Do you understand the experience your potential customers have when trying to decide whether or not to make a purchase from your company? As a business owner imagine investing money in advertising, a fancy website, and tons of marketing collateral only to find that your customers think your ads are confusing and your website is clunky and difficult to navigate. In order to avoid this kind of disconnect, it’s important to understand the journey your customers take when deciding whether or not to hire you.

Just for a moment step outside of your role in the business and think of yourself as a consumer. What steps do you take when deciding to make a purchase? What assurances are you looking for before you decide to purchase? What obstacles have you encountered when trying to make a purchase?

I recently relocated from Chicago to Dallas which required me to find new healthcare professionals for myself and my family. Nearly every time I was in my car I would hear a commercial on the radio about one of the “best dentist offices” in my area and decided to visit their website to learn more. I was met with frustration at every stage of the customer journey!

  • Frustration #1 – The website took forever to load and when it finally loaded there were a lot of fancy images of the staff but no information relevant to me as a potential new customer.
  • Frustration #2 – I wanted to know right away what insurance they accepted because if they did not accept my provider there was no point in me going any further. I had to click around on multiple pages to finally locate this information.
  • Frustration #3 – I needed to schedule an appointment for my daughter to get an exam and cleaning before she returned to college for the fall semester. Their online form would only let me schedule the exam separately from the cleaning and the available dates for both were so far away that I would not be able to schedule them before my daughter left.

It is clear to see why I decided to locate a different dentist but let’s think about this from the viewpoint of the company. They are spending money advertising their company on the radio, television, and online. Yet they are creating a frustrating experience for potential customers who are looking to do business with them! Creating a customer journey map would help them to identify these frustrations and implement strategies to eliminate them. This could mean making some design tweaks to the website, ensuring there is a team member assigned to responding to customer inquiries within 24 business hours, and updating their appointment types in their booking form.

Are you starting to see why having an understanding of the customer journey is so important? As the business owner, you may think you have a great website with great pictures and the ability for customers to schedule online. However, from your customer’s viewpoint, you have a slow website with unnecessary pictures and an annoying scheduling process.

The goal of customer journey mapping is threefold:

  1. Identify – In this phase, you will determine who your ideal customers are, how they learn about your products and services, what steps they take before deciding to purchase, what support they will need after the purchase, and what your company needs to provide in order to retain them as customers.
  2. Assess – For every step along their journey you need to assess what actions they will take, what questions they will have, and what frustrations they might run into that could prevent them from having a good experience.
  3. Improve – Once you have identified the actions, questions, and frustrations potential customers face, you will need to create a plan to address each concern.

There are 4 Phases of the Customer Journey

#1 Awareness – the various ways potential customers might learn about your company’s products and services.

#2 Decision – the phase where the customer will research and evaluate how and if they want to move forward with purchasing from your company.

#3 Support – this phase is where you support the customer after they make a purchase. This includes delivery, product setup, refunds, and feedback.

#4 Retention – the ongoing phase where you nurture the relationship with the customer and provide incentives for them to purchase again, reward them for referrals and loyalty and maintain ongoing communication with them.


During this exercise, it will be important to view each phase from the customer’s perspective. I encourage you to include other members of your team and actual paying customers as well as prospective customers in the process.

You will use this data to implement improvements in your buying process which can lead to more sales, referrals, and a higher customer retention.

Click the image below to download the complimentary customer journey mapping ebook and worksheets:

Watch the customer journey mapping video session here: