What Is a Customer Journey Map? - dummies

What Is a Customer Journey Map?

By Jeff Sauro

Like a marketing funnel, a customer journey map is a visualization of the phases a customer goes through when engaging with a product or service. Almost any experience can be mapped, including the following examples:

  • The shopping experience at Whole Foods, from parking to unpacking

  • The birthing experience: Admittance to the hospital to taking home baby

  • New customer download experience: From software trial download to installation to long term customer

But unlike typical marketing funnels, a customer journey map illuminates stages in the journey with touchpoints. Touchpoints are moments when a customer comes in contact with things like a website, a physical store, a support representative, or an advertisement. The journey map should also have some way of quantifying the experience for each step in the journey.

[Credit: Photo courtesy of Alan Ho]
Credit: Photo courtesy of Alan Ho

Another example, shown here, shows “Sarah’s” journey as she selects a new Internet and phone service provider after moving into a new house.

[Credit: Journey map courtesy of Effective UI]
Credit: Journey map courtesy of Effective UI

Customer journeys can map an experience from minutes to years. An example of the journey a customer goes through when purchasing a laptop computer is shown in the following figure. Notice how this journey starts before the customer has engaged with a company or product. You work on building this customer journey map throughout the rest of this chapter.


One of the core ideas behind mapping the customer journey is that it helps employees understand how their role has an impact on sales and revenue, even if they don’t directly sell or market to customers.

The map should provide ideas for stakeholders to develop ways of treating the customer more holistically, rather than perpetuating a fragmented experience where each department rules an isolated fiefdom.

It’s like telling your story to one person on a phone call, getting transferred to someone else (of course, being placed on hold first, for who knows how long — ugh!), waiting for the next person to talk to, and then having to restate your information all over again to that individual!