If you're new to the world of customer journey mapping, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by all the terminology. Sometimes it feels like you recognise the words, but they don't mean what you thought. Don't worry – we feel the same way too! That's why we talk about stories and characters – these are concepts everybody understands. But until everybody starts talking our language, there will always be some confusion. So we've written this guide to try and clear things up a little. We'll keep adding to it and refining it, so it might be a good idea to bookmark it and use it as your jumping-off point when you need to convince or inform other stakeholders.
Hope it helps – and if there's anything else you'd like us to cover, get in touch.
What is a customer journey? What does 'customer journey' mean?
A customer journey is everything that a customer experiences when they encounter your products or your brand. It extends just buying and owning a product, and into what comes before and after that - from the moment that the customer realises they have a need, through becoming aware that it exists, shortlisting, testing, negotiating, buying, waiting for it to arrive, using it, replacing it, recommending it to friends, returning it if it's not right for them...
At Narrandum, we like to call customer journeys "stories", and you can probably understand why. Firstly, that's what they really are – a series of events which, scene by scene, result in a change in the protagonist's world. Secondly, because everybody already knows what a story is, what it's for, and how it works. There's no need to use jargon to refer to something so universally understood.
What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the interactions between a customer and a brand or product. It's a compelling way to tell the story of the ups and downs of a customer relationship.
It can be tempting to give every customer journey map a happy ending, but real life isn't like that. It's important to be honest with yourself – not ever customer has a perfect time, and turning a blind eye to that can harm hour business. Instead, consider every kind of outcome and build a complete understanding of the customer's needs and wishes. This probably means creating multiple journey maps, to represent different situations and circumstances.
A good customer journey map will tell a single, straightforward story, so that anybody can understand its message. Rather than representing many twists and turns within one story, it's better to create many slightly different stories instead. Luckily Narrandum makes this easy – if you're a Pro user, you can make as many stories as you like.
For a more detailed look at customer journey maps, read our longer article.
What is a journey map used for?
Customer journey maps are a great way to understand your customers better, and by doing so, identify ways to improve your products and services. They help you see things from the customer's point of view, and make it easier to spot the difficulties they encounter, often known as "pain points".
What's the difference between a customer journey and a user journey?
People often ask us if a user journey is the same as a customer journey, and the short answer is no! Put simply, a user journey covers only digital interactions, whereas a customer journey describes a relationship.
It's a bit more complicated than that, though, so we wrote a more in-depth article about user journeys vs. customer journeys.
What's the difference between customer experience and customer journey?
The simplest way to put this is that a customer journey describes a customer experience. Or at least part of one. A complete customer experience may consist of many customer journeys.
What are the stages of a customer journey?
No two customer journeys are the same, of course, and every journey map tells a different story. But there are patterns which turn up again and again, which you can use as templates for your own customer journeys. In this article, we describe the seven stages of every customer journey.
What is a service blueprint?
You could think of a service blueprint as an expansion of your customer journey, adding detail on what's going on. It might cover not only what is visible to the customer, but also events behind the scenes. The types of information a service blueprint contains might include details on touchpoints, backend processes, KPIs, etc.
We have written an article about service blueprints which contains a lot more detail. Check it out!