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Customer Journey Map: tools and approaches

Thursday, July 30, 2020

You can lose both regular users and potential ones (people that you may be recommended to by your clients) if you don’t know the mechanics of the customer's interaction with your product. Creating a CJM, or Customer Journey Map, is a relatively simple yet effective way to make the customer happy with the product and encourage them to use it for as long as possible. 

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In this article, we will have a look at what a CJM and its function is, we’ll show you how to build a CJM and have a look at several convenient software to do this.


Customer Journey Map

What is a CJM

Customer Journey Map is the development of a product and customer interaction system based on a detailed analysis of the needs of the audience and its behavior. In practice, CJM is a description of the customer’s “journey” from the first contact with the company to the purchase and repeat purchases.

A CJM allows you to comprehend the user experience, understand the motivation of the client and, with this in mind, improve your product. Using a CJM usually results in an increase in the number of users who are satisfied with the product, and, as a result, in the number of customers in general due to virality. CJM helps to make customers loyal, enhances their engagement, provides comprehensive work with them at all stages of interaction. It also allows you to understand what customers think, what makes them happy and upset and how they decide whether to buy your product.

Although the term has the word “map” in its name, CJM is a broader concept. This is a study of user behavior from the moment of their first acquaintance with the product through “points of contact” that are the moments of the customer’s access to the product. The map is the result of such study.

The feature of CJM is that there is no so-called “ideal sample”, each company draws a map in its own way.

A CJM also helps to find out:

  • At what points the audience comes into contact with the product;

  • How different types of customers interact with the product;

  • What stages users go through on the way to their goals;

  • What emotions they experience at each stage;

  • How well users transition from one stage to another;

  • What obstacles clients face;

  • Which obstacles prevent users from achieving their goals.


Customer Journey Map

How to create a CJM

The general requirements are that, firstly, the map should not be too complex as it is a practical tool. One glance at the map should be enough to understand which channel and which content the customer needs at each touchpoint. As a rule, it is better to make several different cards for different persons with different scenarios depending on how the people get into it.

Secondly, the tools for creating a CJM have to do with observing the audience and communicating with it. This includes web analytics data and personal communication with clients (interviews, online and telephone surveys). It is important to resist the temptation to build a CJM based on social media monitoring data or online polls with closed answers. The users of your product can share those doubts, observations and desires in a one on one conversations that may simply not be provided in the form.

How to create a CJM if the product is under development? One of the options for obtaining the data required to create a CJM is to release an MVP. After the product has users, you can collect the information you need to make the map. The second option is that for new products, you can also use the analysis of competing products, data from open sources, consultations with experts, questioning the intended audience and forecasting based on theoretical models.

Have a look at a step-by-step guide on how to create a CJM that we’ve prepared.

Step 1. Gather all information about your target audience and create “personas”

Personas are detailed portraits of typical customers whose interactions with your product you will describe. They will help you better understand the people that your product serves, their lifestyle, needs, problems, interests. As a result, you can gain insight into how to best meet your client’s needs.

When creating a CJM, it is better to choose several key personas that your profit directly depends on. For each person, a separate card is created.

It’s also important to understand the difference between target customer segments and personas.

For example, the target segment of an IT startup that develops a CRM system with an implemented messenger for team communication can be medium and large business, but a person is a decision-maker in the company (owner, director, top manager) who has certain interests, competencies, habits as to how they organize their work and the work of a team, their circle of friends.

Here’s an example of a person:

Anna Ivanova, 38, lives in Kiev, has economic education, runs a company employing 35 people, appreciates well-established communication with business partners, the ability to provide quality customer service, strives to develop the company. As for the software that her company will use, for Anna quality, good technical support, the possibility of training her employees so that they can use all the functionality of the software, the convenience of the software for interacting with customers, and good reviews on the market are important. She prefers Facebook and uses an iPhone. Attends both business and cultural events.

Step 2. Write down scenarios for how personas find your product

Customers can come to you in a variety of ways — through ads on Google and on social media, a website, cold calls, word of mouth. Define the most common ways in which clients find you as they will form the basis for further work on the CJM.

Let’s imagine customers most often come to you in two ways: through targeted advertising on FB and as a result of cold calls.

In the first case, the script will look something like this:

A potential client sees an advertisement> Follows it> Leaves a request on the site> Waits for a call from a sales manager> Discusses the product capabilities and conditions for its purchase> Makes a decision straight away or takes their time> Buys a product.

In the second case it will be somewhat like this:

The database manager calls the company and offers his product> Interested customer asks questions, requests additional information> Makes a decision immediately or takes their time> Buys a product.

As with personas, it’s better to create a separate CJM for each scenario.

Here’s a case of the “Manufactura” company (Russia)

The company specializes in developing mobile applications for iOS and Android.

At one time, Manufactura developed a CJM for its client, the German infotainment channel Meinestadt. Initially, Meinestadt wanted to develop its own mobile application, which the company expected to help authors register and create their own content.

However, “Manufactura”, which was the developer of the application, decided to start with the creation of a CJM. To do this, they first analyzed the actions of users and highlighted the most frequent scenarios. The target audience was then divided into three main segments according to the results. Those were “party-goers” (search for interesting events through the application and buy tickets), “navigators” (use the application to find the right places — restaurants, bars, gas stations, etc.) and “readers” — study the news feed in order to keep up with the events in the city.

