Businesses seeking to improve the customer experience often build customer journey maps—a visual representation of the various interactions a buyer has with a business.

Building that map from the outside-in—from the customer's perspective—requires a thorough understanding of the customer's needs, wants, and desires.

A common mistake that many marketers make when building a journey map is to operate within a silo, whereas interviewing executives and cross-functional stakeholders for their input and agreement on the objectives is a critical early step in the process, and will help define the scope of the effort.

Some teams actively involve employees who engage with customers on a regular basis, such as customer service representatives or front-line operations managers at retail locations. They also include individuals across the business who will ultimately be responsible for owning the improvement efforts identified during the mapping process.

When you work with your key stakeholders and your customers to develop a useful customer journey map, make sure to build the following four key elements into your map to ensure it truly represents an outside-in perspective.

1. Existing Customer Insights

Don't make building your map more complex than it needs to be. First identify what you already know about the customer journey. What insights do you have from customer feedback that you've collected at various touchpoints?

In addition to survey responses, uncover the voice of the customer from your call centers, social media, online review sites, and wherever else feedback lives. Doing so keeps your journey map as closely aligned with your customers as possible.

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image of Koren Stucki

Koren Stucki is the vice-president of CEM consulting at Clarabridge, a customer experience management technology company.

Twitter: @korenCx

LinkedIn: Koren Stucki