Walking in a User’s Footsteps: Improve UX and More with the Customer Journey Map Template

Walking in a User’s Footsteps: Improve UX and More with the Customer Journey Map Template

We’ve all been that online customer: we’re using an app or a website, and it feels like the company missed some key UX considerations. Yes, different customers want different things from a product. But we can’t be the only customers bothered by this particular experience, right?

So the real question is, how do we minimize these pain points for our own customers? How do we make the online customer journey smooth, intuitive, and obstacle-free? This is where customer journey maps can help your business serve its customers better. A customer journey map walks you step by step through the online user’s interactions with your product or service so you can experience it from deep inside their perspective.

Use the Customer Journey Map template to create a detailed diagram of any customer experience. Study your research data, gain intimate awareness of customer pain points, and find creative ways to address them. Make your plan, then take advantage of Whiteboards’ native two-way Jira integration to create new user stories or import and update existing Jira issues as you execute your next steps.

Start your free Whiteboards trial today, and read on to learn about creating better software using customer journey maps, including a step-by-step customer journey map example.

What is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a visual collaboration tool for designing and refining products according to a deep awareness of the customer experience. The journey map process draws you inside a typical customer’s step-by-step interactions with your product. From there, you can pinpoint their reactions of delight, dissatisfaction, frustration, or confusion and create business solutions accordingly.

Customer journey mapping helps a company to:

  • track a typical customer’s interactions with the product step by step
  • sort customer feedback according to each stage of product contact
  • identify key pain points and other opportunities in the user experience
  • brainstorm and research solutions to the most urgent issues
  • create a product that more directly aligns with the target customer’s priorities

How does using a template help with customer journey maps?

A customer journey map templates help UX teams analyze a defined instance of the customer experience in great detail. This instance can be anything customers do with your product: signing up as a new user, upgrading a current subscription, searching for content on your site, interacting with the online help desk, etc. Whatever your focus, the journey mapping template organizes that particular customer experience for your in-depth consideration.

Customer Journey Map template on Whiteboards.io
Customer Journey Map template on Whiteboards.io

Whiteboards’ Customer Journey Map template guides you to create a map that covers all the relevant angles. Use your marketing research and answer these key questions:

  • Stages: What is the main route customers take during this journey?
  • Steps: What individual user actions occur at each stage of this route?
  • Thoughts: What are customers saying about their experience at each stage?
  • Actors: Who is involved at different points in the customer’s journey?
  • Touchpoints: What other points of contact are relevant to their experience?
  • Emotions: How are customers feeling about each journey stage?

Create a more user-friendly product or service with customer journey maps. Our customer journey map example below can help you think through each mapping stage and get the most out of this template.

When is a customer journey map used?

Your company can create a customer journey map at any stage of product development. If you use journey maps at all points in your creative process, the same map can help you:

  • visualize the customer experience during new product design 
  • analyze feedback from users while beta testing the product
  • revisit the user experience via additional customer research after product launch
  • continue improving the product throughout its life cycle

Start mapping during the initial design stage or make a journey map to study the target customer’s experience with an established product. Either way, plan to update your customer journey maps periodically to continually improve the user experience.

What are the benefits of a customer journey map?

Customer journey maps are a valuable UX design tool because of their granular approach to product development. Journey map creation and analysis lead to a clearer consideration of each step the customer takes with your product and how their experience affects your business.

An effective customer journey map can help your company:

  • empathize deeply with the various product journeys of each user persona
  • dispel bad assumptions about how users interact with a product
  • catch weak points in a product or service before they become serious issues
  • present relevant stakeholders with a detailed diagram to explain your design
  • align the business to a shared understanding of the customer experience
  • improve customer retention by proactively addressing pain points

Your customer’s journey should feel like a walk in the park on a nice day, not an uphill scramble through overgrown foliage. Observe the customer’s route closely to see where they trip over obstacles in their path, pause in confusion because of unclear signage, or feel put off by the scenery. You might even catch them on a detour toward a competitor’s product. Use all these clues to smooth out the path and create a more pleasant customer journey going forward.

How do I start the customer journey mapping process?

Do the groundwork to create an effective customer journey map.

