CX Tools of the Trade Part 3: Customer Journey Mapping

Sandra Mathis

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know this is the third part in the CX Tools of the Trade series. It also happens to be the last. We’ll be going out with a bang, covering the well-known and loved customer journey map. While it is probably one of the best and most frequently used tools in the customer experience toolkit, it can also be one of the most misused.

Simply put, a customer journey map is a way to deconstruct a customer’s experience with a company’s products or services— presented as a series of steps and themes. In its most basic form, it’s a big table that includes:

  • PHASES, or the big steps the customer goes through from the time they recognize they have a need for a product or service, through the time they decide to continue or discontinue use your product or service
  • Customer persona name and image, along with their GOAL for the entire journey or for each phase are an option
  • The actions or TOUCH POINTS customers (and employees) go through within each phase
  • The TYPE or WHERE the interactions happen (in-person, phone, website, sales channel, etc.) for each touch point or phase
  • MOMENTS OF TRUTH (points which delight, disappoint, or cause confusion)

And yet, a journey map done correctly is even more than this. A completed journey map can (and should) be multi-layered in order to help the organization understand what the experience looks like in total. Often, an organization will map the customer’s journey against the steps a customer goes through but skip mapping that same journey from the employee and team experience. By taking in all experiences, the organization can clearly see the impact.

With all of this in mind, here are a few tips to make your customer journey map more valuable to the organization.


Take into account what you *think* customers go through, but also take time to confirm it. Pull out your existing customer data and research to provide insight and context – what are they telling you happens when they interact with you? Incorporate both the good and the bad parts of their interaction in your map.

Also, pull out your empathy maps and customer personas to inform your map (covered in part 1 and 2 of this series). This is important enough that if you don’t have them, you should go create one or both before moving forward. Use these to keep you honest about the needs and expectations of your customer.

Finally, your customer journey map should be outside-in focused, as much as it is inside-out. If the customer’s part of the journey is what is happening in front, the map should also scope out what’s going on in the background from the organization’s processes along with the employee’s perspective, along with which teams and tasks occur at each step of the journey.


As a fan of not doing *too* much (or too little), I don’t believe in collecting data which isn’t actionable or isn’t being used. Teams should take time to understand what and where in the organization customer feedback is being collected. Identify what metrics are being collected for measurement and determine how this feedback will be acted upon.

Next, plot these existing metrics across the journey. Ideally, feedback will be collected for each key moment of truth in the customer’s journey. At this point, it also a good practice to evaluate if the right questions are being asked for the phase or touch point. In some rare cases, you may find the wrong questions are being asked, or can’t be leveraged to improve the customer’s experience. However, more frequently, you’ll find the feedback isn’t being collected at all, and should be. If you add metrics to your map, be sure they are the right ones and that they are regularly tracked.

While NPS is a standard metric for measuring the relationship or the journey in total, it’s not necessarily the right metric for the phases of a journey. The metrics give the journey map added value as a way to easily illustrate how the core metrics, such as customer satisfaction or customer effort, changes over time as well as across the journey. Just take time to determine if you are using the right metric— such as call time or the number of calls received for a customer care center. And, be sure that as your metrics are updated with the organization, they are updated on your map as well.


Remember to pause to double check the journey. Are customers accurately represented? A great way to make sure your journey map is accurate is to validate it with your customers via qualitative research. However, if that is not possible, and quick and easy method is to share the core journey with some of your customer “friendlies” to get their input and confirm if it reflects their experience with your organization. If your map was built with a small internal audience or without some functional team representation, take some time to share the map with them to ensure their experiences and customer interactions are accurate as well.

Remember, journey mapping isn’t a “one and done” activity. As new ways of doing business occur, silos are broken down, or new processes are implemented, take time to ensure changes are reflected on the map. Just as your business or brand strategy should be revisited and amended, the same holds true for your journey map— it is your living, breathing customer interaction story.

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