Get more customers, decrease churn, and increase loyalty in a fraction of the time with a customer journey map.
Your customers face countless moments of truth over the course of the customer journey. From first contact to purchase and beyond, each experience influences their behavior, shapes their opinions, and determines their loyalty.
Along the way, you have the power to steer your customers down the path to success. But harnessing that power requires a deep understanding of their needs, motivations, and behavior at each stage.
A customer journey map is a powerful tool that helps businesses examine the customer journey holistically. And when used correctly, it can actually serve as a blueprint for customer experience transformation, igniting change across your business.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to create and use a customer journey map with step-by-step instructions and examples.
Asserting ownership over your customer’s entire experience
Different departments are responsible for different pieces of the customer experience. Marketing owns attracting customers. Sales owns selling to customers. Success owns making customers happy through realizing the value of the product. Support helps solve customer problems.
But customers view all of their interactions with a company as connected—not dispersed among multiple departments. Yet, it’s surprisingly rare that somebody owns the entire customer journey. While management owns departments, the different goals that drive each department leave them disjointed, and customers feel it.
Customer journey maps: in a nutshell
Customer journey maps tackle this problem head-on by connecting all of the pieces together. Built from the point of view of the customer, from start to finish, they show each touchpoint the customer has with the business, in addition to their questions, feelings, and expectations as they approach each touchpoint.
Touchpoints are interactions defined by specific channels, departments, and—most importantly—metrics to measure the interaction by.
Because your customer journey map will be used as a tool, it will change as your business changes.
Using your customer journey map as a CX tool
A customer journey map that accurately reflects your customers’ reality is the first step in creating a continuous feedback loop for your business. Your customer journey map will not only inform business improvements, but will also reflect improvements after they’ve been made, so you can measure your progress and iterate in the future.
Once you have a customer journey map that reflects reality, you can use it to find areas in the customer journey that could use the most improvement. Your customer journey map and customer feedback will help you determine exactly what changes need to be made in those areas. Once you make those changes, it’s time to consult the data to confirm that you’re on the right track.
With feedback from customers on your changes, you can update your customer journey map to reflect the new reality. Rinse and repeat until your customer experience is seamless, making it hard for customers to veer off your map.
Companies with a formal customer journey management program earn 350% more revenue from customer referrals.
The power of customer journey maps
Using your customer journey map as a tool for continuous feedback and improvement sets your business up for success. A quality customer journey map gives you a bird’s eye view of the customer’s journey as well as the close-up perspective of every customer-business touchpoint. By mapping out customer expectations and obstacles at each stage, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what’s not from the customer’s point of view.
The owner of the entire customer journey will be able to easily identify and fill the gaps between touchpoints and departments. Within each department, you’ll gain visibility into their strengths and weaknesses, and how to improve both. The better informed you are of your customers as a whole, the better business decisions you can make.
Part I: 5 steps to creating your customer journey map
When you first sit down to create your customer journey map, your goal should be to come up with a decent draft. Even after you consult with different departments to help flesh out your customer journey map, remember that it’s ultimately a tool to be used and updated.
Step 1: Define customer type and end-goal
Before we begin mapping our customer’s journey, we need to identify which customer we’re going to be focusing on. This is where customer persona research comes into play. Because different types of customers have different needs and pain points, they’ll require different customer journey maps. You can always overlay multiple customer journey maps later to see the similarities and differences for different types of customers at each stage.
For instance, if you have two different types products or services that meet different needs, you’ll want a customer journey map for each. Think of a car company as an example. Customers looking to buy a luxury sports vehicle have very different thoughts, concerns, and feelings than customers looking to buy a pickup truck for work. While the paperwork and touchpoints for both may be similar, their needs, pain points, and expectations are worlds apart.
Once you’ve chosen which type of customer to map, determine what their end-goal is. You may think this part is a no-brainer (and you may be right), but take the time to really consider the specifics, especially if your business caters to more than one type of customer. The more specific you can make their goal in the context of their customer persona, the better. If it helps, think of where the competition falls short.
If your customer journey map ever starts getting too complicated, we can always return to the customer type and their end-goal to refocus on what ultimately matters. It’s easy to go down rabbit-holes while mapping out your customer journey, so having the anchor of the customer-specific end-goal is key to keeping your map on track.
Action: Create a spreadsheet for your customer journey map. Record the customer type and their end-goal on a tab, named after the customer type. How specific you get depends on your market.
Step 2: Outline key stages of the customer journey
To begin mapping, you’ll need to outline each stage the customer takes through the journey from start to finish. Make sure you’re mapping the reality—not how you think it should be.
The stages of your journey map represent each step the customer takes, which likely includes before first contact with your business, and after purchase. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, from creating the end-goal to after the sale.
If you don’t know how to start outlining the key stages of your customer’s journey, try a version of the classic sales funnel on for size.
You can also try using Pirate metrics stages to start. Using the acronym AAARRR—Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention, Referral—Pirate metrics is an effective customer-lifecycle framework that matches funnel stages with key performance metrics. Importantly, Pirate metric stages go beyond the purchase stage, covering retention and referral stages to improve customer lifetime value.
And the newest kid on the block, the Loyalty Loop, which also looks to improve customer lifetime value by going beyond the purchase stage.
Remember: You’re trying to map reality, not what you think is best or how you wish things were. Add, edit, and replace stages that reflect your customer’s journey. There are examples for reference in Part III, but the stages you end up with depend on the particular product or service you’re providing. The more your customer journey map reflects reality, the more useful it will be down the line.
It’s okay if you don’t get the stages right on the first shot. It will become obvious as you start filling in each stage if one should be swapped with another, if one should be added, or if one is redundant.
No matter what stages you end up with, remember that this is your customer’s journey from end-to-end, not your business’s journey. For most customer journey maps, that means starting with Awareness and ending with Referral.
Action: Create a new tab on your spreadsheet, labeling it Customer Journey. List the stages your customer moves through on the top row. Each column will cover a stage, moving across the customer journey from left to right.
Step 3: Map the customer touchpoints and their data for each stage
While stages plot the customers’ steps through time, touchpoints plot where the customer and your business meet on the timeline, making them key for our customer journey map. Think of these touchpoints from the customer’s perspective.
It’s important to distinguish touchpoints from channels. For example, “social media” is a channel, not a touchpoint. Touchpoints are more specific, like “social media posts from x campaign” in a pre-purchase stage.
Touchpoint examples by stage
Some pre-sale touchpoints might include social media posts from a specific campaign, a paid ad from an ad campaign, or reading a review page on x site. Besides the exchange of money for the product or service, purchase touchpoints can include online customer service chat, a phone call with a sales rep, or your online point of sale. Post-sale touchpoints could be engaging your online help center, online chat with a support agent, and automated follow-up emails.
For each stage where the customer interacts with your business, list the details: on what platform, in what department, etc. Get granular.
Action: Add your first row label to your spreadsheet on the left-hand side titled Touchpoints, where you describe—from the customer’s perspective—the exposure to or interaction with your business. Label the next row Data. Record all of the metrics you’re measuring (and where those metrics are coming from) for each touchpoint. This should align with how each department measures its own performance by, as well as the data they collect.
Step 4: Map the customer goal and mindset for each stage
Now, we’re going to move across the stages of the customer journey as the customer. We’re going to look at:
- What they’re doing (tasks)
- What they’re asking (questions)
- What they’re feeling (emotions)
- What and who they’re influenced by (influences)
Tasks: Tasks are what the customer is doing at each stage, and define what they need to complete before moving on to the next stage. For instance, “researching solutions to x online and by asking friends,” “contacting sales to set up a demo,” or “purchasing y.”
Questions: Any questions customers might have about your business, your competition, your reputation, your product or service, your brand, your support capacity and quality should be added to each stage your map. Generally, they’ll match the task at hand. While some of these questions they may ask you directly, many of them they won’t. For instance, they might ask you about how to use your product, but they’re asking themselves, “Is this worth it?”
Emotions: Emotions are the feelings that go with the Tasks and Questions above in each stage. For example, the question “Is this going to be worth it?” might be paired with the emotions “anxiety” and “ambivalence.” Being able to identify and directly address emotions and motivations for continuing down the customer journey map is part of what makes customer journey maps so powerful.
Influences: Influences are what or who could be influencing your customer. For instance, “price,” “friend group,” and “online reviews” might all be influencing their decisions.
Action: Add these row labels to your spreadsheet: Tasks, Questions, Emotions, Influences. Then, fill in the table with each stage’s: Tasks, Questions, Emotions, and Influences. Influences might stay the same across multiple steps, so feel free to merge cells to connect stages. Otherwise, the Emotions and Questions should evolve with the Tasks for each stage.
Step 5: Determine if customers are achieving their goal at each stage
Here’s where your customer journey map begins to turn into a tool. You want to find the gaps in your map, areas where the customer is having a tough time. Evaluate each stage of the customer journey map, and determine to what extent customers are achieving their goal.
Ask: How does the company let the customer down at this stage? What does the data say? Where are drop-offs happening, and why? What are your customers telling you? Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for the customer to continue down the customer journey map.
