Anna Hosie Team : User Experience and Information Architecture

Creating successful customer journey maps

Anna Hosie Team : User Experience and Information Architecture

A successful customer journey map documents the customer’s lifecycle with your business, from the customer’s perspective. If done well, it can help you understand how customers are interacting with your business, highlighting areas for improvement.

There is no right or wrong way to create a customer journey map. They can be simple or complex. However there is a process to follow to help you get the right result. 


Do your research

Firstly, gather all the information you already have about your customers and the way they use your product or service. This can be done by talking with customer service and/or account managers, reviewing existing marketing material etc. Identify any information gaps. Ideally these gaps would be filled by running workshops with real customers but at a minimum try your internal resources again. Amazing what a bit of brainstorming will come up with.


Decide on the personas

Most businesses have a wide variety of customers and ideally you’d map all of their journeys. However, it’s not always time or cost effective to do so. You therefore need to identify your key customer segments, and then develop personas for each of them to ensure you capture the customer journeys that are most important to your business.


Define the lifecycle steps

Customer journeys will have different life cycle steps depending on the business so there is no hard and fast rules for what the life cycle steps should be. For example a fashion website may have: Previous experience, Research, Choose, Purchase, Wear and Share while an online travel insurance may have: Research & planning, Booking, Pre-travel, Travel and Post travel.

For each step include the key goals of the customer and the channels/mediums used to achieve.


Identify the flow

For each life cycle step you need to identify the flow through the journey. Is it cyclical? - as it would be when a customer is doing research. Or direct? - as it would be if they are making a purchase. What are the triggers that enable a customer to move from one step to another?


Highlight the important points

These can be points of friction - whether it is do with the length of the process or difficulty of it. These can also be points - where things can go well or can go badly. These will create different outcomes for a customer journey. Don’t forget to identify any emotions the customer may be experiencing for each point.


Get the design right

Customer journey maps generally need to be circulated to a number of areas across the business, so creating maps that are easy to understand, without requiring a supporting commentary is key to a successful map. The journey map should use language and imagery relevant to the people who need to use and understand it. If the audience are highly technical then technical jargon is fine otherwise avoid it.

Below is a screenshot of how we do them:

An example of a Wiliam customer journey map

Two great articles I'd also recommend reading on the topic are here and here.