Journey Mapping: The Road Trip to Customer Experience Success

By: Kate Zimmerman

November 25, 2015

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It’s the day before Thanksgiving and if you’re like me, you’re gearing up to travel somewhere to see family. Did you just wake up this morning, throw the kids in the car, and go? That kind of spontaneity is generally fine and dandy for about 5 minutes, at which point you realize traffic is stopped and your kids are hungry.

During the holidays, or anytime, it’s important to plan your journey. This includes the journeys that your customers go on with your brand. Customer journey mapping is a very important part of customer experience management, but few people understand how to do it well.

The first step to any successful trip starts with executive buy-in. It’s great if your kids want to go visit Grandma for Thanksgiving, but they’re going to have a hard time getting any further than the driveway without their parents. 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 supported 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.

Once you’ve all agreed to travel for Thanksgiving, it’s important to determine where exactly you are going. A quick jaunt to your parents’ house across town is very different from a trek across the country to see aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. It’s just as important to 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 is looking at your entire business model. However, it’s important to make that distinction before you start.

After you decide where you’re going, it’s time to ask your family for the best places to stay, eat, and see while you are visiting. Similarly, when you are creating a customer journey map you need to talk to your customers. Gathering and analyzing customer feedback will help you direct your journey mapping efforts. It will also keep you focused on the things that your customers want to see improved – not what you think they want improved.

Now that you have your destination and your activities set, you can finally map out your Thanksgiving trip. In the same way, you must keep in mind your scope and your customer feedback while designing the customer journey. It’s important to stay true to your goals throughout the entire process to ensure that this effort is fruitful.

Finally, your trip is all mapped out and you’re ready to go. Likewise, you need to put your customer journey map to work. Don’t go through all the work of mapping out your customer’s experiences and then set it on a shelf. Make sure that everyone in your organization who is involved in any of the touch points is familiar with the journey map and understands their role in improving the customer journey.

Customer journey mapping can help your business make great strides in improving your customer’s experience, just like a road trip can be a great experience for family bonding. If you take the time to effectively set up and execute your journey map, just as you would plan a road trip, you will get the most out of it. And if you’re lucky, you’ll also get some pie.

To find out more tips for creating a successful journey map, download our eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Journey Mapping. We wish you the best on your Thanksgiving travels.


Kate Zimmerman is a Product Marketing Associate at Clarabridge. Kate focuses on building content that supports CX efforts, product marketing, analyst relations, and has become an industry expert in Customer Experience Management. Kate holds a B.A in Politics from the University of Virginia and can be found on Twitter at @kmzimm.