Customer Journey Mapping: 3 Simple Questions Answered

By: Clarabridge Team

October 22, 2015

By Koren Stucki

Customer journey mapping is more than just a trend. Businesses are becoming increasingly aware that an “outside-in” approach to understanding customer needs, wants, and feelings is critical for improving the overall experience.

What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s experience with your brand showing multiple stages and touch points. For example, a journey map for a credit card company might show a customer’s experience when he/she:

  • Receives a promotional mailer about the card
  • Applies for the card online
  • Uses the card
  • Receives the bill
  • Pays the bill online
  • Calls customer service to dispute a charge

Why map the customer journey?
Mapping the customer journey is critical to your company’s success and ability to become more customer-centric. Aside from the obvious benefit of understanding the activities, expectations, thoughts, and feelings of your customers, journey mapping allows your company to dispel silos, streamline services across departments, and tailor them to meet the most critical needs of your customer.

Furthermore, creating a customer journey map early on in your program solidifies the importance you are placing on the customer and helps align everyone in the company around a common understanding of the customer journey from the customer’s perspective.

How do you get started with customer journey mapping?
The first step to any successful journey map starts with executive buy-in. If your C-suite supports your CX initiatives, it’s not only going to be easier to kick off your journey mapping efforts, it’s also going to be easier to make sure your efforts are used enterprise-wide. If some departments are not on board with the changes that come from a journey mapping effort, it will be very difficult to drive the necessary changes that will help your customers.

Next, determine what you want your journey mapping effort to cover. Journey mapping can be just as successful looking at one specific line of business or segment of customers, as it can be looking at your entire business model. However, it’s important to make that distinction before you start.

Once you’ve defined the scope of your journey map, you need to take that outside-in perspective. Gathering and analyzing customer feedback will help you direct your journey mapping efforts. It will also make sure that you are focused on the things that your customers want to see improved – not what you think they want improved.

Internal interviews, workshops, and surveys with employees who regularly interact with customers and with internal stakeholders who are familiar with the existing processes and systems are very useful in understanding the customer experience. It’s also important to interview and ideally observe customers in the environment in which they are taking their journey, such as a retail store. This will give you additional context about each interaction and a better understanding of not only what they do, but also why they do it.

Now that you’re on the road the creating your map, download our latest eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Journey Mapping, for a closer look into the journey mapping process.