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What is customer journey mapping?

Customer journey mapping is a visual representation of the steps a customer takes to complete a specific action, such as signing up for a product trial or subscribing to a newsletter.

The more steps involved to complete the specific action, the more detailed the customer journey map will be.

With the goal to improve the overall customer experience, customer journey maps help your company maintain a customer-centric mindset, identify any bottlenecks or siloes, and quickly spot what needs to be addressed. Businesses often have multiple customer journey maps, each reflecting a different area where the customer engages with your business or brand.

Customer journey mapping tools are found in many CRM systems— they can be created with standalone software or tools, or even be completed with a pen and paper.

The benefits of customer journey mapping

Customer journey mapping is an excellent way to learn more about channel performance, customer engagement, and customer needs. Here are some of the benefits of customer journey mapping:

Clarify channel performance.

Help spot bottlenecks or see significant successes—a visual representation helps you easily identify areas that need your attention.

Understand customer needs.

Create a level of familiarity with the customer experience that you may not have had previously.

Improve decision-making.

Offer direct insight that can help determine the next steps based upon the actual experience of the customer.

Improve the customer experience.

A consistent drive to improve the customer experience can boost sales and increase customer loyalty—and customer journey mapping can be instrumental in your efforts.

What type of customer journey map should you create?

You might be surprised to find that there isn’t a “correct” template or way to do a customer journey map—what you track will be specific to your business and your customers. However, there are a few common types of customer journey maps.

Current state

Providing a broad overview of all the ways your customer engages with your company, current state customer journey maps are the most commonly used. Current state customer journey maps are often found in the following scenarios:

  • User experience (UX)
    Track how your customer engages with your website, application, or software.
  • Marketing and sales automation
    Track the journey your customer takes when finding out about your product or service and becoming a customer.
  • Customer experience
    Track the lifecycle of the overall customer relationship, from awareness and acquisition through to delivery and service.


Focusing on the mood and mindset of the customer, day-in-the-life customer journey maps track actions, sentiment, and engagement touchpoints to offer unique, customer-specific insight.

Future state

Used when planning an upcoming product or experience, future-state customer journey maps help you plan and prepare the type of customer experience you would like to offer.

Service blueprint

Working in conjunction with another customer journey map, the service blueprint acts as an additional layer, helping clarify what systems need to be in place in order to deliver the customer experience you intend to provide.

How to create a customer journey map

Preparation: Define the scope

  • What are you hoping to learn? Setting clear goals from the onset of a project helps define the scope and focus of your efforts. Identify what you would like to learn, which helps determine what information you will need to gather.
  • What scenarios are you interested in? Consider the contexts where you’d like to gain broader insight about the customer journey. From sales to user experience, plan out the scenarios you would like to map.
  • What channels are included? Based upon your goals, what data would be helpful to have? List out the information you will need related to each channel you’re looking to measure.
  • Determine the number of customer journey maps you will build. Customer journey maps can provide insight across a variety of scenarios, but don’t get intimidated by the amount of work ahead of you. Start small and prioritise—you can build more customer journey maps as you go.

Step 1 – Develop a customer backstory

Who is your customer? Take the time to list everything that you know about them: Details, motivations, and what he or she does across the course of a day. Build as much of a backstory as you can; the more detail you have about your customer, the more accurate you can be in creating a thorough customer journey map.

  • Outline pain points, goals, needs, etc. What does your customer struggle with throughout the process? What are the customer’s goals? What does your customer need? Get clear on the main pain points that motivate the customer to act.

Step 2 - Build the customer journey

  • Create a template. Your customer journey often follows a visual progression, which can be inside a grid or table format, or can look more like a process flow. The approach you take is completely up to you. The goal is to create a structure that logically reflects the progression of the customer experience and provides the level of detail you’re trying to achieve.
  • Plot each touchpoint. Touchpoints are all the moments or places where customers interact with your business. This could be in person, on the web, through a call, etc. List out each touchpoint, and then arrange them in order on your template.
  • Add detail. Get clear on what action the customer must take at each touchpoint. Include what the customer is thinking, doing, feeling, and experiencing. This information can be invaluable in determining areas of friction and finding ways you can improve the customer experience.

Step 3 - Analyse the customer journey

  • Evaluate the customer experience. As you review your work, clarify how your customer experience meets your business vision. Are you delivering on expectations? Is there anything you notice that needs your attention?
  • Identify bottlenecks or friction. What obstacles do your customers face across the experience that you provide? Where are the most significant points of friction? Once you identify this information, what actions should you take to begin improving the customer experience?

Step 4 - Resolve areas of concern

  • Take steps to make the customer journey more frictionless. With a visual representation of how your customer moves through the experience, you have a clear understanding of what requires improvement.

Why use customer journey mapping tools

Building a customer journey doesn’t have to be difficult—customer journey mapping tools are often built into marketing automation, streamlining the process of creating and sharing customer journey maps. They’ll help you:

  • Stay proactive with a real-time view.
    Build live, digital customer journeys that offer accurate, up-to-the-minute knowledge of funnel performance—empowering your team to take the right action.
  • Create unique pipelines based upon customer behaviour.
    The ability to scale, pivot, and build unique views helps you customise your customer journey maps to convey the information that matters most.
  • Offer seamless, personalised experiences for your customers.
    Build live customer journeys organised by segment to deliver unique, personalised experiences.
  • Improve the customer experience across all touchpoints.
    Customer journey maps help identify areas that need to be addressed, allowing you to continually evolve the customer experience.
  • Build customer journeys quickly with an easy-to-use interface.
    Where paper-based, static customer journeys take time to prepare, customer journey mapping tools help you build customer journeys in minutes.

Create your own customer journey map

Customer journey maps help you gain valuable customer insight and create personalised customer experiences. Start orchestrating customer journeys today using the built-in customer journey mapping tools in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights.