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Customer journey map templates: Free downloads and examples

Customer Journey Map Templates
Topics
1Current state: Best for an overall understanding of your customer experience
2Future state: Best for planning new experiences
3Strategic: Best for seeing the “big picture” of the customer journey
4Tactical: Best for examining particular aspects of the journey
5Day in the life: Best for understanding your customers’ routines
6Service blueprint: Best for understanding how you interact with your customers
7Circular: Best for promoting customer retention
8Empathy map: Best for understanding your customers’ thoughts and feelings
Final thoughts

Happy customers are good for business, with 52% of customers willing to pay more if they know they’ll get great customer service.

By monitoring the interactions you have with your customers, you can improve their experience across the entire customer lifecycle. One popular way of doing that is by understanding and mapping the customer journey.

However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer number of customer journey map templates out there. Not only do they differ in style, but many differ in purpose (e.g. understanding the customer journey now vs. predicting it in the future).

This article will look at eight different examples and templates of customer journey maps so that you can understand which one is right for your situation and objectives.

What is customer journey mapping? Before exploring the examples below, check out our related article answering this question and more.


1. Current state: Best for an overall understanding of your customer experience

Example of what a completed current-state customer journey map looks like.

With a current state customer journey map, sometimes called a CJM, the aim is to record how customers are presently engaging with your business. The result is a factual map of their journey, accurately recording all the customer touchpoints and how they experience them.

How it can improve your sales and marketing

A current state map should tell you what’s actually happening in the customer’s journey, not what you wish was happening. By getting a realistic picture of how customers interact with your business, you can identify what’s working well and any potential roadblocks or sources of friction. This way, you can double down on positive customer experiences and optimize the rest.

For example, understanding every existing touchpoint helps marketing teams plan and provide relevant content for each stage of the customer lifecycle. Sales and marketing teams can also collaborate to create sales enablement content so that every sales funnel touchpoint is customer-centric and nurtures prospects toward making a purchase decision.

How to build a current state customer journey map

To accurately represent the customer’s journey, look at quantitative data (to see what customers are doing) and qualitative data (to understand why they’re doing it). Use surveys, conduct interviews and gather customer feedback to glean insights into your customers and the different stages they go through.

You don’t have to limit a customer journey map’s scope to just your customers. Using the same principles to create a competitor customer journey map lets you discover how customers engage with your competitors and use those insights to provide a superior experience.

Current state customer journey map template: Free download from Nielsen Norman Group


2. Future state: Best for planning new experiences

Example of what a completed future-state customer journey map looks like.

Instead of recording what is currently happening in the customer journey, future state maps help you visualize what that journey could look like.

In the above example, Iris Wu and her team used a student’s literal journey as the basis for their customer journey map. Once they’d understood how that process was being carried out, they could create a future state map to propose a better journey. That then served as a roadmap for a new and improved service.

How it can improve your sales and marketing

While the current state customer journey helps you see what you can fix, a future state map helps you imagine what’s possible. According to Gina Bhawalkar, a principal analyst at Forrester, a future state drives strategy and helps align your teams around a future vision.

Rather than reacting to problems after they’ve already come up, a future state map helps sales and marketing teams to be more proactive and create workflows that address customer needs from the very start.

How to build a future state customer journey map

Unlike most customer journey maps, a future state map can be more aspirational than factual. Come up with a vision for your new product, service or experience and use brainstorming and ideation to picture what the perfect customer journey would look like. What would you want your customers to think, feel and do at each stage?

While it’s not solely grounded in research, it should still be realistic. As with Iris Wu’s customer journey map example, having a clear idea of the current state is a good starting point before you start proposing future journeys. Review or create buyer personas to uncover existing pain points so you can better understand what their ideal journey would look like.

As it follows the same structure, you can use the same free customer journey map template for both current state and future state journeys.

Future state customer journey map template: Google slides and PowerPoint customer journey map template


3. Strategic: Best for seeing the “big picture” of the customer journey

Example of what a completed strategic customer journey map looks like.

Also known as macro customer journey maps, strategic maps help you take a step back and see how forces far beyond your business or industry can affect your customers’ perspectives and experiences.

How it can improve your sales and marketing

A strategic customer journey map encourages a long-term view of the customer and their journey.

