User Journey Map in SaaS: Step-By-Step Process and Templates

Userpilot Team
11 min readJun 18, 2024

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In a world where customers’ emotions and desires can be unpredictable, a user journey map tracks essential customer milestones and gains loyal customers.

In this article, we will examine everything you need to know about user journey mapping, including how it can help you create an effective UX journey mapping experience.

TL;DR

  • A user journey map is a visualization that shows the steps a customer goes through to accomplish a goal.
  • A user journey map provides insights into the user journey, including customer pain points, while a user story map showcases the steps that make up a customer’s interaction with your brand.
  • Key elements of a customer journey map include the person, environment, or scenario, journey phases, actions, mindset, emotions, and opportunities.
  • Creating a user journey map can provide a point of reference for your product teams, uncover blind spots, and help you provide proactive customer support.

There are six practical ways to build an effective user journey map:

  1. Set clear objectives for your user journey map.
  2. Conduct user research to identify your target user personas.
  3. Choose the stage you want to map.
  4. List your touchpoints and channels.
  5. Define action points and next steps.
  6. Analyze the customer journey and refine the map.

Examples of customer journey map templates include:

  1. Experience map template.
  2. Current state journey map template.
  3. Future state user journey map.
  4. Day-in-the-life maps.
  5. Empathy map template.

Userpilot is one of the best tools for customer journey mapping with powerful analytics features to help you meet customer expectations. Book a demo to gain access to its powerful features.

What is the user journey map?

A user journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s experience with your brand. It captures the needs and pain points of the customer, as well as how they feel at each stage of their journey.

Your user journey map should also provide insights that help you improve your customer experience and boost retention.

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A user journey map can uncover insights that improve your customer journey and experience.

User journey map vs user story map

A user journey map provides a comprehensive picture of a user’s experience with your product.

It goes beyond providing insights into the stages of a user’s journey. It also accounts for their emotional state through each stage, including how they initially felt about the product and how they now feel about it.

A user story map is a visualization of the fundamental steps or sequences that make up a customer’s interaction with your product.

It provides a detailed view of how things went for the user while interacting with your product, where the product was effective, and future opportunities for your brand. It can also help you identify areas that require improvement to help you complete your user engagement goals.

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A user journey map and user story map can help you capture the entire customer journey and offer an enjoyable experience.

Key elements of a customer journey map

  • The Person: This is a depiction of your ideal customer and is represented as a persona. Based on real data and user research, a persona can help you understand the motivations, preferences, and pain points of your users. Factors such as user demographics, buying habits, goals, and challenges can help you create a perfect persona.
  • Environment or scenario: This is a description of your customer’s journey. It helps you identify the expectations of your users based on their persona. With this information, you can make assumptions about their behavior and try to satisfy their needs.
  • Journey Phases: The customer journey can be broken down into several stages, representing the process customers follow. The most common phases include awareness, research, consideration, purchase, and support. Analyzing these phases can help you identify gaps in your customers’ journey and potential areas for improvement.
  • Actions, Mindset, Emotions: This refers to the different behaviors your customers will experience throughout their journey. Tracking these behaviors can help you understand their experiences and empathize with them. You will also be able to identify the areas that require improvement in their journey and address any negative emotions they experience in those areas. Ultimately, this will help you create a more enjoyable customer journey.
  • Opportunities: Analysis of your customer journey map can help you identify areas where customers experience challenges. These challenges are opportunities for improvement. Look out for patterns in customer feedback and track app and website usage to identify where your customers are hitting roadblocks.
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Elements of a customer journey map.

Why create user journey maps?

User journey mapping keeps you user-focused, helping you think about your product from your customer’s point of view.

This can help you in the following ways:

  • Shared vision: When completed, your customer journey map can act as a point of reference, giving your project team a complete picture of users’ interaction with your app or website content.
  • Uncover blind spots: Mapping out how users interact with your product may reveal defects in your UX design process. It can also help you identify opportunities you didn’t notice at the outset.
  • Proactive customer support: A customer journey map reveals moments of delight and friction. Armed with this information, you can structure your customer service to intervene at the right time.

