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Design process

Customer Journey Map Examples (That Help to Enhance Your SaaS Product)

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A customer journey map (CJM) is an essential tool for any business to visualize the needs of their potential customers at every stage of their experience with a company, as well as identify the factors that motivate or hinder their progress. Statista's study showed that in 2021, 36% of respondent companies worldwide used customer journey maps as a strategy to understand their clients better. 

Statista.com
Statista.com

As a design agency, we create customer journey maps for various clients, from dating apps to CRM platforms. When crafting a CJM, we can use many different parameters and metrics, like statistics, research data, quotes, or even videos, if we or our clients find that helpful. 

From our experience, there is no single right way for designing a CJM. The data you include and its overall look depend on your product and the designer's vision. If this is the first CJM you are ever building, you may be tempted to make that eye-catching design with colored icons, graphs, and pictures. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense to start with a basic customer journey map with all the essential information and be a great practical tool for your product. Below, we’ve got a few examples of both visually appealing and effective customer journey maps from successful companies for you to take a look at.

And if you’d like to learn more about how the SaaS customer journey can turn prospects into clients, watch the video below. 

Traditional customer journey map examples

Templates and patterns available online made the process of creating СJMs even easier. For example, HubSpot’s map template is a common pattern used among businesses due to its simplicity and the way it organizes different content types for each journey stage. This traditional CJM specifies that potential customers go through 5 core phases: awareness, consideration, decision, retention, and loyalty. About 33% of businesses indicated that this CJM most closely matches the map adopted in their company.

HubSpot Customer Journey Maps
HubSpot Customer Journey Maps

Here is another example of a map offered by Gartner. This CJM is rather complex but more realistic: 

Gartner.com
Gartner.com 

Overall, Google lists over 111M resources to help you create the map using templates. Templates and patterns are useful if you are mapping standard business processes. However, if you are looking for innovative CJM ideas and examples to learn from, you might want to look at maps used by different kinds of businesses.

Online shopping and marketplaces

E-commerce is one of those kinds of businesses that would benefit most from creating a customer journey map. Here is an example from Amazon, one of the largest e-commerce shops in the world. This US-based retail giant is vast, with many subsidiaries, brands, products, its own technology, and custom systems for moving a customer through the sales funnel. Obviously, its CJM is rather complex, so Amazon broke it down into several parts. The company divided the customer journey into 8 steps: passive, need, want, find, buy, get, retain, and re-engage. For each step, map creators assigned core customer journey principles and identified its metrics to monitor success. 

Amazon CJM 
Amazon CJM 

This map seems to be an effective visual solution for such retail giants as Amazon. But it is so overwhelming with data that it may take days to understand each customer's journey step. Many online shops will need a far less complex CJM. 

Sometimes, CJMs might even be in the form of a storyboard. Let’s look a Airbnb. There is a well-known legend of how Disney’s creation of Snow White inspired Airbnb founders. It was the first long cartoon at a time, and to draw it consistently, they made a storyboard. 

The founders of Airbnb looked up to the movies that showed examples of perfect trips and made a storyboard depicting their clients' experiences. Then Rebecca Sinclair, the Head of User Experience at Airbnb, built an actual customer journey map based on the storyboard. That is when it became clear that the main product was the experience that people have when traveling or hosting, not the moment of booking the place on the website. This insight defined their strategies for years ahead.

Storyboard in the Airbnb office
Storyboard in the Airbnb office

There is much to learn from this example. When working with something less technical and more experiential, consider adding storyboards. You can even insert colorful photos in the storyboard to give it the flavor of a real trip. 

Telecom

Here is an example of a telecom provider customer journey map. The stages differ from the previous product purchase CJM and involve calling and waiting for the installation, which is the most painful moment.

Telecom Customer Journey Map
Telecom Customer Journey Map

Note how the thoughts and feelings of the persona are located above everything – even the stages of the journey! That is a true sign of a human-centered design approach.

Unlike many other CJMs, this map realistically shows that the process of choice is not always direct and linear: look at the “go back” arrows marking the long process of picking the right provider out of all the offers.

The map has two graphs: one showing emotion throughout the journey, and another showing emotion toward the vendor. Still, the image is clear and not overcrowded with symbols.

Curiously, the colors match the picture of Gwen, the persona. However, low contrast may be hard to read for some people, so be careful with those nice pastel palettes.

Traveling and booking

Online travel agencies, hotels, and travel businesses can also benefit from CJM. Very often, these maps present the journey from both sides: what tools a customer uses and the company at each stage. For example, LoungeUp, a guest engagement and hotel management platform, focused on the software solutions used on the various stages of the travel journey while crafting their first CJM. The company noticed that the tools guests used to research, prepare, or book their travels were not met with equivalent hotel technology solutions. And they changed that by creating a map with points of contact, allowing the hotel owner to build a relationship with their guests before, during, and after their stay.

LoungeUp CJM
LoungeUp CJM

Education

Sometimes, customer journey maps can grow into something unexpected, as the main product may turn into a highly intangible thing, especially if it is created for the education field. For example, the customer journey map designed for Carnegie Mellon University below visualizes the thoughts, feelings, and actions the university expects its students to have during each journey phase. The university team prepared example scenarios with a clear diagram for each phase that included feelings, actions, opportunities, as well as devices and people who can help during these phases. 

For a better visualization of a student's journey, the university team created two customer journey maps: a present CJM with key actions, touchpoints, and breakdowns and a future CJM to represent the ideal state.

