4 Steps to Creating Digital Customer & Experience Journey Maps

By: Seema Jain

I recently had the pleasure of presenting at the Experience Design 2020 Conference in Denver, CO with Rebekah Baker of Salesforce. This year’s theme was focused on exploring the boundaries of what experience really means and how to use design to make an impact. Journey maps are an effective tool to evaluate a customer’s experience with a brand to identify issues and opportunities that drive toward revenue growth, profitability, and market share. Customer journey maps begin with the first point of contact, through purchase and the process of engagement, into a long-term relationship with a brand. However, if we focus on just the customer experience, we are missing half of the story. What traditional customer journey maps don’t show is what’s beneath the surface: the massive amounts of activity managed by employees and the internal workings of the organization. Evaluating both the customer and employee journey provides a full picture critical to understanding the breadth and depth of the journey. Employee satisfaction is the leading indicator to customer experience-- simply put, if your employees are happy and engaged, they will create better experiences, which translates to happier customers.


Creating robust and effective journey maps require cross-functional team input including customers. It is often challenging to bring together geographically dispersed teams and people. 2020 has brought about a radical and involuntary shift to digital interaction — even before the coronavirus became a pandemic. A recent study completed by Upwork projected that by 2028, 73 percent of all teams will have remote workers, which is no surprise given the talent wars and cost of skilled talent in major geographic hubs. Many of us think of remote workers as employees that work from home or in a different city when in fact, remote workers extend to those working across a campus or even working between floors of the same building. It’s imperative to establish digital workshopping methods in order to engage remote employees and stay productive. Check out this free digital template built in MURAL to run collaborative customer and employee journey mapping workshops.

Four Steps to Creating Digital Customer & Experience Journey Maps:

1) Map the Customer Journey

Through customer research and surveying, map the step-by-step customer behavior across the holistic customer journey. Evaluate what actions they take, key interactions, and what emotion the journey evokes. Understanding and connecting with emotion is key to designing experiences that connect and resonate with customers.

2) Map the Employee Journey

We complete our map by going beneath the surface to understand the employee's journey. We expose the internal workings of the organization, including the business processes, systems, tools, and cross-functional teams that facilitate and support the customer’s experience. Inviting participants across business functions is key to gathering the day-to-day realities of all employee functions and groups. When employees are frustrated or experiencing an issue, it often translates to the customer. It’s critical we uncover these emotions to design experiences that connect with our internal teams and people to drive satisfaction, engagement, and retention.

3) Evaluate the Journey Map

By evaluating customer and employee emotions, we can begin to easily identify where moments of truth are occurring-- that is, pivotal moments in the journey that leave lasting positive or negative impressions on customers and employees. This presents an opportunity to either fix an issue or capitalize on an opportunity to drive loyalty and advocacy. Identifying these moments allow us to reframe the issue or opportunity into exploratory questions using the phrase “how might we” (HMW). HMW questions create open space for new ideas and encourage us to collaborate with others to find the answer. They also keep us from jumping to one solution too quickly, shutting the door on exploration and innovation.

4) Prioritize

At this point in our digital workshop, we usually have several HMW questions that form the launch pad for successful ideation. Narrow the focus by inviting participants to vote on the most compelling HMW question to reach a democratic decision on where to start.

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