Why You Need to Build a Customer Journey Map — Conifer's 5E Model

Mom-and-pop shops no longer dominate the scene as the go-to for products and services. People now have access to billions of products and services without geographic limitations. This surplus of market choice creates a space where shifting perspectives are necessary for businesses to tackle tough challenges to succeed in the marketplace. It’s not enough to just offer products or services; people seek an experience.

Conifer’s 5E model is a framework used to break down the entire user experience of a product or service. This UX framework will help us move beyond simple engagement moments to understand why and how users enter into an experience and what they carry forward with them at the end.

What is an experience map or journey map?

Customer experience journey mapping is a model of how people experience a product, service, or environment. Like a good highway map, it organizes complex reality to focus on what is essential. Many people and businesses use experience maps. For instance, website designers routinely model the experiences they hope to create for their site’s users.

20220413-con-blog-5e-framework-repromo_inline-what-is-an-experience-mapExperience maps can be simple or complex, diagrammatic or photo-intensive. They are all structured stories at their core, with beginnings, middles, and ends — often featuring characters and common plot twists.


The Most Useful Customer Journey Maps Are:

  • Told from the point of view of the person having the experience — often referred to as the customer or end-user.
  • Well-structured — A larger process is broken down into manageable parts and phases.
  • Collaborative, emerging from conversations among a team with multiple points of view — the best teams include those with intimate knowledge of the experience and those who bring a fresh perspective.
  • Photo or video documented — this permits teams to have rich, grounded conversations about the experience. It also helps teams share the experience with others.A women working and drawing at a table with papers and drawing surrounding her.

Conifer’s 5E Model:

letter E with word entice

ENTICE - Attractors Foster Anticipation and Set Expectations

This stage outlines the reasons that customers choose to participate in an experience

Questions to Answer:

    • Why do customers enter into an experience? 

    • What expectations do they have of the experience?

Enticement might look like: advertising or promotions, signage, menus on windows, smells and sensory cues, apps, word of mouth, memory or craving.



ENTER - Signposts Guide You In and Orient You to the Experience

This stage marks a beginning — it provides guidance and orientation to the experience.

Questions to Answer:

    • Where does the experience start? 
    • How do you get oriented when something is new and unfamiliar? 
    • How do you know what to do next?

Entrances look like: entryways, orientation cues, greetings, directions, lines and waiting, menus, promotions, or signage.



ENGAGE - Ritual Artifacts Engage All Sense and Maintain Connection

This stage is a set of activities rooted in environments and interactions.

Questions to Answer:

    • What kinds of things is the customer doing as a part of this experience? 
    • What kind of interaction is it — who or what is the customer interacting with? 
    • What are the artifacts and tools used? 
    • Are there any steps within the experience?

Engage looks like: reading a menu, making a choice or progressing on a decision, engaging with others, interacting with a product or service, transacting, or purchasing.



EXIT - Signposts Guide You to a New, Transformed State

This stage is the transition out of the immediate environment or interaction. 

Questions to Answer:

    • When is an experience over? 
    • How does the interaction end?

Exit looks like: packing up, cleaning up, orienting towards an exit, finishing a task or experience, farewells, or physically leaving a space or experience.




This stage maintains a connection with an experience after it’s complete. The best extensions are memories and impressions that live on beyond the immediate customer experience. 

Questions to Answer:

    • What part of the experience lives on? 
    • What does the customer take with them once an experience has ended?

Extend looks like: photographs, memorabilia, cravings, memories, loyalty programs, customer service perceptions, sharing stories or recommendations to friends and family.

This 5e model is a starting point and framework for modeling any experience.


As You Build Out Customer Journey Maps, Keep in Mind:

  • Look for “bright spots”: Where does the experience work for people? At what points do they seem to be having a great time? Where do the things and spaces provided meet their needs particularly well?
  • Look for “hot spots”: Where does the experience break down? When are people frustrated? Are they missing things they need? Where are they forced to “workaround” the systems and processes? When do they look uncomfortable?
  • Look for gaps: At which stages of the experience are few resources offered to customers? Where are transitions poorly handled or simply ignored?

Conifer developed the 5E Experience Mapping Framework based on social science theory as a foundation for experience mapping. This framework has served as the backbone of our journey programs for over 20 years.

It's the scaffolding for research, design, and insights teams to use when developing user journeys and experiences. Our toolkit explains its origins and gives teams a roadmap of how to use it effectively.

This helps teams gain the perspective of the holistic end-to-end journey of the user by deconstructing the user experience to identify gaps, tensions, bright spots, and opportunities that build loyalty and lead to future engagements.




Begin the journey to better experiences by downloading the 5E Framework above!

Deprivation Research

Deprivation Research

Curious about how to think outside the box and uncover perspective-shifting insights? Deprivation research might be exactly what your team needs to get to the next level.

What happens when you take away something deemed “essential”? And what happens when you replace that necessity with something else entirely? Deprivation Research unearths raw, organic reactions to products and services and ultimately helps get teams beyond incremental innovation to explore future alternatives and what-ifs. Click below to dive deeper into deprivation!

Download Conifer's Deprivation Research Guide


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