How to create an effective customer journey map in 2024

February 19, 2024
13 minutes read
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Every business, regardless of its industry, can significantly benefit from a well-crafted user onboarding flow chart. Understanding your customer is a key benefit of the onboarding process. Critical components like customer support and addressing user experience issues can significantly increase the rates of free trial users becoming paying customers.

A map of the journey helps ensure you understand the actions and emotions of your users from the moment they engage with your product or service. By focusing on the journey, you can greatly enhance user experience, creating a smoother transition to regular use and helping users overcome initial hurdles with ease.

In this article, you will learn how to create an amazing onboarding experience that converts people into lifelong customers. We will also outline how to create a user journey map employing some of the most popular and easy-to-use tools on the web.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding how journey mapping helps businesses
  • Creating a customer onboarding journey map
  • Essential elements at every stage of the journey a customer will be in
  • Incorporating customer personas
  • Identifying and addressing when mapping your customer experience
  • Enhancing engagement of customer actions
  • Providing support and resources at various customer touchpoints

Customer onboarding is a journey, not a funnel.

Unlike traditional sales funnels that trace the customer's path from awareness to purchase, journey map zeroes in on the critical post-purchase phase. The phase is important in transforming new users into proficient, satisfied customers.

By detailing every step from sign-up to full product adoption, businesses can ensure a seamless introduction to their services or products, which is essential for long-term customer retention and satisfaction.

Failing to focus on this aspect of user satisfaction will lead to high churn and affect your business negatively. You will never make the process of free customer to paid user easier for potential buyers.

So, how can you improve customer satisfaction?

Instead of a linear funnel, you need to think of the customer journey as an infinity symbol. The journey from awareness to initial purchase or sign-up is the traditional funnel. Your ascension offers are on the right. Look at the customer journey map template below. In this article, we are looking at the best way to create customer success and make a customer a raving fan.

Why do you need to create a customer journey map?

As you see on the right in the image above, onboarding is someone's first real interaction with your product and sets the tone for their future relationship with your brand. A strategic journey can guide your business in creating predictable, positive outcomes for both sales and user satisfaction. Through the meticulous design of an onboarding flow chart process, you can ensure that new users become not just customers but advocates for your brand.

Suppose someone signs up for your SaaS product but then never uses the product because it is confusing. Do you think they become a regular user after their free trial?

It's unlikely, and this is the reason you must not ignore user actions. You will have spent time and effort on the presale; then, it's all lost post-sign-up due to low user adoption.

Simply put, if a customer or user cannot understand your product, you need to make their process easier. That's exactly why you need to get started with customer journey mapping today.

We know some of you reading this are wondering if you can create employee journey maps similarly. The short answer is yes. If you are focusing on growing your business and scaling, you can create a detailed journey from new employee to raving fan. Employee journey mapping helps you improve the employee experience.

Just keep in mind the steps, emotions, and experiences you create will be distinct. The overall goal of the employee journey is to improve employee engagement, so your map will contain some elements that may differ.

Types of journey map examples

At this critical stage of interacting with your business, you need to raise customer engagement and put the customer at the center of your innovations. It's here where first impressions are formed, and long-term user engagement is influenced. To cater to diverse user preferences and learning styles, businesses employ various - strategies.

Here, we explore three effective types of customer journeys:

  • Videos
  • Calls
  • Interactive Guides
  • Emails

Let's look at some customer support and technical support from businesses that improve the customer experience during the first few days of interacting with their products or services.


Example: SpyFu

Videos offer a dynamic way to introduce new customers to your product or service. SpyFu, a search analytics company, effectively uses videos to guide new clients through its platform. These videos are designed to demonstrate the value of SpyFu quickly, showcasing key features and how they can be utilized to achieve customer needs.

  • Benefits: Videos can be engaging and informative, providing a visual and auditory learning experience that can help users grasp complex information quickly.
  • Best For: Users who prefer self-paced learning and those who appreciate visual demonstrations of product features and benefits.

How are these effective? What did Spyfu do? They wanted to improve the user experience, and they did just that. They sat down to build a user journey map that would convert a new customer into someone who loves using their product.