It turned out that “authors” are a very small segment of the application audience and there is no point in investing in functionality for them, since it will remain unwanted.

Thus, the creation of a CJM saved the company from wrong actions and expenses.

Step №3. List the stages of the customer’s life cycle

The life cycle of a client consists of 8 stages, however, each product has its own characteristics, sometimes two stages can merge into one or, conversely, one can be divided into several. Here are the main stages of a customer life cycle:

1) Lack of knowledge — the client does not know about your company, they do not yet have a problem that your product solves;

2) Awareness — the client has a problem, they realize the need for solution and find information about the appropriate methods;

3) Search for a solution — the client finds and compares various solutions;

4) Purchase — the client chooses a product and pays for it;

5) Use of the product — the client uses the product, understands its strengths and weaknesses;

6) Support — they interact with the support service, pay bills;

7) Loyalty — the client leaves reviews on the product, recommends it (or comments negatively) to their social circle;

8) Leaving — the client finds another solution to the problem and goes to a competitor or stops using the product because the problem is no longer relevant.

In practice, each of the stages is a separate column in your CJM.

4. Choose Study Parameters

Determine what goals the client sets at each stage, what questions they ask, what emotions they experience, how much time each stage takes, through which channels they interact with your company at each stage, assess their satisfaction. In practice, each of these parameters is a string in a CJM.

At this stage, the matrix is ​​being filled in. A matrix is the correspondence of the stages of the life cycle to each of the parameters. Here you need to fill in each cell in as much detail as possible. To do this, use information from the clients themselves whenever possible.

Where do I get the information?

You need to conduct a survey — in person, by phone or through an online form in order to collect up-to-date data. Use open (Why did you decide to use the product? What was the buying experience? What information could make the buying process easier? What could make you change your mind about buying the product?) and closed (Choose the source from which you learned about the product? Will you buy the product again? Would you recommend the product to your friends?) questions. It is important that the survey does not include too many items, and the questions should be as specific as possible.

To circulate the survey, you can use social networks, company’s website, email addresses and customer phone numbers.

The next source of information about customers is website traffic statistics (that may be taken from Yandex.Metrica and Google Analytics). You will find out where users come from and how they behave on the site.

Chat with sales managers and technical support. These experts know first-hand about the barriers users face when buying and using a product.

Note that when filling out the box with the questions customers ask (themselves, sales managers, technical support staff) you should try to make sure that the wording of the questions comes from customers, they should not be invented out of your head.

Ask salespeople to compile the most frequently asked questions from customers, marking at what stage of the product introduction these questions arise. Talk to the support service to find out what questions your customers are concerned about after they bought a product. This will help you find out how high customers rate the quality characteristics of the product and whether they can purchase your product again or recommend it to friends.

Pay attention to customer complaints: what they are not satisfied with in your product, what problems they contact support with, analyze the conflict moments when the customer was extremely dissatisfied with the product / service in detail.

5. Set kpi for each stage

Based on the information received, identify points in CJM that you could improve and allocate kpi for each stage, make up a plan for achieving it and assign a person responsible for each stage.


Customer Journey Map

Where is the best place to create CJM

The easiest way to make a CJM is in Excel or google tables. To do this, you do not need to spend time mastering the functionality of a new software. Head the columns with the names of your customer’s lifecycle stages, and the rows with the research parameters. However, there are also specialized services for creating CJM. Here are some of them.


Smaply is a specialized software for client journey mapping. It allows you to create, share and present your CJMs. The software is used by such giants as Dell, one of the world’s largest computer manufacturers, IBM, one of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of software, Oracle, one of the world leaders in software production.

The software can be used free of charge for 14 days. Then the cost of the packages is 25 euros (Starter, for individuals and startups; the functionality allows one person to work with the software, you can create 3 projects), 50 euros (Regular, for small teams, you can create an unlimited number of projects, CJM can be exported in various formats, including Excel and Powerpoint), 100 euros (Business, for large teams, it allows you to export a CJM in various formats with the company logo, there is a commenting mode and access to a library of images for CJM).


Miro is a multifunctional software that allows you to create CJMs as well. The software integrates with a number of teamwork tools: Dropbox, Google Suite, JIRA, Slack. According to its website the service has over 5 million users.

The program has a flexible pricing policy. Thus, one person can use the software for free. Prices for teams start at $ 8 per month per participant if you pay for a year straight off, and $ 10 / month in case you pay monthly.


UXPressia.  Here, as a bonus, you can find CJM templates for businesses in the field of financial services and insurance, travel and tourism, real estate, health care, entertainment, services, digital and transport.

The service has two packages — free (one user and 1 project) and paid (from $ 20 per user per month).



Creation of CJM helps you understand how your client thinks and what emotions they experience during interaction with the product. This, in turn, allows you to identify weaknesses in the way your company works with customers, improve the system of interaction with them and, as a result, get loyal users who will come back to your product again and recommend it to their environment. To create a CJM, you can use both Excel, Google sheets, and specialized software.


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