So you’ve started (or intend to start) creating your first customer journey map. At this point, you aligned your goals and settled with a couple of personas. Everything was fine (or almost fine) until this very moment when you started to think about how many touchpoints would be okay for you. Where in the world do you draw a line between too few and too many? Will the number of touchpoints impact the final result? And in what way? Dang! That seemed way easier back then when you first heard about CJM. Don’t fret, we’ll find a way out. Like we always do.
So how many touchpoints should be in a perfect customer journey map? Better ask what size of shoes you should wear. Because like the size of your shoes and clothes depends on the size of your body, the ideal number of touchpoints depends on the type and the size of your business. Lights out, the curtain’s down. End of the article.
Wow, don’t rush to that X on the tab! This isn’t the end. Despite the fact that the number of stages can differ a lot depending on the type of business, there’s still a couple of good rules of thumb to follow when lining up your touchpoints. Let’s check them out, shall we?
More touchpints is better than less
Greed is generally not a praised trait in our society. However, when it comes to CJM touchpoints number, you must be really greedy. Resist the temptation to abstract your customers’ journey by narrowing it down to 3–4 steps. What seems a time-saver will turn a time-waster later.
Customer journey mapping is all about details so you don’t want to miss any tiny gap uncovered. Each gap, no matter how little, may lead you to a discovery of much bigger issues inside your organization. That is why it is crucial for you to look very carefully and pick every single touchpoint that occurs between your business and the customers.
Still, being business-minded people we love numbers as numbers express certainty while words are vague and are always a subject of misinterpretation. So is there any well-tried number that you can take as a starting point for your journey map?
We’d go with 5–7. Not that these are some magical numbers, but as our experience tells us, in most cases this is the way to go. Think of it this way: for whatever sort of business you run, there will inevitably be
- seeing your ad (online or coming across your flyer, business card, poster etc.) and reading about your company on its website/social media. So write down 2.
- for brick-and-mortar businesses parking next to your residence or just passing by and noticing the fancy building of yours. Plus 1.
- face-to-face communication with your employees (these can be a consultant, salesperson, support staff…). At least 1 more
- use your product/service: the product itself, its packaging, look-and-feel, even smell and sounds it makes. In our list it goes.
- leaving feedback (via email, phone call, feedback form on your site). Add 1.
= 6 touchpoints in sum. Give or take. And it’s the minimum because you will definitely find more once you start analyzing your business. By the way, it’s not a coincidence that all of our CJM templates have at least 5–7 steps.
More ≠ Excessive
Beware, however, those steps that prove to be excessive. The difference between many touchpoints and many useless touchpoints is huge. Though, we are not saying you should not include them in your CJM. No way. You must include every single moment when customers interact with your service. What we’re saying is that at some point during analysis you may run across some touchpoints that can be merged with others or eliminated completely. Do not hold onto them. If the idea that some step is redundant ever crosses your mind, it’s a serious ground for further tests. Each redundant step increases customers’ effort, time spent and most likely your resources overuse.
Channel ≠ Touchpoint
Another trap to be avoided is taking channels for touchpoints. Let’s say a customer goes to your website to learn about your company via desktop browser or he could use a mobile application – same touchpoint, different channels.
This may seem obvious, but many fall into this trap. Making such a mistake will result in redesigning the whole map costing you time, resources and much effort. Learn more about the difference in the article Touchpoints and Channels in Customer Journey Mapping.
To sum it up: do not make customer path abstractions, be greedy for touchpoints, find and eliminate redundant stages and never confuse touchpoints with channels. Keep these tips in your mind while mapping and rest assured you’ll nail the touchpoint stage without any doubt.
Do not forget that you’re always welcome to our template hub where you can take a ready-made solution. Use it as is or simply gain an insight or two at how you can approach your particular case. And once you're done with touchpoints use our CJM tool to bring your map into the world of pretty ones and zeros. Oh, and keep in mind that we also have a neat Persona tool to help you create outstanding personas!