It’s important that you aren’t speculating or guessing here. Since you’re so familiar with your company and the products or services it provides, it can be really difficult to take a step back and see through your customer’s eyes. Something obvious to you might not be for them, and something that’s important for them might not be for you. That’s why combining quantitative data and qualitative data to improve your customer’s journey—and ultimately your bottom line—is so important.
Quantitative data shows you where in your map customers are falling through the cracks. Qualitative data tells you why.
While there’s industry-wide information on what consumers like to see (think: automation, personalization), knowing what customers need and expect at each stage of your company’s customer journey is something that you can only find out by asking them. With customer feedback, you’ll get a clearer picture of your customer’s experience at each stage, and learn what you need to improve it.
Action: Add a new row to your spreadsheet labeled Room for Improvement or similar. Here’s where you’ll put your interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data, within the context of the customer’s Tasks, Questions, Emotions, Influences. Add another row labeled Improvements. To fill in the Improvements row, work with your customer feedback data and relevant departments to come up with ways to improve each stage. Keep in mind that your map is as flexible as reality allows. For instance, you might want to add a touchpoint, or even a stage, where there wasn’t one before to improve the customer journey.
Once you’ve come up with solid, data-backed improvements and implement them, you can copy your customer journey map to a new tab. After enough time has passed to collect data on your new improvements, you can edit your new map to reflect the new reality. Then rinse and repeat, using your quantitative and qualitative feedback to continuously improve your customer’s journey from start to finish.
If you find yourself stuck on this step because of a lack of customer feedback, no worries—we’ll show you how to set it up so that you can sit back and let the feedback roll in.
Part II: Improve your customer’s journey with customer feedback
Once you’ve completed the above steps, you should have a customer journey map that reflects your business, and the data that measures it. With customer feedback, you can use your customer journey map as a tool for increasing sales, decreasing churn, and creating brand advocates.
Customers are the most important thing to Salesforce. Their satisfaction defines our success. GetFeedback helps us listen to our customers at every touchpoint and deliver a phenomenal experience.― Dan Darcy, SVP, Global Enablement, Salesforce
By collecting customer feedback strategically, you can improve the customer’s journey and systematically close the gaps identified in your map. Here, we’ll go over the basics of how to use surveys to improve your customer journey map.
Customer survey basics: the when, where, and how
When to ask for feedback
Your customer journey map will give you an intuitive sense for where in the journey is best to add surveys. To close the gaps in your map, the best moments to ask for feedback are:
- After touchpoints you want to improve
- At major milestones in your customer journey
- Before renewals or account changes
Where to distribute surveys
Using GetFeedback surveys with Salesforce, you automate survey distribution to get continuous feedback in real time. Collect feedback through the channels you already use with your customers, or embed them directly into your emails and web pages for better response rates. The best distribution channels for surveys are:
- Live chat
- Web pages
- Knowledge base
After a sales call, a purchase, or a support chat, customers can complete your survey without switching channels. And when they respond, their feedback flows into Salesforce instantly, so you can analyze the results and close the loop faster. Plus, by integrating with Salesforce, you ensure the right people receive the right survey at the right time—and avoid pestering your customers.
How to improve response rates
Surveys are more likely to get responses if they’re user-friendly. Besides asking for feedback at a time and in a channel that makes sense in the context of your customer’s journey, you can also:
- Keep your surveys short and relevant—we recommend 5 questions or fewer
- Personalize survey questions—include details about the customer and their specific experience
- Offer incentives for completing surveys—give a little to get a little
Top 3 customer survey questions
Match the right type of survey questions with the specific moments in your customer journey map that you want to improve. With the right questions at the right times, you’ll learn how you could better meet your customer’s needs.
You’ll find more examples in the last section, but these are three of the best and most widely applicable survey questions for improving your customer journey: Customer Satisfaction Score, Net Promoter Score, and Customer Effort Score.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score
What is CSAT?
CSAT, or the Customer Satisfaction survey question, can help you improve specific touchpoints on your customer journey map. By asking customers, How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the service you received? right after a touchpoint, you can measure if your product, service, or interaction has met their expectations. Usually, CSAT questions are on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being very dissatisfied and 5 being very satisfied.
How do you use it?
A general CSAT score will help you gauge overall customer satisfaction on specific touchpoints. To get more insights from your customers on their experience, you can also add an open-ended Short Answer question that asks them to explain the reason for their rating. This can help pinpoint where you’re excelling and identify areas that could use improvements.
CSAT survey questions can be triggered right after the touchpoint you want to measure using GetFeedback and Salesforce.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
What is NPS?