For example, many readers will remember the movie rental store Blockbuster. There’s no way to predict with certainty, but they might have made different choices if the company had completed a strategic user journey map in the late ’90s or early ’00s.

The company might have noticed that the rise of alternative movie providers like Netflix could potentially disrupt the customer journey at the time. They might’ve seen that the emergence of these new companies points to users’ desires to rent movies quicker and combat late fees. Blockbuster also may have jumped on the opportunity to purchase Netflix when they had the chance (and it was just $50 million).

While this big-picture thinking is most useful for companies trying to make smarter decisions about their long-term strategy and direction, it also helps marketers and salespeople ensure that they understand the big picture behind the customer journey.

How to build a strategic customer journey map

While no one knows exactly what the future will hold, you can make an educated guess on how current trends and patterns might affect your customers. Are there new technologies that will change the way customers use your product or service? If you’re targeting a specific demographic, how will their needs and behaviors change in the future?

By considering different realistic scenarios, you can find potential opportunities for innovation and protect yourself from becoming obsolete. This doesn’t have to be a complicated process. This should be a high-level appraisal, not a detailed manifesto on every possible change in the next 100 years.

Strategic customer journey map template: Smaply template, free plan available


4. Tactical: Best for examining particular aspects of the journey

Example of what a completed tactical customer journey map looks like.

From the macro to the micro. A tactical customer journey map breaks down your overall customer journey into smaller components, a series of sub-journeys that customers may go through. This allows you to get into the finer details and optimize every step of the journey, no matter what route the customer takes.

How it can improve your sales and marketing

You and your customer’s long-term success requires strategic thinking, but that’s useless if the individual steps are failing in the first place. Both marketing and sales teams can benefit by looking at the separate elements of the journey, particularly those that are exclusively handled by their department.

A tactical approach helps you pinpoint every potential touchpoint that involves sales or marketing so that every customer gets the best experience possible.

How to build a tactical customer journey map

Instead of simply thinking about the journey from ideal prospect to paying customer, consider the other potential journeys they go through.

  • What happens when someone first downloads your app?

  • What happens when they need to add a new user to the account?

  • What happens if they upgrade their hardware?

  • What happens if the product develops a fault?

Likewise, consider what happens across different communication and social media channels.

  • How can prospects and customers get in touch?

  • Do all channels get the same high level of service?

  • What happens if they switch channels mid-journey?

  • How do you share relevant information between departments and staff?

Once you’ve identified these sub-journeys, follow the same journey mapping process as you did with the current state customer journey map. Talk to existing customers and carry out additional research into what happens at each stage, identifying actions, thoughts and emotions for each step. Use these insights to create smart, automated campaigns that cater to your customers’ needs throughout the customer journey.

Tactical customer journey map template: PowerPoint and Google Slides


5. Day in the life: Best for understanding your customers’ routines

Example of what a completed “Day in the life” customer journey map looks like.

One problem with traditional customer journey maps is that they often only take into account direct customer interactions with the company. “Day in the life” customer journey maps fix this by looking at the customer and their daily routines and activities, whether they’re related to your company or not.

How it can improve your sales and marketing

“Day in the life” maps allow you to understand and appreciate the customer as an individual, not just an account number. Similar to the strategic map, this type of customer journey encourages you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

With this deeper understanding, marketers can create campaigns that take into account their customers’ daily lives, while salespeople can speak confidently about how your product or service fits in with their other activities and can improve their lives.

How to build a “day in the life” customer journey map

Never assume you know what your user persona’s daily life is like. While you may have already researched how customers interact with your product or service, you’ll likely have to go back and do more research to find out about their typical day.

The only way to get this information is to actually talk with the people represented by your customer persona. To help keep them in mind throughout the process, it’s a good idea to include a summary of their persona within the customer journey map.

Day in the life customer journey map template: Free download


6. Service blueprint: Best for understanding how you interact with your customers

Example of what a completed service blueprint looks like.

Service blueprints are technically different from customer journey maps, but they’re an important tool to better understand that journey and provide the best possible service. The service blueprint overlaps with the customer journey, showing what’s going on beneath the surface within your organization.

