You may have read our previous blog about the basics of customer journey mapping. Now we are going to answer the commonly asked question of how many stages should be in your map.

The Basic Approach

There are various ways to approach defining your map structure, and it depends on what you are trying to achieve. When building a journey map, you want to think about all the activities that a certain type of customer would go through. Focus on a customer profile or persona that is of interest. You could focus on a persona you want to understand more deeply or one that is critical to a business objective or something else.

Then you can brainstorm on your own and think about the major chunks of activity from becoming aware, to purchase, to use, service or support, renewal, repurchase and possibly even word of mouth. The last thing, word of mouth, is often overlooked, but, if you create a positive, consistent experience it could result in referrals and/or references.

Think about how your persona customer would define the groups of activities into stage names. How many stages do you need? I’d say no more than seven stages, most complete journey maps have at least five. More than seven and you likely don’t have enough activity in each stage.

What is important is to always use the customer perspective when writing stage names, touchpoints and actions. This is not a process map, it is not a map of your internal workings by department or channel.

It’s All About Interactions

Your journey map is about interactions with your company that are either proactive or reactive for a customer. It’s important to identify both types of interactions and consider how to improve the experiences customers have with your company.

What are your preferred stage names? Share them in comments below.

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