In our recent Trends Report, we found that business leaders of 2017-2018 were struggling with customer-centricity. Though our client leaders were actively updating their core strategies to focus heavily on their customer’s needs, they were facing roadblocks when they needed to bring to life that customer-centric culture in all parts of the organization.

That’s where customer journey mapping comes in.

A customer journey map is a visual tool used to deeply understand the customer and their motivations, chart all the touchpoints where they interact with your product or service, and identify opportunities for improvement. From higher education to leading technology companies, many organizations use visual customer journey maps to collectively get their organization aligned around who their key customer is and what their experience is now.

A journey map answers the questions…

  • Who are our key customers?
  • What is their journey today?
  • What challenges are my customers facing?
  • What are their key touchpoints with our products/services?
  • How does our product/service address those challenges?
  • Where can we improve the overall experience?

Deeply understanding and intentionally designing the interactions your customer has with your company or product is key to putting your customer first, but doing it co-creatively with your employees is what will truly drive culture change throughout the organization.


The act of plotting your customer’s journey as a team and documenting it clearly and concisely is what will begin to shift in your employee’s traditional behaviors and mindsets, and inspire them to act in a new, customer-focused way.

We’ve created a Customer Journey Mapping Worksheet for you and your employees to visually chart the highs and lows of your customer’s journey as a team.

Here’s how you use it:

1. Work together.

People support what they help build. Rather than doing this with just your leadership team, invite a small group of employees from different parts of the organization to be part of the process, give their feedback, and talk through who their customer is and when and where they interact with them. By involving more people from the beginning, you build up buy-in throughout the process rather than asking your employees to get on board at the end.

“Employees who actually execute the process are in perfect position to contribute to fixing it, and when they are asked to participate, they buy in. When key stakeholders co-create the solution, they become advocates for it, and that accelerates change. Get employees involved early in redesigning a process or the customer experience.”

— Cynthia Owens, XPLANE

2. Document it.

Use this framework as your guide. Draw it large on a whiteboard or print a large-scale copy so you can use Post-it notes as a small team to build the journey map together. By visually mapping the big picture together, you are building team alignment and creating clarity around how every department is involved in making your organization customer-centric. 

3. Share it out.

Translate the collective alignment and understanding you built as a team into a tangible, visual artifact that equips every level of the organization to hear, learn, deeply understand, and tell the same story. When everyone can see the full picture, they can better understand where they’re involved in the organization’s customer-centricity efforts and what actions they need to take to be successful and drive results.

We’ve pulled together some examples of customer journey maps from our customers as well as from our own company—see how other organizations are creating the picture of how their customer interacts with their product/service at different points in their journey.

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[ Read more about Rackspace’s visual journey to the cloud and download a PDF. ]

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 [ XPLANE’s Customer Experience Map is equipped with additional pages that break down the details, roles, and responsibilities in each part of the journey. ]

XPLANE_student_journey-FINAL.png[ Read more about Design for America’s student journey and their project with XPLANE. ]


[ This confidential client created their ideal customer journey to plan for their future. ]

Start activating a customer-centered mindset inside your company.

Download the Customer Journey Mapping Worksheet to hang up on your wall and populate as a team. And be sure to shoot us a note if you get stuck!