Present CJM 
Present CJM
Future CJM 
Future CJM 

Banking

In such a complex business as banking, a separate customer journey map is needed for all the different services and personas, and the CJM for an individual account holder and CJM for a business account can't be the same.

Take a look at this Bank of America map example. 

questionpro.com 
questionpro.com 

This map example includes common touchpoints, customer actions, experiences, and pain points that may occur during each journey phase. Plus, the CJM includes initiatives that help Bank of America deliver exceptional experiences. Of course, you may want to include way more metrics in your customer journey map and more details, but the example has all the basic stages: awareness, consideration, decision, service, and loyalty. 

Health insurance

The healthcare insurance sector prioritizes the well-being of its customers. For this industry,  trust, satisfaction, and loyalty are even more crucial than for other business types.

The health insurance CJM below is a shining example of a map that outlines precise satisfaction levels and the importance of each touchpoint. CJM visualizes how users may be involved in the process and provides detailed feedback.

heartofthecustomer.com 
heartofthecustomer.com 

This map example includes a scenario the client follows with supposed friction points and a moment of truth. The given CJM consists of 4 phases, from initial research to approval and onboarding. Yet, the customer journey surely does not end at the moment of purchase. However, if the objective of your customer journey map is to answer a specific question related to the sales funnel, a shortened version would do the job.

Coffee shop

The service industry is highly oriented to the customer experience, as well as hospitality. Let’s take a look at the customer journey map of Starbucks as an example.

Starbucks CJM
Starbucks CJM

What we see here is a basic customer journey map of a coffee shop guest who is coming to the shop to work. Some ups and downs in the experience, with detailed thoughts and feelings of the client, revealing things familiar to everyone who has ever visited Starbucks. Now, let’s see the second version.

Starbucks CJM
Starbucks CJM

This is a different Starbucks customer journey map, showing three scenarios of coffee shop client interaction. It is an interesting example. This map was built to answer a very concrete question: what are the risks of virus contagion in a coffee shop? So, this student's work addresses a real problem, and for that, the minimum information is enough.

Also, the visuals work well here: there is no need to get an icon for every action, but some little sketches make the map look more compelling.

SaaS customer journey map examples

Traditional customer journey maps present interactions between a business and its customers over time and across channels. Unlike the latter, SaaS CJMs visualize how users build relationships with the product across every touchpoint. 

Most maps for SaaS products display the ideal version of a customer journey, which starts when customers first hear about the product and ends from the moment they become loyal. Very often, such an approach may create trouble — the maps become messy, confusing, and hard to work with. 

For that reason, we at Eleken prefer another model, " Stages of Awareness, " offered by Eugene Schwartz in 1966. Based on this model, the journey consists of five stages: unaware, problem-aware, solution-aware, product-aware, and most aware. Let’s look at the CJM example created by our content team. It includes stages and related basic scenarios with readers’ challenges, intents, messages, clusters, and content pieces examples for each stage.

Journey mapping example by Eleken content team
Journey mapping example by Eleken content team

In addition, there is a difference between a customer journey map for SaaS products and other industries, which lies in the specific characteristics of SaaS products, such as:

  • The subscription-based model. SaaS companies may offer various pricing models, starting from subscription-based freemium pricing to usage-based models. They also offer their potential users a trial to test a product for free and feel its benefits. Once users buy a subscription, they uncover premium features that offer even more value. All this information should be included in CJMs, so UX designers have to craft specialized customer journey maps that are similar to user flows, visualizing the path users go through inside the product from an entry point to the sign-out.
User flow Eleken created for Fin.do money transfer system app
User flow Eleken created for Fin.do money transfer system app
  • The need for smooth user onboarding. SaaS companies pay special attention to mapping out the onboarding stage as the first experience determines whether the customer will continue using the product. For example, HubSpot made user onboarding a separate section in its CJM. The onboarding part highlights common customer experiences on a timeline. A pain point or a moment of delight is color-coded, making the map easy to read and more actionable for different teams. Plus, the HubSpot team added testimonials on the map that best summarized users' perspectives of the interaction.  
HubSpot CJM’s onboarding section
HubSpot CJM’s onboarding section
  • Upgrades and feature expansion. Note that the journey does not end with the purchase, it goes as far as the loyalty and advocacy stage allows. That is what many people overlook when creating customer journey maps. A newcomer can easily stop using your product if your competitor provides a better product with more features at a better price. Here is what Annette Franz, the CEO of CX Journey Inc., said about that, 

There are so many businesses who think that the sale is it. And that the customer experience ends at the sale. But it really is only just beginning.”  

While talking about SaaS products, all of them are intended to bring ease into our lives. But adding many features and functionality often results in the fact that these solutions become difficult to use. As a design agency for SaaS, Eleken designers pay special attention to aligning the solution with the challenges customers face. We go where the users are to watch, ask questions, listen to their answers, and identify all the pain caused by messy workflows. Then, we visualize them via customer journey maps.   

For each CJM phase, our designers collect customer feedback to make sure application design brings clarity into the most chaotic business processes and heals user pains. As a result, every time users look at the field they are supposed to fill or the button they’re supposed to click. 

To sum up

There is no perfect formula for a customer journey map. Well, it may exist, but you won’t find it on Google. It all depends on what your business is about and, no less important, what is the question you are trying to get answered.

We encourage you not to rely too much on templates and go through all the steps of creating a customer journey map from scratch, starting with deep research

And if you need help in creating an effective customer journey map for your SaaS business, Eleken is here to help.

Masha Panchenko

Author

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