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Journey management with Smaply 3.0

Creating a journey management system with Smaply requires 5 steps.

If you're looking for an overview on the basics, here's a general overview on customer journey management.

0. Create your first journey map(s)

For more information on this, please visit our introduction to journey mapping with Smaply.

1. Gather your journey maps and create a repository

You always aim to have research-backed journey maps in order to make decisions and take action based on data, and not on assumptions. This research data belongs to your journey map directly so that everybody working with or reviewing your maps can access this data easily. This way, you don’t only create a repository of maps, but also a data repository. 

Smaply acts as your central repository for all your journey maps. A journey map repository allows you to organize all your journey maps and make it clear and accessible for yourself and your team. This is a crucial step towards using journey maps as a visual management tool and organizing all projects that impact experiences throughout the organization.‍

2. Create a journey map hierarchy

Now you can you turn a repository into a hierarchy by linking the journey maps together. Your goal is to create a high-level journey map and zoom into single steps to illustrate a specific experience in more detail. 

Journey map hierarchy

Why a hierarchy? How to create zoom levels?

Imagine you would need to define the map levels you need to successfully drive from one city to another. You’ll need more than one map: You’ll need a high-level map showing you the highways from one country to another. You might need regional maps to switch between highways. And you’ll need a city map to find the street you’re looking for. 

For journey maps, this is true as well. You’ll need various zoom levels depending on your high-level experience. Often, the high-level map is your customer life-cycle. You can then zoom into every step and link a particular journey showing this step in more detail – all the way until you could visualize even micro-interactions.

How to create zoom levels

Start with your high-level map: your customer life-cycle. Then ask yourself which part of the map you would like to understand in more detail, or which part of the mpa, you’ll probably find the biggest pain points or opportunities. Then zoom in and create this map. Usually, you’ll find 2-4 levels with the biggest depth around the buying and usage experience.

Zooming into steps of journey maps changes the timeframe one looks at. Many more details become visible – but one sees less of the larger picture. A step in a higher level journey usually becomes the stage of the lower level journey, that then includes many more detailed steps in the next level journey.

High-level map (level 0)

Start with a first version of your high-level map, your customer lifecycle. Identify the steps that are most critical; where you expect the most critical pain points for customers or where you envision the biggest opportunities. 

Detailed maps (level 1)

Create one to three sub-level maps to zoom into these steps further. Add real data to your maps – quantitative and qualitative data. Set up the structure of your management maps (see example above) and fill these with data. If you can, connect live data into your maps by linking spreadsheets. Spreadsheets can be easily updated automatically or manually from different data sources in your organization.

Map titles

→ Tip: wisely choosing map titles will speed up your work! 

For map titles, we recommend a system as the following:

  • Hierarchy level; for example: high-level / customer life cycle vs. mid-level vs. detailed; or, alternatively, numeric levels like 0 vs. 1 vs. 2
  • Map titles on top need to clearly depict the map’s focus, for example “air travel experience”, “boarding the plane” or “app usage”

Let’s assume you have a high-level journey map and would like to visualize the details of one specific step. So you create a second journey map where you illustrate the details. 

For example:

  • Steps of the high level journey map could be: get to store – choose product – pay – leave
  • Steps of a detailed journey map for the step "get to store" could be: leave the office – go to bus station – get on a bus – drive – get off the bus – walk to the store – step in the door 

In this case you would create a link for the detailed journey map and include it into the high-level journey map. This way you can zoom from the high-level journey map into the detailed journey map.

Journey info

→ Tip: You can use the stage descriptions on top of what you’ve added to the general journey info section to provide more details / information.

A journey info section is useful to define your journey title, give a short description of what the journey is about, add tags and additional notes. Use the notes for internal information in order to make it easy to read, use icons/emojis, and format the text.

→ Tip: You’ll find multiple recurring micro-interactions, such as log-ins on a website or shop visits. You can link the same map into multiple higher-level maps. It’s helpful to keep track of the journey maps where a certain recurring interaction is included.‍‍

3. Define taxonomy and structure

To use journey maps as a common information system in an organization needs a standardization of your taxonomy including your journey map structure and zoom levels of maps.

This is the structure we suggest for management maps:

  • Basic journey map outline:
    add lanes for Steps, stages, storyboard
  • What if:
    What are alternative scenarios? What could possibly go wrong?
  • Channels:
    Which channels can customers use to get in touch with your org?
  • Teams:
    Who is responsible? Who should be involved?
  • Pain points & opportunities:
    What are the pain points or unfulfilled needs for both customers and employees?
  • Projects:
    What are ongoing and planned projects impacting CX or EX?
  • KPIs:
    What are the main KPIs to evaluate the map from an experiential as well as from a business perspective?
  • Research data:
    What kind of quantitative and qualitative research data do you have available regarding CX and EX? Can you link to previous projects?
  • Journey Performance Indicator:
    Combining the data of this map, how healthy is this map?
  • Emotional journey:
    Visually express what are the current pain points of different customer segments

4. Roles and responsibilities: Set up a governance structure

Define who of your team will be responsible for each map.

The governance structure will always depend on your organizational structure. Our experts are happy to discuss your specific case and together work out a governance structure for your journey mapping activities. 

Drop us a line at and let’s jump on a call!

5. Practice journey management as an ongoing activity 

Get together with the project team at a certain frequency (e.g., once a month) and discuss the following questions:

  • How did the journey change since the last time? What experiences improved or get worse?
  • What projects are ongoing? What new projects are to come and necessary?
  • Where do you lack data and need research?

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