Journey Mapping is a tool that many companies use to diagram how a customer engages with their product or services. Many of these companies have adopted journey mapping for the purposes of defining what their customers want in their experience and how they get what they need. It is often touted as defining the moment of truth that a customer makes a decision to participate in a company’s offering and giving a complete picture of the customer experience.
Unfortunately, journey mapping of the rational experience is where many companies stop. It is my expert opinion that journey mapping is an incomplete reading on the customer experience and does not fully define the moment of truth. While I believe journey mapping is an excellent foundation from which to start building and designing a customer experience, to stop there, is to only have part of the information that you need in order to fully understand the impact of your customer experience.
For a journey map to be a complete blueprint of the customer experience design, it must also include the irrational sides of the experience, which are both the subconscious and emotional sides of the experience.
I have a lot of opinions on this topic. In fact, I am quite prolific with them. I have compiled a list of my top blogs on journey mapping so that you can have an overview of my opinion on them and where I think they belong in the big picture of the customer experience.
Despite the inflammatory language, I do think journey mapping has it’s place in customer experience design. I explain in this piece, however, why Journey Mapping is not the complete information you need to design and effective customer experience. Journey Mapping only covers the rational reasons that a customer does what they do. This is only part of the reason that a customer does things. That’s because your customers are humans and as such, not completely rational. In fact, I believe that more than half of a customer experience is irrational, like humans themselves, and so journey mapping only gives you part of the picture.
There is a major difference between the process your customers go through in order to interact with your company and the experience they have when they are doing it. Many times, the process is the only part of the whole picture that gets any attention. But by looking at things from a customer’s perspective, which includes the subconscious reasons they are choosing your company as well as the emotional ones, you are then getting the whole picture.
Too many times a company focuses on only one part of their customer experience: the process. This is usually too far in to the experience to truly design an effective one. It’s important to remember that an experience starts a long time before they directly engage with your company. For example, it can start with conversations with friends and family, a Google search for your website or a Yelp review, or when they see a commercial on TV. These are all part of the experience, albeit the emotional and subconscious ones. The same misunderstandings can occur when the experience stops. Every company needs to know when their experience stops and starts in order to design an effective customer experience.
In Customer Experience Management (CEM) you are always looking for ways to increase your customer loyalty and to further your competitive advantage in the marketplace. The Business Process Redesign (BPR) that includes the emotional parts of the experience will give engineers a more complete picture to do just that. This article shows how to incorporate the irrational aspects of the experience into the established methods for mapping the rational aspects, so nothing important gets left out in the end.
In spite of what it may sound like at times, I believe that a journey map is a great starting tool for an organization to design a customer experience. My argument is that it should include information about the emotional side of the experience as well. Also to be effective, there are certain questions that should be answered by your map. In addition, you should be sure that every activity in the organization is linked to your map in order to keep the tool relevant and effective for your customer experience design.
Stephen Covey has influenced my thinking in many ways. One of his great concepts is to: “start off with the end in mind.” This applies to the customer experience as well. In order to design one that meets your goals, you need to define your goals for the customer experience. Since over 50% of the experience is emotional, companies need to define what emotions they want their customers to feel at the end of their experience as well. Now you can start to design the experience you want with all aspects of the experience accounted for by having a complete definition of your goal.
Creating a competitive advantage with the customer experience is particularly important when your product or service is easily recreated. One way to maintain this competitive advantage is to have vision and to find ways to innovate the experience of engaging the customer. By doing things differently and looking at them from a customer’s perspective, you can disrupt business as usual in your industry and create the competitive advantage based on your experience that will help you retain your valuable customers and build their loyalty to your brand.
Your subconscious mind is always taking in information and generating signals to the brain that create emotions. This is true when you walk down a dark street in a rough area or when you navigate the complicated phone system of a customer service center. These emotions then drive your actions; i.e., you find a better street to get to your destination or you hang up the phone to call the competitor. It is important to consider these triggers in your experience when you are journey mapping and can only be done when you see the experience through your customer’s eyes.
Journey mapping is a great place to start when you are designing a customer experience. But to only map the rational parts of the experience and ignore the subconscious and emotional parts of the experience is to have an incomplete map. Beyond Philosophy has over 10 years experience and research in building a complete picture of your customer experience that takes into account all of these important factors. We can help you take journey mapping to the next level and with it help you build a great customer experience for your business.
This post is part of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s Blog Carnival “Celebrating Customer Experience.” It is part of a broader celebration of Customer Experience Day. Check out posts from other bloggers here.
|Colin Shaw is founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books & recognized Business Influencer by LinkedIn. Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from our Global Headquarters in Tampa, Florida, USA.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter: @ColinShaw_CX