Create a Customer Journey Map

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How do I create a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a tool that is used to help you track the user experiences (UX) of your customer's interaction with your brand (your product or service). A customer journey map is a time-intensive task and requires a lot of critical thinking.

When thinking about customer journey mapping, it is important to think through two central themes before getting too far ahead of yourself:

  1. What is your goal in mapping your customer's journey?
  2. How will you apply these insights to your business?

If you don't first understand the reason as to why you're mapping and how the insights will help you, then your effort will be of less value. So be sure to plan ahead and extract as much value from this process as possible.

Your customer journey map is going to break down every single place a customer can touch your product or service. It's an end-to-end customer experience roadmap, visualizing every action a customer may take when interacting with your product or service. Customer journey mapping can be finalized in many different forms, whether an info-graphic, illustration, or even a sketch. It's up to you to determine what visually is most pleasing and easiest to comprehend.

Getting Started

The concept of customer journey mapping started to gain popularity in the early 2000's as marketing and sales professionals realized that the path to a customer's purchasing habits is not always linear and based on past experiences. Whether your customer first engages with your brand via a social media add or from word of mouth, the purpose here is to ensure that you are viewing the process from the lens of your customer, helping you to build a more complete customer experience that helps strengthen conversion.

You might be thinking, "Okay, but how do I create a customer journey map that will cover all the different types of customer journeys that my business may face?"

Well, you hit the nail on the head. There are actually four types of customer journey mapping. You don't need to do all four of them, you need to figure out which best aligns with your situation and goals. So, remember when we said it's important to think about these two high-level questions before taking your first step?

What is your goal in mapping your customer's journey? How will you apply these insights to your business?

Take a quick pause and make sure you first answer those questions before continuing through this guide to learn how to create a customer journey map.

The Four Types of Customer Journey Mapping

At this point, you should have a solid understanding as to why you are building a customer journey and how your map is going to help push you forward as a business. With these insights, you can now figure out which type of journey map makes the most sense for you: Current State, Future State, Day in the Life, and Service Blueprint.

Current State

The current state mapping model focuses on the here and now. What does my customer journey look like today? In other words, what does the customer experience look like today? Your goal here is to visualize out every single touch-point that a customer can currently experience. There should be no hypotheticals or assumptions, it all is based upon today's reality.

Let's look at an example of where Current State mapping is best utilized.

Imagine you have a social media campaign being sent out across Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. You analyze the current data of the campaigns, seeing that all three mediums have around 1,000 views per post, but Twitter and Instagram have a 25% conversion whereas TikTok has a 2% conversion. This can tell you that there is a gap in your TikTok campaign. Maybe this gap is a messaging issue, or maybe your link is broken or maybe it is a UX design flaw. Whatever it is, your analysis of customer journey mapping is focused on comparing the different paths and unique flow that customers are actively taking, today.

Future State

Where Current State is focused on the now, Future State is focused on tomorrow. The goal here is to plan ahead and try to predict the experience your customers will have when interacting with your brand in the future. Maybe you aren't live yet, or are getting ready to publish a marketing campaign. If your process today doesn't include the variables that you want to assess, then you will want to envision what the flow will look like once those variables are present.

Teams will look towards this type of map when they want to close the gap between what the current customer experience is and where they would like it to be. These maps are driven by your business strategy since it is taking hypotheticals into consideration. So it is important to align your Future State with your team's goals and objectives. This process can help provide a visual aid to team members across departments to build further brand and company alignment.

An important thing to note for Future States is that you should first conduct a Current State map before building a Future State map. If you don't have a solid grasp as to what the current customer experience is and how they navigate your UX design, then you won't have the most complete picture as to what the true gap in customer experience is that you're trying to close.

Day in the Life

The purpose of this type of map is to think outside of the box and build your complete customer persona (buyer persona). Rather than putting a map together that outlines how a customer interacts with your brand, you're putting a map together as to what your customer's day-to-day life looks like. This requires some solid user research. This will allow you to gather insights as to their habits, pain-points, and decision-making processes so you can then reflect on your own brand and how it should best fit in.

This flow will require you to interview your customers and learn about their persona life, not just their customer experience with your brand. This will help you build out your customer user personas to better identify the common characteristics of your potential customers as well as how to best align your branding with the persona of your ideal customers.

Service Blueprint

A Service Blueprint is a customer journey map that compounds the value of a Current State or Future State journey map. You start with your State blueprint and then layer on the systems that operate within that state. This can be the people who are involved, the policies that are in place, or the technologies that are used. Any type of system that influences your State map can be added to your diagram.

Current State Service Blueprint

A Current State Service Blueprint is going to help you identify the root pain-points that your customers are facing. By tying all of the pieces together, you are gathering the most complete picture possible. So when seeing where customers drop off of your map, you can better identify what influenced that drop-off to most accurately tackle the root pain-point driving this behavior.

