Marketing Insights | Read Time - 9 Min Updated 24.04.2023

Customer Journey Map (CJM) as a tool for building a controlled environment where visitor is being inspired to become customer

A Customer Journey Map (CJM) is a visual representation of a customer’s journey from initial awareness of a product or service to the purchase

By aligning your CJM with your overall marketing strategy and business objectives, you can identify key touchpoints where customers may need additional support and develop strategies to keep them with Your brand. CJM can be both an operational and strategic tool.

1. Set a clear objective for your customer journey map

Have a clear idea of what you and your team are trying to accomplish by creating a survey:

  • What kind of information do you hope to gather and how will you use it?
  • What insights do you hope to gain?

Setting these (and other) goals early on can help ensure that your efforts are not wasted and that you are designing the customer journey correctly.


2. Define your personas and highlight target customers

Since a single organization can have many different customer profiles, you'll need to decide whether your CJM should reflect several different buyer personas in one, the majority, or most prevalent persona, or whether you'll create an individual map for each target customer.

To create accurate personas, you'll need to gather feedback directly from your customers, as well as data from customer analytics. Here are some great ways to gather valuable data when defining your customer personas:

  • Quantitative research - performing customer surveys and questionnaires
  • Qualitative research - personal interviews with customers
  • A/B testing with your product
  • Interviewing employees in customer-facing roles
  • Run a Google Analytics report
  • Collect analytics from your website and social media - the most popular tools for collecting digital analytics are Google Analytics + Smartlook / HotJar

Make sure you focus on people who are actually interested in using your services or who have used your product before. You'll also want to make sure you're asking questions that get the information you want without bias or influencing your customers' answers. Here are some good questions to look for answers to:

  • What problem do my products/services solve?
  • What information are our potential customers looking for on the website/eCommerce?
  • Do we provide complete information about products/services?
  • How did they find your site or company?
  • Was the site or application valuable?
  • Which competitors did they research?
  • What made your brand different? What made them choose your product (or not)?
  • Was the experience enjoyable and exciting?
  • What do they hope to accomplish by interacting with your company's products and services?
  • How often do they interact with your brand or product, and for how long each time?
  • Have they ever contacted support? What was the experience like?
  • What do they like about your company? What do they find frustrating?
  • Are there areas that they feel could be improved? If so, what and how

Once you've defined your persona(s), you're ready to identify the stages they go through when interacting with your brand.

3. Define stages and identify goals for each

A customer journey map (or buyer's journey, as it's often called) can have many unique stages. The stages you define for your map will largely depend on the customer's needs/goals/motivations, the goal you are trying to achieve, and what you want to show. However, a typical customer journey has four distinct stages: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase (or Decision), and Retention, but in PRIME™ Creative we have developed a few more: Investigation, Recurring Contact, and Usage - mainly because some of our clients' businesses are niche, and to drive better results, we expanded each classic CJM

Awareness Stage. Your customer has identified a problem that needs solving and has just encountered your product or brand for the first time. This stage includes why they are looking for a product, their motivations for buying, and the first moment they are aware of your brand - so the first impression is dramatic.

Investigation Stage. Your prospect is gathering information to solve their problem. Provide useful, selective, valuable information delivered in the right way (text, photo, video) according to the psychography of your audience and brand values.

Recurring contact. After gathering information from you and your competitors, and in case if previous instructions/recommendations were done properly, it's really likely that your customer will return just to refresh the information about your brand and products/services.

Consideration Stage. Your potential customer is actively researching your brand by visiting about pages, contact pages, help centers and FAQs, and searching online reviews like Google, Trustpilot and Facebook / Instagram.

Purchase Stage. Your customer has gathered enough information to make a purchase. This stage often includes an in-person purchase experience, an online ordering page, an email confirmation, and shipping and billing FAQs.

Usage stage. This includes how the customer is satisfied with your products/services - do they deliver as promised? Do they solve customer problems in the right way? Is the customer satisfied with the quality?

Retention. Your customer has made an initial purchase and is evaluating their overall experience. This stage is about creating loyal, returning customers and typically evaluates the quality of your company's customer support services, delivery and return experience, and future discount or membership programs.

These are the most common stages of the customer journey, but the stages you define for your map will depend on what you're using it for. For example, if you want to see how customers interact with your product from early morning to late at night, you might create a "day in the life" journey map. Another interesting option might be to focus on the journey your customers take when they discover a problem, contact customer service, and get help.

Things like word of mouth or an email confirmation can also be touchpoints.

4. List out user actions / thoughts / feelings on each stage

The next step is to measure what your customers think and feel as they move from touchpoint to touchpoint and stage to stage. You'll want to walk the customer journey yourself so you can see firsthand what your customers are experiencing.

Expectations. Each stage has customer expectations. For example, at the "awareness" stage, there is hope for problem resolution, at research - finding the right information/help, at repeat contact - trust in the company/brand, at consideration - ease of payment/shipping, returns.

Feelings of the customer. At each stage customer has feelings: Too much information - anxious and struggling, brand has numerous achievements and great reviews - confident and inspired, poor customer service - nervous and stressed.

What's essential. This is your KPI's / "Indicators-to-explore" always connected to what your potential customer expects at each stage.

Customer actions. What is the customer doing to find a solution? Are they searching for information on Google or Youtube? Or reading blogs? What information are they looking for? What is their context?

Touchpoints. It could be your company's website, an advertisement, an online review, purchasing and using your services, or contacting customer support.

5. Gather data and customer feedback

At this point in creating your map, you should have a pretty good idea of how your customers move through your brand. However, it's most important to gather feedback from actual customers to incorporate into your Buyer's Journey:

  • There are many different ways to map the emotions, thoughts, and motivations your customers have when interacting with your brand. You can include:
  • Sections for quotes from in-person interviews and online reviews
  • Include a section to list statistics from surveys and questionnaires
  • Use emojis or images to relate feedback from user testing
  • Use rating systems and color codes to represent customer emotions at each stage

6. Determine pain points and points of friction

Once you've mapped the data from customer feedback, you'll be able to see more clearly the potential friction / struggle points your customers are experiencing.

  • Where are customers expressing frustration?
  • Are there gaps in the journey or difficulties moving between stages?

Pay attention to when pain points occur, what triggers them, how your customers react, and which departments within your organization are involved. Chances are, there are customer pain points throughout your map at every stage.

7. Identify areas for improvement

Identifying which areas of the customer journey need tweaking is the first step to improving the overall customer experience. The next step is to brainstorm solutions or remedies for each pain point. Having a section of your map dedicated to suggested solutions or ways to improve is critical to getting the most out of your map. Once you've brainstormed different ways to alleviate your customers' frustrations, you can implement the necessary changes, conduct further research, and re-evaluate the customer journey.

Having trouble coming up with solutions to your customers' pain points? Try creating a separate map of an ideal customer journey within your organization and compare and contrast it with the actual journey. Viewing the maps side by side may shed light on what can be done to improve your customers' attitudes toward your brand.

(About) PRIME™ Creative

PRIME™ Creative is a brand strategy and digital design agency that brings brands and culture together. With a belief that culture drives commerce, PRIME leverages shared values and ideals to inform strategy and design, creating experiences that inspire life and inspire action. With a growing client list, PRIME specializes in insights, strategy-driven and design-led company development, and digital innovation / user experience.