Three Keys to Effective Customer Journey Mapping

customer journey mapping

This the third in what I am planning to be a four-part series on service design, persona-based customer journey mapping, activating customer journey maps, and optimal future experience visioning.

Given that we’ve set the framework for service design and persona-based journey mapping in prior posts, I will focus this installment on how to use a customer journey map to affect positive change in your organization.

I will also distinguish the nature of the insights gleaned from a customer journey map from the topic of my next post – optimal future experience visioning.

As I noted in last week’s post:

Persona-based journey maps serve as a research and design tool to understand the current journey of core customer segments and to find opportunities to make improvements that add value for those groups.

Assuming you have developed a customer journey map based on a core segment persona, you are likely expecting that this design tool will help you improve the experience you deliver to this customer group.

To maximize the effectiveness of a persona-based journey map, you must do three things well –  validate, educate, and activate.


If I asked you to draw a map from your location to a neighboring town, I assume you’d make a best guess effort in your depiction. I also assume that before you published your map, you would want it validated against GPS or other means.

Even professional cartographers use a multitude of validation techniques to assure the accuracy of their renderings. The same is true with customer journey maps.

Maps made by an inside/out view of the customer journey must be validated by an outside/in perspective.

In other words, internal teams can draft your journey map, but customers must validate the assumptions made during draft creation to assure the actual journey of the persona/segment matches those assumptions.


Most team members aren’t walking around thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a customer journey map?

Some team members may have a basic understanding of the tool; particularly if their input was solicited as the map was being drafted. However, for most colleagues, customer journey mapping is a tool that requires explanation prior to effective use.

This basic level of explanation involves reading the map with all its icons and symbols.

At a deeper level of training, the map must be placed in context to the business’s customer experience culture and strategic goals.

My team and I, have helped many businesses understand not only the elements of a journey map but also the why and how of map creation, persona-development, and the optimal branded experience principles that should be delivered at key customer touchpoints.

More importantly, we’ve helped team members understand their role in creating customer value and how the map can be a tool to look for opportunities to innovate customer solutions.


Ok, so now you have a persona-based journey map or maps which have been socialized throughout your organization. How do you help people use the tool in service to improve the customer experience?

The short answer is cross-functional teaming and developing processes for collecting insights and vetting those ideas for systematic and efficient deployment.

For most organizations, we talk about activation as a part of customer experience governance.

An effective governance structure, enables non-duplicative, high impact/low expense/low effort ideas to advance quickly, and stewards other initiatives through thoughtful evaluation before deployment.

In all cases, governance structures are essential to streamline efforts and provide the support needed to foster high-value customer change.

Next week we will finish this series by comparing the incremental benefits of customer journey mapping (removal of pain points, reductions in customer effort, and validate delivery of emotionally engaging interactions) in contrast to the future/backward benefits of optimal future experience visioning.

In the meantime, how well have you drafted, validated, educated and activated your customer journey map(s)? 

We’d love to hear about the success and benefits garnered from your maps. Conversely, we’d be glad to discuss how you can maximize benefit from this helpful approach to customer insights and design. Please reach out to us to arrange a time to talk.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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