This post is part of a 3-part series on customer journey maps. In Part 1 and Part 2, we defined customer journey maps, presented ways to gather data for the journey maps, and the benefits of holding a workshop to use the data to lay out the customer’s journey.

Now in Part 3 we put it all together to show the customer’s journey as a story that brings the data to life.

What does a customer journey map look like?

A customer journey map can be nothing more than the physical representation of the findings, such as a whiteboard full of sticky notes that the team uses to discuss problems, map the journey, and propose solutions.  We showed you what this looks like in Part 2.

Or you can use a simple flow diagram to show the customer’s story along the path of the journey.

If you have visual or graphic design skills within your team, you can create a colorful infographic that can be published as a poster to be displayed in a prominent place for the team to review regularly.

customer experience

There are many ways to present the information graphically. A quick Google search of customer journey mapping infographics will produce lots of hits.

The common theme among so much variation is that an effective journey map shows and tells the customer’s experience in a way that brings it to life.  And, as an added bonus, the effort of creating the journey map brings your collaborative, cross-functional team together to learn what it’s like for a customer to go from desire to outcome.

Seeing the results of data collection about the customer’s journey typically produces strong buy-in to fix whatever may be broken.

How often should you update your journey maps?

As with any living document, your journey maps will need new life breathed into them to keep them not only alive but kicking.  The timetable to update your personas and journey maps will depend largely on your plan for implementing changes based on what you have identified needs to improve.

Once solutions are in place—even the first few—gather more data and update the journey map to indicate improvements in customer experience, while still identifying gaps and opportunities.

A good customer journey map is only as good as the data that was used to produce it.  It can’t convincingly tell the customer’s story if the data isn’t there to support it.

So, you have to start with the data or you cannot build a credible story.  But data must be continually gathered to feed the evolving customer’s story of the journey.

As UX researchers, we are in a great position to make important contributions to the evolving story of the customer’s journey.  We do that by providing findings from user experience research and helping the team understand and work with these findings to create and update the map.

This post is part of a 3-part series on customer journey maps.

Read Part 1
Read Part 2

Image credits: Featured image Customer journey experience; Rheumatoid arthritis journey map  designed by HealthEd

Carol Barnum

Carol brings her academic background and years of teaching and research to her work with clients to deliver the best research approaches that have proven to produce practical solutions. Carol’s many publications (6 books and more than 50 articles) have made a substantial contribution to the body of knowledge in the UX field. The 2nd edition of her award-winning handbook Usability Testing Essentials is now available.