Research & understanding

Customer journey map

Ludovic Delmas
October 14, 2020

A customer journey map, also known as a user journey map, is a visualization of the process and emotional state that a persona goes through to accomplish a goal.

These maps are helpful because they provide a view of the customer experience as a whole and give you context for the customers’ broader expectations and goals. They help you understand customer actions and emotions during their experience with your product. 

Customer journey maps combine storytelling and visualization to help you understand the users’ scenario, goals, expectations, emotional state, and the steps they take. In doing so, they help uncover opportunities to improve your product. 

A customer journey map is comprised of 7 things:

1. The persona who experiences the journey.

2. A scenario or situation associated with the persona going through this experience.

3. The persona’s expectations of the experience.

4. The high-level phases of the journey.

5. The actions and steps the persona takes during each phase of the journey.

6. The persona’s emotional state.

7. The opportunities uncovered from the journey map

Here is an example of a Customer Journey Map from the Nielsen Norman Group:

As you can see in the example, you have the persona, Jumping Jamie, at the top. 

The scenario that immediately follows is Jumping Jamie looking to switch her current mobile plan to save money without having to sacrifice usage limits.  

On the right, you have the persona’s expectations about what it should be like to switch mobile plans. 

In the middle, there are the phases and actions that Jumping Jamie goes through. She starts in the “Define” phase by reviewing her current plan and defining what she wants in her new plan. Next, she jumps onto “compare” other plans. She watches commercials, researches offers and companies online, and uses her current carrier to compare options. Then, she moves onto the “Negotiate” phase, where she calls her current carrier to let them know she is shopping around and calls competitors to see what they can offer. Finally, she jumps to the “Select” phase, where she decides on a new plan and calls customer help to switch her service.

Below the list of actions of Jumping Jamie,  there’s a line that documents her emotional state. The higher it is, the better she feels. The lower it is, the more unhappy she feels. This line helps you see her emotional state throughout the process. For example, during the negotiating phase, Jumping Jamie is feeling frustrated because the line is at its lowest point. To provide further context of her emotional state, there’s a quote saying, “Over it. I’m switching providers.”

In the bottom left of the map is the opportunities section. It’s where we document where the overall experience could be improved.  

Finally, in the bottom right, there’s Internal Ownership and Metrics. This is an optional section that takes the list of opportunities and turns them into actionable items and assigns a team responsible for the outcome.

Use a customer journey map to:

See a view of the customer experience as a whole.

Gain context of the customers’ broader expectations and goals.

Map the general steps and tasks a customer goes through.

Uncover opportunities to improve the experience. 

Help you understand customer actions and emotions during their experience with your product.

Define internal ownership for improvements.

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