The Ultimate Guide for Customer Journey Maps

12 minutes reading

UX is one of the hardest parts of your website creation. You can build a stunning website, create marvelous content, and make picture-perfect SEO, but your performance will inevitably improve if your UX is up to the high standards of your industry.

The UX, however, is closely related to the main product or service of the website. Users have different expectations and needs associated with different products. Thus, understanding the user behavior is crucial for building an outstanding UX design.

So, what can you do? Typically, the best website designs manage to get into the user’s mind and see what they experience, how that makes them feel, and what are their subsequent actions. In other words, a great designer is more or less a psychic.

But here is their secret. Designers, even exceptionally good UX experts, are ordinary people who utilize the power of a customer journey map. Using this cheatsheet, they can tailor a custom experience for their targeted audience so the users will be enticed to continue their journey to its end.

Thankfully, creating a customer journey map is not that hard. Yes, there is a learning curve, and you need basic marketing and design knowledge. Still, this is a skill you learn with practice. Thus, the more customer journey maps you create, the more accurate they will become.

So, to help you build your first customer journey map, we will discuss the what, why, when, and how of this extremely useful practice. It will help you improve your performance, streamline your customer’s journey, lower your bounce rate, and increase your audience-to-customer conversion rate.

What is a Customer journey map?

A customer journey map is basically a document visualizing the customer’s experiences with a product or a brand. Usually, each brand’s product has its own customer journey map, as people have different motivations to buy different items. For example, a person buying a car has a different line of thought than someone buying a coffee.

The customer journey provides invaluable insight into the user’s behavior throughout their interaction with the product and the brand. This information can help designers to build a more user-friendly website, enhancing the positive experiences while minimizing the breaking points.

Visualizing your customers’ behavior throughout their journey is key to increasing positive engagement and customer satisfaction. This will urge them to spend 140% more on your product than they are ready to pay otherwise. This is how a pair of plain white trainers can cost up to $500. Sure, branding plays a role, but a brand is only as good as its customer service.

Representation of UX development

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of why you need a customer journey map. There are far more benefits on the line.

Why do you need a customer journey map?

Business owners often fall into the trap of not having a clear perspective on how their product is perceived. When creating a product, the owner often looks at it through pink glasses, disregarding its shortcomings and downsides. Moreover, owners can have a false interpretation of what makes their product wanted.

Creating a customer journey map is the perfect solution. It effectively examines the product from the buyer’s perspective without sugar coating or wishful thinking. The map relies entirely on data and can be brutal at times. It highlights how the users experience the product, the phases of their decision-making process, how they feel throughout the journey, what they consider, and what their deal-breakers are. In the best-case scenario, this will foster a sense of empathy and understanding and bring along some great ideas.

Another huge benefit of building a customer journey map is the insight you get into your customer’s pain points. This can help you optimize your messaging and create a much more effective and profitable marketing strategy. It will also allow you to locate all hurdles along the customer’s path. This can help you improve your landing page and website usability.

Visualizing the customer’s journey will allow you to uncover some hidden possibilities. These may be additional complementary features or designer improvements. Following your customer’s path will show how your product can become better and more desirable.

Walking a mile in your customers’ shoes will not only increase your conversion rate but also help you retain your existing customers.
Problem and solution illustrationThe insights you gather from a user journey map are invaluable. Using them properly will allow you to bring your audience closer, address their needs more accurately, and retain them as clients after the first purchase.

When do you need a customer journey map?

Creating a customer journey map can be highly beneficial at different stages of your product’s life. During the ideation phase, it can showcase potential problems or unexploited advantages. Of course, such a map would have a dose of guessing, but knowing your potential customers is a precursor for all successful business endeavors. So, place yourself in your customer’s shoes and look at your product through their eyes. What can you see? How does the product make you feel? What makes you like the product? What frustrates you? All of these questions are relevant to get into the mood.

Creating a journey map at this stage of your product’s development can help you visualize the product better and make efforts to create a prototype that will only need a few changes after the testing period.

Speaking of the testing phase, it’s the perfect moment to create a customer journey map. Through it, you will be able to pinpoint what users like or dislike while making decisions. For example, if they take too much time reading the benefits your product will win, it’s obvious you haven’t highlighted the correct aspects of your product—at least not those that your audience is interested in.

Finally, a customer journey map is also an excellent choice for active products. There, you can see the products at their full potential and examine your customer’s behavior in real-life situations. This exercise aims to gather enough data for a subsequent release. All new versions need to have an improvement. These improvements upgrade the customer journey and create an even better product that would enjoy greater success.

Naturally, since these customer journey maps have different goals, they also need a different map type.

Types of Customer Journey Maps

Depending on your goals, you may want to follow different aspects of your customers’ behavior. Though the internet offers many variations of a customer journey map, the general consensus is that there are four major types.

