Optimization glossary

Customer journey mapping

Customer journey mapping helps you optimize every customer experience by tying together all touchpoints into a cohesive story. 

What is customer journey mapping?

An individual customer journey map includes all the steps (or user flows) a customer would have to take to achieve a specific outcome when interacting with your company. Customer journey mapping is a process for identifying all customer processes and understanding their perceptions during these interactions.

Sometimes customer journey mapping is used interchangeably with buyer or user journeys. It is a way for companies to understand every touchpoint a customer goes through while interacting with your company. Journey mapping aims to identify and resolve all friction points that a customer may experience when progressing through different touchpoints. 

How customer journey mapping works

To create a journey map, you first need to identify all the target actions that you want customers to achieve at the end of a specific journey. These actions usually include events like: 

  • Making a purchase 

  • Ordering a service

  • Submitting a request for more information or support

Every touchpoint that a user goes through to reach the desired outcome should form part of your customer journey mapping. By identifying every interaction and the customer's overall experience when engaging with your organization, you can improve your journeys to increase sales, drive conversions, improve click-through rates, or optimize any other metric that helps stimulate growth. 

Customer journey mapping helps organizations to:

  • Gain valuable insights into a customer's perception when interacting with the company

  • Minimize negative experiences to help drive revenues and customer retention

  • Design customer-centric experiences for high-value customers across multiple channels

  • Reveal gaps between different journeys and experiences in omnichannel touchpoints

The benefits of customer journey mapping

Customer journey mapping is a powerful tool that helps your organization to align multiple disciplines and provide an improved experience to customers. Departments that benefit the most from customer journey mapping (and should therefore be involved in every step of the process) are marketing, sales, and customer service.

To achieve the organization's goals, you'll need to identify all the main touchpoints before you can start optimizing the experience and resolve any friction points. A detailed customer journey map is the first step to eliminating barriers to success and building optimized experiences across all channels.

Customer journey mapping best practices

To start the process, you'll need to set clear objectives that contextualize different evaluation criteria for variables like buyer personas and targeted outcomes. Use this information to define clear goals and identify the crucial touchpoints involved in the current journey. 

Prioritize optimizing crucial touchpoints but also set a vision for the entire journey and identify any other interactions that show the potential to drive sales. With your current blueprints in place, start testing journeys to find the main friction points to be resolved.

Additional customer journey mapping best practices to consider are:

  • Allocating the right resources -- You need to involve the right teams and create an inventory of all your resources (human and digital) involved in the customer journey

  • Map out the cross-touchpoints -- Designs will need to remain consistent across all channels and include the required integration where it could influence the Customer Experience (CX)

  • Optimize journey designs before rollout -- Using experimentation, you can test different versions of designs, layouts, and content before deploying them to all your customers

Customer journey mapping process

Having clear objectives will determine the format, complexity, and supplemental content required to build a seamless journey through different touchpoints. The goal is to continue identifying and resolving friction points using research and experimentation. 

Identify customer personas

Personas are the categories you use to segment your customers depending on the target actions involved. To optimize journeys, you need to know the motivations, key tasks, and possible pain points of each persona across every channel. 

Map out the different phases

Every journey may have multiple crucial touchpoints during the different phases of the experience. Map out the journey for each phase according to the target action you want to achieve. Different phases may include situations like discovery, exploration, comparison, evaluation, purchasing, retention, and referral or testimonial. 

List touchpoints for every phase

Include every touchpoint currently available to customers in your journey map according to the phase. Once you know all your touchpoints, you can revisit journeys according to phases and related target actions to find optimized experiences that drive sales and growth. 

Conduct research and experimentation

For all digital touchpoints, you should experiment continuously to evaluate your current performance with analytics, behavioral science, and multivariate testing. Different development and deployment strategies exist to assist teams with identifying and designing optimal experiences for different personas and their associated journeys. 

Implement new customer journeys based on mptimized maps

Based on your research, you can now implement optimized journeys across paid and organic web, social media and other digital channels. Qualitative and quantitative research will help inform the entire process, while digital experience platforms (DXP) provide you with all your experimentation, coordination, content management, and deployment support you'll need.

Why customer experience mapping matters

Increasingly, companies are competing on experience instead of price. Customer journey mapping identifies actionable touchpoints that help formulate strategies that are current, personalized, complimentary, and relevant to a specific customer's persona. 

Customers now expect the same convenience across every digital channel and touchpoint available. Growth depends on an organization realizing its digital potential by engaging customers and eliminating friction points in the process. Journey mapping is the best way to align a company's entire technology stack (or martech) across customer touchpoints and deploy consistent, cohesive experiences for all digital channels.

Optimizely and customer journey mapping

The primary aim of creating customer journey maps is to understand the mind of the customer and quantify how they experience your company during different interactions. With Optimizely, companies can use product analytics, experimentation, and customer journey mapping to deliver superior experiences and a mixture of content that serves the different personas.