How to build customer journey maps

Customer journey maps can be complicated as you target different user personas, complex journeys, and multiple scenarios. However, streamlining your journey map is a great step to creating an effective customer journey map.

Set clear objectives for your user journey map

Creating a customer journey map that works starts with defining your goals.

Are you targeting new or existing users across the buyer’s journey? What insights are you looking to gain, and how would you use them?

If you don’t already have one, create buyer personas with the interests, goals, psychographics, and demographics of your ideal customer. The persona will help you stay focused on the specific types of customers you’re optimizing your customer journey map for.

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Defining your goals from the start will help you optimize your customer journey map.

Conduct user research to identify your target user personas

Research is the cornerstone of a successful user journey mapping process.

Depending on the growth stage of your business, you may have pre-existing records and reports that can guide you toward creating a customer journey map draft.

However, only prospective customers or existing customers who have engaged with your brand can provide the most insightful data.

Some of the best ways to gather valuable data for your target user personas include:

  • Customer interviews.
  • Online surveys.
  • Track customer complaints and support logs.
  • Speak with employees who interact with customers.
  • Track how customers discovered your brand and how easy/difficult it was.
  • Problems your brand solved or failed to solve.

Collecting as much information as possible during your research process will help you make customer-focused decisions that set you up for success.

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User research can help you gather the right information for your target users and stay customer-focused.

Choose the stage you want to map

It is now time to visualize your map with a customer journey map template. There is no “correct” format for customer journey maps, but each stage should include actions, emotions, and touchpoints to capture the whole experience.

Journey maps comprise four main stages: awareness, consideration, purchase, and support or retention.

  • Awareness: This is the point where your customer has identified a problem and interacted with your brand for the first time.
  • Consideration: Your customer is considering the solutions you have to offer and how they address their needs. They’ll likely be researching your competitors at this stage.
  • Purchase: Also known as the decision stage, your customer has gathered enough information to make up their mind. At this stage, they’ll be interacting with your online order pages and FAQs on billing and shipping.
  • Retention: After the first purchase, your customer will evaluate their overall experience and journey. This is the stage where you should offer delivery and return options as well as discount programs to retain customers.

Be sure to prioritize function over aesthetics and seek input from stakeholders while building your map. Once your visualization is complete, your map will likely reveal gaps in your customer experience, poor transition from one stage to the next, and roadblocks or pain points for your customers.

List your touchpoints and channels

Customer touchpoints are a critical part of your customer journey map as they provide insights into user actions.

They refer to where and how users interact with your brand and can help you uncover opportunities for improvement.

Consider your business type as you research the different types of touchpoints in your journey map. For example, the customer journey map of a SaaS business will be different from that of an ice cream shop.

Be sure to include information that addresses potential pain points, frustrations, and actions of your prospective customers as you choose touchpoints that accurately reflect a customer’s experience with your brand.

Define action points and next steps

Tracking all the points of interaction that your customers have with your brand will help you pay attention to their pain points and address their needs.

Email opens, CTA clicks, Google searches, email list signups, and page views are some action points for your customer journey mapping.

As you list the action points, take note of how your customers behave at each stage of their journey.

The final part of the process will involve brainstorming with your team to explore potential ways you can improve the buyer’s journey so you can reduce customer pain points.

Analyze the customer journey and refine the map

Your work isn’t complete simply because you have designed your user journey map. Analyzing and validating your journey map will reveal discrepancies in your customer experience.

Analyzing your results will help you eliminate friction points and unnecessary touchpoints in the customer journeys. It will also help you understand your customers’ goals at each stage of their journey and reveal areas where you are not meeting their needs.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to provide a valuable customer experience that aligns with their expectations.

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Analyze your results to reveal areas where you are not meeting your customers’ needs.

Examples of customer journey map templates

A customer journey map template can help you make decisions based on the voice of your customers and build products they love.

