Journey Mapping, also sometimes referred to as Touchpoint Mapping, is a tool often used by organisations as a starting point and introduction to their customer experience endeavour. It not only helps organisations put a different perspective on their business proposition (a customer perspective) but it also enables them to scope the experience they are dealing with and frame the work they are about to take. For brief description of the Customer Journey Mapping process see here.

We were recently asked to do an audit of a company’s Journey Mapping process and methodology and I wanted to note down some basic points:

The purpose of the Customer Journey Map is to:

  1. Create a log of the customer journey as it is
  2. Serve as a communication and decision making tool

The Customer Journey Map as a log of the current customer journey

The customer journey map should compile the relevant aspects of the customer experience your business is providing. It needs to be a valid reflection of what your customer experience so that the business can make informed decisions when making changes. Key questions to answer when mapping the customer journey:

Are we capturing the end-to-end experience? – The customer journey begins way before the interaction with the organisation. A patient starts their hospital journey when they suspect their symptoms, even before thinking of going to the hospital. But this is nevertheless part of the hospital journey as what happens in this stage affects how things are perceived and how the patient reacts in the later stages. Make sure to capture the touchpoints that are part of the journey, not just part of the business interaction.

Are we looking at the customer journey from our key customers’ perspective? – As my colleague Steven Walden often notes: it is important to also understand your dissatisfied customers, not just your typical customers’ journey. This is particularly important when reflecting on the emotional experience as it uncovers the risk areas.

Are we capturing the emotional and subconscious experience? – It is very easy to focus on and map out the physical, observable steps of the customer journey. Often however, customers’ behaviour and attitude is shaped and dependant on the psychological and emotional steps in their customer journey. At the end of the mapping session you should be able to see where the red zones (negative routes); the green zones (positive routes) and ask yourselves if that is how the business intends it to be. If you find that the things that are within your control are the way they are by accident, not design, then you have work to do.

For more on how to accurately map customer journeys, see the following webinar: See What Your Customers See: Mapping Your Real Customer Experience

The Customer Journey Map as a communication and decision making tool It is very easy for businesses to treat Customer Journey Maps as a log of the experience only. If that is the case, then Customer Journey Maps are no different than any CRM system that can easily be neglected by employees and forgotten when decisions are made. For the Map to be relevant and valued in the business it should not only inform, but motivate to action. This is done by more than just text and words.

Your Customer Journey Map needs to give a clear indication on where action is required and literally drive your audience’s eyes and mind to the key touchpoints. Visual representation is crucial and should not be considered less relevant than content. Measure the success by asking yourselves the following:

  • Can I pick out 3 points to work on within 30 seconds of looking at the Customer Journey map?
  • Are we using an appropriate colour scheme?
  • What symbols/words/phrases can we use to quickly convey meaning?

This aspect of the Journey Map is the key initiator of conversation in the organisation. Conversations lead to engagement and as with any business tool, unless there is engagement its outputs will die out.

Ideally, any project in the organisation should be linked to a touchpoint in the customer experience. When legislation is changed, costs are to be cut, new projects to be implemented- at least all crucial movements should be related to the Customer Journey Map. The more customer-centric the organisation is, the easier this becomes for employees to see the connection. Getting to a stage where Maps are part of business as usual, not considered time consuming and extra work, but actually valued by employees is a journey on its own. The above mentioned questions should help you access whether you are on the right track or not.

Kalina Janevska , Kalina Janevska is a Consultant at Beyond Philosophy one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Kalina is a chief experience modeller and designer with deep applied knowledge of CE in healthcare, retail and developing economies. Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from offices in Atlanta, Georgia and London, England.

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