traffic lights illustrating the present and the future of a journey

A guide to current-state vs. future-state journey maps

January 5, 2024

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, understanding your customers' needs and expectations is crucial to staying competitive. One effective tool that helps businesses gain insights into their customers' experiences is journey mapping. By creating current-state and future-state journey maps, companies can visualize the customer's interactions, pain points, and opportunities for improvement. This article will delve into the world of current-state vs. future-state journey maps, exploring their importance, differences, and how they can be leveraged to drive business success. So, fasten your seatbelts as we embark on this insightful journey!

Current-state vs. future-state journey maps: Understanding the Basics

Before we dive deeper into the topic, let's start by clarifying what current-state and future-state journey maps entail.

Current-state journey maps: Unveiling the Customer's Present Experience

A current-state journey map provides a visual representation of a customer's current experience with a product or service. It depicts the entire end-to-end customer journey, encompassing every touchpoint and interaction from initial awareness to post-purchase support.

A well-designed current-state journey map reveals the customer's emotions, motivations, pain points, and moments of delight at each stage of their interaction with your business. It helps identify areas that need improvement and allows organizations to prioritize efforts to enhance the customer experience.

Future-state journey maps: Picturing a Better Customer Experience

While current-state journey maps shed light on the existing customer experience, future-state journey maps take it a step further. They envision an ideal or improved experience that aligns with the company's strategic objectives and customer expectations.

Future-state journey maps help businesses identify opportunities for innovation and map out the desired customer experience. By visualizing the ideal journey, companies can set goals, devise strategies, and implement changes to bridge the gap between the present and future experience.

The Power of Journey Mapping

Now that we have a clear understanding of current-state and future-state journey maps, let's explore why they are indispensable tools for businesses today.

Gaining a holistic understanding of the customer journey

Journey maps provide a comprehensive view of the entire customer journey, from initial touchpoints to post-purchase interactions. This holistic understanding allows businesses to identify pain points, areas of improvement, and potential opportunities to enhance the overall customer experience.

Empowering customer-centric decision-making

By putting the customer at the center of the journey mapping process, businesses can make data-driven decisions that address customer needs and expectations effectively. Journey maps provide valuable insights into customer preferences, pain points, and expectations, enabling organizations to tailor their offerings accordingly.

Identifying opportunities for innovation and growth

Journey maps serve as a fertile ground for identifying untapped opportunities in the customer experience. By analyzing each touchpoint and interaction, businesses can discover areas where they can innovate, differentiate themselves from competitors, and create unique value propositions.

Enhancing internal collaboration and alignment

Current-state and future-state journey maps act as powerful communication tools within organizations. They facilitate cross-functional collaboration by aligning various departments towards a common goal – delivering an exceptional customer experience. Journey maps foster a shared understanding of the customer journey, promoting collaboration and cooperation across teams.

Best Practices for Creating Effective Journey Maps

Creating impactful journey maps requires careful planning and execution. To ensure your journey maps yield actionable insights, consider the following best practices when creating current- and future-state journey maps:

1. Define your objectives and scope

Clearly define the purpose of your journey map and identify the specific touchpoints and stages you want to focus on. This clarity will guide your data collection efforts and ensure you address the most critical aspects of the customer experience.

2. Conduct thorough customer research

To create accurate and meaningful journey maps, gather data from multiple sources – surveys, interviews, analytics, and customer feedback. This research will provide the foundation for your journey maps, ensuring they reflect your customers' real experiences.

3. Involve cross-functional teams

Journey mapping should involve representatives from various departments, including marketing, sales, customer service, and product development. This collaborative approach ensures a holistic view of the customer journey and encourages diverse perspectives.

4. Use visual representations

Visualize your journey maps with clear and concise visuals that capture the customer's emotions, actions, and pain points at each touchpoint. Visual representations make it easier for stakeholders to understand and engage with the journey map.

5. Iterate and refine

Journey maps are not static documents but living artifacts that evolve as your business and customer needs change. Regularly revisit and update your journey maps to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with your strategic objectives.

6. Seek feedback from customers

Don't forget to involve your customers in the journey mapping process. Gather their feedback on the accuracy of the journey map, validate assumptions, and identify any gaps or missed opportunities.

Current-state vs. future-state journey maps: FAQs

1. Is it necessary to create both current-state and future-state journey maps?

While creating both types of journey maps can provide a comprehensive understanding of the customer experience, it depends on your specific goals and resources. If you are looking to address immediate pain points and optimize the current experience, focusing on current-state journey maps may be sufficient. However, if you want to envision a future-driven customer experience strategy, incorporating future-state journey maps is essential.

2. How often should journey maps be updated?

Journey maps should be regularly reviewed and updated to keep pace with changing business dynamics and customer expectations. Aim to review them at least once a year or whenever significant changes occur in your business or industry.

3. Can journey mapping benefit all types of businesses?

Yes, journey mapping can benefit businesses across various industries and sizes. Whether you offer products or services, engaging in journey mapping can help you gain valuable insights into your customers' experiences and drive improvements accordingly.

4. How can journey maps be used to improve customer satisfaction?

By identifying pain points and areas of improvement in the customer journey, journey maps provide a roadmap for enhancing the overall customer experience. With this insight, businesses can implement targeted strategies to address customer pain points, increase satisfaction levels, and foster long-term loyalty.

5. Are there any software tools available for creating journey maps?

Yes, several software tools are available that can assist you in creating journey maps effectively. Some popular options include Smaply, and Lucidchart. Choose a tool that aligns with your requirements and budget.

6. How can journey mapping contribute to business growth?

Journey mapping enables businesses to deliver exceptional customer experiences by understanding and addressing pain points throughout the customer journey. By creating meaningful interactions and building stronger relationships, organizations can foster customer loyalty, attract new customers, and ultimately drive business growth.


In the ever-changing landscape of customer expectations, current-state vs. future-state journey maps offer powerful insights for businesses striving to enhance the overall customer experience. By understanding the present journey and envisioning an improved future experience, companies can align their strategies, innovate, and drive sustainable growth.

So, don't let yourself get lost in the maze of customer journeys – embrace the power of journey mapping to navigate your path to success!

And now, what's next?

Create your own current-state and future-state journey maps with Smaply – it's free, forever.

Start journey mapping with Smaply!