NPS, or the Net Promoter Score survey question, is predictive of both repurchase and referral, making it the ideal for improving retention in your customer journey. It asks customers, How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague? and places them in one of three categories: Detractors, Passives, or Promoters based off of their 1 – 10 rating.
How do you use it?
With NPS, you get an overall pulse on how happy your existing customers are with your business. As you make improvements to touchpoints in your customer journey map based off of the information gathered from CSAT and other survey questions, you can expect your overall NPS to rise.
You can also use NPS survey data to segment your customers, allowing your Sales and Support teams to quickly identify which customers need extra care, and which are likely to repurchase or refer your brand to others. To get more specific feedback from your customers, add an open-ended Short Answer question after the NPS, asking them to elaborate on their rating.
Use GetFeedback and Salesforce integration to automatically trigger NPS survey questions based on plan type, account age, or other factors.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
What is CES?
When a customer needs help, meeting their needs efficiently is top priority. CES, or the Customer Effort Score survey question, measures how much effort your customers put in to get the help they need. That’s why CES questions are a solid predictor of brand loyalty. Most CES surveys make a statement, such as, GetFeedback made it easy for me to handle my issue, and give customers seven possible answers to choose from, ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree with Neutral in the middle.
How do you use it?
Collecting CES survey feedback is best right after support or customer success interactions, giving you visibility into your brand loyalty at any given moment. Armed with CES survey data, you can find the touchpoints where customers are having the toughest time achieving their goals. You can learn what was helpful and what wasn’t through the various channels customers have available to them, such as a live support chat or your knowledge base. Like with CSAT and NPS, you can always add an open-ended Short Answer question as a follow-up to learn more from your customers about what they need to earn your loyalty.
Using Salesforce and GetFeedback surveys, you can trigger CES surveys directly after support and customer success interactions for immediate and more accurate survey results.
Tailor your survey questions to get the answers you need
Improving each stage of your customer journey is possible with the help of tailored surveys. Here’s an overview of other survey question types you can use with GetFeedback to create customized surveys:
- Multiple Choice – Select one or more of the following options
- Like/Dislike – Allows your survey taker to quickly give input with one click
- Rating – Allows a person to rate based on a scale of 1-N
- Ranking – Allows a person to stack rank a series of options
- Short Answer – A free-form text field for open-ended questions
Part III: See how other companies are improving their customer experience
Hopefully by now, you already have some ideas about where in your customer journey map you want to add surveys, and about what kinds of questions you could ask.
While it’s good to get the creative juices flowing for your particular business case, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. See how other businesses have used customer feedback to fill in the gaps of their customer journey map, and the results it produced.
Pass more qualified leads to sales
In the earliest stages of the sales funnel, your goal is to identify quality leads within the vast quantity of prospects. While your customer journey map will give you a good idea of the inner workings of quality leads, being able to identify them can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
The sales cycle is 18 times faster for companies with a formal customer journey management program.
Website Surveys and Lead Forms
Save your team time and effort by identifying qualified leads with surveys. You can use what you know from the pre-purchase stages of your customer journey map to create a survey that helps you find qualified leads among the pool of prospects.
In addition to qualifying leads, qualifying surveys in the early stages of your customer journey can also help you accurately segment your prospects, improve personalization, and give sales what they need to close more deals.
Example: Legend Solar
Legend Solar, a solar power provider and installer, has a deep understanding of their customer’s needs from the outset of their journey. They use this understanding to send customized surveys to prospects, making it easy for them to identify qualified leads:
GetFeedback helps us streamline our entire sales process. We survey every prospect to understand the opportunity. That means higher quality leads and closing more deals.― Brett Lee, Regional Sales Manager at Legend Solar
Close more sales and find upsell opportunities
Near the middle of your customer journey map is the purchase. Without knowing why some customers purchased and others didn’t, it’s hard to move the needle on sales. With Closed-Won surveys, you and your sales team will learn what’s working and what’s not.
Plus, you can automate survey distribution with Salesforce, which means your customers receive surveys at just the right moment. That adds up to higher response rates and higher quality of data.
Companies with a formal customer journey management program earn 56% more cross- and up-sell revenue.
Every sale is a chance to learn and improve, and with Closed-Won surveys, you can analyze the purchase experience to find out how your sales team is performing. A typically Closed-Won survey asks: Why did you choose us? or How did we do? The results tell you which pieces of your customer journey can remain untouched because they’re functioning well as-is. But it’s also a chance for customers to offer constructive feedback that helps your team grow.
BRP makes the world’s most exciting powersports vehicles, including Sea-Doo and Ski-Doo. The manufacturing giant uses Salesforce to trigger Closed-Won surveys after customers purchase a new vehicle from a dealer. By measuring purchase satisfaction at each location, BRP can monitor dealer performance and customer loyalty scalably.
