Customer Experience Map In A Nutshell

Customer experience maps are visual representations of every encounter a customer has with a brand. On a customer experience map, interactions called touchpoints visually denote each interaction that a business has with its consumers. Typically, these include every interaction from the first contact to marketing, branding, sales, and customer support.

Understanding a customer experience map

Inevitably, not every interaction that a customer has with a brand will be positive. Perhaps they added a product to their shopping cart that wasn’t in stock. Perhaps after-sales technical support was severely lacking or customer service representatives were rude and uninformed.

Whatever the cause, a customer experience map allows businesses to improve every aspect of its customer interactions. In turn, this leads to satisfied customers who are more likely to become loyal, devoted followers.

Creating a customer experience map

A customer experience map may be created using sticky notes, spreadsheets, or elaborate flow charts to represent various touchpoints. 

However, it’s important that the focus is on functionality and not design. The data should be organized in such a way that it demonstrates the customer progression from the first contact to making a purchase and beyond. It should also detail where the business is excelling in the process and standards are sub-par.

To that end, feedback should be gathered from customers and employees. Then, consider these elements of a successful customer experience map:

  1. Touchpoint inventory – list every conceivable way a customer is touched by the business. This includes digital and print media, advertisements, sales representatives, telemarketing, and bricks and mortar stores.
  2. Point of relationship – at each of the predetermined touchpoints, consider where the customer is in their buying journey. How does the business present itself when the customer is gathering information before making a purchasing decision? How does it position itself to satisfied or loyal customers who are likely to become advocates?
  3. Business reason – from an operations perspective, consider the reasons for each touchpoint existing. Is the goal to educate, inspire, inform, provide support, or receive payment?
  4. Customer impact – from a customer perspective, again consider the reasons for each touchpoint existing. Reasons may encompass market differentiation, loyalty-building, or the encouragement of repeat sales.
  5. Touchpoint owner – who is responsible for managing each touchpoint?
  6. Effectiveness – or the ability of a touchpoint to provide a positive or negative experience for the customer. Businesses must think deeply about whether they are meeting customer expectations at every touchpoint. If not, superfluous interactions should be removed or standards improved.

Customer experience map benefits

The most obvious benefit of customer experience mapping is happier customers and increased sales.

However, the process also allows a business to:

  • Improve marketing campaigns. By identifying a customer’s specific pain points, marketing teams can relate to their customers on a personal level and work toward solving their problems.
  • Improve customer retention. Given that customer experience mapping continues after the purchase has been made, businesses can refine their after-sales retention strategies to maximum effect. This increases Net Promoter Score (NPS) – or the likelihood of a consumer recommending a business to friends or family.
  • Facilitate proactive customer service. Many of the negative interactions a customer has with a brand are related to poor customer service. Businesses who understand this are seen as more empathetic and sensitive to customer needs. They can also anticipate customer needs in periods of high demand during holidays and sales – and roster staff accordingly. 

