Whether you’re starting from scratch or jumping straight unto it, understanding the basics of using customer journey maps is essential to successfully creating empathy with the user and understanding their journey.

This article will discuss the 5 best customer journey maps that you can use with visual collaboration and we’ll run through the essential steps to creating your own customer journey map.

5 Best Customer Journey Maps

Customer journey maps come in a wide variety of templates and often are completely different from one another. Despite their aesthetic differences, any business can use them to improve their customer experience and help them better understand their users. Here are our 5 favorite customer journey maps!

Storyboarding

The storyboarding template is one of the most simple customer journey maps in our database and is easily used by any product development team.

Fresco Storyboarding Template

The storyboarding template visualizes how a potential user will experience the solution that is being developed. This template works best for teams that are designing brand new experiences for users to interact with, and it is a way to curate the desired experience before implementing the solution.

The first step to using this board is defining the scenario at hand. The scenario will be either a specific solution to a problem the customer is experiencing, a new solution to attract new users, or a brand new project proposal. It’s important to have an understanding of the proposed scenario in order to create a narrowed understanding of how the user will interact with it and how it can be most effective. 

After carefully defining the scenario, you begin to map out each stage of interaction. Use the boxes to describe how the user will interact with each specific touchpoint of the scenario. Be as descriptive as possible in this portion to separate the interactions as much as possible. This helps differentiate them and provides unique value to each step.

After finishing the template, you should have a solid understanding of the most important steps for the user to interact with and how you can maximize their experience.

Engaging New Customers

The engaging new customers template is an effective way to map out routes to reach a new user base. In order to reach these new customers, you must walk through how they will experience the scenario posed in front of them.

There are 5 stages to the engaging new customers template. They are as follows: Reach, Impress, Engage, Exit, and Return. Each of these phases poses unique interactions that the user will engage with and opportunities to secure their brand loyalty. 

The first two phases, reach and impress, are centered around the methods that will attract new customers and the feeling they will get when first interacting with the product. These are key stages in the process, and based on the quality of the interactions, can inform the user’s intention of continuing to use the product or not.

The next step is “engage” and this will detail the meat of the user’s experience with the product. This is where they will actually use the core functions of the product and interact with it first hand.

Fresco's Engaging New Customers template is an effective customer journey map

When describing the engagement, be as specific as possible to target every small detail of their use. Depicting these details is important and meaningful, especially considering a first-time user will certainly not interact with the product as a return customer would. 

Remember, the more specific you can discuss their interactions, the better you can target their needs and expectations.

The last two phases are the “exit & return” steps. These sections highlight the lasting impression that is left on the customer after using the product and the reason for them to return and use it again.

When describing these phases, think about how they will hear from your business after their principal task is complete. Is there any direct need to use your product/service again? How can you create this need?

The phases depicted are good indicators to gauge a customer’s experience and can be used to attract new customers or create a new user engagement strategy. Whatever the need may be, this template serves as a great customer journey map. 

Consumer Intentions Diagram

The consumer intentions diagram is not a typical customer journey map but is used to align the intentions of your users in order to structure features around their needs.

The first thing that happens is you must identify the intentions of your customer. This is a two-fold process, where you must identify both the needs that the user identifies and the things that you want to enable for them. These are different things but are linked directly by the fact that they both seek to provide meaning and value.

After defining customer intentions, this board follows similar elements to a MoSCoW prioritization. This means that each section will discuss the required features in order to implement the optimal experience for the user. 

The first section, threshold, asks what is absolutely required in order to bring the desired experience to the customer. Think about what features are necessary to meet their needs and the deadlines that these features need to be finished by.

Fresco's Consumer Intentions Diagram

The next two sections are performance and excitement. These sections both discuss the reaction and experience the customer feels while using the product/service. In these sections, think about how you can ensure the customer has a positive experience, and how you can position this scenario to create excitement for the potential users.

The final section talks about omissions and what features will be out of the scope of the current project. This is very similar to the MoSCoW framework and is extremely helpful in narrowing the scope of the project. By doing this you eliminate scope creep ad are able to fully focus on the project at hand without having to worry about extraneous details.

