Customer Journey Mapping: How To Orchestrate An Amazing Customer Experience

Customer Journey Mapping is an ongoing process of mapping the steps a customer goes through in their interaction with a company. This process creates a visualization that looks like a map and includes the needs of a customer throughout the entire process with the hope of improving customer experience. In a recent Twitter chat for USA Manufacturing Hour, participants discussed this very topic, led by host, Nicole Donnelly of Donnelly Marketing Group in Virginia.

What is a Customer Journey Map

The discussion began with participants sharing what a customer journey map is.

JD from Cleveland Deburring in Ohio said, “It displays all the steps a customer makes prior to making a purchase.”

David Crysler from The Crysler Club in Michigan said, “A detailed document mapping the steps a customer takes to go through your buying process.”

Gina M. Tabasso from MAGNET in Ohio said, “A marketing and sales tool that shows the buyer journey and all the touchpoints along the way from entry to sale.”

Dave Meyer from BizzyWeb in Minnesota said, “A customer journey map outlines everything a customer experiences as they engage with your business - from awareness to consideration to decision. I wrote a blog about this last month!”

Paulie Rose from RCF Technologies in Missouri said, “A map showing the stages a potential customer takes from being a prospect to becoming a customer to beyond even post purchase!”

John Buglino from Optessa Inc in New Jersey said, “Step-by-step on how you convert your leads to a customer.”

Manufacturers' News, Inc. in Illinois said, “A customer journey map helps us visualize the various touchpoints of the customer's progression through the awareness, research, decision, purchase and service stages.”

Kati McDermith from Industry Net in Illinois said, “The visual representation of the process a customer takes with you, from discovery til death.”

Whitney Koch from Welker, Inc. in Texas said, “A visual representation of the buying process…?”

Adam Baker from Schooley Mitchell in Pennsylvania said, “A map illustrating the touch points the customer receives while working with an organization.”

Dan Bigger from Optessa Inc in New Jersey said, “How the customer starts their process and arrives at a buying decision.”

Ruby Rusine from Social Success Marketing in California said, “A tool used by businesses to track and record the various touchpoints that a customer has with the business, in order to optimize the customer experience.”

Chase Bodor from Plastics Plus Technology in California said, “A customer journey map lays out the process your target persona goes through during their quest of looking for a solution to their specific problem. I actually have a printout of ours taped to my whiteboard lol.”

Amy.M.Anderson said, “I hope your customer journey map doesn't stop when the lead becomes a customer, but continues through onboarding, sustaining the relationship, and providing the next level of need down the road, perhaps even a process for bidding adieu when the two of you are no longer a match.”


VirtuDesk said, “A customer journey map helps you understand your customer's experience. This will identify possible pain points and bottlenecks that need to be addressed to meet their needs or personalized their experience.”

Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said, “It's the visual representation of a customer's journey. It helps you understand their experience and allows you to strategize to meet those expectations.”

Host, Donnelly said, “A customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s experience with your company before during and after a sale. It provides an understanding into the needs and concerns of potential customers which directly motivate or inhibit their actions.”


What Does A Customer Journey Map Include

Participants next shared what a customer journey map includes.

Koch said, “People/Roles in an organization and other places buyers interact with your company. That would include your website and social media presence too.”

Bigger said, “The step in the process is all I know. Again, not a marketing major and holiday inn didn't teach me this.”

Baker said, “Lots of measuring - how much, how often, how long.”

Meyer said, “You need customer touchpoints & Buyer Personas for your best customers. Map out how you'll attract, engage and delight them, & set up what happens next. You can let your CRM do some of the heavy lifting to automate. Here's a template -

McDermith said, “Typical and potential touch points, buyer personas, and gifs.”

Buglino said, “Your expected interactions, milestones, and content moving someone from start/finish.”

Rose said, “Should include all of the actions your customer takes across each stage in buyer journey.”

Bodor said, “Depends on how thorough your map is. The basics include stages, touchpoints, and the channels you use to reach a customer. Some maps may include actual quotes from a customer, a decision-making flowchart, and other visual pieces.”

Rusine said, “The customer journey map typically includes such information as the customer's needs and wants, the various channels or touchpoints used, and, if you can, the emotions experienced at each stage.”

