Customer Experience Map vs. Customer Journey Map (With FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 18, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses typically track the journey and experiences of their customers to determine how to best serve them and streamline the lead conversion process. These two processes share some similarities, but differ greatly in function and purpose. Understanding these differences can help you understand how a company's actions can affect customer satisfaction and how you may improve each process. In this article, we explore the key differences between a customer experience map vs. a customer journey map and answer frequently asked questions about these concepts.

Customer experience map vs. customer journey map

To better understand the differences between a customer experience map vs. customer journey map, it's important to first define each of these terms. Each has its own attributes and purpose and plays a unique role in customer satisfaction and business success. Here's what each term means:

What is a customer experience map?

A customer experience map, or CEM, is a measurement of the customer's overall experience with a product, service, or brand, from the initial discovery phase up to the purchase phase, where a lead commits to becoming a customer. Unlike a journey map, the experience map focuses on an overall multi-channel experience and includes elements such as customer reviews, support, satisfaction, references or referrals, and price concerns.

A customer experience map can help a company understand how the customer felt about the process of becoming a customer from an initial lead. The company might consider specific feelings about parts of the process and heavily consider the customer's perspective on the price, value, and practicality of the product or service the business offers.

Related: 10 Tips for Creating a Positive Customer Service Experience

What is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map, or CJM, while similar to an experience map, is more detailed and focuses on the customer's journey with a specific product or service, from discovery through to final purchase. The journey map is a visual representation that includes the details of each stage. This may include product awareness, research and inquiry, commitment to purchase and becoming a customer, post-purchase impressions, and follow-up actions. This can help a business learn how a customer first learned about the product, allowing it to review and optimize its marketing practices to increase first impressions and conversions.

It also tracks post-purchase activity and impressions, determining whether customers are happy with their purchase and what actions they took post-purchase. This may include referring a friend, making another purchase, or recommending the product or company on social media. To create a strong CJM, professionals typically focus on answering these seven questions:

  1. What is the customer doing at each stage of the journey?

  2. What needs does the customer have that the specific service or product can meet?

  3. What is the customer experiencing as they progress from a qualified lead to a committed buyer?

  4. What physical or digital channels can the company use to reach the customer?

  5. What can the company remove or improve from the process for greater efficiency?

  6. What internal activities, processes, and resources are necessary for a successful journey?

  7. What can the company do differently in the future to create a better customer journey?

Related: How to Create a Strong Customer Journey Mapping Template

Key differences between CEM and CJM

While these two resources share many similarities, there are some key differences to consider when comparing a customer experience map vs. customer journey map, including:

Multi vs. single-channel

The experience map details the customer experience over multiple channels, exploring every part of that overall experience. The journey map explores a different part of the customer journey, with a focus on how the customer interacts with a single product or service the customer offers. For example, a company might create a CJM to analyze customers' responses to a new product line, but use a CEM to track the conversion of leads from the latest social media campaign.

Related: What Is Customer Experience? (Importance and How to Improve)

Specificity

Another key difference between CEM and CJM is the specificity that each tool accomplishes. A CJM is a specific study of a customer's journey with one product or service, from initial impressions to the post-product actions. This specificity allows the company to study how customers identify and interact with the brand's products or services more closely and identify any common trends among leads or customers. The customer experience is slightly less specific, focusing on a more broad range of events through multiple channels, trying to understand the customer's overall experience with the brand.

Emotions vs. journeys

When you're comparing CJM and CEM, it's important to understand that one tool measures a customer's process for discovering and purchasing a process, and the other focuses on the emotions and actions of the customers when they interact with the brand. The CJM focuses on how customers find specific products, like what keywords they might use, what content they follow or share on social media, or how they respond to recommendations. The CEM might account for customer reviews and feedback to more accurately determine how leads and converted customers feel about the sales process and products or services.

Uses

The uses of CEM and CJM also differ, despite both being important components in marketing plans and executive decision-making. For example, a company might use CEM to create a more pleasant and efficient customer experience by enhancing customer services, brand reliability, and quality. The same company might study a CJM to improve a specific product or service the company offers that consistently reports poor feedback or reduces the overall customer experience. Executives might use these tools to make large-scale decisions about marketing practices, services and product changes, and major financial decisions for the business.

Related: How to Create a Customer Journey Map (With Benefits)

Costs

Another key difference between CJM and CEM is the costs associated with each. If the company only needs a short report on a specific product, the cost is typically minimal. They might ask the marketing or sales department to generate the report, internalizing those costs to reduce them. Alternatively, the same company might spend more on a complete CEM, since it covers more of the customers' responses and emotions to the brand as a whole. This can require much more information, which might require hiring outside analysts or consultants to acquire and study effectively.

CEM and CJM FAQs

Here are some answers to FAQs about CJMs and CEMs:

Are CJMs superior to CEMs?

CJMs and CEMs both serve a specific process in the customer analysis process and aid in creating an effective sales funnel. Depending on the company's specific needs, one tool might provide greater value than the other, but there isn't an objective agreement on the superiority of one or the other. You can consider the company's needs prior to choosing between these tools or use both of them to get a more complete understanding of the customers' journeys, emotions, and brand impressions.

Are these tools necessary for successful marketing?

Neither of these tools is a necessity for a successful marketing campaign, but they are rather useful resources that can potentially improve marketing efforts. By understanding the customer's perspective and feelings, a business can better position itself to meet the customer's needs and gain their trust more quickly and efficiently. Many companies use some version of the CJM or CEM, or both, depending on how in-depth the company wants to be in its analysis.

Related: Customer Experience Management (With Definition and Tips)

Can you combine the CEM and CJM into one visual?

You might combine a CEM and CJM into a single visual to minimize the number of documents necessary for each report. Because CEM and CJM share information and are both important for marketing and customer service, combining the two can offer the additional benefit of creating a more comprehensive report for executives or the marketing team. Consider combining both reports in a single document or presentation to show how they affect each other and why each is important to improving the customer journey.

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