When you are done with research and already got lost in templates, it is time to see what other customer journey maps look like. Chances are that you want to see some examples before you even started. That is natural.
As a design agency, we create customer journey maps for a wide variety of clients, from dating apps to CRM platforms. What we learned from that is how different those maps are in each individual case.
Why you need to tailor your customer journey map (cjm)
If this is the first cjm you are building ever, you are likely to be tempted to make that eye candy with colored icons, graphs, and pictures. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense to start with a basic customer journey map that would have all the essential information and be a great practical tool for your product. We’ve got few examples of both visually appealing and effective customer journey maps.
There are so many parameters and metrics that you may want to include in your customer journey map. There is no single right way to do this. When you follow all the steps correctly, your cjm will take its own shape. You can insert statistics, research data, quotes, and videos if you find that helpful. The information you include in it and overall look depends on your product and personal vision.
Customer journey map examples
Basic customer journey map
Let’s start with mapping an experience that everyone probably had in their lives: buying shoes.
As you can tell, the customer journey map divides the process of buying into clear stages that include buyer's activities, emotions, problems, user and organizational goals, etc. All the information is clear and easy to read, the graph shows top and down moments of the journey.
Now let’s take a look at what other businesses’ cjms may look like.
Ecommerce is one of those kinds of businesses that would benefit most from creating a customer journey map. Here is an example from research made for Walmart, based on a representative selection of customers (you can clearly see they did great research work with real clients by the number of problematic points shown on the map).
Bigger circles show the issues that are more important to the customer: simple but effective visual solution that helps to draw attention to the most critical points without overcrowding the map with data.
Here is a nice and clean telecom provider customer journey map. The stages are similar to the previous product purchase cjm, but this one involves calling and waiting for the installation, which is the most painful moment.
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 others, this map is realistic in showing that the process of choice is not always direct and linear: look at “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, colors seem to match perfectly 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.
Online travel agencies, booking services, hotels - all these businesses open up wide opportunities for customer journey maps. The moment of purchase here is just a tiny dot in a long story that may be hard to fit into one comprehensive document. The example shows a hotel guest journey shown from both sides: what tools a client uses and the business on each stage. LoungeUp is a guest engagement platform, so for them, the hotel experience is as important as the guest experience.
In the travel and entertainment industry, customer journey maps can grow into something unexpected, as the main product is often a highly intangible thing: emotions, adventures, fun time.
There is a well-known legend of how Airbnb founders were inspired by Disney’s creation of Snow White. 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. So, they 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 came 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.
If you want to learn more on how Airbnb shaped great user experiences, read our article about design thinking.
There is a lot to learn from this example. When you are working with something less technical and more experience-like, consider adding storyboards. You can even insert colorful photos in the storyboard to give it a flavor of a real trip.
There are more movie-inspired elements that help to bring the elements of storytelling to your customer journey mapping to make it more immersive. Jim Tincher, founder and mapper-in-chief of Heart of the Customer says that pieces of video interviews included in the customer journey map make a lot for empathizing with your clients.
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 template. The persona is an individual using an online banking service. For sure, you may want to include way more metrics in your customer journey map, and more details, but the template has all the basic stages: discovery, purchase, usage... And there is one interesting thing about this example: the end-stage is Unsubscribe. This is such a breath of realism in the often idealistic customer journey mapping process.
This customer journey map template for a young family looking for health insurance shows very precise levels of satisfaction and the importance of each touchpoint. You can surely see how users were involved in the process and gave detailed feedback.
Still, this example shows only the beginning of a long (lifelong, hopefully) journey of a health insurance service client. Their 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.
The service industry is highly oriented at the customer experience, as well as hospitality. Let’s take a look at the customer journey map of Starbucks, as an example.
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.
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 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 interesting.
Our design agency is focused on SaaS, so these are the cjms that we work with all the time. Check out our article about SaaS customer journey.
This map made for Midigator is a great example of how to make a comprehensive and visually appealing cjm without using pictures, icons, and complicated design. Take a closer look if you need a B2B customer journey map.
It includes department breakdown: for a big company, it is crucial to understand which department is involved in every stage of the customer journey. All the client data points that are relevant to each stage are listed as well. If you feel like you need to include some data that is not on the standard list of cjm elements, feel free to do it. Customizing is essential here.
Note that the journey does not end with the purchase, it goes as far as the Loyalty & Advocacy stage. That is what many people overlook when creating customer journey maps. 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.”
For SaaS, as well as some other businesses, the circular formula of customer journey map would work best, as it reflects the specifics of subscription and the importance of lifelong relations with the clients. This round-shaped diagram is also called an experience wheel.
To sum up
There is no perfect formula for a customer journey map. Well, it exists, 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 when you are done with that, visualization will be easy. Check out our list of the best tools for customer journey mapping.