The 5 Critical Components of a Great Customer Journey Map From clear goals and actionable insights to an omnichannel view of the customer experience, how to fashion this pivotal business building block.

By Scott Baradell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Creating a customer journey map is one of the best ways to understand customers' experiences with your business. By mapping out each step of this journey, you can identify areas where they may encounter difficulty or confusion, and then have the opportunity to make improvements to address those problems.

Put simply, this map is a visualization of the customer experience (CX). Some might be designed to track the entire journey, from first impressions of a brand all the way through post-sale service. They can also be more localized in focus — show what happens when someone becomes one of your customers by highlighting certain aspects like ordering online, for example.

With the rise in technology and evolving consumer behavior, customers now have a much more complex journey when discovering brands. They could discover yours while researching a product generally. They may then go to your website… might even visit your physical place of business. They might conduct further research on the internet and decide whether to buy from your store rather than a competitor's. It's crucial to consider how such interactions happen throughout this process to stay ahead of the engagement curve.

Let's look at some of the critical elements involved.

Related: Customer-Journey Mapping: The What, How and Why

1. Focus on CX

Customer experience must be the foundation of a customer journey map. I've found that the best will focus on a specific customer segment and be based on research rather than assumptions — data on how and where customers interact with your brand and how they feel about those interactions.

2. Clear goals and actionable insights

For a map to be effective, it must have a clear goal and include insights that you can act upon. So, include all your discoveries, whether positive or negative, then determine any correlations among them and the behavior of your customers, as well as their expectations and goals.

You can then use that data to determine where you need to make CX improvements and which ones will generate the best and quickest returns. It will also help you monitor the progress of any existing efforts and identify areas that require further investment.

3. An omnichannel view of CX

Many organizations still operate in a siloed manner, with each team focused on a distinct set of touchpoints or channels. Customers, on the other hand, don't consider these channels: They consider their entire journey, which comprises all their dealings with a business.

So, a good customer journey map should look at the entire CX — all their interactions with your business, regardless of which team handles which channel. It also helps to look at how they move between touchpoints and what factors affect these moves. This will give you a better understanding of how to improve the overall experience as it helps identify potential gaps.

Related: How to Improve Your Bottom Line by Embracing Customer Experience

4. Quantitative data and key metrics

Qualitative research conducted on small sample sizes is the main source of data for an effective map. However, quantitative data can help provide further insights, as well as boost the validity of the results.

Employing quantitative research also allows you to establish a set of key performance indicators that can be used across the entire journey (or only certain portions of it). Various customer satisfaction metrics, such as the net promoter score, ensure that your map can help determine how well you're doing in CX improvements.

5. Level-up those graphics

While a customer journey map is already a graphic representation of CX, consider taking things a step further to increase its effectiveness — organizing it so that others who view it find it attractive, but also in such a way that you can incorporate more information as you gather it. You could even consider creating different versions for various people, based on their respective roles. For example, a map for senior management might emphasize key performance indicators, whereas one made for those in the proverbial trenches might include more detail regarding processes and systems employed for each touchpoint.

Related: Customer Journey Maps: The North Star to Digital Transformation

While there's science involved in creating an effective customer journey map, there's art to it as well. Remember, though, the most critical aspect is to act on what you discover. You can be certain that, if it includes the components above, yours will help produce valuable insights.

Wavy Line
Scott Baradell

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO of Idea Grove

Trust expert Scott Baradell is editor of the "Trust Signals" blog, author of the upcoming book "Trust Signals" and CEO of Idea Grove, a unified PR and marketing agency. Idea Grove has ranked three times as an Inc. 5000 company and was named 2020 Agency of the Year by the Dallas PRSA.

Editor's Pick

A Father Decided to Change When He Was in Prison on His Son's Birthday. Now His Nonprofit Helps Formerly Incarcerated Applicants Land 6-Figure Jobs.
A Teen Turned His Roblox Side Hustle Into a Multimillion-Dollar Company — Now He's Working With Karlie Kloss and Elton John
3 Mundane Tasks You Should Automate to Save Your Brain for the Big Stuff
The Next Time Someone Intimidates You, Here's What You Should Do
5 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health and Regulate Your Nervous System for Sustainable Success

Related Topics

Business News

'I Am Just Floored': Woman Discovers She Won $1 Million Lottery Prize While Checking Her Email at Work

Initially, she thought the email was a scam, but went to lottery headquarters and walked away with a six-figure check after taxes.

Business News

Amazon Might Soon Be Adding Ads to Prime Video

The company wants to generate more ad revenue for its streaming service.

Business News

'I've Got the Bug for Business': See All of Mark Wahlberg's Entrepreneurial Endeavors, From Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch to Wahlburgers

Mark Wahlberg owns businesses in several categories, including entertainment production, apparel, fitness, and nutrition.

Business News

South Park Creators Spent 'Infinity Dollars' Renovating Iconic Colorado Restaurant, Set to Reopen Soon

Casa Bonita, a long-time favorite of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, went bankrupt during the pandemic. The duo purchased and painstakingly renovated the Mexican spot "like a piece of art," Stone said.


'Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch' Is Back Open for Business!

Check out this preview of season nine of our hit show "Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch." Big ideas and big money are on the line!


How Leveraging External Trainers Can Advance Your Companies Growth and Talent Optimization

Discover how your organization can use external trainers to build capabilities, lower training cost and create a sustainable workforce for the future, while still delivering high-quality training and lasting results.