Our Thoughts

Putting the Customer into Customer Journey Mapping

29th January 2018

The Customer Journey Map is a transformative tool, a shared "thinking artefact" for the business to use whenever it wants to talk about a particular experience. It forms a bridge between customer insight and experience design that allows organisations to take control of the journeys they create for customers.

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But journey maps can easily become very internally focused. Some organisations create journey maps without ever talking to customers, and this inevitably means that the map leans too heavily on the organisation's internal perspective, on its own products and processes. These maps also tend to be very transaction and process led, leaving out the emotional journey.

How can you fight this? We think that the best way is to acknowledge the need to capture the internal perspective, but make it separate from the customer view. This exercise is all about customers, so start with them. Make sure your customer journey map is led by customers and ground it in research. Use the customer's point of view, even if it's wrong. Leave out everything that is invisible to the customer, or that they don't notice. Focus at least as much on feelings as you do on actions (many of your opportunities to improve will be based on what one of our clients called the Banarama effect – “it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it”).

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Once you have an accurate picture of the customer journey, you can use that to engage staff to understand the internal perspective on what adds up to create the journey you've discovered. The service blueprint is an excellent tool for this. Service blueprints are best produced as a workshop exercise including the perspectives of all relevant teams. They make clear the distinction between the customer perspective, the internal processes that underpin that journey, and the touchpoints which shape how customers feel.

You can read an overview of our take on journey mapping in this article, or find out more on our full day training course.

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