Here are the five main template types:

Experience map template

This template visualizes the user’s emotional state at different touchpoints of your brand.

When building a brand strategy, experience map templates can help product managers test and validate assumptions and uncover opportunities to attract new customers or improve the experience of existing customers.

With an experience map, you can predict and identify customer reactions and proactively respond to them. You can also determine what is needed at every touchpoint to enhance the customer experience.

What’s more, an experience map can help product managers define customer success metrics through different journey phases to ensure customer satisfaction.

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An experience map can help you uncover opportunities to attract new customers.

Current state journey map template

This map visualizes the current experience of your customers as they interact with your product, service, and brand. This includes their thoughts, actions, and emotions.

As a result, it is fueled by observing user interactions, conducting surveys, and tracking data using tools like Google Analytics. Current state journey maps can help you make continual improvements to the user journey.

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Current state journey maps can help you visualize the current experience of your customers.

Future state user journey map

This user journey map visualizes the actions, thoughts, and emotions your customers are expected to experience in future engagements with your brand.

It is helpful for illustrating your vision for tomorrow with clear and specific goals based on your current reality.

Future state user journey maps can also help product and UX design teams test and validate a vision before investing resources into its implementation.

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Future state maps capture the ideal-state experiences for your customers.

Day-in-the-life maps

Day-in-the-life journey maps visualize a more detailed image of your customers’ daily activities and their pain points than current state journey maps.

It captures everything your customers do in their lives, whether it includes your company or not.

For example, a day-in-the-life customer journey mapping will reveal how much time your customer spends at work, whether they check the news right away in the morning, or they are spending time watching TV.

These maps can help you identify customer pain points before customers even know they exist. They can also uncover new opportunities that can help you explore strategies to improve your customer’s journey.

customer-persona-entire-organization
A day-in-the-life journey map visualizes everything your customers do in their lives.

Empathy map template

An empathy map is an important part of the UX design process because it provides a deeper understanding of your users by considering what they say, think, do, and feel.

It gives you firsthand data that can reveal what users want out of your product because it “forces” you to put yourself in the shoes of your users to determine how they interact with your product.

Empathy journey maps can also help your team brainstorm as you attempt to address all the needs of your user personas. Ultimately, it will reveal areas for improvement in the customer experience.

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An empathy journey map can help you visualize what your customers think and feel.

Best tools for customer journey mapping

UXPressia

UXPressia is a comprehensive cloud-based customer experience platform that helps teams create effective and intuitive customer journey maps.

With features that allow integration of different data sources, collaboration with multiple users, and a drag-and-drop environment, UXPressia makes the customer journey mapping process easy to manage.

More than just helping teams build maps that impress, UXPressia also offers a buyer persona builder to help you understand your target customers.

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UXPressia is a cloud-based platform with powerful user journey map capabilities.

Userpilot

Userpilot is a product growth platform with analytics features that set product teams up for success.

With its funnel analysis feature, you can visualize how users progress through the different customer journey stages. This will reveal areas where users are enjoying their experience and friction points that require improvement.

Userpilot also offers analytics reports and dashboard features that let you uncover insights and visualize critical data points to improve customer journeys.

customer-needs-gain-insights
Userpilot has powerful analytics features that can help you visualize your customers’ journey and improve their experience.

Miro

Miro is a digital collaboration tool that helps teams centralize communication to improve efficiency.

With features like digital sticky notes, online whiteboards, and pre-built templates, Miro helps product teams create and share user journey maps in a flexible and interactive environment.

Miro also integrates with platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom to encourage collaboration.

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Miro’s collaboration capabilities enhance communication among product teams.

Conclusion

Now you can visualize the steps users take on their path toward customer loyalty. Done successfully, your user journey map will uncover moments of delight and frustration and create better experiences for your customers.

Ready to create your own user journey map? Book a Userpilot demo to access analytics tools that can help you create a customer journey map that works.

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Userpilot Team

Userpilot is a Product Growth Platform designed to help product teams improve product metrics through in-app experiences without code. Check out userpilot.com