Making better customer journey maps [Inside 31Volts]

You might know that a customer journey map is a visualisation of interactions between a customer and your organisation. But what are the things that could make your next customer journey map even better?

State a clear start and end point

When you’re making a customer journey map, the first challenge is to get a clear start and end point of your journey. It might take you all day just to define this. So a good starting point is to gather your project team and decide together what your start and end point will be, before you start analyzing your customer journey. It can be different for every service you’re making your customer journey map for. Basically there is no golden rule on where your journey starts or ends. Just as long as your team agrees on the scope.

Example: Taking a train ride might start at home when your customer is thinking about going somewhere. Or it might start the moment he is at a station. The question is where the journey starts for the person and for your organisation? There is no wrong or right answer to this question, but it is important that you and your team have a clear understanding of what the start and endpoint is. You wouldn’t want to keep discussing on this part throughout the process.

Beyond obvious touchpoints

When working on a customer journey map, it might be easy to pinpoint obvious touchpoints. Like getting on a train or buying a ticket. But keep in mind that there are also less obvious (and visible) touchpoints that have an effect on your customer journey map.

The most common things you can find in customer journey maps are the obvious interactions between a customer and an organisation. For instance every time you have an interaction with a human being, or every time you call a service. These are the easy touchpoints. But when you observe a service from a customer point of view, you can often see that there are kind of “invisible” touchpoints. These touchpoints are not defined in processes within an organisation. They are not as tangible as the obvious touchpoints, because often there isn’t a human to human interaction.

Example: Imagine that train ride again as an example: you are getting on the platform of your departure and waiting on your train. There might be some time you have to wait. That might not be an official touchpoints within the process of the train company, but still there is something happening between the customer (the person waiting) and the organisation…
Undergo the service

The easiest way to discover these touchpoints is by being the user. Undergo the service would be good. Immerse yourself in the experience and questions like ‘what is actually happening here?’ and ‘what am I doing?’. Usually you can relate the interaction with the organisation. But the moments when you’re thinking ‘I’m actually doing nothing..’, those are the moments where the invisible touchpoints present themselves. Maybe you won’t refer to those moments as a touchpoint, but these moments create opportunities for your service.

Always keep your customer’s goal in mind

There is no such thing as the “ideal” customer journey map. It’s important to start with a clear goal in mind when you’re designing a new, or improving an existing, service. What does the end of your customer journey look like from your customers point of view.

Example: If you look at a supermarket, a clear goal might be ‘I want to have all the ingredients for my recipe in my kitchen’.

Use a persona

But you need more than only a clear goal. Different people experience a service in a different way. That is why it’s common to base your customer journey on a persona. Because what a person needs in a service is determined by his needs and desires in life. In the supermarkt two people can have the same goal in mind, like buying the ingredients for a recipe. But they can undergo the service with a completely different mindset.

Example: A student is walking through the supermarket with the supermarket-app, he wants to get everything as fast as possible because to him it’s just about getting it home as soon as possible.
A mom with two kids can have the same goal, but for her it might be more important to keep the kids quiet and she’s already happy when she hasn’t forgotten anything from her list. For her it’s no problem it took her fifteen minutes longer.

Determining which persona you’re going to use for your customer journey is always a debate, but you should use the most relevant and valuable persona to your project. The person that you actually want to design for. That’s something you discuss with your client, who is your target group.

Last words of advice

Experience the service yourself
As said before, one of the most important things when making a customer journey map is to experience the service for yourself. It might be a typical service design-thing to say, but don’t use your own assumptions. You might have a completely different view on the journey compared to the next person. It’s tricky to use your own assumptions because you might end up designing something that’s not relevant for the people you’re designing for. So go out and gather evidence for your design!

What would be your tip for making a customer journey map? We’d love to hear from you!

Inside 31Volts (subscribe on youtube) is all about service design tools & methods, and their characteristic traits: the things you wish you would have known before you started your service design project.

Marc Fonteijn

Marc Fonteijn

Als medeoprichter van 31Volts houdt Marc zich bezig met het verleggen van grenzen binnen service innovatie. Marc helpt organisaties om waarde te creëren voor hun klanten door middel van design.

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