Customer Experience Maps: 8 Things You Should Know

Customer experience maps are a collaborative way of allowing business to visually represent complex customer interactions. Experience maps highlight possible pain points, enabling businesses to find opportunities to ensure the best possible customer experience with their products and services. This brief guide gives you some high level recommendations on what you should include when designing your customer experience map.

What are customer experience maps?

Customer experience maps are an incredibly useful way of documenting your customer experience from your customer’s viewpoint. It is vital that they are based on customer research, else they run the risk of becoming internally driven process flows.

They show how your current customers are using your products and services and typically break down activities such as the related phases of a purchasing journey, listing relevant channels or touch points. They can go by several other names including ‘customer journey map’, ‘customer touch point map’, and whilst there is no right or wrong way of labelling these, ‘customer experience maps’ are the way we refer to them here at Spotless.

Example customer experience map

Why are they useful?

Customer experience maps give you a really handy (often one page) holistic view of your entire customer experience across multiple channels and, critically, they also identify opportunities on how to improve this experience. They show you the pain points and difficulties your customers are having, as well as things that you are currently doing well and should continue to do. Often stakeholders within a business look after a specific area or product and are not always aware of how other areas of that business work or interact to combine together in one end-to-end experience e.g. the web, mobile apps, CRM, and call centre. Having stakeholders discuss and review this visual artifact can be really useful to stimulate conversations around customer improvement.

What should you include in your customer experience map?

Whilst there is no set standard on what must go in to a customer experience map, we have found the following to be areas that have come up on most projects. As with all of these things it’s important to understand the overall business objectives of the project and tailor your experience map accordingly.

  • Customer profiles – We strongly recommend using your customer personas in the customer journey map, as you can identify each of these on the map, and plot the experience each one has.
  • Legend – Whilst this may sound obvious, try and leave adequate space for any key or legend you are planning to use to explain various elements of the map. This document will often be circulated around an organisation or printed and put on the wall, and not everyone will have had access to background discussions or walkthroughs of the map
  • Phases of the journey – Each major phase of the journey should be broken down and represented on the map. This really helps stakeholders to visualise the process their customers are going through and the activities that sit in each phase.
  • Pain points or barriers – Perhaps one of the most key things to put on your map are the areas where a customer is experiencing difficulties or issues with the product or service.
  • Positive experiences – Lets not forget that you should highlight what you are doing well in the map, so that stakeholders understand that these activities are creating a positive customer experience and adding value.
  • Channels and touchpoints – In order to align the customer experience and identify pain points in between channels and touchpoints, the map has to include which channels are in focus. Its important to identify these changes in channels e.g. moving from mobile to email and then to the call centre for example.
  • Customer goals– It’s important to document the customer goals throughout the map and also where the goals change throughout the process. A customer goal does not always remain constant throughout and this should be identified in the map. Changing goals offer opportunities to identify improvements in the service.
  • Combining other customer data – You can really enhance a customer experience map by bringing in customer data from other parts of the business e.g. a Net Promoter Score that you have been tracking. Customer quotes from research are also a brilliant way of elevating a Customer experience map. We will combine callouts and customer quotes from interviews to bring the map to life.
Example customer experience map close-up

Summary

Customer experience maps are a vital part of defining and improving your customer experience strategy, and are really effective at aligning internal stakeholders to ensure the customers do not fall between the various cracks that may appear as the customer moves across the various business channels.

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