Example: 500apps

Video calls provide a personal touch. 500apps, a suite of productivity and business apps, offers personalized calls to improve the overall user experience. These calls are tailored to understand the specific needs of the user, offering guided help to set up their account and start using the services effectively. Immediately upon completion, they ask for customer feedback, which shows how their onboarding process gives their customers value while boosting their business initiatives.

  • Benefits: Personalized calls can significantly enhance user satisfaction by providing direct support, answering specific questions, and offering solutions tailored to individual needs.
  • Best For Users who value human interaction and personalized guidance to navigate new software or services.

The result of their approach is to increase customer adoption rates. They tailor their meetings to specific customer needs, asking questions about how they will use their product and how they are feeling about the products they offer. These guiding questions help build customer rapport and improve the onboarding experience.

You, too, can ask questions on a call, and you should. These questions help you identify the user personas who are interacting with your service and drive customer adoption.

Interactive customer journey guides

Example: GuideJar

Interactive guides take a hands-on approach, engaging users through interactive walkthroughs and tutorials. GuideJar, for instance, specializes in creating interactive experiences that guide users step-by-step through the features of a platform. These guides are designed to be intuitive, allowing users to learn by doing.

  • Benefits: Interactive guides can dramatically improve user retention by providing an immersive learning experience. They allow users to explore features at their own pace while ensuring they understand the product's value.
  • Best For Users who prefer learning by interaction and experimentation within the product environment itself.

The method you choose for your customer journey can have a significant impact on how well users adopt and engage with your product.

Whether through engaging videos, personalized calls, or interactive guides, the key is to provide clear, concise, and helpful guidance that aligns with your users' preferences and learning styles. By carefully selecting and implementing the most appropriate strategy, you can ensure a smoother transition for your users, leading to higher satisfaction and long-term engagement.

Emails in the user journey

Email is not dead. In fact, it plays a vital role in enhancing the customer onboarding journey for  SaaS businesses. The best SaaS onboarding emails will extend a warm welcome, guiding users through the setup process, and highlighting features that can enhance the experience with your product.

Tailored and thoughtful onboarding emails not only address common user inquiries and challenges but also significantly boost user engagement by making newcomers feel valued and supported.

This communication sets the tone for the customer relationship, helping to reduce early user drop-off and setting the stage for long-term loyalty.

Similarly, onboarding emails offer a channel for collecting user feedback, enabling continuous refinement of the onboarding process.

Mapping the customer journey map

Creating a customer's journey map involves outlining every step users take, from discovering your product to becoming active, engaged users. This includes the initial sign-up, activation, and early usage stages, where providing guidance and support is important. By carefully mapping out this journey, you can identify key opportunities to offer assistance, encourage feature adoption, and address any potential pain points that could hinder a user's transition to a confident, regular user.

The Role of Emotions in the Journey Mapping Process

It's essential to consider not only the actions but also the emotions of your users during -. Successful strategies address and positively influence users' feelings, transforming uncertainty or frustration into confidence and satisfaction. By empathetically designing your - journey, you can create an experience that resonates with users and encourages them to embrace your product fully.

Your goal at this stage is to take a negative emotion and turn it into a positive one.

Optimizing for your ideal user

The ultimate goal of the process is to optimize the user experience for better adoption and satisfaction. You can optimize the experience by using the right tools to plan your their experience and by following the right metrics. In this section, we are sharing the best tools you can use and the metrics you should follow.

Tools for Planning and mapping

Creating effective journeys requires the right set of tools to visualize the process, collaborate with team members, and analyze user interactions. Here are some essential tools that can help streamline the planning and execution of your  journey mapping:


Miro is an online collaborative whiteboarding platform that allows teams to work together on a shared, visual workspace. It's perfect for mapping out flows, brainstorming ideas, and organizing tasks. With its user-friendly interface, Miro supports real-time collaboration, making it easier to create comprehensive - maps that include every user touchpoint.

  • Features: Drag-and-drop interface, pre-built templates for real-time collaboration, and integration with various project management tools.
  • Best For Teams looking for a versatile tool to design and refine collaboratively.


