Cooking Up a Winning Customer Journey Map Part II: The Recipe


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If you’ve never designed a customer journey map, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why we wanted to share a five-step recipe for how to build a basic map.

It’s important to note that if you haven’t read our post that outlines the ingredients for a winning customer journey map, we highly recommend that you read it first. For those of you who have read the first post and have gathered all of your ingredients, let’s get cookin’!

Step 1: Determine Your Mapping Method & Design
Figuring out how to design your map can be tricky because there are dozens of ways to do it. You could manually arrange all of your data on post-it notes, design an elaborate process flow chart in Visio, or use a web-based mapping tool like Touchpoint Dashboard, to name a few. If you opt to design your own map without using a tool like Touchpoint Dashboard, we recommend the streamlined “Swim Lane” design, where touchpoints and data are organized and displayed in horizontal rows and vertical columns. It looks something like this:



Step 2: Define Swim Lane Headers
Now that we’ve settled on a design, it’s time to start adding the ingredients you gathered back in post #1 and build your map’s framework. One of the first things you did was define your customer journey lifecycle phases and your departments/channels (i.e. the broad-category ways your customers experience your brand, like advertising/events; retail stores; digital; call center; aftersales support; etc.).

Use this information to design the skeleton of your map and set-up your “swim lanes.” Label each vertical column header with a lifecycle phase going in order from left to right. Similarly, label each horizontal row header with your departments/channels.

Step 3: Create a Key
Your map’s framework is in place and you’re almost ready to add the remaining ingredients that you worked so hard to prepare after your read our first post. But first, you’ll need to create something that every map requires — a key or a legend.

Look at your list of touchpoints and the supporting materials you developed (refer to point #3 in previous post). How, in broad terms, do you “touch” your customers? Is it by email, web, mail, in person, phone, mass media or an event? Add these touch types to your key and assign each one a color. (This will help you keep your touchpoints organized.) Also determine and add any symbols you want to use to indicate pain points, best practices, moments of truth, departments/individuals responsible for touchpoints, database and supporting applications involved, etc.

Step 4: Add Your Touchpoints & Plot the Journey
Now it’s time to add the “meat” to the recipe. With your list of touchpoints and supporting materials in hand, start adding your touchpoints to the map. Organize them by lifecycle phase (columns) and corresponding department/channel (rows) and color-code them according to your key. Arrange your touchpoints in the order that a customer uses/comes into contact with them at each point in the swim lanes.

Once you’ve displayed and arranged all of your touchpoints, refer back to your supporting materials and the key. Add supporting details and associated symbols. Details could include:
• Why each touchpoint exists from a business and customer perspective
• Responsible departments
• Supporting databases or systems
• How you measure the effectiveness
• How often it is used and cost involved

You want this map to tell a detailed story about your touchpoints. You want it to show you where you’re delighting your customers and where you’re letting them down, and call out the areas of your business that excel and the ones that need work.

The trick here is to figure out how to incorporate all of this information so you’re not flipping back and forth between your map and supporting documents and reports. And that’s exactly why we built Touchpoint Dashboard. With our tool, there is no flipping back and forth. You have the ability to open each touchpoint and add as much or as little detail as you want. Every time you add additional information or make changes of any kind, the touchpoint map updates automatically. It’s a great way to bring your customer journey to life and map, manage and measure your touchpoints.

Step 5: Synch Your Voice of the Customer Information
This is one of the most important, yet most challenging steps in the mapping process. If you followed the plan in post #1, you already organized your customer feedback by channel and lifecycle phase, and sifted it down to specific touchpoints. It’s not an easy process, we know, but this will be the key to truly gauging the effectiveness of your touchpoints. Refer back to the questions we posed in our ingredients post and start analyzing. Some of those questions included:
• 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, and are those expectations met?
• Are there any redundancies or unnecessary touchpoints?
• Which touchpoints are most and least effective from a customer and employee perspective?

Use the symbols from your key and position appropriate ones next to the touchpoints on your map to indicate where pain, best practices or moments of truth occur. You may also wish to include direct customer comments as supporting evidence.

Rank your touchpoints in terms of value and effectiveness. If a touchpoint has a high value and is not effective, you will know it requires immediate attention. This ranking of touchpoints will help you develop action plans.

Next Steps…
Congratulations, your map is complete, but (sorry) you are far from being done. Check out our post titled, “My Customer Touchpoint Map is Ready… Now What?!?” for tips on how to pull insights from your map and use them to transform your business.

Looking for an Easier Way to Map?
As you can see, mapping can be down-right hard. Creating a customer journey map, incorporating your customer feedback and then pulling actionable insights out of it is a very labor-intensive and complex process. After reading this post, you likely discovered, like we did, how limiting and time consuming the traditional mapping methods can be. There is so much information that needs to be represented on a map… how do you fit it all in in a way that makes sense? The solution we recommend is a Touchpoint Dashboard map. Check it out for yourself at

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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