Future State Service Blueprint

A Future State Service Blueprint is going to help you identify the list of services and general ecosystem that is required in order to achieve your desired outcome. So rather than just mapping the touch-points that a customer may face, you're going one step deeper by outlining what systems influence that specific touch-point of the customer experience. In doing so, you can most efficiently plan ahead to ensure the proper systems are set up to achieve your desired outcome.

The Five Steps of a Customer Journey Map

So you've determined which type of journey map that you want to move forward with. Wonderful! The next step is to now build out the customer journey map. We're going to walk through the process and principles outlined by the Father of Modern Marketing, Philip Kotler.

Kotler outlines the five A's of how to map a customer journey and understand the customer needs: Awareness, Appeal, Ask, Act, and Advocacy. We'll walk through each of these stages as well as use a single example of buying a pair of shoes throughout the breakdown.

The First A: Awareness

The Awareness stage of your customer journey map is your first step. This is the step where a customer will first learn about your brand. Regardless of if the awareness was influenced by social media, advertisements, or word of mouth, it is important to document and track the source of awareness.

In most cases, the customer isn't ready to make a purchase at this stage. Your goal isn't to convert this customer, it is to remain top of mind and grab their attention.


You're a big fan of sneakers. You have your favorite pair that you wear so you aren't in need of new ones, but you love looking at them. Your friend walks up to you wearing a new pair and you think they look really cool. You're now aware of this ABC sneaker brand.

The Second A: Appeal

The Appeal stage is when your customer builds an affinity towards your brand. They recognize the service or product you are providing and find it interesting. In this stage, customers may start interacting with your brand. They will visit your website or read your blogs. Maybe they will follow you on social media or sign up for your product's free-tier. Whatever it be, you have their attention.


You just tore through your sneakers and you need a new pair. You've seen your friends wearing a fresh new look by ABC brand. Since you now need shoes, you're intrigued, so you go to their website and check out their shoes to see if you like any others that they have.

The Third A: Ask

In this stage, you start to interact with the customer. They're very interested in your brand, so they start to engage. Maybe they reach out to customer service via a support desk or schedule an intro call. The potential customer is going to do their own research through first-hand experiences (speaking to you) as well as second hand (research). They're going to look up your competitors and read your reviews. They're asking for the information they need to make a decision. This is a pivotal step in the customer experience flow, and your customer service infrastructure is your key.


You really like the shoes listed on ABC's website, so you visit their store in-person. You meet with a sales rep and try on the pair of shoes.

The Fourth A: Act

You've done it! The customer makes a decision and chooses to purchase your product or service. They have acted on all of the information and have converted into a customer. This sale may be in-person or via a website without interacting with anybody. Whichever flow it be, they are now a customer.


You really like the way the shoes fit you at the shoe store. You tried on a few pairs, some other looks that caught your eye. Ultimately, you land on the pair you like the best and you make the purchase. The shoes are now yours.

The Fifth A: Advocacy

The goal of this stage is to make your customer an advocate for your brand, based off of their purchasing experience. Maybe they will recommend their purchase to their friends or co-workers. Maybe they will write a blog post about their satisfaction or leave you a review on Google. Hopefully, they'll make future purchases as well.


You start raving about your shoes, showing all of your friends. You build organic excitement for the look of your shoes, making your friends interested in getting their own pair.

Putting it all to Practice: Implementation

You now know the different types of customer journey maps as well as the different phases within each customer journey map. So now, let's make sure you leverage this approach properly to maximize the customer experience of your users.

Stay Data Oriented

It is important to let data drive your implementation. There should be as little subjective opinions or assumptions made in this process as possible. If you're building a Future State, you may have more assumptions built in, but even those assumptions should then be backed with HOW you intend to collect the right data to prove it right or wrong.

Every aspect of your map should either be based upon hard data/metrics that have already occurred or that you intend to track. Let the numbers guide your customer journey mapping.

Take it One Stage at a Time

It's important to take this process one step at a time. If you try to do it all at once, you'll likely overlook little details that could turn out to be very impactful. So once you've determined why you're building this map and what you want to get out of it, you'll be able to select the type of map you want to build. Once you've selected that map, go through the Five As one at a time. Make sure that your messaging and approach to each "A" is unique and tailored. You shouldn't be using a templated approach. The way you map out the Awareness phase should be different than the way you map out the Advocacy phase. The customer experience journey should be tailored, making your customer feel like you are speaking to them at each stage of their journey.

It's a Team Effort

Make sure that you get your whole team involved. This is a process that requires the attention and insight from all team members. In order to most effectively build out your customer journey map, you need to involve all parties as everyone will be able to bring a different perspective as well as how their department influences the process differently.

