How to Map Omnichannel Customer Journey [Steps + Best Practices]

Bhavna Gupta

March 18, 20247 min read

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Reaching customers has never been harder. They flit from channel to channel, online to offline, expecting personalized interaction with brands at every touchpoint they encounter. An omnichannel customer journey ensures they stay within the loop and move smoothly from awareness to purchase and beyond without experiencing any kind of friction.  

Crafting an omnichannel customer experience might sound fundamental, but it calls for grassroots-level organizational and operational changes. A customer touches many products and channels as their journey progresses, and the experience on each of those is designed and owned by different groups of people. These groups must collaborate seamlessly to craft cohesive, frictionless experiences the modern customer expects.  

Sounds challenging, right? 

Start with building an omnichannel customer journey map. It is the starting point to interpret customers’ digital behaviors and embrace a journey-centric design approach. 

In this blog, you will learn a four-step process to craft omnichannel customer journeys with actionable insights and potential risks. Let’s dive in.  

Table of Contents

What is an omnichannel customer journey?

An omnichannel customer journey refers to a seamless and integrated experience where customers interact with a company across multiple channels (e.g., website, mobile app, social media, in-store) to complete a task. It also implies maintaining consistency and continuity in interactions and data across all customer-brand interactions. 

As CX practitioners, we spend a lot of time assessing and optimizing the user experience of the individual interactions that make up customers’ journeys. This is the micro level of user experience. However, there is also a higher, macro level of CX, called the omnichannel (or cross-channel) user experience, which addresses the whole customer journey: users’ transitions across channels and their ability to smoothly proceed through various journey stages over time.  

Defining customer journeys this way is more accurate because: 

  • The landscape of devices and technologies has changed. Modern devices/technologies present brands with new opportunities to engage customers.  

  • The sheer volume of interaction possibilities is endless. Customers can use one device to interact with brands in a myriad of ways, increasing the chances of failure. 

  • Customer expectations have evolved. With expanding interaction possibilities, customers have the means to support enjoyable and cohesive customer journeys that are no longer confined to predetermined channels.  

The goal is to ensure that no matter where your customers go to “meet” your business, you meet them right there, without introducing any friction or lag, with your agents being alerted automatically every time a customer switches channels, ensuring a great experience at every step of the way. It's like having a trapeze artist catching your customers mid-air. 

Micah Solomon 

CX Expert & Thought Leader 

A customer journey map is the visualization of the process a customer undertakes to accomplish a task. An omnichannel customer journey map spans the process across all the interaction channels the customer uses to complete their task.  

A visual depiction of an omnichannel customer journey map with 5 stages

Omnichannel customer journey vs. Single channel customer journey 

Differentiating Aspect 

Omnichannel Customer Journey 

Single Channel Customer Journey 

Channel coverage 

Involves multiple channels, such as phone, email, website/app, etc. 

Involves a single channel of customer communication 


Channels integrate seamlessly, exchanging data and insights 

Channels lack integration 

Customer experience 

Cohesive and consistent 

Disjointed and inconsistent 

Flexibility and convenience 

Allows customers to switch channels according to their preference 

Confines customers to a single channel 

Branding and communication 

Harmonious, channel-neutral branding and messaging  

Channel-specific messaging 

Data integrity 

Robust data for a unified customer view 

Fragmented data and customer view 

Key components of omnichannel customer journeys 

Interaction channels and touchpoints are integral to the concept of omnichannel customer journeys an its key components. Often used interchangeably, these two differ widely. Let’s see how. 

An interaction channel is a medium where customers and brands interact, and they can be unidirectional or bidirectional. 

  • Bidirectional interaction channels support instant two-way communication between customers and brands on traditional lines (such as physical stores and phone calls) and digital lines (email, website/app, live chat, texting apps, social media, etc.)  

  • Unidirectional interaction channels are one-way initiated by customers or brands, including postal mail, TV advertisements, and print media. These channels are not real-time. 

Interesting Article: Customer Service Channels – How to Pick the Right Ones for Your Business 

Different industries patronize different channels in their omnichannel ecosystem. For instance, brick-and-mortar retailers give weightage to physical stores, while internet services may not own any physical channels at all. Companies can innovate channels to cater to their unique use cases. Amazon’s dash buttons are a prime example. These WiFi-enabled physical devices allow customers to reorder products with one long press and are a rare unidirectional channel that is channel-initiated.  

Some channels are device-specific, while some are channel-neutral. Smartphone apps and mobile websites fall in the first category, while live chat and email belong to the second category. However, the interface of these channels may render differently on different devices.   

Investment in channel integration yields growth in operating profitability. Channel integration is also a salient difference between multichannel and omnichannel ecosystems. Learn more.

Customer touchpoints are interaction instances. In a customer journey, a customer might interact multiple times with a business using different channels. Each interaction instance is termed a “customer touchpoint.” It includes three components: 

  • The device used for interaction. 

  • The interaction channel used for interaction. 

  • The task being completed during interaction. 

A customer journey is a series of customer touchpoints, each depicting details of that specific interaction (Refer to the figure below). 

A sample omnichannel customer journey for a theatre-goer

How should you build an omnichannel customer journey map? 