Emily Kite from Obsidian Manufacturing Industries in Illinois said, “It includes researching a specific thing, clicking on a website that corresponds with that specific thing and then placing an order.”

Tabasso said, “Stages and actions/touchpoints along the way.”

Fairchild Equipment in Wisconsin said, “All of the customers interactions with the organization.”

Kaia from StratMg in Illinois said, “We like to include the process of moving from lead to customer in customer journey maps, especially customer pain points and company solutions.”

Baker said, “Lots of measuring - how much, how often, how long.”

Scott Sittler, a Marketing Manager from North Carolina said, “Any/all possible moments a potential customer would interact with the brand.”

Nigel T Packer from PelaTis Online in Wales, United Kingdom said, “The steps in the customer journey are: Ignorance, Discovery, Research, Negotiation, Purchase, Delivery, Use Assessment,Advocate. It is also useful to plot the emotional journey between each step.”

VirtuDesk said, “Everything. From the start of their journey such as where they heard about your brand, inquiries, decision-making, onboarding, etc.

Stepanov said, “That'll be inquiry, comparison, purchase, and installation. “

Host Donnelly said, “Your customer journey map includes: customer actions, brand touchpoints, emotions your customer is experience, business goals/KPI's, and internal team involved/responsible for each touchpoint.


Importance of Mapping Out Customer Journeys

Next participants discussed why it is important to map out a customer journey. Everyone shared their thoughts.

Bigger said, “To know their pain in their process and eliminate them or ease the pain through the process.”

Rusine said, “Mapping out the customer journey is important because it helps companies understand what customers are thinking and feeling at each stage of the journey. This understanding can then be used to create more targeted marketing and sales strategies.”

Meyer said, “You need everyone on the same page between sales and marketing, and you need to identify any spots that you might be missing connections.”

McDermith said, “Customer journey mapping can uncover opportunities to improve process, offerings, and improve conversion.”

Manufacturers' News, Inc. said, “It is important to map out your customer journey so that you can engage with your prospect at every step!”

Koch said, “If you don’t know where your customer is interacting with your company/brand, how can you reach them?”

Buglino said, “To learn & develop repeatable actions to drive business.”

Baker said, “So you can optimize their experience and ultimately lead to increased sales - it will take the guess work out of what is working and what isn't and you can tweak your strategy accordingly.”

Tabasso said, “So you don't miss out on a chance to interact and so you can deliver tailored/customized/unique experiences to them where they are at in the journey to move them along.”

Fairchild Equipment said, “So we can better understand their process, and figure out how to improve!”

Kaia said, “For one thing, mapping the customer journey will identify places where you may have gaps or weaknesses in your content and communication with prospects and customers so you can fill in those gaps!”

Brett from FreightPOP in California said, “It helps you understand where your customers are in the sales process and how you can best help them. You can also then send them the right content so you aren't filling their inboxes with irrelevant messages/content!”

Packer said, “By mapping the customer journey you are able to produce the right messages to encourage them to move towards their goal of purchase from your business rather than from the client.”

Anderson said, “Mapping out your customer journey gives you customer insight of your process allowing you to smooth trouble spots, speed conversions, and stay involved throughout the customer life-cycle.”

Rose said, “Hard to know where your going without a map.”

Crysler said, “Had to borrow a quote for this one... "Maps are essential. Planning a journey without a map is like building a house without drawings." - Mark Jenkins”

Host Donnelly said, “You'll boost your customer experience - leading to higher conversion rates, more sales, higher customer satisfaction and improved customer retention. It also aligns your departments to each customer achieves the same consistent experience.”


Examples of Touchpoints

The discussion turned to participants sharing some examples of touchpoints that customers have with their respective companies.

Tabasso said, “Website, email, social, events, ads, phone calls.”

McDermith said, “Social, content marketing, discovery, sales process, buying process, enablement, just to name a few.”

Buglino said, “Website visit, content download, email engagement, social media follow.”

Bigger said, “Website, social, email, phone, video call, in person visits.”

Meyer said, “Some from our map - attended event - visited web page (landing page, contact form/etc) - interacted with social media - connected at networking event - responded to PPC ad - commented on blog - read email newsletter - in lead workflow (some mix of above)”

He added, “Having a CRM and marketing system like HubSpot makes all this simple.”

