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July 30, 2020
If you're looking for customer journey map alternatives, you’re in the right place. Read on for some of our favorite options.
Before we dive into the list, we wanted to introduce ourselves. At User Interviews, we help researchers recruit participants and manage research with their users. Your customer journey maps will be much more effective if they're backed by high-quality user feedback. So if you’d like to expand on your customer research, our platform is a great place to start.
Get started by entering your ideal user criteria into User Interviews, then review potential participants to find the perfect fit for your test. You only pay for completed interviews — and you’re connected with your first three users for free when you use this link.
If you’d prefer to interview your existing customers, use Research Hub to track and manage the research process. Simply import your existing customers’ information (the first 100 are free!) and you can easily track outreach, schedule interviews, and see who your team has spoken with.
Once you have the right customer feedback, the process of creating customer journey maps becomes much more effective. Armed with these insights and your favorite design tool, you can create journey maps that help reduce churn, increase conversion rates, and improve customer satisfaction.
At the core, a customer journey map is a visual representation of the steps a user takes to complete a goal with your products. If you’ve created a small business accounting app, for example, the customer journey might illustrate how a business owner goes about doing their taxes every year.
The process is typically illustrated through a series of steps, complete with three basic components, or “zones.” According to Nielsen Norman Group’s Kate Kaplan, these zones include “The Lens,” “The Experience,” and “The Insights.” Roughly, these translate to:
The key to success when putting all this information together is to highlight any friction points in the process that can be improved with design work. An effective map creates a shared sense of where each product should be improved across your organization. This is especially true in large companies where each step of the process might be owned by a different team.
Great customer journey mapping tools help you create polished visual assets you can use to advocate for the user’s needs. The very best tool for you will be subjective, because it’s important to find the tool that helps you work most quickly and efficiently.
Several of the tools below speed up the process by providing templates or visual libraries that you can pull from to build common journey map components. Others offer simplified user interfaces that help you build the map without excess clicks or navigation. Sometimes, the key is just to use your existing tools more efficiently, as we’ll discuss in our first section about prototyping tools.
Of all the options in this article, the prototyping tools you already know are likely the easiest option. The key is using your current prototyping tools more efficiently — a process made easier with templates.
Even dedicated customer journey mapping tools simply make your life easier by providing pre-built assets, images, and icons to use as you design. So instead of learning a new tool, you could invest that same effort into creating your own cut-and-paste assets: You might just find the productivity boost you’re looking for.
A long-time industry standard, Sketch is beginning to see more competition these days, but you can’t beat the pure history of the tool when looking for templates. Since Sketch was released in 2010, hundreds of free templates have been created by the user community, and many are available for free online.
Just find a template you like, tweak it a bit to make it your own, and you’re ready to start designing at high speed. If you’re already familiar with Sketch, you can still use all the shortcuts and interface you know and love.
Pricing: Templates are free, and Sketch has options for a $99 one-time payment, or $9 per contributor per month for subscription plans.
Compared to Sketch, Adobe is a relative newcomer to the prototyping space, which means their template library isn’t as robust. Still, you can find a few online (and linked below) that you can use to speed up your workflow. Plus, with Adobe’s built-in collaboration features, you can easily work with other team members and stakeholders if you need to build a hypothetical journey map before testing.
Pricing: Templates are free, and Adobe XD offers plans ranging from free to $9.99 per user per month. You can also roll it into a larger Creative Cloud subscription if desired.
Figma’s popularity has exploded over the last few years thanks to an effective freemium model along with collaboration tools, but their template library still lags behind Sketch. Fortunately, there are still some options available, including the featured journey map template below.
Pricing: Templates are free. Figma comes with a free Starter plan, and paid plans start at $12 per editor per month.
Axure may not seem as popular as some of the other tools on this list, but it’s still a hit with many research-focused UX professionals. It’s fully featured enough to illustrate a customer’s experience — especially if you have a handy template like the one provided below.
Pricing: Axure comes with a free trial, and paid plans start at $29 per user per month.
Omnigraffle is another niche tool that hasn’t achieved mainstream popularity, but it is still effective for mapping customer needs. Their templates are called “stencils,” and the selection is surprisingly extensive, with both paid and free options.
Pricing: Stencils are free, and Omnigraffle costs $249 for a one-time purchase, or $12.49 per user per month on a subscription basis.
Paper prototypes can be useful when forming hypotheses or tentatively mapping customer touchpoints to inform user research and testing. They’re also great when you need a workshopping tool to help ensure all of your company’s internal stakeholders are aligned.
The template above comes from industry heavyweight NNG. They were among the first to formalize and standardize the contents of a customer journey map, so you know you’re including the right info when you use this template. As a bonus, the PDF comes with a helpful guide if you need a quick refresher on the process behind journey map creation.
This next template comes to you courtesy of MightyBytes, a digital agency based in Chicago. Though MightyBytes isn’t as well known as NNG, this template is still solid, so the choice basically boils down to preference. If you want to use paper, we’d recommend downloading both of them and seeing which you prefer in practice. They’re both free, after all.