An omnichannel customer journey map is not a wishful depiction of what a customer journey should ideally look like. Rather, it is a truthful account of pain points that drive customers to your business and friction points that drive them away.  By analyzing your journey maps, you should be able to pinpoint behavior patterns in specific customer segments and eventually predict their next move. This way, maps render a strong competitive advantage and boost customer retention and profitability.  

Step 1: Internal investigation 

Start with looking at relevant data within your organization. There is often existing (though disparate) information about the journey buried throughout various past internal efforts. This data - qualitative (e.g., data from past focus groups, customer-support call logs etc.) and quantitative (analytics, customer-satisfaction scores etc.) - can give you clues about how to focus the content of your research efforts.  

Throughout a journey-mapping endeavor, you must bring stakeholders along. Without a doubt, journey mapping will reveal gaps and opportunities within the customer experience that, organizationally, are beyond the authority of the CX professional driving the mapping project. You must have buy-in and engagement from a cross-disciplinary team so that, when those issues and opportunities surface, stakeholders with decision-making authority are already convinced of the soundness of your method and able to understand the importance of resolving the problems it finds.  

Establish a network of allies who are stakeholders from relevant departments (marketing, R&D, business analytics, etc.) who play a role in the customer journey and are impacted by it or can provide vital inputs for mapping. 

Put your core team of allies to work. Together, generate a list of questions that you would like to answer, then send your allies back to their respective teams or departments to search for any available documentation or data that can help begin to answer those questions. Good places to start include: 

Step 2: Assumption formulation

By now, you will most likely have gathered enough insight to formulate a tentative hypothesis about how certain pieces of the customer journey look and what pain points exist. Start laying out that hypothesis in a draft framework called an assumption map or a hypothesis map

Share the insights gained from internal research with all the concerned stakeholders and map the findings on a tentative journey map, which will be validated against external research in the next step. 

Step 3: External research and validation 

You may be tempted to use existing stakeholder data as the basis for your journey map, but beware. While this data can give you a high-level understanding of customers’ general attitudes and levels of satisfaction for specific interactions, it does not help with understanding emotions, mindsets and motivations at the level required for effectively depicting the entire journey. 

Then what? 

Conduct external research on real customers using methods like: 

Research method 

Why it’s used for customer journey mapping 

Customer interviews 

One-on-one conversations with customers uncover first-hand stories, frustrations and needs. 

Direct observation 

Observing users perform actions in their natural environments ensures you understand the actual flow of user interactions and uncover mindsets interviewees were not able to recall. 

Contextual inquiry 

Observing users perform tasks while you can ask questions allows you to clarify your observations and provoke open-ended conversation. 

Diary studies 

Long-term studies allow customers to document their behaviors, thoughts and emotions over time so that they can understand a variety of journeys. 

Competitive analysis 

Competitive evaluations allow you to benchmark competitive experiences and identify their strengths and weaknesses. 

Pitfall Alert: Basing Your Map on Assumptions

Research can be expensive and time-consuming, so what’s wrong with creating and using an “assumption map” based on stakeholder input and cutting out the research phase? While stakeholders do hold valuable knowledge about different areas of the customer journey, most of them do not have a broad enough perspective of the customer journey, nor a deep enough perspective of user needs at each stage, to be able to piece together a realistic, comprehensive view.  

An assumption map carries two major risks

  1. It carries less weight and is more likely to be written off as “anecdotal” than seen as a compelling tool to drive change. 

  2. Decisions stemming from such inaccurate maps are faulty, altering the experience irreparably and leading to lost conversion opportunities. 

Your takeaway? Base your maps on historical user data and primary research via interviews and customer surveys. Take a tour of Sprinklr’s omnichannel survey platform, or try it for free for a full 30 days by hitting the button below:  

Step 4: Narrative visualization 

At this point, you need to create a visual narrative that will communicate the journey and all the critical moments, pain points, and high points within it. A good method is to have another workshop with your ally team. Having built context and common ground throughout your research process, bring them back together and evolve the hypothesis map based on your primary research findings. 

Editor’s Choice: Customer Journey Management: Your A-Z Guide for 2024  

Craft memorable omnichannel customer journey with Sprinklr 

The experience your customer has at individual customer touchpoints impacts their ongoing relationship with your brand. Take a look at your own omnichannel ecosystem.  

What channels do you support? Across which devices? Ask yourself if there are important gaps to be filled in your channel solutions.  

Sounds like a lot of work, right? 

With Sprinklr, it isn’t.  

Sprinklr’s unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform takes the grunge work out of omnichannel journey mapping by: 

  • Integrating data and insights across 30+ modern and traditional channels into one unified view. 

  • Four interwoven tool suites for insights, marketing, sales and support for complete stakeholder buy-in and leak-proof journeys. 

  • Granular journey analytics and reporting to highlight behavior trends and consumption patterns in real time. 

If you want to partner with a brand that simplifies customer journey mapping and eliminates point-solution chaos for McDonald’s, Nike and Microsoft, jump aboard to Sprinklr. Explore the platform at your pace with a 30-day trial on the house: 

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