Skip to main content

How to Create a Customer Journey Map (With Examples)

Learn how to create a customer journey map to optimize your company's customer experience.

As a business owner, there tends to be a lot of work that goes into getting a customer to buy your product. Several interactions lie between the moment a potential customer first discovers your brand and the moment they make a purchase. The steps that the customer takes on their way to making a purchase is commonly referred to as the customer journey.

Understanding the stages of the customer journey and building a customer journey that leads to conversions are essential as you attempt to grow your brand and build relationships with clients. You want to facilitate positive interactions with your brand at every step of the journey, which means optimizing the customer experience and providing excellent customer service.

While the customer journey is an important element for any company to consider, it may seem somewhat abstract or difficult when it comes down to the details. This is where a customer journey map comes in.

With a customer journey map, you can begin to better understand the customer journey, build out a better customer experience for your business, and keep customers happy. A customer journey map can also help you set short- and long-term goals and optimize certain business processes.

In this article, we go into detail about what customer journey maps are and why they’re so important. Read on to learn more about how customer journey maps can help your business or navigate the article using the links below.

Visual representation of a customer journey map: awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, advocacy

What is a customer journey?

The customer journey refers to the series of interactions a customer has with a business before taking a particular action.

Essentially, the customer journey identifies all of your touchpoints—or, in other words, interactions that take place during the customer lifecycle—and organizes them into defined stages. This can help you better understand the customer lifecycle and identify points along the journey that can be improved or adjusted.

So, why should you create a customer journey? Creating a defined customer experience allows you to better understand the customer experience and collect valuable insights about how customers interact with your brand. You can use those insights to boost engagement, improve customer service, and increase conversions.

Thus, in addition to helping the customer have as smooth of an experience as possible, building out a customer journey can benefit your business and increase your bottom line.

That brings us to customer journey mapping. Creating a customer journey map is one way to visualize the customer journey and clearly identify touchpoints. But what, exactly, is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a visual tool that allows you to see a step-by-step representation of a customer experience. Using a customer journey map, you can visualize the customer journey from start to finish and view touchpoints that may span across different channels or departments.

By allowing you to visualize customer journeys, a customer journey map turns a somewhat abstract concept into something much more concrete. Viewing a diagram representing your customer experience can make it easier to recognize customer pain points and find areas for improvement in all departments of your business.

Additionally, a visual tool like a customer journey map can be distributed as a resource to employees that helps them better serve customers. Whether they work in customer service or sales, a customer journey map can be an invaluable resource for employees seeking to better understand clients and provide excellent service every step of the way.

What elements should be included in a customer journey map?

As you create a customer journey map, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Customer journey maps may vary in their goals and scope. However, there are some essential elements that every customer journey map can benefit from.

By including certain elements in your customer journey map, you can design a customer journey that effectively allows you to reach your business goals. Below, we’ve listed a few elements that you should consider adding to your customer journey map.

Buyer personas

Buyer personas—also known as user personas or customer personas—are general representations of your average customer based on market research and your own experiences with your client base.

The primary purpose of a buyer persona is to show the characteristics, behavioral traits, values, and customer expectations demonstrated by your target audience. This allows you to better understand your customers and, in turn, design a customer journey that’s tailored to your specific client base.

When it comes to developing buyer personas, there are several approaches you can take. From reviewing hard data to speaking with customers, there are a variety of ways to identify your ideal customer. Below are some of the ways in which you might collect customer data and conduct persona research:

  • Send out customer surveys
  • Review audience demographic data
  • Interview customer-facing employees
  • Review customer complaints and inquiries
  • Monitor company social media channels

Overall, the goal of creating a buyer persona is to better empathize with your customers and understand what they’re looking for.

As you begin creating buyer personas, keep it simple by crafting only one or two. This will keep you focused on your target customer—as your business grows and your customer base becomes larger and more diverse, you can consider creating more buyer personas to further segment your audience.

Buyer’s journey

Every customer journey map should thoroughly outline the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is the ideal route that you would like the customer to follow in order to take a specific action.

In order to map out the buying process, you will need to set goals, identify key touchpoints, and organize the stages of the customer journey. Mapping out the buyer’s journey will allow you to better understand the steps customers take from their first interaction with your company to finally making a purchase.

