Steps to Map a Digital Customer Journey

This article will help you to map a digital customer journey by following a step-by-step approach. We list 7 simple steps to create a customer journey map using the necessary analytics information. Starting from the initial research and analytics and ending with a stage of revision, these steps will help businesses improve their customer journey and product performance.
Customer roadmap

The customer roadmap through the marketing funnel

Customer journeys are often missed in sales cycles, but they are a great means to gather deep insights into how your business is running from the customer’s perspective. With the recent and major shift in power from vendors to buyers, companies need to go where the customers are to find success. The buyers decide the pace at which they make a purchase in the present scenario with the influx of the internet and the choices presented to them from various competitors.
To top it off, sales cycles are becoming shorter, with 55% of buyers needing less than 3 months to make a purchase worth $20000, and 85% of buying decisions taken in under 6 months. In-app purchases and the increase in credit-buying are among the many factors that enable buyers to make faster decisions on procurement.
If they are to catch up with new consumer demands, companies need to put their thinking hats on: They need to understand how customers respond to their product at each stage of the buying cycle. Customer success is no longer just about furnishing a product page and producing a sales pitch.
If you are a vendor in the modern business space, you’ll need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and trace their journey using product analytics from all the different channels. This is where digital customer journey mapping comes in.

What is a Customer Journey Map?

Customer journey maps are visual roadmaps of customers’ experiences with your product. It is an exercise for mapping the customers’ engagement with a product from start to finish. These maps are usually a visual representation of the customers’ thoughts, feelings, the channels and mediums through which they interact with your business, and how they respond to each sales and marketing trigger.
Digital customer journeys help identify customer pain points that deter successful product interactions. It’s a process by which companies try to study customer interactions before, through, and after the product purchase. Mapping the customer journey has the potential to even redefine the way businesses run.

7 Steps to Map the Customer Journey

There are several points you need to consider before coming up with a simple customer journey map.
Customer Journey Map

An ideal customer journey map

They are categorized into 7 easy steps, as explained below.

1. Research and Analytics

First and foremost, when mapping the customer journey, simple tools for web and mobile analytics can perform user analytics to track user actions. A customer journey analytics solution such as a product analytics tool identifies roadblocks using user analytics. These roadblocks will eventually lead companies to take the right action at the right time while discovering any scope for improvement.
User analytics tools can gather user information to help your product development teams and marketing teams focus on creating better user experiences. They will tell you some simple yet very useful information about your customers and users, like which channels your users are coming from, whether they click on an advertisement from a particular channel, or if they responded to your promotional email.
However, analyzing users too broadly can be misleading, and analyzing them individually is daunting. This is why most product analytics tools also provide cohort analytics as a solid solution to group users. Based on users who display common characteristics, groups of cohorts will fall into a specific category for specific marketing strategies.
For example, if users whose session count is more than 3 are most likely to make a purchase from your product page, you can group such users into a cohort and market to them for your best-selling products. Now you can start mapping this user group’s customer journey through a customer journey map.

2. Create Customer Personas

Any given organization will have several different customer personas who seek to get the most out of their products and services. But this information on personas is gathered through different means, such as questionnaires, customer support team inputs, user analytics, social media, and more.
Companies can run analytics across various channels to improve their knowledge base on customers. The importance of finding user personas is to define the target market and to build better product capabilities that suit those personas. Customer/buyer personas help you empathize with the customer’s side of the story and tackle problems they encounter in their customer journey more effectively.
While mapping a customer journey, keep your customer/user personas ready so that you know, more accurately, what the customers might feel, think, or do when they are searching for a solution to their problems.
For example, if you are a travel agency, your user analytics will tell you which personas of customers drive the most business to you. They are the frequent fliers who use your services on a regular basis. Targeting this persona and building an identity around them will help you bring out the proper business messaging and service representation.
Incorporate the buyer persona behaviors and preferences into your customer journey map for better targeting, and you can subsequently improve your business design.

3. Target Touchpoints and Devices

Reiterating on the point we touched upon earlier, customer success depends on how well product vendors understand their customers. Spoilt for choice, customers find it easy to move from one product vendor to the next without a second thought, putting more pressure on companies to understand their target markets better.
Forbes reports that 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue.
A smooth customer experience depends on how well users are engaged with your product. Device analytics, product heatmaps, churn and crash analytics, and behavior analytics are valuable sources that will tell you where users drop off from the sales funnel.
With this information on touchpoints and devices listed out on a customer journey map, you can plan to increase the points of engagement, whether through a website, social media platforms, advertisement channels, or email campaigns. For instance, putting up a chat option on your product page and application interface lets users address challenges more easily.
A successful interaction also improves the customer’s trust in a brand, eventually making them an advocate and promoter for your business.

4. Workshop

Now it is finally time to conduct a workshop to map the customer journey. In this workshop, the teams involved in product management are encouraged to think from the customer’s point of view instead of a product view. This will involve putting together all the information from the previous steps by laying them out sequentially.
Additionally, teams need to focus on the customers’ emotions through this journey as they progress through each step. Could they be feeling worried, excited, impatient, satisfied, or frustrated at any point? What if there is room for improvement in any stage of their interaction?
Pointing out customer feelings and emotions along the map will be a motivator for your organization to address them in the future. This leads us to the next step - identifying and addressing customer pain points.

5. Identify and Address Customer Pain Points

Your first customer journey map will not come out looking clean. Your customers are not happy at many stages of the journey, and you will know that these stages are not leading to conversions. The above steps help you clearly identify where customers are facing an issue.
Now it is time to delve into these issues with clarity so that you can take the necessary steps to address them. Ultimately, identifying the pain points in a customer journey is what will lead to progress.

6. Monitor and Feedback

Customer journeys do not end with a purchase. Existing customers are valuable assets to a company, and their opinions matter in order to increase retention. Customer loyalty and retention analytics are important drivers to increase revenue by curtailing costs.
After you have gone through the identification and rectification stages, the results of the changes you made need careful monitoring. Customer feedback collection is an essential step that will tell you how satisfied a customer is with the brand interaction.
Apart from reviews and feedback requests, an NPS® survey will tell you how likely a customer is to recommend your product to another person. If your solutions did not solve the issue, you would need to go back to the drawing board.

7. Come Back to the Table

Customer journey mapping is not a singular exercise that can be pushed aside after a first stint. They are subject to revisions and multiple iterations that make them permanent assets to businesses. There may still be some issues that you were not able to solve after creating the first customer journey map. You need to then regroup and actively try to address these issues from the start.
This brings us to the end of all the steps for mapping the customer journey. You may have multiple maps, depending on the number of user personas or the variety of products you sell. In the end, it is all about seeing things from the customer’s viewpoint and carving out the right responses at the right time to make their journeys smooth.
Are you interested in learning more about how customer and product analytics help businesses achieve more? Check out Countly articles on our blog and academy.
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