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What’s the difference between Customer Journey Maps, Experience Maps, Service Blueprints - and when to use what?

Customer Journey Maps use customer insights to learn how to create more value from a customer's perspective. But what about other types of journey-based maps? Knowing the differences between the journey map types and when to use them will give your organization a headstart on your customer journeys!

First off, we need to understand the two most common types of journey maps, what makes them different, and how they work together. Here is a video from The Perfect Map Course answering these questions.

What are Customer Journey Maps and Service Blueprints? 

A Customer Journey Map uses an external focus on the customer perspective to answer the question: How can we deliver value to the customer? The foundation of a Customer Journey Map is understanding the customer’s situation or activities going through the offer, service, or experience. It can also include the touchpoints that a customer has with the organization, mapping out their journey to help highlight and expose pain points. The first step in a traditional Service Blueprint is to map out the customer journey or perspective in the top lanes.

The Service Blueprint uses an internal view of the processes of an organization, asking the question: What are we doing to deliver the service? Anything that has to do with answering that question relates to the Service Blueprint. The lanes below the customer journey are the true heart of the Service Blueprint. They visualize the various kinds of support systems, employee activities, and actions behind the lines of visibility of the customers to deliver the experience.

Customer Journey Maps are the top lanes of a Service Blueprint, followed by the company's Onstage and Backstage activities

Tip! Want to learn more about the difference between a Customer Journey Map and a Service Blueprint? We recommend reading this excellent article by Megan Erin Miller from Practical Service Design.

Other Common Map Types

What about other map types? There are many more different types of journey maps that you can come across and that you may find useful. Here is a list of 3 of the most common journey maps.

What is a User Map

What is a User Map? When there is no “customer” or monetary transaction

Customer Journey Maps become User Maps when the individuals or groups whose journey you’re mapping are not customers or have no monetary transactions. Examples of this are when projects are in a state of development or when the user whose journey you are mapping is a child. Particularly in the public sector, when mapping the journey of citizens or patients, the term User is better suited and more applicable than Customer

What is an Experience Map

What is an Experience Map? When focusing on the customer’s experiences and emotions

An Experience Map is the part of the Customer Journey Map that focuses on the customer experience and emotion. The intention of an Experience Map is to help the organization internally build empathy for the customer’s point of view. Directing attention to the touchpoints with negative experiences for the customer to find ways to improve their journey.

What is an Employee Journey Map

What is an Employee Journey Map? When focusing on the employee’s steps and activities

An Employee Journey Map is similar to a Customer Journey Map, except that the focus is on the employee’s steps and activities within the organization. The idea behind Employee Journey Maps is to help understand the employee experience because their experiences will affect the customers. It can be a powerful tool to map the employee’s journey below the customer’s journey to see both touchpoints as well as the activities that can indirectly affect the customers.

When to use each journey map type?

Knowing the different map types is only half the struggle, and knowing when to create and use these map types is the other half. Here is a little guide to remind you what the purpose is of each of the different journey maps and when to use them.

When to create a Service Blueprint, a User Map, an Experience Map and/or an Employee Journey Map?

Tip! If you don’t want to start mapping from scratch, take a look at our free templates. You’ll find template examples for Customer Journey Maps, Service Blueprints, and many others. All of our templates are versatile and applicable in more than one industry. They are also easily adjusted and tailored to your specific business and customer needs.

Are you curious about how to start mapping customer journeys, service blueprints, or user maps like a professional? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to create a journey map and get started today!

P.S. The video above is part of a Q&A series with questions from the participants in The Perfect Map Course. With professional customer journey mapping tips from our experts Daniel Ewerman, founder of Custellence, and Marc Fonteijn, host of the renowned Service Design Show. If you want to learn how to make better maps faster with more confidence, click the link to join The Perfect Map Course.



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