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Levels of Perspective: The Customer Journey Map

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Hello everyone!!! I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. It is now time for Part 3 of Perspective 2 – The Customer.

In this post we will focus on one technique I leverage to determine the desired customer experience. Up to this point we have discussed what customer experience is, why a focus on the customer is critical for success and how to approach the customer experience desired. Now that we have discussed the fundamentals it is time to move forward with putting it all together. Also remember, at the end of the month I will be posting Episode 2 of Dojo Talk where I will have a special guest who is an expert in this topic speak to us about what they have learned working within different organizations.

Based on my experience here is my approach to creating a customer journey map. I am sure there are many ways to approach creating a customer journey map, but I am going to share the way I approach doing this work.

Step 1: Scope – it is important to understand what exactly will be focused on from a customer experience perspective. When I speak of scope I speak of the following:

  1. Who are you customers?
  2. Market segments
  3. What is the product/service under analysis?
  4. What are the business goals?
  5. How do your customers interact with the product/service?

Step 2: Persona – now it is time to create your persona. A persona represents the customer. The customer has direct interaction with your product or service. There could be 1 or multiple product groups represented in a persona. The personal represents many different attributes of the customer or customer group such as: location, gender, age, educational background, interests, hobbies, job titles, and more.

Step 3: Stages – now it is time to determine the different stages a customer encounters in the journey. As you move through the stages you want to identify the customer experiences that could be positive, negative, and somewhere in the middle, as well as what the customer expects should occur during the process. The stages are the main areas the customer travels through the journey.

For example, many individuals order items online through different stores. If, your product/service was the platform to allow online ordering the stages you may be consider would be as follows:

  • Stage 1: Motivation – customer has a need to order an item online.
    • Customer Experience – customer has a need and is excited to get this need fulfilled through the platform.
    • Customer Expectation – ease of accessing the online platform to review and order a product.
  • Stage 2: Browses Online Webpage – customer decides to browse the online product list.
    • Customer Experience – Customer has a great experience browsing and finding products to meet their needs; however, the return of results of searches can be slow intermittently. This has resulted in customer frustration.
    • Customer Expectation – can easily, and quickly, find products that match their needs. In addition, search results are returned quickly.
  • Stage 3: Analyze Products – customer reviews the product details.
    • Customer Experience – customer is able to review some products with detail product information to make an informed decision, while there are some products that do not have sufficient detail. This experience has resulted in some frustrations, and online abandonment to the site.
    • Customer Expectation – customer has enough information to make an informed decision on the best product to purchase.
  • Stage 4: Pays for Product – customer can pay for the product.
    • Customer Experience – customer can pay for products easily.
    • Customer Expectation – customer has different options to make payments with ease. However, there is no option to pay by certain credit cards, nor is there any online help available.

Here is a customer journey map sample of the online order example above.

Step 4: Analyze the Data – Now that you have created your customer journey map it’s time to analyze the data captured. Where there are negative feelings by the customer, those should be reviewed and addressed as soon as possible. The areas occurring well should continue, but you may want to see if there are options to optimize them if possible.

It is important to understand that this is not an exercise done once and never reviewed again. The customer journey should be revisited at a set frequency as well. As new products/services are added the customer experience may change.

Internal Team Experience

I do want to take a moment to discuss the internal team member experience as well. Let us not forget that based on the business model there are internal team members who drive the engine to deliver product/services to customers. A positive customer experience is needed, however, there needs to be a balance on how the processes internally work to deliver that customer experience. If the internal processes are too cumbersome, the quality of delivery can diminish; and quickly depending on the process. It is imperative to talk to team members to obtain their feedback on the process. If the processes are 100% automated, ensure the processes are as streamlined, and efficient. I have had the opportunity to be part of many projects in my career where I have this balance being off. The result is a great customer experience turned horrible over time, due to unstable internal processes. Don’t forsake one for the other but find balance between the two.

BONUS:

I have a friend, and dear colleague by the name of Robert Thacker who approaches Customer Journey Mapping a little bit differently. I wanted to take a moment to share this deeper perspective.

Robert explains that it is important to understand the internal business processes that deliver the customer experience. Below is a sample journey map created in iGrafx. You will notice that more than just a diagram, on the left you find the journeys relationship information to specific moments, touch points, internal processes, capabilities, and other parts of our business architecture.

This allows you to not only capture the customer experience but have a fuller sense of what is driving that experience, either for good or bad. So, the process and all its components are considered into the customer journey to understand what is currently driving the experience. From here you can determine what may need to change to get to the desired customer experience outcome. This is quite brilliant to me. 😊

Robert works for iGrafx which specializes in helping provide more business-critical data and understanding to your processes. The capability of the software allows you to get a deeper understanding of the customer journey. Please know this not a sales pitch for iGrafx, but more an appreciation on how a tool can help you in a deeper way of thinking based on the capabilities provided. As you can see above, this journey is aligned to specific corporate or departmental strategies and goals, is being measured for performance, has key stakeholders, and specific capabilities that are required to make it successful.

The below picture represents that same customer journey as laid out in a storyboard. This level of visibility overlays the customer journey with the phases of the customer will pass through as they interact with our company. It also clearly defines the internal processes they intersect with and the relationships to other components of our business model.

Thank you, Robert, for sharing your expertise and experience and allowing me to look at customer journey from a different perspective.

So, as you can see understanding the customer, the desired customer experience, and the current customer journey is very critical. It helps to determine how services should be delivered based on the customer needs. It also gives insight into a process that may need to be tweaked to ensure the desired customer experience is executed.

I hope you have learned different approaches to creating a customer journey. Thank you again, Robert Thacker, for providing the information and graphics to demonstrate a different way to approach the customer journey.

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel “Paula Bell, BA Martial Artist” for the next episode of Dojo Talk.

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