Tips on Creating a customer journey map template with examples

In this post we will give you tips on how to create a customer journey map template with examples. It’s well-known that profitable products...

In this post we will give you tips on how to create a customer journey map template with examples. It’s well-known that profitable products can hardly do without services. Whether it’s an extended warranty, convenient delivery, or something totally outstanding (like renting a product instead of buying, giving a product for complimentary use, and earning revenue from delivered services), products are bound to services. Furthermore, customer support is a service even if the customer doesn’t pay directly for that. So, now you have to think about service design. Service design is a form of conceptual design that involves the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication, and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between the service provider and its customers.

Creating a customer journey map template with examples

In 2016, my global research on startups showed that 71.9% of startups have already applied or were working on the methodology of service design to create better customer experience, deliver higher value and defining what is a brand?. Most of the startups who did so received significant benefits which, in some cases, became one of core elements of their success. Generally, these benefits can be created in two ways:

  1. finding ways to serve the customer better in order to improve the core value proposition through increased customer retention, loyalty, repeat purchases, and referrals
  2. seeing the whole process on a table allowed startup founders to gain insights into how to increase sales: attract new potential clients, propose additional offers (implement up-sell strategy), increase conversion rates, and increase customer lifetime value.
Service design may function as a way to inform changes to an existing service or create a new service entirely, including services complimentary to products. The purpose of service design methodologies is to achieve better results according to both the needs of customers and the goals of the company of lean customer development. If a successful method of service design is employed, the service will be useful, usable, desirable, efficient, and effective, while providing a competitive advantage for the company. It is a customer-centered approach that focuses on experience and the quality of services as the key value for success.

If you want to stay competitive, you must offer your customer a comprehensive solution that includes additional services (for example, delivery, delayed payment, warranty, regular maintenance, consulting, and training). Therefore, it is wise to model all possible processes and interactions on paper first and make decisions in advance before any negative situations emerge. Service design is a systematic and iterative process with long learning curves. In this regard, it’s quite similar to the concept of the startup learning curve: startups should never stop learning and improving their customer experience.

customer journey mapping process

Creating a customer journey map template with examples: List all the activities your customer has to do to get and use your value proposition

List all those activities in the sequence that best represents the customer journey from when they first acknowledge the problem and start looking for a solution until acquiring your value proposition and sharing their experience. You can do this initially by simply writing down a list of customer actions, or write each action on a separate post-it note and then arrange them according to the sequence of the whole process.

List all the activities you need to do to get the customer and deliver your value proposition
It would best if you could take a different colored post-it note and write down your actions on them. Think what you need to do in order to:

  • acquire the customer
  • create and deliver your value proposition
  • get feedback from the customer and keep a relationship
  • encourage repeat purchases
  • initiate word-of-mouth advertising or referrals

Align those activities according to if they are visible or invisible for the customer. Examples of visible activities include greeting a client, sending a confirmation email, SMS reminders, and delivering a package. Visible activities will directly influence the customer’s overall experience. But there are always activities that are important for your business, but the customer will never see. Examples of invisible activities include storing customer contracts and order details, adopting marketing automation tools, and keeping track of time spent on each order. Startups frequently enter the market with only the minimal viable product (MVP) to test how it will be accepted by target customers. In order not to waste money, many activities at this stage are done manually instead of by automated solutions (which will be developed later, if the hypothesis is verified). Customers usually don’t see and don’t care about the invisible activities or how they are accomplished, but such tasks should be done anyway. It is, therefore, very common for early stage startups to have many activities that are invisible to the customer.

Customer journey map template with examples: Draw the customers’ journey map

Service design scheme is another name for the customers’ journey map. You can call it either, but the essence remains the same. It is a visual representation of how a customer or user experiences a service over time. The customer journey map can be used not only for designing a service but also to check up on the overall customer experience.

