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Customer journey mapping

Overview

Customer journey mapping enables you to track and describe the experience of the customer against the experience that:

  • You aspire to provide to the customer
  • The customer expects to receive.

Also known as

The tool

Customer journey mapping tracks experiences from the customer’s point of view from the beginning to the end of a transaction. Tracking starts with the customer’s initial contact with the organisation and continues through ordering and receiving a product, or setting up and receiving a service. Customer journey mapping should also include any follow-up or after-care provided.

Customer journeys are made up of a series of elements and touch points. At each touch point, the customer will have direct contact with an aspect of the organisation. Touch points may take a number of different forms, for example, contact using:

  • Website.
  • Social media.
  • Telephone call.
  • Email.
  • Letter.
  • Face-to-face encounter.

 

The organisation needs to ensure that the customer receives the quality of service they require at each of these touch points, thereby providing a positive customer experience. Moreover, the overall customer journey should be smooth and integrated.

By looking at different types of customers and different segments of the customer base, experiences of different groups can be highlighted, along with any problems which affect particular groups.

The gaps between the preferred customer experience and the one the customer actually receives helps you to identify places where improvement actions are required.

Improvements may involve making changes to the service the customer receives or may involve managing customer expectations in a more realistic manner.

Customer journey mapping may be particularly helpful where the journey moves between teams, Services or Departments. Customer journey mapping can help to cut across silos and may help you to think beyond local priorities and agendas.

One popular way of illustrating customer journeys is by charting the journey as in the following diagram.

Example of a customer journey map through various stages along with the customer satisfaction ratings.

Why use it

When to use it

How to use it

The process

  1. Walk through the customer experience
    • The first step in customer journey mapping is work your way through the customer experience to identify all the touch points where the customer interacts with the organisation.
    • You should look for both major and minor touch points.
    • Bear in mind that a single touch point may be accessed via more than one means of contact.
  2. Distinguish between what happens ‘onstage’ and ‘offstage’
    • As you begin to consider the customer journey in more detail, think about each touch point in terms of what the customer sees happening (onstage) as well as what goes on behind the scenes (offstage).
    • It is helpful to distinguish between things the customer can see and things that they cannot, so that the customer’s experience can be separated from the operations that support it.
  3. Get feedback from as many stakeholders as possible
    • To understand what happens at each touch point, get feedback from as many stakeholders as possible. Stakeholders include both the customer and the person providing the service.
    • You may wish to carry out surveys or look at your complaints data to find out what is happening at each touch point.
    • You may also wish to gather qualitative data from your customers to find out as much detail about their experiences as possible.
  4. Identify which touch points are important
    • Although every touch point is important, some will be more important to customers than others. The most important touch points are the ones that impact on the customer experience to the greatest extent.
  5. Identify improvements
    • While on its own the mapping your customer’s journey has value, the ultimate goal is to improve your customer’s experience by understanding what they go through at each touch point and improve the quality of that experience.

Dealing with touch points

Using the 80/20 approach (see Pareto analysis), start with your most important touch points, and ask:

  • How can I make this quicker and easier?
  • Can I remove parts of the process to make it go faster?
  • Can I empower employees to make the process easier by solving more issues in real time?

 

You may find it helpful to use Cause and Effect analysis tools as you answer these questions. (See Fishikawa, Five Whys, Tree diagram.)

Strengths

Weaknesses

Similar to

  • Process mapping

    You should note that, while there are similarities between process mapping and customer journey mapping, process mapping focusses on efficiencies from the organisation’s point of view whereas customer journey mapping looks at the customer experience. The former is a point of view internal to the organisation whereas the latter is a point of view from outside. While both may identify improvements in processes and may highlight areas where efficiencies can be made, you may find in some circumstances that choices have to be made between putting the customer or the efficiency of the organisation first.

Use in conjunction with

Example(s)

Additional information