Case Studies

  • Retail Shopping Experience:
    • Store layout and navigation.
    • Product discovery and selection process.
    • Interaction with store associates.
    • Checkout process and payment options.
    • Receipt and return process.
    • Post-purchase follow-up (e.g., feedback surveys, loyalty programs).
  • E-commerce Purchase Journey:
    • Website design and user interface.
    • Product search and filtering options.
    • Adding/removing items from the cart.
    • Payment gateways and security.
    • Order tracking and shipping updates.
    • Customer support and returns process.
  • Airline Travel Experience:
    • Booking options and website/mobile app usability.
    • Check-in methods (online, kiosk, counter).
    • Security and immigration procedures.
    • In-flight amenities and services.
    • Deplaning and baggage collection.
    • Communication during delays or disruptions.
  • Hotel Stay Experience:
    • Reservation options (online, phone).
    • Check-in and room assignment.
    • Room service and dining experiences.
    • Use of hotel facilities (pool, gym).
    • Housekeeping and room maintenance.
    • Express check-out and billing.
  • Restaurant Dining Experience:
    • Reserving a table and wait times.
    • Menu variety and pricing.
    • Interaction with waitstaff.
    • Food quality and presentation.
    • Payment process and bill presentation.
    • Post-dining feedback opportunities.
  • Healthcare Patient Journey:
    • Appointment scheduling and reminders.
    • Check-in and paperwork completion.
    • Physician consultation and communication.
    • Lab tests and diagnostics.
    • Medication prescriptions and follow-up instructions.
    • Billing and insurance claims.
  • Subscription Service User Experience:
    • Account registration and subscription plans.
    • Content discovery and recommendations.
    • Personalization features (user profiles).
    • Streaming quality and device compatibility.
    • Billing and subscription management.
    • Customer support and technical assistance.
  • Banking Customer Journey:
    • Account opening options (online, in-branch).
    • ATM accessibility and transactions.
    • Online/mobile banking features.
    • Loan application and approval process.
    • Customer service channels (phone, chat, in-person).
    • Fraud prevention and security measures.
  • Automobile Purchase Experience:
    • Researching car models and features.
    • Visiting dealerships and test-driving.
    • Financing options and negotiations.
    • Vehicle delivery and paperwork.
    • Service center interactions.
    • Vehicle warranty and maintenance.
  • Tech Support Interaction:
    • Contact methods (phone, email, chat).
    • Troubleshooting and issue diagnosis.
    • Escalation processes and response times.
    • Resolution and problem-solving.
    • Customer satisfaction surveys.
    • Follow-up or ongoing support.
  • Tourism and Travel Planning:
    • Destination research and reviews.
    • Booking accommodations and flights.
    • Planning activities and tours.
    • Managing travel itineraries.
    • Sharing experiences on social media.
    • Gathering recommendations from fellow travelers.
  • Education Enrollment Process:
    • Application submission and deadlines.
    • Admission requirements and prerequisites.
    • Course registration and availability.
    • Financial aid and scholarship applications.
    • Orientation programs and campus tours.
    • Academic advising and support services.
  • Insurance Policy Purchase:
    • Quote comparison across providers.
    • Policy customization and coverage details.
    • Premium payments and billing options.
    • Claims reporting and documentation.
    • Claims processing and communication.
    • Policy renewals and adjustments.
  • Gaming User Experience:
    • Game discovery through stores or platforms.
    • Download and installation process.
    • Gameplay mechanics and controls.
    • Multiplayer and social interactions.
    • In-game purchases and virtual currency.
    • Game updates and community forums.
  • Event Ticket Purchase:
    • Event discovery through marketing channels.
    • Seat selection and pricing tiers.
    • Ticket delivery options (e.g., mobile, print).
    • Event check-in and access control.
    • On-site amenities and concessions.
    • Post-event feedback and reviews.

Key takeaways

  • A customer experience map is a visual representation and assessment of business-to-customer relationships at every stage of the buying journey.
  • In creating a customer experience map, function is more important than form. The map must clarify touchpoints where a business is either strengthening or weakening the quality of the interaction.
  • Customer experience maps are important in developing buyer personas and building personable relationships with consumers. With a focus on proactively addressing common pain points, customer loyalty and retention increases.

Customer Experience Maps Highlights:

  • Definition and Importance:
    • Customer experience maps visualize all interactions between a customer and a brand.
    • These interactions, known as touchpoints, encompass marketing, sales, customer support, and more.
    • The map allows businesses to enhance customer interactions, leading to satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Improvement through Mapping:
    • Not all interactions are positive; maps help identify areas for improvement.
    • Businesses refine customer experiences, fostering loyalty and dedicated followers.
  • Creating a Customer Experience Map:
    • Maps can be made using sticky notes, spreadsheets, or flow charts.
    • Prioritize functionality over design.
    • Organize data to show customer progression and areas of excellence or improvement.
  • Key Elements for Success:
    • Touchpoint Inventory: List all customer touchpoints, both digital and physical.
    • Point of Relationship: Consider where customers are in their buying journey.
    • Business Reason: Define the purpose of each touchpoint, such as education, support, or sales.
    • Customer Impact: Identify how each touchpoint affects customers’ loyalty and repeat sales.
    • Touchpoint Owner: Assign responsibility for managing each touchpoint.
    • Effectiveness: Assess whether touchpoints meet customer expectations and eliminate unnecessary interactions.
  • Benefits of Customer Experience Mapping:
    • Enhanced Marketing: Identify customer pain points and tailor marketing to address them.
    • Improved Retention: Refine after-sales strategies for higher Net Promoter Scores.
    • Proactive Service: Anticipate customer needs, allocate resources efficiently, and provide empathetic service.
  • Key Takeaways:
    • Customer experience maps assess business-customer relationships throughout the buying journey.
    • Focus on function rather than appearance when creating maps.
    • These maps aid in building buyer personas, developing relationships, and addressing pain points.
    • Addressing pain points proactively fosters customer loyalty and retention.

