As an experience strategist and designer, I’m a huge fan of customer journey mapping. It’s simply one of the most powerful tools a company can use to identify root causes of customer issues, uncover opportunities to delight customers, and transform how you do business. Their value and impact exponentially outweigh the cost and effort they require. I’m excited to see so many companies learning how to map customer experiences, and to design better ones. It’s also refreshing to see customer journey mapping being applied in so many areas from the buyer’s journey, to the employee journey, to the customer service journey. What used to be an obscure service design technique has become a full-blown buzzword across all industry verticals. It’s really a very exciting time for advocates and practitioners of the technique.
Having run all types of workshops over many years, I must admit customer journey mapping workshops may be my favorite to plan and facilitate. There’s always something a bit theatrical about giant paper maps and colorful sticky notes coming together to tell a real story or bring a new vision. And it is truly inspiring to bring teams of ordinarily disparate business units together, and help them innovate as they never have before.
Of course it takes a lot of planning and work to accomplish a successful customer journey mapping workshop, which is why I wanted to share my experience in doing so. I’ve written an eBook titled “Designing the Customer Experience. How to Plan and Run Customer Journey Mapping Workshops.” It provides everything you need to know in order to plan, setup, and facilitate workshops of this kind. It has step-by-step instructions for running both current- and future-state customer journey mapping workshops. I also have some facilitation advice from my experience over the years. It’s free to download here. I certainly hope you enjoy reading it and it helps you become ready to master customer journey mapping for yourself.
In the process of writing it, I came up with a few fundamentals for customer journey maps that can basically be summed up as my journey mapping manifesto. So I will leave you with this excerpt from the eBook to whet your appetite:
Fundamentals of Customer Journey Maps
Experience designers and service designers are constantly experimenting with new types of journey maps and their visual styles and layouts in order to make them more useful and informative. There is really no one set way to visualize and format a journey map, but there are some proven best practices for their creation, as well as some key components that all journey maps share:
Customer Context. All customer journey maps capture and display what customers are thinking, feeling, and doing during the course of each interaction or group of interactions with your company. They focus deeply on the rich context of each situation as the building blocks of the overall experience, including: Time, Place, Devices, Channels, Touch Points, Relationships, Psychology, and Emotions. Journey maps illustrate all of these attributes at moments in time across a series of collective interactions that add up to equal an overall experience.
Common Empathy. All customer journey maps share the intent to create a common organizational understanding and empathy for what your customers are experiencing psychologically, emotionally, and physically during the interactions that your company requires in order to do business with you. Whether these interactions are intentionally designed or arise organically, this set of interactions that you have created completely defines your company’s brand in the minds of your customers. This is why cross-functional teaming on journey map creation and design is ideal. It fosters empathy with your customers’ experiences across the organization, and creates a sense of common empathy and ownership of the customer experience.
Storytelling. All customer journey maps tell a complete personal story, either as a snapshot of reality (current state maps) or as an intended and possible next state of being (future state maps) for the customer. This story visualizes and conveys the subtleties and details of the psychological, emotional, and physical attributes of customer experiences (thinking, feeling, and doing). The purpose of any customer journey map you create may be different, but the story should be true, accurate, personal, and complete.
Outside-In. All customer journey maps tell the story from the customer’s point of view. They illustrate the factual aspects of doing business with your company from the outside-in, rather than projecting the company’s point-of-view outwardly. Many organizations spend a lot of time and money mapping out internal processes with the expectation that customers will behave as business processes dictate. This is a fallacy. Customers don’t care what it takes for you to provide the product or service that they need. And they certainly don’t want to have to learn your internal processes in order to get what they want.
Truth and Transparency. All customer journey maps are based on customer research and illustrate true customer stories with complete transparency. Factual transparency into why customer behaviors occur are key to making customer journey maps useful and valuable. Do not be seduced into thinking that your process diagram is a customer journey map. Customer journey maps are based on real customer sentiments and behavioral data that provide true customer insights. Insights are a deep understanding of a person or thing, as yet unknown. These latent insights can be found using quantitative research data, as provided by VoC surveys and analytics. Better still, they can also be found by performing qualitative research using in-the-field ethnographic and observational studies. Both types of data are recommended to get a complete, truthful, and transparent (unvarnished) catalog of customer attitudes, emotions, and behaviors along their journey.
Informative and Transformative. In their simplest form and intent customer journey maps will tell you what is really happening with your customers in your current state of customer experiences. In their most informed form and intent they will also tell you precisely why things are happening and why customers behave the way they do in your current customer experiences. In their most advanced form and intent customer journey maps will help you to create a completely new customer experience that transforms your way of doing business by mapping out an intentionally designed future state customer journey.