You might not think of PowerPoint as the ideal tool for mapping a customer’s journey, but this template just might change your mind. If you’re a powerpoint whiz or work with people who are, this template could be just what you’re looking for. It’s also surprisingly beautiful and perfect if you have to present your work.
If you need something higher fidelity than a paper prototype and find that most design tools are too unwieldy, check out this list of dedicated customer journey mapping tools. Each one listed below either includes a built-in feature exclusively dedicated to customer journey maps or offers that as their only functionality.
Most customer journey mapping tools help you create buyer personas or stakeholder maps in addition to customer journey maps, but not so with Custellence. Their product provides absolute focus on one functionality, and they’re mentioned quite a bit online for that specific reason.
They offer a variety of pre-made assets, including a library of unique storyboard images, cards, and lanes to use in your map. If you want a simple tool that just helps you get the job done quickly, Custellence is definitely worth a look.
Pricing: Your first project is free, with paid plans starting at €20 (roughly $23.50) per user per month.
UXPressia offers a handful of design tools, including one for mapping your customer’s experience. The tool comes with many helpful features, including a built-in “experience graph” that includes smiley faces to indicate emotions, a dedicated image library full of comic-book style illustrations, and the ability to collaborate with multiple people on the same document in real-time.
They also offer a basic online academy with courses showing how to build journey maps and customer personas, if you’d like to brush up on your technique.
Pricing: First project free, with paid plans starting at $20 per user per month.
Smaply offers tools to help you create customer journey maps, as well as personas and stakeholder maps. Like others on this list, they offer a range of pre-built assets to help map out customer pain points across Google, social media, and more. You can even find a full customer journey map template online.
Pricing: Smaply offers a 14-day free trial. Paid plans start at €25 (roughly $30) per user per month.
FlowMapp offers dedicated tools for several user experience deliverables, including customer journey maps. Not only do they offer pre-built blocks for every section of the journey map, but they also give you the ability to easily integrate any personas you’ve created on the platform into your maps.
As an added bonus, the FlowMapp website offers a very accessible user demo project, so you can see the tool in action without even submitting an email address. Check that out here.
Pricing: The first project is free, with paid plans starting at $8.25 per month for a single user (note that $8.25 is a promotional price as of the time of this writing in July 2020. Normal pricing starts at $15/month for a single-user plan).
Visual Paradigm sneaks into this section by virtue of the dedicated customer journey map tool/template hybrid they offer. Visual Paradigm as a whole is not focused on journey maps, or even UX deliverables, entirely. But when you create a new project on the platform, you have to select a type of project, and “customer journey map” is listed as an option by default.
They also have a dedicated page on their site for customer journey mapping, but it’s just one among many. In fact, Visual Paradigm seems to cater to a wide variety of users and can be used to map out architecture plans, systems modeling, and more.
Pricing: A 30-day free trial is available, and paid plans start at $6 per month for a single user.
Milkymap is a simple customer journey mapping tool made by a user experience consultancy of the same name. Their website leads with the product, however, and you can sign up for a free trial or paid plan just like any other SaaS tool. (As you’ll see later on, similar companies often require you to reach out to the agency to start mapping, rather than easily signing up for a tool).
Compared to other options on this list, the Milkymap tool is rather simple, but that’s kind of the point. They tout that their tool makes it quick to map out customer touchpoints, even for relative UX beginners.
Pricing: Your first project is free, and paid plans start at $7 per month.
If none of the tools listed so far suit your fancy, take a look at the diagramming tools below. These tools fall on the complexity spectrum from very simple to highly technical and cater to a wide range of users and customer behaviors.
Lucidchart’s website boasts that 50 diagrams are created every minute using their platform. This is undoubtedly in part because they appeal to so many different kinds of users, from system designers to Agile managers.
The site does prominently feature UX use cases, though, and has positive reviews on Capterra specifically mentioning Lucidchart’s usefulness for customer journey mapping. Plus you can select from a variety of journey map templates to get started.
Pricing: Your first three documents are free on Lucidchart, with paid plans starting at $7.95 per month for a single user.
Microsoft Visio is a powerful diagramming tool that can be purchased as part of the Office365 suite of products or with a standalone plan. In general, the tool isn’t all that popular with the UX community, instead being favored for IT, organizational, and business process flowcharts.
However, it is mentioned in many articles online as a customer journey mapping tool, so if you’re already deeply integrated with the Microsoft suite of products, it’s probably worth a look.
Pricing: Visio plans start at $5 per user per month, though you can also roll it into a larger Microsoft Office plan if desired.
Gliffy is a web-based diagramming tool in the Atlassian suite of products (makers of Jira and Trello). This tool can be used to map customer touchpoints but is really aimed at highly technical users. They even have Amazon Web Services symbols built into their default icon pack to help create visually correct technical diagrams. If you don’t know what that means, you’re probably not the target users for Gliffy. But if you’re highly technical and are just starting your UX journey, Gliffy should be on your shortlist.