Lucidchart is a cloud-based diagramming tool that offers powerful features for creating flowcharts, process diagrams, and, of course, mapping. It's particularly useful for visually representing the process, enabling the identification of key interactions and potential pain points.

  • Features: Intuitive drag-and-drop interface, a wide range of templates and shapes, collaboration features, and the ability to link data to diagrams.
  • Best For Businesses that require a robust tool for detailed mapping and process visualization.


CXMap is designed specifically for mapping out customer experiences. It provides a simplified platform for creating detailed maps that highlight every stage of the user's journey. CXMap helps identify moments of truth, pain points, and opportunities for engagement.

  • Features: Specialized templates for customer experience mapping, insight tagging, and collaboration features.
  • Best For Teams focused on enhancing user experience from the very first touchpoint.


FlowMapp is a UX planning tool that excels in creating visual sitemaps, user flows, and journey maps. It's an excellent choice for planning, allowing teams to visualize how users navigate through a product from initial sign-up to full engagement.

  • Features: User-friendly interface, collaboration tools, UX-focused templates, and persona integration.
  • Best For UX designers and product managers looking to create detailed - flows.

Choosing the right tool to measure user engagement

Selecting the right tool for planning depends on your specific needs, such as the complexity of the process, team collaboration requirements, and the level of detail needed in your maps. It's often beneficial to explore several tools to determine which one best fits your workflow and goals.

By leveraging these tools, you can create more structured and insightful resources, ultimately leading to a smoother transition for users and higher satisfaction rates. Remember, the goal of - mapping is not just to guide users through the product but to ensure they find immediate value and become long-term, engaged customers.

Collecting Feedback for Iterations

In the lifecycle of any product or service, collecting Feedback is a must for continuous improvement.

Feedback helps identify what's working, what's not, and how the user experience can be enhanced to meet or exceed expectations. Iterating based on user feedback ensures that your process remains relevant, engaging, and effective over time.

Implementing Feedback Mechanisms

Understanding you need to collect data about the customer journey isn't the same as collecting it. You can use any of the following methods to collect valuable data that will guide you in improving your customer touchpoints.

Surveys and Questionnaires

Shortly after introducing a new user to your app or product, send out brief surveys or questionnaires to gather insights on the user's experience. Tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms can facilitate this process. Keep surveys short and focused to encourage higher response rates.

In-App Feedback Tools

Utilize in-app feedback tools that allow users to report issues, suggest improvements, or rate their experience in real time. This method provides immediate and context-specific insights that are highly valuable for making quick iterations.

User Interviews

Conducting interviews with users can offer deep insights into their experiences, challenges, and perceptions. These can be more time-consuming but provide qualitative data that surveys and automated tools might miss.

Analytics and User Behavior Data

Analytics tools can reveal where users are dropping off or spending a lot of time, indicating potential pain points or areas of interest.

For example, if you notice before becoming a paying customer people are reading your documentation and blog posts but falling off and not converting when they land on you SaaS pricing page it means there's an issue.

You can use these analytics to design a better SaaS pricing page optimized for conversion.

Then, by combining this quantitative data with qualitative feedback from surveys and interviews you can implement targeted improvements.

It's best to use multiple of these options in tandem to gain a holistic insight about your process.

Just as you cannot avoid analytics before someone becomes a customer, you must never avoid it after client acquisition.  

Now you've got the data you need. What's next?

Acting on Feedback to create a customer experience people love

Collecting data is useless unless you act on it. Here's how to act on your data for the most impact in the shortest amount of time.

Prioritize Feedback

Not all Feedback will be immediately actionable or relevant. Prioritize based on the impact on the user experience and the resources required to implement changes.

Rapid Prototyping and Testing

For identified areas of improvement, use rapid prototyping and testing to explore solutions. This approach allows for experimenting with changes without committing extensive resources upfront.

Communicate Changes

When iterations are made based on user feedback, communicate these changes back to your users. This not only keeps them informed but also shows that you value their input, which can increase user loyalty and satisfaction.