How it can improve your sales and marketing

To be useful, a customer journey map needs to inspire action. By adding a service blueprint to your existing customer journey map template, you can see where different employees and stakeholders engage with the customer and what impact that has on the user experience.

For managers, this can help you identify gaps in your service and present opportunities for improvement. A service blueprint also helps salespeople and marketers understand their responsibilities at each customer touchpoint and how those align with other departments. By mapping your sales process to the customer journey, your team can be more effective while providing customers with the help they need most.

How to build a service blueprint

Service blueprints work best when they’re built on top of an existing customer journey map. Once you’ve understood the steps in the customers’ journey, you can then begin adding details on how different stakeholders deliver that experience at each stage.

This includes both “onstage” (direct interactions with the customer) and “backstage” (the unseen actions that take place behind the scenes) activities. You should also include the physical evidence for the action and the support processes that enable team members to deliver that service.

Pay particular attention to where responsibility for a customer is handed over to another department (such as when marketing hands a qualified lead over to sales) to ensure that the transition is seamless.

While you’ll still need to conduct research, in most cases this will be within your organization rather than with customers. This might involve observing how team members currently carry out their tasks and reviewing customer support tickets to identify where there may be unnecessary friction.

Service blueprint: Creately template (free plans available)


7. Circular: Best for promoting customer retention

Example of what a completed circular customer journey map looks like.

While we typically think of a journey as a straightforward A to B, this isn’t always the case for our customers. By picturing the customer journey as a cycle, you can see what happens after the initial purchase.

How it can improve your sales and marketing

Whatever kind of business you’re in, thinking in terms of a customer journey cycle can lead to better results. For example, ecommerce and retail stores want customers to make repeat purchases, while SaaS and other subscription-based services rely heavily on customer retention.

A circular customer journey map encourages you to think about the customer’s lifetime value rather than one-off purchases. Marketers can create content that helps customers get the most out of their purchase, while salespeople can follow up on existing customers with cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

How to build a circular customer journey map

The main difference between building a circular customer journey map and any other type is the presentation. You still need to know your personas, identify all potential touchpoints and note the customers’ actions, motivations and emotions.

Pay particular attention to any touchpoints in the retention and advocacy stages. What actions need to take place for a customer to stay? At what point are they most likely to churn?

As the example shows, the journey won’t be a true cycle; an existing customer doesn’t go right back to the first stages of awareness. Pinpoint where the cycle starts again so that you can streamline your process and reach out to returning customers without overwhelming them with obsolete information.

Circular customer journey map template: Free PowerPoint template


8. Empathy map: Best for understanding your customers’ thoughts and feelings

Example of what a completed empathy map looks like.

Empathy maps are useful for understanding your customers on a deeper level, thinking about them as people rather than just a bundle of actions. While all good customer journey maps will include emotions, empathy maps take that a step further and provide a more complete picture of the customer.

How it can improve your sales and marketing

Just like a “day in the life” customer journey map, an empathy map helps you understand your customer more deeply. As a marketer, an empathy map helps you create content that directly addresses the customer’s questions, while as a sales rep you can use this knowledge to leverage relationship selling and build more meaningful relationships.

How to build an empathy map

Divide the empathy map into quadrants, each one relating to the customer and their use of your product or service:

  • What does the customer say?

  • What actions does the customer take?

  • What is the customer thinking?

  • How does the customer feel?

To uncover this information, you’ll need to conduct qualitative research, such as user interviews, questionnaires, field studies and panel testing.

What a customer says or does is relatively easy to uncover with interviews and analytics. However, understanding the customer’s thoughts and feelings is much harder. For example, a customer in a face-to-face interview may play down any negative experience in order to avoid potentially hurting the interviewee’s feelings.

In these situations, the customer’s tone of voice may reveal more about how they feel. Sometimes what the customer doesn’t say can also bring more insights. If they give short answers or gloss over an important step in the journey, try and identify the reason for their reluctance.


Final thoughts

With customer journey mapping, you can improve the understanding of your customers and the way they interact with your business, allowing you to provide a superior customer experience.

With so many types of customer journey map templates available, choosing one that matches your current objectives is important.

By choosing the right template for your needs, your sales and marketing teams can provide an even better service and ensure customers are delighted with their experience.

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