Pricing: Gliffy includes a 14-day free trial, followed by paid plans starting at $4.99 per user per month.
Miro is a popular all-in-one diagramming tool that’s adaptable to many use cases, including customer journey mapping. In fact, they do have a page dedicated to journey maps that includes links to a template and a guide on how to best utilize the tool.
In general, the tool’s UI looks clean and polished. Users are offered an infinite canvas, tons of virtual sticky notes, arrows, and other diagramming tools. Plus you have the option to work with team members in real time on the same document, making collaboration painless.
Pricing: Your first three boards are free, then paid plans start at $8 per user per month.
Of all the general diagramming tools on this list, Mural seems to lean into design thinking and facilitation the most. Content across the site highlights messaging about empathy and design and features testimonials from prominent design-thinkers such as Phil Gilbert, Head of IBM Design.
Of course content and testimonials aren’t what make a customer journey map great, but Mural’s tool can help you out with that. It integrates with The Noun Project by default, so you’ll never run out of icons, and they offer a ton of templates for various design assets. Technically, none of them are purpose-built for customer journey maps, but check out “MVS 3 - Hero Quest” if you decide to give Mural a go.
Pricing: 30-day free trial, then starting at $12 per user per month.
Conceptboard is a visual collaboration workplace that provides an infinite digital whiteboard for collaboration, diagramming, and more. The user interface is simple, with only a few buttons, which keeps the focus on whatever you create.
The Conceptboard team offers a free customer journey mapping template, though the supporting assets such as images and icons aren’t as robust as other options on this list.
Pricing: The base plan is free and allows you unlimited boards, though you can only have 100 objects present on each board. Paid plans start at $6 per user per month.
The last type of tool on this list includes dedicated in-house tools from UX consultancies or agencies. These options won’t be as quick to get started with because you have to reach out to the agency directly to request access to the tools.
It’s also unclear whether you can use these tools by themselves or if you have to engage the agency and get access to the tools as part of the process. However, a couple of the websites linked below do feature case studies of third parties using the tool, so it’s not impossible that you’d be able to reach out to the agency and request access.
If your goal is to work faster, the manual outreach required to get started with any one of these tools will likely make them not worth your time. Still, if you’ve heard about one of these tools and want to take it for a test drive, or if you need a bit of help creating your assets, it’s worth checking out a few of the items on this list.
CFN Insight is a journey mapping tool offered by the company CustomersFirstNow. It’s a bit different than the others in this section because you can actually sign up for a free trial without reaching out to the company. However, you have to provide a phone number and your company name when signing up for the trial, and pricing is only available after talking to someone at the company.
The tool itself looks unique, and has some interesting features such as the “Action Scorecard” that’s meant to help you prioritize improvements. Training and consulting are included with every package. If you highly value human onboarding and support, take a look at CFN Insight.
Pricing: Contact for pricing.
According to SuiteCX, they streamline the customer journey map creation process by “providing an array of CJM visualization templates and tools,” though it’s a bit unclear what is included under that umbrella.
Their site has a “customer journey mapping” page, but there’s not a lot of information on how to access their tools or who can use them.
Pricing: Contact for pricing.
Cora Journey360 is offered by consultancy TandemSeven. They boast that their tool is a “single platform for creating and sharing all of your UX and CX assets, with a direct link to the underlying research data.” However, supporting visuals on the site only show customer journey maps. You’ll have to contact TandemSeven to learn more about the feature set and pricing.
Pricing: Contact for pricing.
Quadient offers consulting and software tools for a unique set of applications, including direct mail, business process automation, and customer experience management.
Journey mapping tools are included as part of their practice of managing the user’s experience, though the exact packages you can sign up for aren’t clearly advertised on their site. You can download a brochure to learn more about the product, and the brochure clearly refers to their solution as a “tool,” but all online reviews mention consulting and tools together.
Pricing: Contact for pricing.
MaritzCX is often featured in lists of customer journey mapping software online, but they don’t actually provide standalone products. In fact, all of their customer journey mapping packages include an onsite workshop and a “high-level and detailed visual journey map designed by a professional graphic artist.” Normally, they wouldn’t make this list, but they’re mentioned enough online that we thought it necessary to provide a bit more clarity around MaritzCX’s offerings.
Pricing: Contact for pricing.
As you mull over this list, remember that using any tool efficiently is bound to take some time. If you found a few tools that could work for you, we’d recommend signing up for free trials for all of them. Next, give each one a try over the course of a few days, so you can compare them side by side. Then pick one and stick with it until you feel comfortable. Only then — when you’re fully adept at using the new functionality — can you be sure you’re using the right tool for your specific design process.
Note: Looking for a specific target audience to participate in your user research? User Interviews offers a complete platform for finding and managing participants in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. Find your first three participants for free. Or, streamline research with your own users in Research Hub (forever free for up to 100 participants).
Josh is a conversion-focused content writer and strategist based in New York. When not reading or writing, you can find him exploring his home state, visiting new cities, or unwinding at a family barbecue.