Customer Journey Mapping: Part I – the basics

Customer journey mapping is now synonymous with customer and user experience projects. Designing one can help employees understand the end to end journey for the customer and improve understanding of how various functions are involved in delivering the experience. Building a journey map can also be fraught with political and logistical problems. You’re likely to meet people who don’t understand the benefits or who believe a narrative map rather than a visual one will suffice. You may even have to encourage colleagues to move beyond internal process mapping.

Below are a few pointers on how to scope and design a customer journey map which can help visualise the optimum experience you want to deliver to your customers.

1)      Words first. Map out the customer journey using single words/statements first. These might be as simple as ‘find & learn’ or ‘get help. The typical journey at a high level won’t be that long and will likely cover 8 or so steps. Be sure to agree the taxonomy of the wording to ensure that everyone across the organisation understands and uses the same terminology in the future

2)      Storyboard. Write the journey as a story or scenario from the customer perspective. You can use this written narrative later in helping a designer bring the story to life using small animations and visuals

3)      Channels and touchpoints. Map out and label the times where the customer interacts with your business. Include the types of channels used for instance retail or online

4)      Driver definition. Outline the experience drivers that really make a difference for the customer throughout their journey. Think about what makes the experience memorable for them. You’ll already have research that tells you what works best for your customers. An idea we will explore in a later post examines how you might want to define the drivers based on financial impact for the business. You should end up with a wobbly line across your journey which shows the areas you intend to provide ‘bells and whistles’ and those areas where you intend to deliver a basic but effective experience

5)      Stress Points. Look at your existing customer feedback and research. Print off your complaint codes and examine why customers aren’t happy with the experience at times. It might be simple things like not getting a bill on time or receiving an incorrect invoice. If you place these on the map against each touchpoint the map becomes a way of identifying potential problems and mitigating against them

6)      Get emotional. Think about the expectations and emotions you want the customer to experience. Think about outlining these on the map. In a later blog post we’ll look at defining customer outcomes and principles as a way of doing this

7)      Language. Make sure the journey map is written from the customer perspective with the language and verbatim they would use themselves. Avoid complex terminology and reserve it for your internal process maps

8)      Throw a wobbler. The journey for most of your customers is unlikely to be linear no matter how hard you try. Think about defining a journey where a customer might have to go back a step or two. Think about flexibility. How are you going to manage that experience?

9)      Heroes. Build a set of ‘hero journeys’ which cover the main customer segments you have. Have a mixture of easy and complex journeys

The main thing to remember is that customer journey mapping doesn’t sit well with every colleague you’ll meet. Mapping is often something that works for some but not for others. Persevere and you’ll have some great maps which can really help visualise the change you want to deliver.

Visit the download page for a set of journey map examples from across the internet.

In the next blog we’ll look at defining outcomes and principles for the journeys together with how you build maps which include employee experience

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