Cooking Up A Winning Customer Journey Map – Part I: The Ingredients


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You probably haven’t thought about this before, but customer journey mapping can be a lot like cooking.

Think of it this way.

When it comes to cooking, if you use fresh, quality ingredients and follow a great recipe, most often the meal you make will put smiles on the faces of your family or guests, and they’ll return for a second helping.

It’s the same with customer journey mapping. If you build quality, meaningful data into your map, when it’s “done cooking,” you can pull out the insights you need to build a prioritized action plan for transforming your business. And, your customers will always return for seconds. Sounds delicious, right?

So what are the ingredients needed to create a winning customer journey map? Check out our list below, and get cooking (I mean mapping)!

1) Customer Lifecycle Phases: How does a customer become your customer? After they are a customer, how do they remain a customer and (hopefully) help bring new customers your way. This process is referred to as the customer lifecycle. The first thing you should do is define these phases for your business. Different companies label the phases differently depending on their products and/or services, but phases typically look something like this:
1. Awareness
2. Information-gathering
3. Selection
4. Purchase
5. Satisfaction
6. Loyalty
7. Advocacy

2) Channels, Areas or Departments/Divisions: The next step is defining all the ways a customer could come into contact with your brand. Think in terms of broad umbrella categories for now. You will list the detailed touchpoints later (all of the ways a customer can encounter your company or receive information from it). Examples of your channels, could include:
• Advertising/PR/events
• Digital
• Retail Store
• Dealer or broker
• Customer Service/Call Center
• After Sales Support

3) Touchpoints: Now it’s time to take an inventory of your touchpoints. Start with your list of channels from step #2. List all the touchpoints associated with that channel. Here’s an example of touchpoints for the “digital” channel:
• Facebook
• Twitter
• Website
• Microsites
• Web ads
• Searches
• Aps, etc.

Also think about how customers encounter each touchpoint. What touchpoints are present during each lifecycle phase? Organize and further define these touchpoints. When taking inventory of your touchpoints, also consider the following:

• What is the business reason for each touchpoint (why does it exist from an operations perspective? To educate, provide support, receive payment?)
• Why does the touchpoint exist from a customer’s perspective? To set you apart from a competitor, for repeat sales, build loyalty?
• What databases and supporting applications enable these touchpoints?
• What department is responsible for each touchpoint?
• Which touchpoints are most actively used?
• Are touchpoints specific to product area or customer segment?

4) Customer journey: Roughly plot out the journey a customer takes for each channel and lifecycle phase. For now, a simple step-by-step list will do. These questions can help you get started:
• What is the first thing a customer does when contacting the call center during the purchase phase?
• How does that process work?
• What does the experience look like from the customer’s perspective?
• What does it look like from an employee’s perspective?
• What touchpoints are involved in this process?

5) Customer & Employee Feedback: Whatever method you use to gather customer feedback — surveys, testimonials, comments through your website, etc. — gather and organize this information by channel, lifecycle phase and sift it down to the specific touchpoint if possible. You will use this information to gauge the effectiveness of your touchpoints. Consider the following:
• What do your customers have to say about their experiences during each lifecycle phase?
• Does each touchpoint enhance or weaken a customer’s experience?
• What does a customer expect at each point?
• Do you meet their expectations?
• How do they feel?
• How do you want them to feel?
• Are there any redundancies or unnecessary touchpoints?
• Which touchpoint are most and least effective?
• What does the experience look like from the perspective of a front line employee or those who manage a specific are of the customer experience?
• How do employees rate the effectiveness of a touchpoint?

While this is not a simple process, it’s important that you take the time to gather, define and organize these ingredients. By doing so, you will have a solid base to begin building a robust, “flavorful” customer journey map that will be packed with priceless insights about your customers, your processes and overall operations.

Coming Soon: Part II of this series — “The Recipe” (how to take these ingredients and design your map).

Note: This series is published in full on the Touchpoint blog: . Looking to trim time from the mapping process? Touchpoint Dashboard’s web-based journey mapping tool can help organize map ingredients and auto-generate a complete customer journey map. Visit for details.

Jennifer Kramp
For 15 years, Jennifer has helped small & large companies define & enhance their brand and communication strategy. She's supported customer experience-related initiatives in industries including agricultural equipment manufacturing, global staffing/HR, hospitality & non-profit services. She's a supporting member of Touchpoint Dashboard, a web-based customer touchpoint mapping platform.


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