Customer journey mapping is an in-depth exploration of the user experience. To make a useful customer journey map, you’ll need clear objectives and relevant data points in place before you begin.

Decide which part of the buyer journey you’ll explore.

Set your mapping session scope by focusing on a small segment of the customer experience. You aren’t studying every avenue the customer might go down with your product – at least, not in one meeting. Keep your scope narrow, or your customer journey map will quickly become overwhelming.

For instance, if your product is a travel app for outdoor enthusiasts, your customer journey map scope might be “family with an RV seeking same-day campsite accommodations.” Your map will then follow the customer as they open the app, find the right menu selection, input search criteria, explore options, choose a campsite, and reflect on how well the app guided them to make an appropriate choice.

Establish user personas and decide which customers to focus on.

Different customers will experience your product differently depending on their interests, goals, online usage patterns, and a host of other attributes.

Define your different user demographics with Whiteboards’ User Persona template. Divide your target customer base into representative parts, and then determine which persona you’ll study during your customer journey mapping. 

This choice often points back to the customer experience you’re exploring. Take the customer journey map example above. The “family with an RV seeking same-day campsite accommodations” will involve a different user persona than “backpackers searching for hiking trails near backcountry tent camping sites.”

See our Step-by-Step Guide to Empathy Mapping for a detailed example of how customers might break down by user persona. Consider developing personas and creating an empathy map to understand each segment of your customer base. Then use your research to begin working on customer journey maps.

Gather data from your customers or product testers. 

You can make a customer journey map in the initial product design phase to explore the likely interactions of hypothetical customers. Once the product is in testing, do additional research to explore real user experiences.

Seek detailed data, including the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of these potential customers. Survey users and encourage them to speak honestly about what they love and hate about the product. Excellent qualitative research is key to effective customer journey mapping.

How do I use the Customer Journey Map template?

Follow the six template steps with this customer journey map example.

With your scope defined and your research compiled, add the Customer Journey Map template to the online whiteboard and invite team members to a video chat

Customer Journey Map template on Whiteboards.io
Customer Journey Map template on Whiteboards.io

To better understand the process of creating a customer journey map, we’ll follow a UX design team as they use the customer journey mapping template. The product in this example is the popular music streaming service Spotify. The business is exploring the experience customers have when they share content from the app with friends. Here’s what the team’s journey mapping process looks like, step by step:

1. Establish the primary stages of the customer journey on the template. 

The design team starts their customer journey map with a broad overview, identifying each stage the typical customer goes through to share a song with a friend. Importantly, their objective is to understand the whole customer journey, not simply the moment of sharing the song.

In this example, the team is studying a user persona they’ve named John, who sends a song link to his friend Grace. Customers like John describe sharing content with other people as a spontaneous decision. They are typically browsing the streaming service and trying out new music. When hearing a song, they might think it meets someone else’s taste and send it to them.

The design team identifies seven broad stages in this customer journey, including the experience of Grace, who interacts with the product after John sends her a link. On the template, the team describes each stage with a single action word: visit, listen, discover, share, discuss, receive, and respond.

2. Break down the customer journey map stages into smaller steps. 

Next, the customer journey map example team subdivides their seven stages into the individual actions John and Grace take to complete each one. They plot out this more detailed customer journey based on a combination of user persona knowledge, existing metadata research, and direct customer feedback. For instance, under “visit,” they enter “opens Spotify on the phone” because customers like John generally use a music streaming service on their mobile devices.

3. Add feedback from customers who’ve made this journey.

In the “Thoughts” row of the template, the team adds customer feedback to sticky notes under the relevant stages of the customer experience. These data points are the key to creating a more optimal customer journey. The team will return to this content in Step 6 to make important connections and pinpoint customer pain points.

Note that you may want to double-check your Step 2 sticky notes after Step 3. Step 2 is about trying to establish a typical route the customer journey takes, so make the most of your existing research.

For instance, in the action steps under the stage called “listen,” our example team noted that John uses the app’s “Discover weekly” playlists to explore new music. This reflects one of the “Thoughts” fields in Step 3. Not every customer under this user persona will do the same, but it’s a good approximation of the path taken.

