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Arthur McCay

How to create a customer journey map — a step-by-step guide with examples


Learning more about client experience is the best way to understand and improve it. As you are reading this article, you already know that 😉 

Here, you will find a detailed step-by-step guide on making a customer journey map (CJM), examples, expert tips, templates, and a PDF guide to download and save for later.

What is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is the final output of the collaborative visualization process called customer journey mapping. This process lets you reveal typical experiences the customers have over time when interacting with your organization, service, or product. A finished map provides insights into their actions, processes, goals, needs, channels, emotions, and many other aspects shaping the customer experience. 

Journey maps can be of different scopes. For example, a broad-scope map would include multiple customer journey stages like ‘Awareness’, ‘Decision’, ‘Purchase’, ‘Support’, and ‘Renewal’. In contrast, a map with a narrower focus would look at a few specific stages like ‘Decision’ and ‘Purchase’.

customer journey map example

CJMs focusing on the current experience are AS-IS maps, while journey maps visualizing the future, desired, state of the experience are called TO-BE maps.

There’s also a similar technique, customer experience mapping, which is often used interchangeably with journey mapping. Experience maps are variations of CJMs, but they typically cover a wider range of interactions and contexts beyond a specific consumer-business relationship. 

Benefits of client journey mapping

Why make journey mapping your tool of choice? There are plenty of reasons, the major of which include:

  • Gaining a deeper understanding of your customers 

For instance, a high-end fashion retailer may discover that its younger customers prefer online shopping, while older customers enjoy the in-store experience.

  • Getting a single view of your customer within the organization

Journey mapping will help you turn a fragmented vision of the customer experience into a unified, organization-wide one. It will have a massive impact on the decision-making process, encouraging you to consider how your actions will affect your clients and become customer-focused.

  • Breaking corporate and cross-department silos 

To make the way toward delivering a great customer experience, you will need to collaborate with others. Understanding why this collaboration is essential, departments and employees will be more inclined to participate in conversations and collaborate.

team work in customer journey mapping
  • Improving customer experience, retention, and loyalty

While working on a map, you will discover customer pain points at different stages of their journey with you. Fixing the most crucial one as quickly as possible will do you a good turn by eliminating the reasons for leaving you. If fixes take much time, look for quick wins first. 

For instance, adding details about your shipping policy on the website will take a developer half an hour, while it will set the right expectations among customers. They won’t be expecting the delivery the next day anymore, bombarding your customer support team with frustrated messages. Another example is a subscription-based video streaming service that can personalize content recommendations to keep subscribers engaged and less likely to cancel their subscriptions.

  • Better conversion and targeting of your target customers

Sometimes, it makes sense to focus on a specific segment or, talking journey mapping terms, specific personas. Customer journey insights will help you with this endeavor by giving you a glimpse into these people’s minds and ensuring the higher effectiveness of your marketing.

journey mapping helps understand target customers

How to build a customer journey map

Although there is no gold standard for creating a customer journey map, we’ll try to create a somewhat generalized map. So that you can use it as a reference when making maps of your own.

We’ll be using our CJM Online tool along the way for two reasons. Because it’s easy to use and lets you create a CJM fairly quickly without wasting time setting up the environment. Oh, and there's a Personas building tool that comes with it 😉

UXPressia training video

We’ll take a pizza restaurant as an example of business and learn how to make a customer journey map together.

Step 1: Define your persona

Creating personas is a crucial part of customer experience service and journey mapping in particular. We won’t go into details — you can find them in this post about defining personas.

Let’s just say that our persona’s name will be Eva Moline — 29, works as a journalist and loves pizza. Eva is not really tech-savvy, and she tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Step 2: Set customer journey stages

Stages are the steps customers take when interacting with a business. The easiest way to identify them is to think of all the actions the person has to take throughout their journey, organize them into logical groups, and name these groups. These will be your map stages. 

The number of stages varies from business to business, but we’ll take 8 for this example:

  1. Aware
  2. Research
  3. Arrival
  4. Order
  5. Eat
  6. Leave
  7. Feedback
  8. Return

💡 Expert tips: 

  • If you’re unsure about the order or names of the stages, don’t worry about that. You can change both at any time when working on the map.
  • If your stages are complex, you can break them into smaller ones. Read this blog post about defining customer journey stages to learn more.