Customer Journey Map representation

Current State Template

This type is usually utilized for B2B products. It focuses on what your customers currently do, their line of thinking, and how they feel during interactions. This type will provide invaluable information about your product’s pain points and design. This model works best for already existing products that await a new version or improvement.

Future State Template

This template focuses on how customers would react to a potential product in the future. It explores their hypothetical behavior based on third-party data and observations.

As you can imagine, the future state template addresses new products, services, or designs that are yet to enter the market.

Naturally, this concept can also be used by long-standing brands. They can base their hypothetical customer behavior on first-hand knowledge of their customers. So, you can use this type even when you want to change your website’s design. Just create a customer journey map and assume how your customers will feel in this new environment.

Day in the Life template

This model is often used to find new niches and potential unmet needs. The Day in the Life template focuses on your potential customer’s feelings, actions, and thoughts outside their interactions with your brand. It can explore their interactions with other brands, their work environment, and anything happening during a random day in their lives.

This customer journey mapping type is often used in the product ideation phase. It can give valuable insights into how a particular customer base operates and behaves. This will showcase pain points and needs that even the customers themselves may not yet realize.

Service Blueprint Template

This map type often mirrors the current or future state journey map. At least, that’s the starting point. However, additional layers of factors, such as people, methods, procedures, and technologies, simplify the customer experience. This practice may refer to the present or the future. Those that address the current situation are ideal for finding pain points and their sources. The future version of this map helps crystallize the environment needed for a successful new launch.

What elements does a customer journey map have?

Before we discuss how to create a customer journey map, we need to address the elements that make this helpful tool possible. There are ten crucial elements you need to insert into your map if you want to get the desired effect.

Buyer persona

First and foremost, you need to create a buyer’s persona. This is a singular representation of your entire customer base and target audience. If you already have similar products, you have a goldmine of data that can help you build your buyer’s persona as close to your real-life customers as possible.

Buyers persona template

If you are brand new, however, you need to dig deep, research your competitors, find customer data, and create a buyer persona based on their experiences. Note that if the new product is highly innovative, a buyer’s persona that fully represents your potential customers is practically impossible. Still, that should not deter you from creating one based on your best educated guesses.

Specific goal

Each customer journey map needs a goal. The goal will determine the scenario in which potential customers find themselves. For example, if you want to determine how you can increase your retention, you can play a scenario in which your customer has just bought shoes one size too small and wants to exchange them. This will help you determine the stages of the interactions and the touchpoints.

User expectations

As we already explained, the main point is to walk a mile in your customers’ shoes. So, put yourself in their place and determine what their expectations during this interaction would be. For example, are they expecting complications when returning the products? What steps have you taken to assure they will feel encouraged to seek help and others? The most important part of this exercise is to be honest.

Determine stages

Once you have your scenario, main character, and setting, it’s time to determine what stages the customer will go through. That’s fairly easy if you already have established practices. However, be aware that many products have specifics. For example, when buying new shoes, the user’s journey may be:

  • Discovery (seeing the shoes either online or offline)
  • Consideration (The user considers whether they can justify purchasing a new pair of shoes)
  • Research (seeing what they are made of, what they look like, what colors they come in, what their price is)
  • Comparison (Looking at similar models from your other brands)
  • Testing (This is for offline stores. For online stores, this comes after the purchase)
  • Purchase (The customer buys the shoes)


All of the stages will redirect the customer to a different touchpoint. For example, during the research phase, the customer will likely go to a landing page and your website’s home page. Optimizing these to address their curiosity is instrumental in forwarding the customer to the next stage. If the customer drops at a particular stage, you need to investigate the touchpoint and find the breaking point.


Each stage is connected with a predetermined action taken by the buyer persona. For example, at the end of the discovery stage, the customer must click on the product to see its details. Or, at the comparison phase, the customer should drop the shoes into their cart (for online shops). Determining what action to take at the end of every stage will help you determine where your customers drop off most often or what stage they go through the fastest. This is invaluable for pushing them through their journey faster and leaving them little time to change their mind.


Throughout each stage, you must determine what the user is thinking. What burning questions do they have? Their train of thought will push them to the next step. For example, “Can I find a coupon for these shoes?” “Do I really need new shoes?” “Why do I like these shoes better than all others?”. Putting yourself through this thought exercise will showcase all the weak and strong points in your design, content, and marketing strategy.

Thinking representation


Throughout the customer journey, the buyer is constantly swiped by different emotions. These emotions can interfere with their decision-making, and you need to be aware of what your customers feel at every stage so you can ease the tension, dismiss all bad emotions, and encourage positive feelings. For example, it’s quite natural for a user to feel guilty during the consideration phase. Your job is to offer a customer journey that absolves this guilt and substitutes it with pride.