Customer touch points

Identifying touchpoints is one of the most crucial steps when creating a customer journey map. Customer touchpoints represent any interaction that a customer has with your business and they can occur on any type of channel. For instance, customers may interact with:

  • Your website
  • Your online store
  • Your company’s social media channels
  • Customer service representatives
  • Your physical storefront
  • Digital ads
  • Company events

Touchpoints can even encapsulate indirect interactions that customers have with your brand.

For instance, a customer may look on an industry review site and see reviews of your company, or they may read a blog that includes an outbound link to your company website. These are all examples of potential touchpoints.

Every touchpoint presents a customer with an opportunity to make a judgment or form an opinion about your business.

This is why customer touchpoints are so important. By optimizing as many touch points as you can along the customer journey, you can improve the reputation of your business, facilitate a positive customer experience, generate leads, nurture leads, and ultimately increase conversions by guiding customers towards a desired action or goal.

Always encourage advocacy as a part of your customer journey. According to Nice Reply, 72% of people with a positive customer experience will share their stories with six or more people.

Customer journey stages

You can effectively structure your customer journey by dividing it up into stages. The stages of a customer journey map help break up the timeline by defining distinct stages.

Depending on the industry you’re in, your customer journey map may include just a few stages or you may have many. In some cases, you may be able to adapt the AIDA model to your customer journey stages, while in other cases you may require more stages.

As a starting point, you might divide the customer journey into five general stages:


During the initial stage of the customer journey, consumers have want or need and they’re researching products and services that can provide them with a solution. At this step in the process, your job is to reach the customer as they’re researching their options and position your company as a potential solution.


Once consumers conduct some initial research, they will begin to seriously consider their options. Most consumers will compare brands that offer similar products and services to see which option best meets their needs. Optimizing the customer experience and emphasizing your company’s unique selling proposition (USP) is crucial during this stage.


After conducting research, a consumer will take action by making a purchase, signing up for a subscription, or opting into a mailing list. In order for consumers to take a desired action, brands must present a call to action and streamline the purchasing process.


Converting a new customer is a success in and of itself, but maximizing customer retention is key to generating consistent profits. As a business owner, you want to ensure that everyone has a great customer experience at every touchpoint and make the transaction process as easy as possible. When customers have a positive customer experience with your business, they will be more likely to return in the future.


Word of mouth is one of the best ways you can promote your business. Satisfied customers may refer friends, family members, and colleagues to your business, helping to generate more customers and drum up more business.

By consistently providing an excellent customer experience and perhaps even implementing a loyalty program, you can build strong relationships with your customers and turn them into advocates for your business.

Thoughts and emotions

It’s important to take your customers’ thoughts and emotions into account at every step of the customer experience.

Consider how a customer feels at each stage of the journey and brainstorm methods for appealing to these emotions. If you can create a positive emotional association between a customer and your brand, this will often translate to strong relationships and increased customer loyalty.

No matter what a customer purchases, they want to feel good in the process. As you create your customer journey map, consider listing emotions that your customers may be feeling at each touchpoint. Try to find opportunities to resolve negative emotions in order to forge a positive emotional bond between the customer and your brand.

Pain points

Customer pain points are the specific problems that your customers are dealing with and may be actively seeking out a solution for.

Identifying customer pain points is important because it opens up a window of opportunity for your business: you can provide a solution to their problem, meet their needs, and profit in the process.

Identifying customer pain points is also helpful as you seek to optimize your customer experience. With a better understanding of the pain points involved in your own buying process, you can find streamlined solutions that make purchasing easier.

So, as you create your customer journey map, list out pain points that customers may experience at each step in their journey. Appealing to these pain points and providing convenient solutions can help you convert leads.

Prioritize creating a positive customer journey for your target audience. 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience.

4 reasons you should prioritize customer journey mapping

When used properly, customer journey mapping can be a valuable tool that enables you to achieve even your most ambitious business goals. Below, we go over four reasons why you should prioritize customer journey mapping for your own business.

Optimize customer experience

Ultimately, creating a customer journey map is centered around improving the average customer experience when interacting with your business. Customer journey maps enable you to be a more customer-centric business that sees things from the customer’s perspective and acts accordingly.

