a scaffold as an analogy to a framework

The Customer Journey Framework: how to create your own [plus infographic]

December 27, 2023

The customer journey represents the various experiences a customer has with a product or service, from discovery to post-purchase. Understanding and optimizing this journey is crucial for enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. While a journey map provides a visual representation of these touchpoints, a comprehensive journey framework is essential for effective action and improvement. This framework serves as a strategic guide, enabling businesses to analyze, adapt, and innovate across the entire customer experience, ultimately leading to more meaningful and successful interactions. In this article we present a guide on how you create a customer journey guide for your own company.


What is a customer journey framework?

Let's kick off with a short definition:

A customer journey framework is set of tools and guiding principles that helps organizations to analyze, optimize and manage the entire customer journey as an ongoing process. It provides a high-level understanding of the customer journey and helps to zoom in and breaks it down to actual tasks. Thus a journey framework helps organizations to identify the touchpoints, pain points, and opportunities for improvement.

Imagine you want to climb the Mount Everest together with someone else. To reach the peak, both of you will depend on each other, as well as on your knowledge and equipment. You'll need a reliable map, efficient communication, knowledge about the geographic and climatic conditions, equipment, and the skills to use it efficiently.

Importance, benefits, value

A customer journey framework is useful because it helps you with three big challenges:

  • Standardize: teams with a clear journey framework have a shared understanding of the way of working
  • Centralize: customer journey maps, tools and methods used, and language are only a few things that are important to be centralized through a journey framework
  • Project management: a journey framework helps to keep an eye on ongoing initiatives.

Thus, the great value of a journey framework is that it allows you to efficiently work together

Key components / Elements

The main elements of a customer journey framework are:

  • Journey maps / hub: current-state and future state maps, high-level and zoom-in maps, templates – journey maps are the heart and should have each framework. An essential activity when developing a journey framework is gathering all existing journey map in a repository and connecting them in a hierarchy that is easy to overview and manage.
  • Meetings: in regular check-ins and meetings you make sure that everybody involved in the innovation process clearly knows their current tasks and responsibilities. Others should have an overview on who's involved and who to talk to about specific questions.
  • ‍Tools: a journey framework makes sure that CX insights are not all over the place, but centraliced in a real hub. Usually this is where digital CX tools enter the field. Tools are also useful to provide an overview on challenges and opportunities, for example an opportunity portfolio
  • Communications: a customer journey frameworks enables teams to align their efforts, identify communication touchpoints and collaboratively optimize the customer experience throughout the entire customer journey. 
  • KPIs: Include journey performance indicators, and other data that is relevant to your organization. Establishing sets of KPIs for each journey is helpful in demonstrating the value of your effort.
Think of a customer journey framework as setting up a school for the day. In the morning, the classrooms are prepared, teachers are ready with their lesson plans, and all the necessary resources are in place. This is similar to the foundational components of a customer journey framework, where you have your strategy, processes, and tools in order.

However, until the students arrive, the school is just a well-organized but empty space. 

How to develop your own framework: what you need to define

Developing your own customer journey framework is crucial for the success of your new management system. Important elements need to be defined in order to establish a structure that sets you up for success.

Establish a mindset

By applying customer-centered tools and processes to specific activities and projects, you cultivate a customer-centered mindset. This helps your team begin to see the significance and worth of a journey map framework.

Make sure that everybody involved is equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills, or at least has access and can make use of it when needed.

Develop your own approach

Embedding clear procedures provides a clear guideline on how collaboration takes place. 

For example, you can follow the service design process of research, ideation, and prototyping. Firstly, to establish a framework, and then also to monitor it. Go to the following article to learn more about the service design process and it’s benefits.

Build on what you currently have in your organization, rather than adopting a predetermined method from a textbook or agency. Answer the following questions:

  • What do you want to call everything? Find more on taxonomy and collaboration in this article.
  • How does collaboration work best in your organization/team? 
  • What fits the existing meeting structure? 

For more details please refer to our article on customer journey management.

Assign responsibilities

Assigning responsibilities to journey map coordinators helps to ensure that no important elements of the customer journey are overlooked, as well as streamline processes and improve communication within the team. Responsibilities are important in journey management because they help ensure that every aspect of the customer journey is given the attention and resources it needs to be successful.

Create a journey hub

If you want to pursue and develop your journey map framework to a point where it can be used over multiple years, it’s recommended that you digitize it in some sort of hub. There are dedicated journey mapping tools, such as Smaply, that enable you to collaborate smoothly on journey maps. This tool though will rely heavily on how you shape your framework, scroll down for more details.

a hierarchy of customer journey maps, high-level and zoom-in maps

Set a clear timeframe and milestones

Start to establish the process step by step. Create a good basis of journey maps that is worth building upon, and take your time to do so. The initial journey maps need to be based in reality, well researched and underlined with data. 

  • Embedding: build and enforche the CX mindset and start working on a few first projects
  • Scaling: involve more teams and departments to the CX initiatives; collaborate and find new processes that work cross-silo
  • Performing: make customer journey management the main procedure for your project management.

Milestones help you commit to and check in a certain progress over time.

What are the best tools for a customer journey framework?

First things first: There is nothing like the best customer journey management framework – the ideal solution for you will depend on different factors. 

Here are a few tools for you to have a look at and that will help you build a customer journey management framework for your own team:


Smaply provides a customer journey framework that allows to create journey maps, link them in hierarchies or a journey network –thus allows for zoom-in and out. It also offers a dashboard to keep the overview on ongoing initiatives, clarify roles/responsibilites and much more.


The Five-Stage Customer Journey Framework: Breaks down the customer journey into five stages: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention, and Advocacy.


The Jobs to be Done Framework focuses on identifying the "jobs" that customers are trying to accomplish when they purchase a product or service.


The Touchpoint Analysis Framework involves mapping out all the touchpoints that a customer has with an organization and identifying opportunities to improve the customer experience at each touchpoint. 


The Customer Empathy Mapping Framework helps organizations understand their customers' emotions and behaviors by mapping out their experience from their perspective. 


  • Understanding customer needs and expectations: Misinterpreting or overlooking critical touchpoints may lead to an incomplete or inaccurate customer journey.
  • Data integration and quality: Inconsistent or poor-quality data may result in inaccurate insights, affecting the reliability of the customer journey framework.
  • Understanding the complexity: A comprehensive grasp of the customer experience is necessary to effectively capture and map the complexity of some journeys, which may involve several touchpoints, channels, and interactions.
  • Real-time updates: Customer journeys are dynamic and can change over time due to shifts in customer behavior, market trends, or business strategies.
  • Technology integration: Finding and implementing the right framework and technology to support it can be challenging. 
  • Employee training and adoption: It is vital that employees across departments comprehend and adopt the customer journey framework. Appropriate training might be required to enable a smooth rollout.
  • Iterative improvement: Recognizing the necessity of ongoing improvement and adjustment is essential. Companies could find it difficult to create a culture of ongoing education of the customer journey framework.

Key takeaways

A customer journey framework provides the basic setup for efficient customer journey management. It helps organizations to identify the touchpoints, pain points, and opportunities for improvement. Therefore, it helps to align CX projects and make them more effective and efficient. 

Choosing the right tool that fits your business is an important decision. Here, you should carefully consider the details of each framework and the specific circumstances your business operates in to build a solid foundation for your endeavors. After that, you can either choose an existing framework, follow the steps outlined to create your own, or adapt an existing one to your specific business needs. 

And now, what’s next?

Time to get your hands on! You can sign up for Smaply and make the tool your new customer journey framework.

Sign up for Smaply, it's free