Basic Roadmap

The basic roadmap is one of the simpler customer journey maps and defines the experience of the customer over multiple different product iterations.

Throughout multiple different stages, you will define the overall experience customers have using the product, their needs in order to have a positive experience, the value they receive from the product/service, and their learned takeaways from their experience.

These are all important sections to both understand the current state of their experience but also how their experience can evolve and improve going forward.

The next step is diagramming exactly that: how their experience will grow moving forward. You will repeat those steps for the future iterations of your product/service and how those changes will reflect in the overall experience of the customer. 

These points will help define the path forward and how you can both grow your product/service while also including the needs and desires of the customer to maximize their experience.

Customer Experience Map

The customer experience map is a template that helps understand a customer’s journey, not by the physical steps being performed, but more based on the emotions and feelings they have about the experience as a whole.

This journey map breaks down the experience into three categories: What the customer has to learn, what they have to use, and what they have to remember. 

By organizing the proposed experience into these three different sections, you are able to locate potential differentiating factors between the different sections of their experience.

By differentiating the different parts of the customer’s journey, you are able to locate the sections where the level of interaction should be changed, or sections that don’t align with the initial vision. By mapping out these various sections you can effectively improve the customer’s experience.

How to create a Customer Journey Map

If you weren’t convinced by the aforementioned options, here’s how to create a journey map yourself using Fresco.

Team collaborating to create a customer journey map

Having a successful journey mapping experience derives from a solid understanding of how to use a customer journey map and what it is. Our definition is “A customer journey map is the visualization of the experience or journey that a customer travels as they are exposed to your product/service. It can follow their tangible actions, their assumptions, or their motivations through each different step of the interaction.”

One of the best ways to understand a customer journey map is to actually create one firsthand. This means that there needs to be a solid understanding of every single step and cohesion between them in order for it to work properly. Below we will outline the steps required in order to build an effective customer journey map.

Collaborate

First and foremost, creating a customer journey map is something that is always more effective when done in collaboration. Bringing people together is a great way to identify new perspectives and make sure the journey map is as inclusive as possible.

When creating one from scratch or using a pre-made version, collaboration is an over-arching piece that can’t be missed.

Identify Users & Establish Empathy

While collaboration is arguably the most important external piece to a successful journey map, the most important internal piece is certainly creating empathy with the user.

This step is two-fold and involved both identifying the principal user of the product and proceeding to create empathy towards their experience. Creating empathy is critical because it allows teams to align their perspectives with that of the user, effectively simulating their journey.

Empathy is the first step in allowing teams to better understand the wants and needs of the users, and then next is actual research.

Image showing a customers journey, demonstrating the importance of empathy.

Conduct User Research

Creating empathy is very important in understanding the emotions and perspectives of the users, but it’s incomplete without actual customer research to back it up.

Conducting surveys, interviews, and polls is the best way to gain an accurate understanding of how the user feels about their daily usage of the product/service, and will also provide a step-by-step understanding of their unique interactions.

As the user proceeds with using the product, they will accomplish various milestones and tasks. These touchpoints will essentially be the skeleton for the customer journey map and it will be structured around these interactions.

From the understanding gained through empathizing with the user and completing direct user research, you will select certain steps from this information to highlight important pieces of the customer’s journey you are looking to emphasize.

Where creating empathy gives you a better understanding of the user’s perspective and opinions, tangible user research is the best way to grasp their actions and experience.

Build the Customer Journey Map

The next and final step in the process is actually building the customer journey map. Before it can be built, however, you need to decide on a tool to build it.

The best tool to build journey maps is an online whiteboard. Online whiteboards enable real-time collaboration on a shared virtual workspace, allowing entire teams to build boards that meet their specific needs. This flexibility and power make online whiteboards the best tools to build customer journey maps.

After a tool is chosen, then you can creatively begin visualizing your customer journey map. This process can be completely unique and independent or can also take heavy inspiration from other boards.

Conclusion

Customer journey maps are some of the best templates to use with online whiteboards and also manifest great outcomes for those who commit to their value. We suggest this article for any other CRM software you’re looking at, and if you enjoyed this guide make sure you check out our comprehensive guide to customer journey maps and try them out yourself on Fresco!


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