Step 3: Define journey map sections

Sections are horizontal rows with data that, together with the stages you defined, make up a customer journey map.

When picking sections for a map, your choice will depend on your journey’s type and purpose. 

As for UXPressia’s Journey Map tool, it offers a set of more or less universal sections for all kinds of maps. 

We’ll use some of the sections in the current example.

Step 4: Set customer goals

Setting customer goals at each stage is great for multiple reasons:

  • It helps you understand how your business goals align with the goals of your customers.
  • You can meet your customers’ needs better, gaining their loyalty by helping them achieve their goals at each stage.

Above, you can see some of the goals we set for Eva. They are self-explanatory, so there’s no need for extra details.

Step 5: Define touchpoints

Touchpoints are encounters that happen between your business and customers. In the pizza restaurant example, touchpoints happen:

  1. At the Awareness phase, when Eva is actively looking for a pizza place nearby. She is asking around, searching locations on Google Maps, etc.
  2. At the Research phase, when she is trying to find out what people say about the place by asking her friends and reading online reviews.
  3. At the Arrival stage, when Eva searches for a parking spot and enters the restaurant to get seated after parking the car.
  4. At the Order stage, when she makes an order and waits for it.
  5. Time to eat! At this stage, touchpoints occur when Eva is being served and when she is eating her meal.
  6. At the Leave stage, Eva interacts with the waiter, pays for the meal, etc.
  7. At the Feedback stage, she goes to the pizzeria’s website and drops a few lines on Instagram.
  8. At the last stage, Eva gets a promo email from the restaurant with discounts or other special offers.

Defining all the touchpoints is critical because each touchpoint leaves some impression, and your main goal is to keep it up to the mark.

You can also have a separate section to describe the actions your persona takes:

Step 6: Processes and channels

Processes and channels

Now, you may want to add some processes and channels to the map. Just to see what channels your persona uses and what types of processes are in their journey. Luckily, our tool lets you do it in the most awesome way. Processes can be linear, non-linear & time-based, cyclic, or bi-directional. In UXPressia, you can specify up to 10 channels per process.

adding channels to a CJM

Step 7: Problems and ideas

It’s time to explore problems Eva might have when using our service. It could be a lack of info about the pizza house. Few reviews and ads do not show how our pizza differs from others.

Upon arriving, Eva may struggle with locating the place due to unclear information on signboards or just because of a hard-to-find location.

When making her order, Eva may look for detailed info on dish ingredients to learn whether it contains peanuts she’s allergic to. Descriptions may not be as detailed as she’d want them to be.

While waiting for the pizza, Eva may want to check out the place. Finding a restroom can turn into a nightmare if you don’t have clear signs showing what’s where in the restaurant.

Once you’re done with problems, it’s time to find solutions to these problems. Brainstorm for some ideas on how this or that problem can be solved. Here’s what we brainstormed for Eva’s case:

Step 8: Emotional graph

Never underestimate the power of visualization. And our Customer Journey tool is all about it. We added an emotional graph to see where our service example shines and where it stinks. Plus, we filled text boxes with Eva’s thoughts:

emotional graph on a customer journey map

There’s also a special section (“Think & feel”) to put personas’ thoughts.

Step ?: Be Creative!

This is a good start, but the map is far from being complete. So, keep exploring Eva’s journey to find more insights and then add all of them to the map.

If you use our tool (which we highly recommend you to do), check out other CJM sections:

  • Image section for screenshots, photos, or any other relevant imagery. You can even turn it into a storyboard, describing the journey from beginning to end with your images or those from our library.
  • Charts section for communicating data in a visual and meaningful way, just like we did it in the persona:
charts in UXPressia

💡 Expert tip: The section with the persona’s questions works like a charm for marketing and content purposes. So be sure to add one 😉

The section with persona’s questions

Customer journey map examples

There are also a whole lot of free CJM templates for all sorts of journeys in our library. Here are three examples we picked for you.

  • Example 1: a mobile user journey

This user journey map template covers the digital experience of the persona who discovers a new mobile app, installs it, and uses the app for some time before deleting it.