Pain points

Each customer journey map needs to address the hurdles along the way. Whether they are caused by technical capabilities, legal requirements, or simply geography, you need to be aware of these pain points. For example, at the research stage, your delivery method may not be as good as your competitor’s, or you may not deliver in a particular location.


Each stage and the entire customer journey map should end with a conclusion on what opportunities this information presents. What actions can you take to better the journey? This transforms the document from a mere exercise into an actionable blueprint for enhancing your performance.

How to create a customer journey map?

It’s time to build your customer journey map. The process is relatively easy as long as you have done your research. So, let’s go through the process step by step.

Create a template (or choose an existing one)

Depending on your goals, you will know what type of customer journey map template you need. You will soon be able to build such a template yourself, but until then, you can use the vast libraries of Canva or Miro to find a customer journey template that fits your product and needs. Even if you want to build your own customer journey map, you can always draw some inspiration from the designs in these two libraries.

Canva Printscreen of Customer Journey Map templates

Define your persona and scenario

The goal of this exercise is to help you establish the scenario. Each aspect of your customer’s journey can be observed through this method. So, crystalize your goal and build your scenario. Then, place your buyer persona inside. It’s like playing a simulator, but mostly, the action takes place in your mind.

Also, ensure your buyer persona is specifically designed for the scenario in the customer journey map. Otherwise, there might be deviations between the journey map and reality.

Outline the key stages

Now that you have your persona and setting, it’s time to divide it into different phases. This will give you a clearer view of how customers react during different stages in their journey.

Each product or service has its own specific stages. Some have three, others have seven. Most products can divide their stages into “Discovery,” “Research,” “Comparison,” and “Purchase.” However, different scenarios and products can include different stages, such as “service,” “advocacy,” “returning,” etc.

Determine the touchpoints

Each stage will have a touchpoint where customers will interact with your service. These touchpoints can be social media channels, paid ads, email marketing, review websites, backlinks, and, of course, your website. Your website will be a central stage in the customer journey, as there will be the bulk of information about your product and, of course, most of the actions the customers will have to take. For example, while the discovery may occur on a social media platform, the research stage will definitely include your product or service page, your home page, and your About page. Mapping your individual buyer persona’s journey will tell you where to allocate most of your endeavors.

Add the customer actions

During each interaction with your brand, the customer will take a specific action. This can be anything from pressing a button to following a link or subscribing to an email list. It all depends on the goal of the customer journey map and the stages. For example, in the purchasing stage, the action is entering one’s credentials and payment information. If this action does not replicate in a real-life setting, you must find the problem. It may be your website’s security and credibility. It may be the lack of a specific payment gate. To be able to investigate, you first need to assign a specific action for a specific stage and touchpoint.

Including Emotions, thoughts, and pain points

The next step requires you to play the role of your customer. Make sure to disregard your bias and knowledge of the product and be honest in your conclusions. While you are roleplaying, fill the customer journey map with your thoughts, emotions, and pain points at every stage. For example, at the research stage, your buyer persona may think, “Is this service worth the cost?” while the emotion would be “doubt.” The pain point is the lack of persuasion in the initial touchpoint.

Going through all the stages, you can pinpoint all the troublesome aspects of your offering and take action to change them. However, before we get to the action, you need to identify the opportunities.

Outlining opportunities

This part is probably the hardest. You need to be able to transform all your customers’ pain points into opportunities. If we continue on the same example, if there is a lack of persuasion in the initial touchpoint based on whether or not the product is worth the cost, you can add testimonials and social proof early on in the conversation. A subheading like “5000 happy customers can’t be wrong” with a link to the testimonials will address the issue and increase your credibility.

Framing the opportunities at every stage will transform your customer journey map into a manual on how to make your product better, more desirable, and better represented.

Take action

Taking action representation

Finally, it’s time to take action. Share your findings with all stakeholders and construct a plan of action together. It’s always best to share your findings and search for a solution with your entire team. This way, you can receive valuable suggestions and ideas. However, ensure your tone is not accusatory. The point is not to blame the marketing, designer, or UX team. The point is to find a solution to the pressing problem and take advantage of the identified opportunities.

So, gather your team and start working on a solution rather than playing the blaming game.


Creating a customer journey map will allow you to enhance every aspect of your business. The product (or service) is the heart of your entrepreneurial endeavors. Still, the entire infrastructure surrounding them—the website, social media channels, and marketing efforts—can benefit significantly from creating a customer journey map. In the efforts to make your entire customer journey better, enhancing your website’s speed and security must always be a priority. That’s where we come in. HostArmada guarantees the infrastructure behind your product won’t fail your endeavors. We offer cloud web hosting solutions that ensure your website will always be lightning-fast to load, robustly secured, and always online. Check out our plans and make the first step toward one outstanding customer experience on your website.