Continuous Monitoring

After implementing changes, continuously monitor user feedback and behavior to assess the impact. This ongoing loop ensures that the - process evolves in line with user needs and expectations.

Collecting and acting on Feedback is a cyclical process that should be embedded in the DNA of your - strategy. It ensures that your - journey remains user-centered, fostering a positive relationship with your product from the outset. By establishing effective mechanisms for feedback collection and iteration, you can continuously refine the - experience, leading to higher user engagement, satisfaction, and long-term loyalty.

Key metrics for measuring experiences

To effectively gauge the impact of your initiatives, you must identify and track specific metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These indicators offer valuable insights into how well your process is facilitating adoption and engagement. By focusing on the right metrics, businesses can make informed decisions to continuously refine and improve their strategies, ensuring they deliver the intended value to users and align with overall business objectives.

Key KPIs and why you should monitor them

You should measure all of the following KPIs to improve your customer journey experience.

User Activation Rate

Measures the percentage of users who take a specific action that indicates they have found value in your product (e.g., completing a profile setup or making a first transaction). It's crucial to understand how effective your process is at guiding users to realize the initial value of your product.

Time to First Value (TTFV)

Tracks how long it takes for a new user to reach a moment of realization where the product's value becomes clear. A shorter TTFV indicates an efficient process that quickly delivers value to users, enhancing user satisfaction and retention.

Retention Rate

Measures the percentage of users who continue to use the product after a certain period, typically post free trial sign-up. High retention rates suggest a successful process that helps users integrate the product into their routines or workflows.

Churn Rate

The flip side of the retention churn rate calculates the percentage of users who stop using the product after the post-sale phase. Monitoring churn helps identify potential shortcomings in the experience or product features that may not meet user expectations.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Gauges user satisfaction and loyalty by asking how likely users are to recommend the product to others. NPS can reflect the overall effectiveness of your process in creating a positive first impression and fostering user advocacy.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Measures immediate user satisfaction, providing insights into users' initial reactions to the product and experience. High CSAT scores indicate a smooth and engaging journey.

Completion Rate

Tracks the percentage of users who complete all the steps in the process. This metric helps identify where users might be getting stuck or losing interest, allowing for targeted improvements. If you find users are not completing your onboarding process, you can boost engagement and completion with gamification.

Feature Adoption Rate

Measures how many users start using a particular feature after being introduced to it. It's critical to understand which features are resonating with users and contributing to their continued engagement with the product.

Feedback and Support Requests

The number and nature of support requests or Feedback submitted during or immediately after can indicate how intuitive and helpful users find the process. A high volume of support requests may signal areas where the experience could be made clearer or more user-friendly.

By closely monitoring these KPIs, businesses can gain a deep understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their process. This insight enables continuous optimization of the experience, ensuring it effectively supports both user needs and business goals.


A thoughtfully designed customer experience is a powerful tool for enhancing user experience and satisfaction. By focusing on the specific needs and emotions of new users, businesses can ensure a smooth transition to regular use, fostering long-term engagement and loyalty. Whether you're refining an existing process or building one from scratch, the principles outlined in this post can guide you toward creating an effective, user-centered journey.

We specialize in helping businesses improve their customer journey. If you would like to discover how we can aid you in building and optimizing the customer journey, click the yellow get started button in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

You can schedule a consultation with us and learn more about our skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the onboarding process?

It involves the steps users take from signing up to fully engaging with the product, aimed at delivering immediate value and ensuring a smooth start.

How do you map the process?

Mapping an onboarding process starts with defining the desired user outcome, followed by detailing each step towards achieving that outcome, including interactions and support mechanisms.

What are the phases of the - journey?

The - journey typically includes phases like introduction, learning, practice, and mastery, each designed to familiarize users with the product progressively.

What digital tools can you use?

Tools like Miro, LucidChart, and CXMap are excellent for visually mapping out the process, allowing for collaboration and refinement.

How can businesses personalize the customer experiences?

Personalizing the experience involves segmenting users by their needs and goals and tailoring the -flow to match, ensuring a more relevant and effective introduction to the product.

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