9 July 2015
Peter Bogaards
Peter Bogaards

Customer journey maps and blueprints

Considerations to get the most value out of them

With the transition from user experience to customer experience, many designers take a broader view on their design work. They are not just dealing with the design of individual products, applications or websites but also focus on services, connected touchpoints and multiple channels of the full organization.

In order to to better understand customers’ behaviors, needs and actions, the practice of customer journey mapping has become popular. In stakeholder workshops, (service) designers become the facilitators to map the journeys customers make. In this way, organizations get an in-depth understanding of the moments of truth, pain points and the discrete touchpoints and channls that make up the overall experience.

Recently, we found some interesting articles and presentations on customer journeys (both maps and blueprints) that we wanted to share.

Ten ways to use customer journey maps

CX Week (free registration) provides lots of interesting customer experience materials, such as webinar recordings. Among others, we found ‘10 Ways To Use Customer Journey Maps‘ by CX expert Kerry Bodine (@kerrybodine) useful.

According to Kerry Bodine, journey maps are “diagrams that visualize the actions, thoughts, and feelings of a person or group over time.” They come in several variations: journey maps and journey blueprints (depicting the line of visibility between activities in the front office and in the back office), both used to map the current-state and the future-state of the journey. A special kind of journey map is the ‘Day-in-the-life’ journey map.

You can use these journey maps and blueprints to:

  1. Improve the current customer experience, using a current-state journey map and a current-state journey blueprint.
  2. Envision the future customer experience, using a future-state journey map, a day-in-the-life journey map and a future-state journey blueprint
  3. Drive organizational change, using a current-state journey map and a current-state journey blueprint.
  4. Communicate with customers.

After this CX Week presentation, she also published ‘Journey mapping Q&A: Required research for customer journey maps‘.

Source: CX Week Webinar: Recordings and slides (13 May 2015)

Top 10 requirements of customer journey maps

In this article, Jim Tincher (@jimtincher) details “the criteria used to design and build customer journey maps that can accelerate a customer experience program, focusing on the ten critical components all great customer journey maps share.”

  1. Represent the perspectives of customers
    A great customer journey map represents the experience as your customer sees it. Meaning it will often include aspects out of your direct control as well as steps your customers take before you even enter the picture.
  2. Do research
    You can’t rely on internal staff to build a true customer journey map. Depending on the scope of the journey, you’ll need interviews, ethnographies, focus groups, and/or other types of customer research to figure out what’s really going on.
  3. Recognize and represent the customer personas
    Different customers have very different experiences. A great customer journey map can’t lump such customer segments together, because the result wouldn’t accurately reflect the experience of them.
  4. Include customer goals
    A great customer journey map illustrates your customer’s goals at each stage of their experience, and reflects whether those goals evolve as the journey progresses.
  5. Focus on emotions
    Emotions are critical to any customer experience and a great customer journey map sheds light on these emotions.
  6. Indicate touchpoints
    One reason many clients choose to create a customer journey map is to better understand the order and type of all touchpoints. External touchpoints can be the most important parts of the journey, as they are often the key to understanding friction that occurs.
  7. Highlight the ‘moments-of-truth’
    Some interactions have more impact on the customer experience than others. Great journey maps spotlight those critical moments.
  8. Evaluate your brand promise
    Journey mapping can reveal how your brand promise aligns with the actual customer experience. A great customer journey map shows whether customers believe that you’re delivering on the brand promise, and if they think you’re not, how much disappointment impacts customer behavior and loyalty.
  9. Measure time
    The length of a customer experience provides important context. A great journey map recognizes that this information is essential, and includes it.
  10. Ditch the Powerpoint
    A great journey map is designed to be pored over and studied. Use a DTP publishing application and a designer to create your map so you can more freely convey the richness of the customer experience.

Source: Customer journey maps: Top 10 requirements – Revisited (5 June 2015)

5 things to remember when mapping the customer journey

“Here’s a couple of things that, you probably best stick to a wall in the room where you are painting the picture of your Customer’s Journey. Somehow we seem to forget when busy.” says Wim van Rampen (@wimvanrampen).

  1. The customer’s journey is exactly that: the journey of the customer. The customer’s journey doesn’t resemble your process flow.
  2. There’s customer journeys on all kinds of different levels.
  3. Not one customer journey is the same. If contexts change, the entire journey can change.
  4. Touchpoints are value propositions and they require the same design rigor as products do.
  5. Touchpoints need to be connected with its predecessors and the next one in line. They should be orchestrated.

Source: Five things to remember when mapping the customer journey (25 May 2015)

Journey maps: Not the end of the story

“Journey maps have been around for the better part of a decade but it’s really only in the last three or four years that they’ve come into more common use, and more strategists are advocating their use as a framework for improving the customer experience. (…) Suffice to say that many in our field strongly believe in the potential of journey mapping for helping companies to achieve human-centric business transformations.

“Regardless of how many of us are advocating and delivering on journey mapping initiatives, we continue to see cases where the journey map artifact itself loses value quite quickly. So, while journey mapping remains a powerful way to discover, prioritize, and road-map opportunities, there are definitely opportunities to improve on and increase the long-term value of the map itself.” ~ Ronnie Battista (@RonnieBattista)

Critical success factors for a journey mapping exercise

  1. Establishing goals and outcomes
    A journey-mapping initiative lets you accurately design a research plan, focus the effort, and gain support.
  2. Representing the customer perspective in the journey map
    Look beyond customers’ observable actions to what they’re thinking during their journey and what emotions they’re feeling, which are as important as their actions.
  3. Basing journey maps on quantitative and qualitative research
    Research drives the most valuable journey maps, which are based on evidence from customer research. The more professional and better-planned the research, the better the results.
  4. Building to communicate
    A customer journey mapping initiative enables customer experience transformation. Share findings as broadly as possible.
  5. Ensuring post-mapping executive ownership and governance
    Like any journey that a large group takes in the real world, achieving success requires up-front planning, appropriate resources, a trusted guide, and a destination that all agree upon.

Reasons journey maps are failing to prove their long-term value

  1. Mapping too much complexity
    A good map is a legible map, but not all journey maps are easy to follow. Many customer journey maps are too complex, replete with numerous channels, touchpoints, and contexts of interaction.
  2. Encountering the shiny-trinket syndrome
    A bit like what happened with personas a few years back, some journey maps suffer from the shiny-trinket syndrome. While most companies approach journey mapping with integrity, some are offering journey maps of dubious quality and value. This presents a challenge: we’re already seeing companies push back on our journey map pitches because they’ve “already done one” with someone else and found it disappointing.
  3. Lacking organizational readiness
    There’s often a chasm between an organization’s verbal commitment to customer centeredness and the true cultural willingness that it takes to act on it. Journey maps often uncover larger strategic issues, and addressing such issues may require coordination across channels or products.
  4. Lacking governance
    Without governance, journey mapping can be like climbing Everest without a Sherpa. A solid, executable governance plan is often lacking, as is executive sponsorship that extends beyond the project and can leverage and evolve the journey map for monitoring and decision making.
  5. Failing to consider the long road ahead
    “It’s really hard work to make things right for customers. Often, the first best steps from a journey map are small, incremental changes that lead to larger, incremental changes, that lead to smaller strategic shifts, that lead to larger strategic shifts. I’ve worked on some journey-map projects that took three to five years to actually see the outcome. How many organizations can think, plan, and operate in that way?” (Jim Combs)

Source: Journey maps: Not the end of the story (18 May 2015)

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