Rusine said, “Speaking about a client: ~ email ~ visits to their price page ~ what social media channel brought them there ~ what URL was used - blog or sales page? ~ reviews ~ FAQ ~ add to cart ~ phone ~ ads ~ search words to your site many possibilities”

Brett said, “Social media, email, phone, chatting with us on our website, and employees on LinkedIn to name a few!”

Koch said, “Social media channels. Word of mouth. Trade shows. Print and digital advertising. Your website. Your employees (email, phone calls). Literature. Seeing your your product in use somewhere.”

Cris A. Young from Product Genius Technology in Maine said, “Social platforms, sales team, website, tradeshows.”

Baker said, “Great question - we create additional touchpoints with our clients to ensure we are front of mind. For instance, while we update them on their savings every quarter, we reach out in between to promote their business. Sometimes saving $$ isn't enough value.

Host Donnelly said, “Here are some examples of touchpoints that your customers have with your company:

  • Website visits
  • Paid social ads
  • Google/PPC ads
  • Organic social
  • Email
  • Discovery call
  • Webinars/Events
  • Demos
  • Order fulfillment”

The Most Important Step

The discussion continued with participants sharing what they think is the first and most important step to creating an ideal customer journey.

Packer said, “Get the team together all those who are customer facing to discuss every aspect of the customers journey for your business. They have hidden knowledge about the customers. Produce a hypothesis of the journey then test it with customers.”

Kirsten Austin from DCSC Inc. in Missouri said, “I think it's really important to actually build a real-relationship based on trust, honesty, expectations and communication.”

McDermith said, “START.”

Bigger said, “That was my answer toooooooooo Kati”

He added, “The process of doing it.”

Bodor said, “Make an educated guess about what that journey looks like. Then go test it out by talking to some customers. With that insight, iterate and adjust the map. Rinse and repeat.”

Meyer said, “Agreed with others - Buyer Personas. Here's a super-slick persona generator if you're just getting started (no affiliation to me this time, promise!)

customer-journey-map-graphicBuglino said, “Know why/how you've been successful and work backwards to build the journey.”

Koch said, “Working backwards is a good idea!”

She added, “Knowing your buyer persona(s)…?”

Baker said, “Gonna use a phone a friend because I'm not sure. "Begin with the end in mind" feels like a good answer. You need to ask what are you trying to achieve?”

VirtuDesk said, “You start with your objectives. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to understand?”

Tabasso said, “Buyer personas.”

Velavu said, “I would say understanding who your customer truly is! So what are their goals, aspirations, needs, pain points etc…”

Young said, “KTB--know thy buyer.”

Host Donnelly said, “Talk to your customers and prospects! Conduct one on one interviews and/or administer a simple survey to uncover the gaps in your current customer experience.”


What Part of Your Customer Journey Needs Improvement

The discussion concluded with participants answering one last question: What part of their customer journey needs improvement and what can they so about it.

Packer said, “You cannot fix all the issues in one go. It is an iterative process and should be dealt with from most important to "that would be nice". Remember that you may have biases when creating a hypothetical journey, customers will also have their biases.”

Meyer said, “Every part. Constant improvement is part of the game of generating revenue. If you stand still, you're falling behind. I spend a ton of time looking at what's working and figuring out how to improve. If you're not measuring you're not marketing.”

Buglino said, “....closing.”

Bigger said, “Closing.”

Young said, “Analytics, automate process.”

Nicole Fiene from ADP said, “I think this goes for all companies, but setting the right expectations right from the jump can really smooth out the customer journey and help avoid bumps in the road.”

Stepanov said, “We have clients who need assistance on how to become successful with their VAs, especially when it's their first time hiring one. So, what we did was, we hired a Client Success Manager who will help them succeed with their virtual assistants.”

Rusine said, “Optimized content is one of the biggies - not just for manufacturers but almost every company.”


Customer Journey Mapping is built on communication. It’s about listening to your customers about their experience and working through your processes to make a customer’s experience with your business as effective as possible.

There are many points in a customer’s journey where they will interact with your company. Is the interaction effective? By focusing on customer journey mapping, you can make sure customers have a consistent and positive experience that brings them back to your company again and again.



About #USAMfgHour

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