The customer journey map shows time along an X-axis (as shown in the template below, including three periods:
  1. Pre-service time period (when the service is not yet being provided)
  2. A service time period
  3. Post-service time period (once the service is provided to a customer).

how to create customer journey map

 The Y-axis indicates the different activities and interactions (or touch points) at particular times. The most important element is the visibility line which is drawn in parallel to the X-axis. This line indicates what activities and interactions are seen by the customer and which are not. Probably the easiest and most convenient way to create your customer journey map takes just three steps:
  1. Write up post-it notes with customer activities and put them in a time sequence.
  2. Place the visible and invisible activities for both you and your partners (be careful about which side of visibility line you place them)
  3. Draw the connections and add missing touch points for the what if… scenarios. For example, what if the customer downloads your app but doesn’t use it for a week or more? What if a customer leaves your website without purchasing your product or service? What if the customer cancels his order in the checkout page? What if a customer is unsatisfied with the product?
The final result of your efforts should look like a logical sequence of actions showing all of the ways you acquire a new customer, how you serve them, and what actions are taken after the service is provided or the product delivered.

Creating a customer journey map template with examples: Identify most risky and weakest areas

Usually, customer journey maps are created as early as possible in a project and are used to check a variety of scenarios in order to improve the overall customer experience, exploit additional business possibilities (up-sell, cross–sell strategies, pricing strategies in marketing), and avoid any failures during the process. Once you have created your customer journey map, look at it from different points of view:

  • Does it represent the typical behavior of your target customer? Would it be the same or should it be modified for other target segments?
  • Have you taken into account the experiences and feedback from your current customers or beta users? Is there anything to be improved?
  • Does this journey map represent the first-time experience? Is there anything unclear for the first time user? Should you improve something?
  • Does this represent the repeated use of your product or service? Is there anything that might get annoying to the customer?
  • Is the process easy and smooth if everything goes right? Are there any activities wasting time, energy, or money on the part of you or the customer?
  • What might go wrong and how you will solve it?
  • When could the customer be lost? How could it be avoided?
Canadian startup BizON allows people to buy, sell, align pricing with marketing and business and grow a business or franchise. They target users that fall under different segments, for example, business buyers and sellers, baby boomers and millennials, etc. Because the main activity takes place on the website, the visitor’s experience is vitally important. So, BizON analyzed not just a paper customer journey map, but an already working website where different customer segments had different experiences. After proper analysis, BizON version 2.0 was launched in order to provide members with a more engaging and positive experience. After evaluating user needs and the actions they needed to take on the website, the new version simplified the search function and improved the ability of users to discover business and franchise opportunities they might be interested in. That helped to achieve an annual user growth rate of 192% and a connection growth rate of 713%.

What extra should we do to achieve better results?

Okay, it’s time for a coffee break, going for a walk in the fresh air, or taking any other kind of refreshment break. Just take some kind of break to clear your mind before you go back and review your customer journey map. With a fresh mind, ask yourself these questions:
  • How can we get more new customers?
  • How can we create loyal customers and encourage their repeated purchase?
  • What and how can we up-sell? What additional products or services could we offer at the moment when a customer decides to buy from you?
  • What could we do to increase the chance of initiating word-of-mouth referrals about our products and services?

Let me share with you the story of InnMind which overcomes traditional marketing shortcomings, a platform that connects startup founders with investors, corporate customers, mentors, and experts on the international startup scene. It was launched at the end of February 2016 and, after six months, it already had around 1,000 active users. But the beginning of this project was sabotaged by major mistakes related to the customer journey map and overall user experience.

InnMind was a very ambitious digital project. The founders had absolutely no knowledge of coding and IT nuances, but they were convinced that the best possible way to execute the plan would be to hire the external team and outsource the development tasks to experienced professionals. Instead of making a simple MVP on one of the free or low-cost websites, the developers made a decision to create a high-quality back-end, able to handle all the features InnMind founders wanted to implement from the very beginning as well as in the future. The main argument was that it just wouldn’t work otherwise. The founders paid for developers for several months without having even a demo, and then, after the launch, they realized that the demo was nothing close to what they imagined it to be. InnMind lost six months and tens of thousands of euros for nothing.

This could have been avoided if InnMind would have created and tested their MVP first and only then invested funds in developing a real platform. The issue is that if you want to create and test your MVP, you must understand your customers quite well and to know exactly what you are offering to them. That’s where the customer journey map come into play. Nelli Orlova, co-founder of InnMind, shared their painful lesson: regardless of the size, experience, or competence of the IT outsourcing company, they never have enough knowledge and skills in user experience, and they never know your customers better than you. This means that you need to do your homework researching your target customers and to have the UX (user experience) expert at your side while developing a web-based project.

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Thought Leadership Zen: Tips on Creating a customer journey map template with examples
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