Customer journey maps are considered as a central tool in service design: Diagrams that illustrate the steps customers go through in engaging with a company or public service, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.
Customer’s typically follow a similar mental and formal process when engaging with a company. A typical framework is:
Awareness -> Research -> Engaging -> Buying -> Delivery -> Use -> Support -> Sharing
First people get aware of a particular service or product that has the potential to help them to get a certain job done, then they do some research on the different types of offerings and competitors, after which they start engaging with the supplier of their choice, make the acquisition decision, get delivered, use the product or service, get support from the supplier if needed and share their experiences with their peers.
This process is happening via a set of recurring touchpoints & channels: face-to-face, phone calls, website, advertising, communication, sales, delivery, physical spaces, social media…etc.
At each of these touchpoints we can identify the customer’s actions, motivations, questions and barriers.
During that mapping process, we are able to identify the degree of consistency of the perceived customer experience and the underlying information architecture and communication patterns used, uncovering potential disruptures in the experience flow as well as potential gaps between customer expectation and current service offerings at the different touchpoints. This exercise provides valuable insights for current service optimization, improvement & differentiation as well as for discovering unmet needs for which new services can be developed and thus new value generated.
Typically, some of the touchpoints are “moments of truth” at which possible service experience failure normally has fatal consequences. There are different ways to draw a customer journey map and the best way of doing so in each case will depend on each project’s anatomy and scope.
The process also helps identifying possible ways of service quality monitoring and defining service recovery plans & actions in case of service failure. There is empirical evidence that companies that provide an efficient service recovery in case of service failure are rated higher by customers than companies that only perform good under normal circumstances.
Customers journey maps can be completed and upgraded to service blueprints by visualizing the internal processes necessary to provide an optimal customer experience throughout the different touchpoints, connecting frontoffice operations with backoffice operations that are typically separated by the the line of visibility (for customers).
A complementary concept is job mapping.
Normally, a service or product need is a result of a job that customers or citizens want to get done. In order to design the optimal service, product or service/product system, it is therefore important to know what desired job outcome they are looking for. In a 2008 Harward business review article entitled “The Customer-Centered Innovation Map” Lance A. Bettencourt, & Anthony W. Ulwick propose a model for job mapping that they qualify as universal, as much as the above described framework for a typical customer journey to a service.
They brake down a job that customers want done into 8 discrete steps :
1. Define: Customers determine their goals and plan resources.
2. Locate : Customers gather items and information needed to do the job.
3. Prepare : Customers set up the environment to do the job.
4. Confirm : Customers verify that they’re ready to perform the job.
5. Execute : Customers carry out the job.
6. Monitor: Customers assess whether the job is being successfully executed.
7. Modify : Customers make alterations to improve execution.
8. Conclude: Customers finish the job or prepare to repeat it.
This seems a very pertinent and useful model. Customer journey maps typically map the customer experience for an existing service or for a future imagined service. The insights gained there are very useful to optimize customer experience as it is. But as each service should be an answer to a job that customers want done, designing innovative services also requires that customers’ desired job outcomes are known. (And that’s where design research and especially empathy and ethnographic tools are very valuable along with more traditional questioning and focus groups). There are some intersections and overlappings between customer journey maps and job maps, but the perspective is different for both tools.
First map the job to be done, then define the service proposals that help to get the job done at every single identified touchpoint and finally draw the customer journey map to that service experience.