  • Example 2: a client journey map for a corporate bank

This free template is an example of a multi-persona, B2B customer journey. The key persona is a newly opened company looking for a bank to run their business. The CJM also visualizes interactions between the personas involved. 

  • Example 3: a digital customer journey

This customer journey map example shows the digital journey of three customer personas who want to buy a new pair of sneakers online. They go through the same stages, but if you look at the map, you will be able to see the differences in customer behavior, goals, and actions. It’s also a multi-persona journey map.

A customer journey mapping checklist

As a quick recap, here is a checklist with key steps to follow when creating a customer journey map:

  • Do research

To represent real people, your real customers, and visualize their journeys, you must base your personas and journey maps upon actual data.

  • Define your customer persona(s)

Identify your target personas. Create detailed profiles focusing on information relevant to your journey mapping initiative. Include such details as background, customer needs, motivations, channels, etc. 

  • Specify journey map stages

Determine the stages you want to have on your map and come up with their names.

  • Decide on the map sections

Determine which sections to include in your map (e.g., actions, touchpoints, emotions, channels).

  • Set customer goals for each stage

Make sure that it is your customers’ goals, not your business goals.

  • Identify touchpoints between the persona(s) and your organization, product, or service

Consider both online and offline interactions.

  • Map out processes and channels

Visualize the journey-specific processes and the channels your customers use at each stage. Include both digital and physical channels.

  • Highlight problems and look for opportunities

Identify any pain points and issues customers might encounter. Brainstorm potential solutions and quick wins to improve the experience.

  • Add details about the emotional experience

Visualize the persona’s emotional journey. Include thoughts and feelings where it’s relevant.

  • Use more sections

Include illustrations, images, and charts to make the map visually engaging and easy to understand. Enrich your journey map with more data, like KPIs related to journey stages.

Feel free to tailor this checklist to the specific context of your business and your project's needs.

The free guide to download

As a bonus, download our free customer journey mapping guide. Fill in the form below to get a PDF file as an email.

The post was originally written in 2017.

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6 years ago

first of all, excellent example and I’m very happy to I could understand how to create user journey map, due to for a long time I can’t understand it and how, many thanks for your efforts 🙂
I have some question about ser journey map.
I hope to open your chest for me,

1-no there are rules for user journey map?
2-I need another example ?(for example Uber)?further understand
3-have I create user journey map without customer?

6 years ago
Reply to  Arthur McCay

many thanks for your reply to me
and again I have some questions

1-why you don’t use in your example? user experience, empathy maps such as use goal touch point, and how to create it
2-As for the previous example (Uber) very confuse for me not as your example

6 years ago

welcome again, my question is? what’s different between Aware and Research

6 years ago
Reply to  Arthur McCay


2 years ago

Thank you for this,

I am wondering , Have you done examples on B2B services. I work in Accreditation & Certification, this seems to be the least visited topic in marketing platforms and blog sites.

Thank you

Katerina Kondrenko
Katerina Kondrenko
2 years ago
Reply to  Saleh

Hi Saleh!

We have some B2B templates in our Template Library. Type B2B tag in the search placeholder and you will see all categories with the fitting templates. You can also explore the B2B mapping guide here.

Good luck and happy customers!

1 year ago

Great article, well articulated and detailed. I am starting off with service design and was wondering if I could get some advice mapping out a customer journey for a specific project.
I was mapping out how do one approach to repair services?

Sofia Grigoreva
Sofia Grigoreva
1 year ago
Reply to  Shreya

Hi Shreya, glad you liked the article!

If you’re dealing with home repair, I might suggest our pre-filled template for an interior design agency customer journey: https://uxpressia.com/templates/real-estate. Templates can be a great starting point even if they’re not a 100% match to your use case.

Other than that, you will need to create a persona. If you don’t have any research data yet, do it based on your assumptions. Then, try to visualize what their experience across all stages and interactions with the repair service might be. Once you have the first draft, you can proceed with validating it and adding more data as it comes in.

If you have more context on the project, I can look into it and come up with specific tips 🙂

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1 year ago

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Rok Software
Rok Software
1 year ago

Thank you for sharing, it was something I researched.

Katerina Kondrenko
Katerina Kondrenko
1 year ago
Reply to  Rok Software

Hi Rok! Happy mapping 🙂