The Customer Journey is the entirety of the a customer's experiences over time, across multiple Touchpoints and Channels with your organization. These can span different kinds of technology (apps, website, email), as well as physical and human-to-human interactions. Consider a package delivery service, which might include up to a dozen potential touchpoints (estimating shipment, printing a label, drop off or pick up, tracking status, phone support, delivery, hold events, etc). The customer expects each of these different interactions to work together seamlessly, as one continuous service.
The Customer Journey Map tells the story of all of these interactions, from the perspective of the customer. It is the macro view of the different experience stages a customer may go through, inclusive of other life experiences that may be going on around, or be influenced by, your product or service. It is a useful tool for considering the value of your product throughout the customer lifecycle, including:
Along each stage, the customer's Thoughts (considerations), Feelings (emotional states) and Actions (expending of effort) are identified, as they attempt to get their needs met via your product (or another product). These stages are defined by the customer, not the business. As such, the Customer Journey Map is co-created map; the customer necessarily participates in its creation, to some degree. This could be as minimal as story-based interviews, or as involved as helping draft and revise the map itself.
The Customer Journey Map can be a generative or artifact, to identify a service ripe for disruption, or create a baseline of an existing service. It can also be created as an aspirational artifact, to lead the direction of new offering. In any case, the deltas between the existing journey touchpoints and the nominal ones will point to Opportunities for improving experiences along the way.
Once you have the customer journey understood, you can more intelligently go about designing how to support that journey with a Service Blueprint, as well as zoom in on particular stages you want to give attention to with Experience Maps.