Customer Journey Map Template

The 'customer journey' is the process through which a prospect or customer interacts and engages with a company in order to purchase a product or service. For modern marketers, having a clear picture of how a potential customer is likely to think and behave along their customer journey is essential. The Customer Journey Map Template below breaks this journey down into specific stages and helps you to understand the key conditions, needs, questions, references, and inspirations that your target customer is likely to have or use as they progress. The Customer Journey Map Template is a deep dive into your Target Persona’s thinking, processes, and behaviour as they move from initial awareness of the problem that you’re trying to solve, through to the ultimate purchase of your product or service. By understanding this journey in detail and how the customer moves from one stage to another, you’re better able to inject into and influence the customer’s decision-making and thereby drive them forward towards making a purchase.

"You've got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around." 
Steve Jobs

Understanding the customer experience by putting yourself in the customer's shoes enables you to create the most effective and efficient journey for them. The Customer Journey Map Template gives you the framework to do this.

Target persona

Before we can begin outlining and detailing our customer journey, we have to start by having a clear definition in the first place of our intended target audience. The construct we use to do this is a Target Persona.

A persona is a detailed representation of your intended customer presented as an actual person. It creates a picture to help you understand your customers better and thereby tailor your messaging, content, and campaigns more appropriately. A persona is more than just a list of characteristics or traits, it's a visualisation of your desired customer which allows you to see the world through their eyes and consequently understand more deeply their motivations, behaviours, and responses. It helps you to relate to your audience as actual human beings.

In order to devise your persona you can use our One Page Persona Template. This offers a structure to help you gather your thinking; decide what's important and what's not; and create an overview of your persona that's easy to understand, apply, and share.

There is some overlap between your One Page Persona and the Customer Journey Map. This is intended because they need to sync absolutely. Your persona gives a detailed description of your specific target customer, whilst your customer journey map outlines the path that they take to ultimately purchase your product or service. As such, they need to be considered in unison. Having a clear Target Persona is crucial to remind you to direct every aspect of your customer journey towards them. It's important, therefore, to flesh out as much information as possible about your Target Persona which your customer journey map is then based on. 

Your Customer Journey Map Template should only focus on one Target Persona at a time. If you group personas together to try to define one journey, your map won't accurately reflect your customer's experience. If you're creating your first map, it's best to pick your primary persona and consider the route that they would typically take when purchasing your product or service for the first time.

Customer stage

Taking your Target Persona, The Customer Journey Map Template deep dives into their purchasing journey by breaking it down into three overarching stages:

1. Awareness/knowledge

This first phase is where the potential customer realises and expresses symptoms of a potential problem or opportunity. They determine that they have a need which must be filled, and start their processes to do so. This entails an initial discovery exercise, where they try to understand the basis for the problem and what they should do or what they could use the resolve it. They are likely to come across your brand or offering for the first time, but at this point they don't understand what your solution means to them or how it can be of benefit. 

2. Interest/consideration

Once the potential customer has gained some initial knowledge, they then move on to the second phase where they assess their requirements and investigate potential solutions. They start to consider how they will specifically fulfil their need and look at what considerations they have to their personal situation or conditions. Once they understand this, they then start to build a short list of possible vendors who can meet their identified specifications and concerns.

3. Intent/purchase

In the final stage, the potential customer hones in on their preferred solution and qualifies the value of acquiring/adopting it versus the effort and cost. They make an assessment based on the information that they've gathered and then commit to the purchasing process. It's still not a done deal, even in the purchase phase once the customer has handed over their hard-earned money. If they're not satisfied, they can easily go back on their decision which has potentially far reaching consequences for the vendor beyond this isolated purchase.

This customer stage 'funnel' is a simplification and in reality this process is less linear and more complex, however it helps us to compartmentalise the process so we can start to understand the customer's attitudes and behaviours at each macro stage. To do this, we have to ask certain key questions...  

Key questions

At each stage,  the Customer Journey Map Template asks a series of specific questions. These questions allow you to profile and understand the customer’s need state at each stage of their journey, and consequently, how you can address these to be able to effectively engage with the customer and influence them. These questions are as follows:

What questions do they ask?
What are the specific questions that the customer asks at each stage? What needs and considerations do they have? What information do they require to give them the confidence to continue with their purchasing journey?

Who do they talk or refer to?
Who do they turn to to ask those questions? Who do they trust and rely on to give them the information that they need? Who do they speak to to gather inputs?

Where do they go to look for information?
What information or reference sources do they look at or visit? Do they visit any specific websites or blogs? Do they read any magazines or journals? Do they attend any events or conferences?

What content do they consume?
What nature or form factors of content do they consume as part of their research or buying experience? Are they more likely to consume written, video, audio, or visual content? Is there a style or fashion that they're attracted to?

What are their considerations / decision criteria?
What are the factors and criteria that they will use to base their decision on? What will turn them off or onto your product or service? What are the specific features, functions, benefits, or outcomes that they are wanting?

By considering and answering these questions, we're able to build a detailed picture of our Target Persona's journey as they progress through to purchase. This provides us with the foundation to define and construct our marketing messaging, programs, content, and tactics so that they are more attuned to our specified target customer.

We capture our answers within the Customer Journey Map Template.

The Customer Journey Map template

A template allows you to focus on the content of your customer journey map, rather than spend time having to think about how to structure the information. The template below is available for you to purchase and download so that you're able to construct your own customer journey map. The download contains a blank version of the template, together with an annotated version with prompts for each respective section to aid you as you consider and craft your inputs.

The Customer Journey Map Template is intentionally confined to a single page. This is to force you to think very carefully about the inputs; having to make conscious decisions about what's important to include, and what's not. It's key to be critical about the elements in your Customer Journey Map template; do you really need all of them? Is anything important missing? Could a small tweak make it more effective? 

In this way, the Customer Journey Map Template creates a more considered, focused and concise customer journey map for you to use. It also makes it easier to consume and thereby to share with others so they understand your thinking and able to act on it. This significantly increases the value of the exercise and the map as a tool to drive impact for your business.

Customer Journey Map Template

Inputs for your Customer Journey Map can come from a variety of sources:

  • prospect/customer interviews, surveys or focus groups
  • observing online behavioral to see what sites they visit, what content they view, who they refer to and ask, what they're saying in social media, etc.
  • feedback from employees who regularly interact with customers, i.e. sales, customer support or onboarding teams
  • listening to recordings from call center conversations
  • scour customer support and complaint logs 
  • third-party data sources and online tools where you can view search trends, social behavior, and benchmark competitors

The best way to understand the journeys of your customers is by asking them.  As much as possible, try to have direct conversations with your prospects or customers to find out how they make decisions, decide to purchase etc.

Without an essential understanding of your customers and their needs, a customer journey map will not lead you to success.

Your Customer Journey Map should not be considered a static, one-off exercise. By revisiting and reviewing your inputs and answers on a periodic basis you'll enhance the relevance and therefore usability of your map. The more you put into it, the more you'll get back over time.