain points they didn’t realize existed. And it can help organizations diagnose internal issues by enabling them to visualize things from their customers’ perspective.

In short, customer journey maps give businesses a chance to develop a deep well of knowledge about their consumer beyond the metrics of sales or engagement. Putting themselves in the customer’s shoes and understanding why consumers behave as they do can empower an organization with all the tools it needs to better serve consumers.

customer journey map

This eCommerce customer journey map, for example, can allow a savvy sales, marketing or operations team to optimize customer satisfaction by correlating a bad customer experience with poor UI/UX design or other issues.

customer journey map

Customer journey maps are also useful for simplifying and visualizing only one aspect of the journey. In this case, the focus is the outreach tools a business uses to reach potential customers, but it’s easy to customize this type of design to apply to many other segments of the buyer journey or add details that can aid decision-making.

customer journey map

Use this type of customer journey map to visualize the content you’ll use in your marketing efforts at each stage of the buyer’s journey or sales funnel. Remember that it’s important to consistently offer leads and prospects something new to maintain their interest.

Steps to map a customer journey

The first step to any successful journey is understanding where you want to go. In the case of mapping your customer journey, the first step is determining your end goal. Do you want to identify bottlenecks in your process, increase conversions or push new products? Think about what you want to get out of the process before you begin.

Once you’ve outlined your goals, you can begin the steps to mapping a customer journey.

Step 1. In most cases, a customer’s journey should first be broken down into a timeline or customer stages. This typically follows the buyer’s journey (Awareness—Consideration—Decision) or a variation of that.

Here’s an example of a customer journey map that divides the common 3-stage customer’s journey into 5 stages:

customer journey map

Step 2. From there, you should determine what should go down the side of your customer journey. In the case of the above example, the customer’s approach and resulting experience are listed.

Step 3. List or visualize the customer touchpoints.

The template below does that by including a row in the graphic for physical and digital touchpoints. In some cases, you may consider listing these as pain points if all customers or this particular persona in question have to deal with a lot of hurdles to successfully move on to the next phase of the journey. This could be something like price or product availability.

customer journey map

Step 4. Include solutions or opportunities for your organization to optimize the customer experience at each step. That could mean removing pain points or roadblocks, such as offering them discounts or other incentives to select your company.

How to create a customer journey map with Venngage

Visualizing your customer’s journey can be difficult without using the right customer journey mapping tools.

Venngage makes it very easy to create a customer journey map by offering dozens of templates that you can quickly customize with your company’s information. With just a few clicks, you can list out the steps of your customer journey and detail the experiences at each point.

Check out our library of customer journey map templates you can easily customize:

Venngage customer journey map template library

Notice the Smart Templates? They are created with our Smart Diagram editor. You can easily add icons, move things around and space the design elements however you like. As you add or delete text, the editor will automatically adjust so you won’t need to resize anything.

Venngage smart diagram

For businesses that want to have consistent branding across their customer journey design, you can use My Brand Kit to apply brand colors or logos to your customer journey map in one click:

Venngage my brand kit

Customer journey map templates

Here are a few more effective customer journey map examples to inspire you as you work to create your buyer’s journey to better understand your consumer.

customer journey map

This customer journey map lists the stages of the process across the top and the categories the organization must consider down the side. Organizing your buyer’s journey in this way allows you to visualize each issue at a glance and make correlations between segments and outcomes.

customer journey map

Similarly, use this customer journey map to quickly see which channels apply to what phases and what opportunities exist for reaching out to potential buyers during each segment along the way.

customer journey map

Buyer’s journey maps can also lean toward the simple size, as in this example, which is appropriate for companies that need to list digital and physical touchpoints along with opportunities that could help convert leads to customers.

customer journey map

When considering your customer journey, it’s important to think about how your customer has changed after every contact with your organization. In the beginning, they may not know exactly what they need, and then by the end, they should be more confident about what you can do for them.

customer journey map

Remember that not all customers are the same, and pain points for one person may not be pain points for another. So, it’s best to make customer journey maps for your major buyer types or personas.

FAQ about customer journey maps

Do you have more questions about customer journey maps? We’ve got answers.

What are the 7 steps to map the customer journey?

When creating a customer journey map, many experts recommend the following seven steps:

  1. Set targets
  2. Create buyer personas
  3. Identify motivations and define barriers or pain points
  4. Visualize buyer journey
  5. Maximize touchpoints
  6. Identify opportunities to establish trust
  7. Test and revise

What do you use a customer journey map for?

Customer journey maps are useful for visualizing a buyer’s interaction with your company. This can help you understand your buyer and their motivations better, as well as helping you identify reasons why they might not choose your business, thus changing strategy or decision-making to make your organization more attractive.

Ultimately, creating a customer journey map can help you learn what the customer needs and know how to provide consistently excellent service to acquire new customers as well as retaining customer loyalty.

What are touchpoints in customer journey maps?

A touchpoint in a customer journey map describes a moment in which your customer interacts with your company or brand, and a customer journey map should include all touchpoints along the way.

In summary: Optimize the customer experience by creating a customer journey map

With Venngage’s Customer Journey Map Maker, you can quickly and easily visualize your customer journey so you can eliminate pain points, resolve bottlenecks and better understand how to give your customers what they want. It’s free to get started.

About Jennifer Gaskin

A veteran of newsrooms and agencies, Jennifer Gaskin is a writer, editor and designer who is the only living person not to have strong feelings on the Oxford comma. She's an award-winning practitioner of journalism and information design who spent the better part of a decade as the creative director of a digital marketing shop. As a writer, Jennifer contributes to a variety of publications while working with clients as well as taking on her own projects.