It's one thing to know how to map a customer journey, but that is worthless if you don't know when you should map the customer experience. Let's break down the relevance of this question based on two high level categories. We'll walk through an explanation as well as provide a score, 1-10, that shows you how relevant this question is whether you do or don’t have a product.

Pre-Product: 6/10

The first scenario we will walk through will be if you do not have a product yet. Whether it is a website or a mobile app, you are still in the ideation or planning phase and have not yet built anything. Maybe you have started development but just aren’t finished with your first version. Whichever it is, we'll get into why this question is or isn’t relevant and why you should or shouldn't care about it if you do not have a product.

If you don't have a product yet, you should start to think about customer journey mapping. You would only be putting together a Future State map, but it will help you think about how you want to be interacting with your customers and what systems you need in place to ensure that you achieve your goals.

Live Product: 9/10

The second category is if you do have a live product. Maybe you just launched your business or maybe it's been live for years and you're continuing to improve its quality and release new features. Regardless of the scenario, if your product is live, this question carries a different weight of relevance.

If you do have a product, it is really important that you have mapped your customer journey. If you don't map your customer's journey, you will not be able to effectively grow and improve your organization's processes. The journey will help you understand where you can improve, and if you know where you can improve, you know how to grow. It's that simple.

Customer journey mapping can be difficult to do alone. It is something that can require a lot of time and even more critical thinking. Thankfully, there are tools and services out there that can help you through this journey. Keep reading below to find out more!

There are three types of tools you can think about when building out your customer journey: Behavior Analytics, Feedback Analysis, and Visual Mapping

Behavior Analytics:

Behavior analytic tools will give you the insights into your customer's actual behavior. This will show you the literal actions of the customer experience you currently have. It will allow you to see things such as how much time they spend on your website, where they click, where they come from, what their demographic is, and more. The goal here is to gather all of the data so you can create a data-oriented map rather than a subjective (and in-accurate) user journey map. Here are three powerful behavior analytics tools you can use.

1. FullStory

FullStory offers qualitative and quantitative data of your user's experience navigating through your website or application.

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most mainstream analytics dashboards out there. It's easy to use and shows you an abundance of user behavior.

3. Hotjar

Hotjar is a popular tool used that creates heat maps of your website. You can see where users are spending the most of their team, as well as clicking, in an easy to understand visual report.

Feedback Analysis:

Feedback analysis is leveraging tools that help capture the voice of your customers (VoC). So rather than just seeing what they do, it helps define their opinions of your product or service as well as what they would want improved, differentiated, etc. You are now taking one step deeper into the customer experience. These are three VoC tools we recommend taking a look at.

1. Medallia

Medallia is an experience management platform helping you to define the voice of all key-stakeholders. Their tool helps you gather solicited and unsolicited feedback, relying on customer surveys, internal customer data and web analytics.

2. InMoment

InMoment is a tool that helps companies gather the right information through focusing on experience improvement (XI). They heavily leverage VoC but also utilize social reviews and employee engagement to further determine what your audience as a whole is saying about you as a company.

3. XM Discover (formerly Clarabridge)

XM Discover (owned by Qualtrics) leverages an 11-point sentiment analysis to track the VoC throughout the customer journey. They analyze customer effort, engagement, and emotion throughout the customer lifecycle. If you have customer feedback over the phone, they'll transition it to text for you as well.

Visual Mapping:

These tools will help you visually map out your journey, taking your customer experience from action to paper. You can use these customer journey mapping tools and their customer journey map templates to efficiently put together a visual map that you can collaborate on with team members.

1. Miro

Miro is one of the gold-standards when it comes to visual collaboration. Miro is essentially a digital white-board, letting remote teams brainstorm and work together in abstract manners.

2. Smaply

Smaply was built with intention. Leverage any of their tools, including ones focused on journey mapping, persona mapping, and stakeholder mapping. Smaply has customer journey map templates and structures built to make your life easier.

3. UXPressia

UXPressia is a tool specifically built for customer journey mapping. Their collaborative tools give you a step up when it comes to starting off this journey. UXPressia offers customer journey map templates that you can leverage.

  1. Customer journey mapping is a process that is used to help you track the customer experience with your brand (your product or service).
  2. There are four types of customer journey maps: Current State, Future State, Day in the Life, and Service Blueprint
  3. There are five stages in the customer journey map flow: Awareness, Appeal, Ask, Act, and Advocacy.
  4. If you don't have a product, think about putting together a Future State or Day in the Life customer journey map.
  5. If you do have a product, you definitely should have at least one type of customer journey map.
  6. There are three categories of tools you should consider: Behavior Analytics, Feedback Analysis, and Visual Mapping
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