By creating a customer journey map, you can provide customers with an excellent experience every time they interact with you, which can increase sales, bolster your customer retention strategy, and improve your brand’s reputation.

Better understand customer behavior

Many of the world’s most successful brands use behavior-based marketing to reach their audience. With a better understanding of customer behavior, you can effectively segment your audience and lead customers down the marketing funnel.

Build strong customer relationships

A customer journey map helps to create positive customer experiences, which in turn leads to strong customer relationships. Customers with a strong connection to your brand will not only continue to make purchases, they will also recommend your brand to others. By connecting on a personal level, you can cultivate a devoted customer base that enables your business to grow.

Streamline the buying process

Using a customer journey map, you can identify steps in the buying process that may be unnecessary or frustrating to customers. If certain steps in the buying process irritate your customers or make them abandon their cart, this leads to lost opportunities for your business. Overall, you want to make the purchasing process as easy and convenient as possible.

How to create a customer journey map with examples

Now that you understand what a customer journey map is and why it’s important, you may be wondering how to create one. Below, we go over the basic steps involved in creating a customer journey map.

Set clear goals

The first step in creating a customer journey map is setting clear goals and objectives. What do you hope to gain from this customer journey map? Who are you targeting and why?

Once you have set clear goals, you can identify key metrics to track that will help you measure progress. For example, if your goal is related to building stronger customer relationships, then you may want to pay attention to KPIs such as your customer retention rate and referrals per user.

Research and build buyer personas

As we mentioned above, buyer personas are essentially profiles highlighting common characteristics that your average customers share. Conducting research and building out these buyer personas are essential when it comes to creating a customer journey map.

A typical buyer persona may contain the following information about your target audience:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education level
  • Geographic location
  • Income level
  • Job title
  • Challenges faced

Essentially, with a buyer persona, you’re creating a profile of your ideal target customer. This helps you understand your audience and, thus, enables you to build a more effective customer journey map that caters to their wants and needs.

Identify customer touch points

Customer touchpoints occur during the customer journey. Touchpoints refer to moments when the customer interacts with your company and they can take all kinds of forms. By identifying significant touchpoints and milestones on your customer journey map, you can more easily pinpoint opportunities to boost engagement and make a good impression.

Some customer touchpoints might include:

  • Digital ads
  • Social media
  • In-person conversations
  • Company events
  • Product ratings and reviews
  • Point of sale
  • Follow-up emails
  • Customer service tickets
  • Transactional emails

Map the current customer journey

Once you have your goals, buyer personas, and touchpoints, all that’s left to do is to map the customer journey. To get started with mapping the customer experience, you can create a draft by hand or use an online visualization tool to help you build a more in-depth graphic.

From there, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and imagine the customer journey from start to finish. Make sure to keep in mind the key touchpoints you identified and add those touch points along the way. At each step or stage of the customer journey, note any crucial data or considerations that you would like to remember going forward.

Test the journey and make adjustments

Once you have mapped out the customer journey, make sure to test it by taking the journey yourself. By following the journey yourself, you can better understand what your customers go through and empathize with their experience.

This allows you to identify gaps in your customer journey and find areas that could use improvement. As you test your customer journey and as time goes on, don’t hesitate to make any changes that can help optimize the customer experience and convert website leads into devoted customers.

Connect with customers throughout their customer journey

Optimizing your customer's experience can help to increase engagement, improve the customer experience, and boost sales. Mapping out the customer journey is one effective method for visualizing and organizing all of the elements of the customer journey so that you can keep your clients happy.

Mailchimp makes it easy to map the customer journey, allowing you to personalize everything from the customer onboarding process to post-purchase interactions. Use Mailchimp’s customer journey builder and our suite of tools to create a visual representation of the customer journey, and then capitalize on key touch points across marketing channels.

2 men sit on a couch in an office, while one is holding a laptop happily discussing their marketing strategy.

Keep customers coming back for more with Mailchimp’s free Customer Retention Kit

Whether you’re looking to improve existing strategies or seeking fresh insights into who your customers are, this kit is a comprehensive collection of resources designed to cultivate lasting relationships with valued customers.

Fill out the form below to receive your free Customer Retention Kit

Share This Article