4. List all the actors involved in the customer journey map.

This step is simple for our example team since the only people involved in the customer journey are John and Grace. Another customer journey map might feature only one actor or several. The key here is to make note of anyone interacting with the product.

If the customer journey map described John sending a group message to various friends, they would all be actors. If the journey map instead tracked John using Spotify at a party and different partygoers interacted with the service to change up the music, this would make those people relevant actors.

5. Identify the various touchpoints of the customer journey.

Here, the team notes any interactions that affect how the customer experiences the streaming service. These touchpoints help the team contextualize the customer journey and understand how the product performs in different situations.

For the example team’s touchpoints, they list the technology platforms involved in the customer journey: Spotify and WhatsApp. WhatsApp is relevant because that’s how John sends the song to Grace. John’s messages to Grace are also touchpoints because he sends a separate text after sharing the song. This might seem irrelevant, but it could also be a customer journey clue. Why does he send a text afterward? Is there a functional piece missing that requires John to handle this communication outside of the app?

Customer journey touchpoints might include virtual platforms, physical locations, other people the customer interacts with, or specific content they read, watch, or listen to. If the customer journey centered on John listening to Spotify podcasts while driving, his vehicle would be one of the relevant touchpoints. His perception of the streaming service would be affected by how convenient it is to use on the road.

6. Reflect the current state of the customer experience using emojis.

In the final stage of customer journey mapping, review the template content, especially the customer feedback. 

After studying the “Thoughts” section of the template, the customer journey map example team places emojis on the map as quick visual markers reflecting the quality of the user experience. Their research shows that the customer journey was overall positive for the main user persona, John. However, Grace has some complaints as the Spotify link recipient. She is frustrated that she has to open the app to hear the song and also by the play options after she does this. 

In light of this, the designers will make a decision about feature priorities or, possibly, about conducting further research. 

What’s next after customer journey mapping?

Here are some ways to use your completed customer journey map.

Customer journey mapping can bring important pain points to light and reveal opportunities for your business to serve customers better. Consider how a customer journey map fits into overall product development and some steps you might take after creating a map:

Take action straight from the template. 

If journey mapping leads you to an immediate design decision, go ahead and add your action plan to the product backlog. Select relevant fields on the template and convert them to Jira user stories. Whiteboards templates sync with Jira, so your new stories are instantly live in your Jira backlog.

From here, manage any issue on the virtual whiteboard just as you would in Jira: add notes, child issues, assignees, etc. Import existing Jira issues to the whiteboard and update them to align with your customer journey mapping conclusions. All updates you make on one platform appear instantly on the other for seamless planning and execution.

Create additional customer journey maps to assess development priorities. 

Each customer journey map shows one small part of a customer’s interactions with your product. Make additional maps to investigate other key product functions or to explore the experiences of additional user personas.

You don’t have to create the entire map as a team, either. One designer can build your maps, and then the team can study them and make a decision together. You can also collaborate asynchronously by leaving comments on templates and mentioning other Whiteboards users to communicate with coworkers between meetings.

Check out our Guide to Asynchronous Collaboration on Whiteboards for helpful tips on saving time and effort through better meeting prep and post-meeting communication.

Revisit your customer journey map whiteboard periodically.

Create a whiteboard dedicated to customer journey maps and save all your completed journey mapping templates there. Build customer journey map reviews into your team’s collaboration schedule. Continue doing customer research to gather data throughout the product life cycle. Revisit your journey maps periodically, updating them to reflect the current state of the customer experience and taking continuous action to make that experience better.

Share the customer journey map with relevant stakeholders. 

Take advantage of Whiteboards’ online collaboration tools to align the company around a shared understanding of the customer experience. Use your completed journey mapping templates to create a slideshow presentation for other business stakeholders on the online whiteboard. Or, use Whiteboards’ Loom integration to screen-record yourself as you highlight important points on the map and share your conclusions with the team. 

Bring Whiteboards with you as you travel through the user experience. Choose from 100+ customizable Jira-synced templates to help you brainstorm, research, plan, and execute improvements to the customer journey. Watch our short demo to see how Whiteboards-Jira integration can serve you on your path to customer-centered product design.