Optimization glossary

Customer journey mapping

What is customer journey mapping?

Customer journey mapping allows you to visualize how and where customers interact with your brand on your website or mobile app. It helps you optimize every customer experience by tying together all touchpoints into a cohesive story.   

To gain insights, research your customer’s experience to create detailed customer personas and map every touchpoint on the customer journey. 

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.  

Customer journey mapping is also 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 a customer may experience when progressing through different touchpoints.  

Benefits of customer journey mapping:  

  • More customer satisfaction means more sales through referrals.  
  • Increased opportunities for upselling through improved user experience. 
  • More sales for every marketing dollar you spend.  
  • Happier customers with a boost in user engagement.  
  • More customers choose to continue with a product or service. 
  • Better understanding of business goals after going through customer feedback 

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. 

What is the need for customer experience mapping?   

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.    

  • You can gain a deeper understanding of your customer needs and what exactly they expect from your website.  
  • You can identify brand touches and make them better to maximize the impact of each interaction with your customer.  
  • You can improve customer experiences on your website by creating personalized touchpoints that solve specific pain points.  
  • You can minimize negative experiences to help drive revenues and customer retention.  
  • You can identify and remove gaps between different journeys and experiences in omnichannel touchpoints.  

Customers now expect the same convenience across every digital channel and touchpoint available during the entirecustomer journey. 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.  

Customer journey map examples:  

  • Getting visitors to your site through ads and organic search 
  • Interacting on social media channels and bringing folks to specific landing pages.  
  • Offering account registration with your site for benefits and discounts.  
  • Personalizing product pages and showing buyers exactly what they are looking for.    

Customer journey map template  

To create a journey map, you first need to be in your customer’s shoes and identify all the target actions that you want customers to achieve at the end of a specific journey. These actions address customers’ needs and usually include events like:  

  • Making a purchase    
  • Ordering a service   
  • Submitting a request for more information or support   

Every stage that a user goes through to reach the desired outcome should form part of your customer journey mapping.  

Here are the 8 stages:  

Stage 1: Awareness 

Potential customers have roadblocks and they are searching for solutions.  

  • Actions: Marketing campaigns, market research, advertising, social media presence, content marketing.  
  • Touchpoints: Ads, social media posts, blog articles, infographics, word of mouth, PR.  

Stage 2: Consideration  

Customers compare different solutions or brands by gathering information.  

  • Actions: Product information pages, comparison pages, case studies, and testimonials.  
  • Touchpoints: Company website, reviews, online forums, comparison websites, webinars.  

Stage 3: Decision  

Customers talk to the sales team or directly pick a brand and proceed with the purchase.  

  • Actions: Free trials, discounts, easy purchasing processes, and customer support.  
  • Touchpoints: Online store, sales representatives, checkout process, email communication.  

Stage 4: Purchase  

Customers complete the purchase transaction.  

  • Actions: Smooth transaction processes, Multiple payment options, order confirmation messaging.  
  • Touchpoints: Payment gateway, confirmation emails, delivery options, customer service.  

Stage 5: Onboarding  

Customers start using the product to get the most value from it.  

  • Actions: Tutorials, user guides, onboarding emails, setup assistance.  
  • Touchpoints: Welcome emails, user manuals, customer support, onboarding calls.  

Stage 6: Usage  

Customers regularly use the product or service and follow up with feedback.  

  • Actions: Collecting feedback and offering ongoing support.  
  • Touchpoints: Product interface, customer service, FAQs, support tickets.  

Stage 7: Retention  

Customers evaluate and decide whether to continue using the product or service.  

  • Actions: Engaging with customers, loyalty programs, soliciting feedback, and addressing issues.  
  • Touchpoints: Loyalty programs, customer interviews, feedback surveys, customer success teams, renewal notifications.   

Stage 8: Advocacy  

If a customer is satisfied, they are likely to recommend the product or service to others.  

  • Actions: Review pages, referral programs, and community engagement opportunities.  
  • Touchpoints: Social media, review sites, referral links, community forums.  

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.  

How to create a customer journey map?  

A customer journey mapping process starts with having clear objectives that 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.   

1. 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.  

2. Map out the different phases  

Every journey may have multiple crucial touchpoints during the different phases of the experience. Map out the journeyfor 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.  

3. 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.  

4. 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.  

5. Implement new customer journeys based on optimized 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 the experimentation, coordination, content management, and deployment support you'll need.  

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.  

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 different personas.  

Get started here with real-time personalization your customers will love.