Visual Marketing Glossary

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where the marketing and sales departments come together to create personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts. Account-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to target high-value accounts and turn them into customers.


Ad Ops – also known as Digital Ad Operations – refers to systems and processes that support digital advertisements’ delivery and management. The concept describes any process that helps a marketing team manage, run, or optimize ad campaigns, making them an integrating part of the business operations.

AARRR Funnel

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.

Affinity Marketing

Affinity marketing involves a partnership between two or more businesses to sell more products. Note that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement where one brand can extend its reach and enhance its credibility in association with the other.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Bullseye Framework

The bullseye framework is a simple method that enables you to prioritize the marketing channels that will make your company gain traction. The main logic of the bullseye framework is to find the marketing channels that work and prioritize them.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Dilution

According to inbound marketing platform HubSpot, brand dilution occurs “when a company’s brand equity diminishes due to an unsuccessful brand extension, which is a new product the company develops in an industry that they don’t have any market share in.” Brand dilution, therefore, occurs when a brand decreases in value after the company releases a product that does not align with its vision, mission, or skillset. 

Brand Essence Wheel

The brand essence wheel is a templated approach businesses can use to better understand their brand. The brand essence wheel has obvious implications for external brand strategy. However, it is equally important in simplifying brand strategy for employees without a strong marketing background. Although many variations of the brand essence wheel exist, a comprehensive wheel incorporates information from five categories: attributes, benefits, values, personality, brand essence.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Customer Lifetime Value

One of the first mentions of customer lifetime value was in the 1988 book Database Marketing: Strategy and Implementation written by Robert Shaw and Merlin Stone. Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the value of a customer to a company over a period of time. It represents a critical business metric, especially for SaaS or recurring revenue-based businesses.

Customer Segmentation

Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers in sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, product, marketing and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down is several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics and more.

Developer Marketing

Developer marketing encompasses tactics designed to grow awareness and adopt software tools, solutions, and SaaS platforms. Developer marketing has become the standard among software companies with a platform component, where developers can build applications on top of the core software or open software. Therefore, engaging developer communities has become a key element of marketing for many digital businesses.

Digital Marketing Channels

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Field Marketing

Field marketing is a general term that encompasses face-to-face marketing activities carried out in the field. These activities may include street promotions, conferences, sales, and various forms of experiential marketing. Field marketing, therefore, refers to any marketing activity that is performed in the field.

Funnel Marketing

interaction with a brand until they become a paid customer and beyond. Funnel marketing is modeled after the marketing funnel, a concept that tells the company how it should market to consumers based on their position in the funnel itself. The notion of a customer embarking on a journey when interacting with a brand was first proposed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. Funnel marketing typically considers three stages of a non-linear marketing funnel. These are top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Particular marketing strategies at each stage are adapted to the level of familiarity the consumer has with a brand.

Go-To-Market Strategy

A go-to-market strategy represents how companies market their new products to reach target customers in a scalable and repeatable way. It starts with how new products/services get developed to how these organizations target potential customers (via sales and marketing models) to enable their value proposition to be delivered to create a competitive advantage.


