How to build a CX journey map?


I like road trips…the idea of getting into the car, putting on some music, driving for hours and exploring a new place. Even along the journey, there are opportunities to stop and learn or see something new before traveling onward. While part of the journey goes off script, there is always a plan in place. I have taken some road trips that didn’t yield the enjoyment I was seeking. Looking back, it almost always relates to one thing: I didn’t have an overall plan.  

It may seem simple, but looking at a map before leaving – even on a leisurely trip – makes all the difference. You’ll know a route, how long it will take to get there if you need to plan for an overnight stay and what you’ll do when you arrive. It may seem like it obfuscates the idea of being “leisurely” if there is that much going into planning, but ultimately the reward for just looking at the map once is well worth it.

Like a road trip, building, or re-energizing a Customer Experience (CX) program requires a plan. However, the map you need to use usually is not there when you start your planning, or it is out of date. In the digital world, our navigation tools keep us up to date with changes in the roads to make our planning that much easier and more reliable. In organizations, however, that map is even more critical as it isn’t just a long weekend, our CX journey would ideally last for years. Even during that time, changes in the industry or the occasional pandemic will create significant changes to that map – and therefore to our planning.  

Defining moments in CX

There are many ways to build a CX Journey Map; there are even companies that specialize in supporting organizations in better understanding the principles of journey mapping and provide in-depth consulting on the topic. It can also be a very simple process that focuses on one area of a business or channel. Regardless of the approach, two common elements are that you should be left with a documented set of steps that the customer may take to interact with your brand and there should always be space to make an update.  

When you build this map, you are looking at those defining moments in the interaction. Not every touchpoint necessarily needs a survey attached to it, but there should be some way of measuring success at that touchpoint. For example, a customer on an e-commerce website will have opinions about the UX, the ease of finding products, and the check-out process – however, we wouldn’t necessarily ask them to document the processing time of the backend payment system and their satisfaction with the payments company.  

Much like a road map, the CX Journey Map becomes more informative with increased detail. I recall speaking with a sports franchise that only wanted to look at the touchpoints they could influence. Since they didn’t manage parking or stadium concessions, they didn’t see it as important to understand. However, the ability to change or impact the touchpoint is the entire reason to include it on the journey map. With events, the spending decision is almost always made outside of the venue and goes beyond the events at the venue and even more than the day of the event. While looking at parking, stadium entry and entertainment value can be a guide to the event CX, a more detailed approach that includes the purchase decision (which can be influenced by past attendance, the current team record, and even weather) or getting there (who is going, the best way to make the journey and perhaps even having a meal before the event) can provide a deeper understanding of the experience even where you are unable to influence the outcomes. Some of the roadblocks – both metaphorical and literal – can even be unexpected, but acknowledgment goes a long way in establishing a best-in-class CX measurement system. 

Don’t leave home without it

Armed with a CX Journey Map, you’ll be able to bring in other areas of the organization that might not see CX as part of their role. The map should provide that information in a clear and understandable way because CX is a part of every role. As much as starting a journey with customers through a CX program is important, it is much more important to know what roads to take to get to the destination, even if it is a long journey with many stops.