With feedback from Closed-Won, CSAT, and other GetFeedback surveys, BRP can now manage the purchase experience at over 4,200 dealerships worldwide. The insights they’ve collected have helped them better address customer needs, maintain their service standards, and improve dealer training. With GetFeedback for Salesforce, BRP saw a:
- 94% survey completion rate
- 95% reduction in survey costs
Using GetFeedback and Salesforce, we can now take our customer feedback and turn it into action.― Myshka Sansoin, Global Customer Advocate at BRP
Prevent customer churn
For most businesses, retaining customers is much more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. Plus, the more customers that you have that are brand advocates, the more qualified leads you’ll have coming in the pipeline. That’s why it’s important not to overlook the last stages of your customer’s journey.
Keep customers happy to be doing business with you by making support an impressive feature in your customer’s journey. After customers reach out for support, Salesforce can trigger CSAT and CES survey questions to measure how satisfied they are, and how difficult it was for them to solve their issue. Use this knowledge to increase support agent productivity and effectiveness, and watch customer satisfaction rise.
Ticketfly works with concert and event venues to make tickets easy for people to buy. After a venue contacts Ticketfly support, Ticketfly immediately sends the venue a CSAT and forms using Salesforce triggers. By measuring customer satisfaction with support and collecting contextual information for each issue with GetFeedback, Ticketfly as seen a:
- 250% increase in agent productivity
- 28% uplift in survey completion rate
GetFeedback is shaping how we operate as a business and helping us deliver a seamless client and customer support experience.― Caroline Jack, Director of Product Training and Support
Turn unhappy customers into advocates
NPS feedback lets you know if improvements to your customer journey are having a positive impact. By asking customers if they would recommend your company to others over the course of their relationship with your business, you’ll have a pulse on overall customer happiness over time.
Turn unhappy customers into advocates by focusing agent efforts towards customers with low NPS scores. Segmenting customers by their NPS score helps you focus on supporting the customers that need it the most, using agent time and effort where it will have the most impact. With NPS data living on the customer record in Salesforce, you can further segment your customers (by account type, department, etc.) to identify where there’s room for improvement in your customer journey map.
Companies with a formal customer journey management program see 24% more positive social media mentions.
Example: Peapack-Gladstone Bank
Peapack-Gladstone Bank started a client feedback program using GetFeedback and Salesforce to get the data they needed to improve their customer journey. They begin with an onboarding survey to get a baseline for each customer, and follow up with NPS surveys throughout the course of their relationship. For customers with an NPS of 6 or less, a case is automatically opened, prompting the dedicated banker to reach out to the customer and make things right. Since launching their client feedback program, Peapack-Gladstone Bank has seen a:
- 10% increase in NPS
- 62% higher NPS than industry average
Now that we have our client feedback in Salesforce, we can sort it by department, by branch, or by business line, and take action on a daily basis.― Scott Searle, Salesforce Administrator
Easily gain valuable, actionable customer insights
You’ll have the recipe for the ultimate customer experience in a fraction of the time by centralizing and automating your customer feedback with Salesforce. You can measure the customer experience holistically across the customer journey map, and easily gain valuable, actionable insights. By building out customer profiles, you’ll have the ability for better segmentation and personalization, ensuring your customer journey map is reflecting the reality of your customers.
GetFeedback for Salesforce
With Salesforce and GetFeedback integration, you can provide a consistent, high-quality customer experience. With customer feedback collected seamlessly across the customer journey, your business can respond to customers quickly and make it easy for them to move through the customer journey map. With Salesforce triggers, you can keep your communications to a minimum, sending out beautiful, targeted, and purposeful surveys at the right moments.
BRP’s family of powersport brands use GetFeedback and Salesforce to collect and automate their customer feedback at every touchpoint. Their automatically triggered surveys give them an effortless stream of incoming insights on customers’ purchase experience and customer loyalty for each dealer they work with. Since using GetFeedback and Salesforce to automate customer feedback collection, BRP has seen a:
- 94% survey completion
- 95% cost savings
GetFeedback for Salesforce provides the real-time insights that we need to take action. Our survey completion rate has skyrocketed to 94%.― Myshka Sansoin, Specialist, Global Customer Engagement
Find out where your customer journey leads you
Ready to power your business with a data-driven customer journey map? GetFeedback and Salesforce have you covered. With automated customer feedback, you’ll always have a pulse on your customers’ experience, and know what to do to improve it.
GetFeedback has created a whole new way for us to listen to our customers, and the insights are changing the way we do business.― Dan Darcy, SVP, Global Enablement, Salesforce