The term “greenwashing” was first coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 at a time when most consumers received their news from television, radio, and print media. Some companies took advantage of limited public access to information by portraying themselves as environmental stewards – even when their actions proved otherwise. Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice where a company makes unsubstantiated claims about an environmentally-friendly product or service.

Grassroots Marketing

Grassroots marketing involves a brand creating highly targeted content for a particular niche or audience. When an organization engages in grassroots marketing, it focuses on a small group of people with the hope that its marketing message is shared with a progressively larger audience.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Hunger Marketing

Hunger marketing is a marketing strategy focused on manipulating consumer emotions. By bringing products to market with an attractive price point and restricted supply, consumers have a stronger desire to make a purchase.

Integrated Communication

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies. Integrated marketing communication takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels. These encompass owned, earned, and paid media. Integrated marketing communication has been used to great effect by companies such as Snapchat, Snickers, and Domino’s.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Myopia

Marketing myopia is the nearsighted focus on selling goods and services at the expense of consumer needs. Marketing myopia was coined by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt in 1960. Originally, Levitt described the concept in the context of organizations in high-growth industries that become complacent in their belief that such industries never fail.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Meme Marketing

Meme marketing is any marketing strategy that uses memes to promote a brand. The term “meme” itself was popularized by author Richard Dawkins over 50 years later in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In the book, Dawkins described how ideas evolved and were shared across different cultures. The internet has enabled this exchange to occur at an exponential rate, with the first modern memes emerging in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Microtargeting is a marketing strategy that utilizes consumer demographic data to identify the interests of a very specific group of individuals. Like most marketing strategies, the goal of microtargeting is to positively influence consumer behavior.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of the ability of a product or service to attract word-of-mouth advertising. NPS is a crucial part of any marketing strategy since attracting and then retaining customers means they are more likely to recommend a business to others.


Neuromarketing information is collected by measuring brain activity related to specific brain functions using sophisticated and expensive technology such as MRI machines. Some businesses also choose to make inferences of neurological responses by analyzing biometric and heart-rate data. Neuromarketing is the domain of large companies with similarly large budgets or subsidies. These include Frito-Lay, Google, and The Weather Channel.


Newsjacking as a marketing strategy was popularised by David Meerman Scott in his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Newsjacking describes the practice of aligning a brand with a current event to generate media attention and increase brand exposure.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

We can define pull and push marketing from the perspective of the target audience or customers. In push marketing, as the name suggests, you’re promoting a product so that consumers can see it. In a pull strategy, consumers might look for your product or service drawn by its brand.

Real-Time Marketing

Real-time marketing is as exactly as it sounds. It involves in-the-moment marketing to customers across any channel based on how that customer is interacting with the brand.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Reverse Marketing

Reverse marketing describes any marketing strategy that encourages consumers to seek out a product or company on their own. This approach differs from a traditional marketing strategy where marketers seek out the consumer.


Remarketing involves the creation of personalized and targeted ads for consumers who have already visited a company’s website. The process works in this way: as users visit a brand’s website, they are tagged with cookies that follow the users, and as they land on advertising platforms where retargeting is an option (like social media platforms) they get served ads based on their navigation.

Sensory Marketing

Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.

Services Marketing

Services marketing originated as a separate field of study during the 1980s. Researchers realized that the unique characteristics of services required different marketing strategies to those used in the promotion of physical goods. Services marketing is a specialized branch of marketing that promotes the intangible benefits delivered by a company to create customer value.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a marketing strategy skewed toward offering a great experience to existing customers and incentivizing them to share it with other potential customers. That is one of the most effective forms of marketing as it enables a company to gain traction based on existing customers’ referrals. When repeat customers become a key enabler for the brand this is one of the best organic and sustainable growth marketing strategies.

360 Marketing

360 marketing is a marketing campaign that utilizes all available mediums, channels, and consumer touchpoints. 360 marketing requires the business to maintain a consistent presence across multiple online and offline channels. This ensures it does not miss potentially lucrative customer segments. By its very nature, 360 marketing describes any number of different marketing strategies. However, a broad and holistic marketing strategy should incorporate a website, SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, public relations, in-store relations, and traditional forms of advertising such as television.

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