This blog was originally published by me on 10/18/2010 at’s-journey/. It has since been modified.

I say “to-may-to,” you say “to-mah-to.” I say “CX journey  map,” you say “customer interaction map” – or customer corridor map or … well, you get the idea. Whatever you call it, it plays a crucial part in defining your overall VOC initiative.

So, where do we begin? Let’s go back to a blog I wrote previously about the brand promise. Recall that the brand promise is the expectation that you set about your brand with your customers. Each of your touchpoints reinforces and fulfills the brand’s promise. Creating a CX journey map forces you to think about the customer lifecycle and to consider or visualize the experience at each touchpoint – and ultimately, it identifies where the brand promise is broken.

During this process, it is important to remember that the customer should always be at the heart of any decisions made or actions taken by your company.  The experience cannot be designed without giving the customer a seat at the table.

Before you begin to create your CX journey  map, you must first identify and understand who your customers are. What jobs are they trying to achieve or needs are they trying to fulfill when interacting with your company? Do you cater differently to different types of customers? Do different customer types have different interactions or touchpoints with your organization? Will the map look different for different customers?

Next, identify the stages of your customer lifecycle. Start not with the purchase, but long before that – when you’re just a thought in the customer’s mind, part of the consideration set. End with the customer’s exit or cancellation; remember that, even when a customer cancels your services or terminates usage of your product, it is an important interaction to do well.

Then, think about the touchpoints along the customer lifecycle. A touchpoint is generally thought of as any point the customer touches the company, e.g., call center, sales call, packaging, etc. Interactions are what happen at those touchpoints.

Finally, identify the following for each individual touchpoint. Lay out the map in such a way that you identify which of these are customer-facing and which are behind-the-scenes.

  • what the customer’s expectations are for the touchpoint, what he is trying to achieve
  • what the current process is that the customer goes through at the touchpoint
  • which specific interactions occur at that touchpoint
  • what the ideal customer experience ought to be
  • what the customer’s painpoints are when trying to achieve his desired outcome
  • what feedback you’ve received about interactions with the touchpoint
  • what your score is for the interactions and the touchpoint overall
  • which channels the customer has used/can use to achieve the desired outcome
  • which processes support that touchpoint
  • which people support those processes
  • who owns the touchpoint and its related interactions and processes
  • who the customer interacts with
  • what the specific outcome for that touchpoint should be
  • which tools are used during the interaction at the touchpoint
  • what customer data are gathered at the touchpoint
  • which metrics are tracked at the touchpoint

From a practitioner’s viewpoint, this map clearly helps you understand when, where, and with whom interactions occur; it’s important to do prior to designing surveys (both customer and employee) for each touchpoint. It also helps you to identify other customer and operational data that you’ll want to pull into the initiative in order to make your surveys, analysis, and action planning more relevant, personalized, and actionable. It might also identify other customer feedback inputs besides surveys (e.g., online communities, tech support forums, support calls, etc.) that should be tied back to the survey data for that touchpoint.

The CX journey map is important to introduce as you roll out the CX discipline to the larger organization. It can help the various departments and business units understand the customer lifecycle while helping to break down silos and pull the organization together to work toward one common goal: a superior customer experience.

It’s simple. Start with the brand promise, identify touchpoints and determine which are most important/influential (not all touchpoints are created equal); outline the optimal experience (from the customer’s perspective) at each; and rally the organization to deliver it!

Update: If you’re looking for a great tool to streamline and simplify your customer journey mapping exercise, check out Touchpoint Dashboard. I think you’ll be impressed by how powerful this tool is.