A customer journey is an outside-in perspective of the service that you are providing. It is visualized as a journey in chronological order; from before to after the customer encounters your service. From when the customer is considering using it, through the entire service experience, and to the after parts. It is often used in organizations as a tool for customer empathy.
Orchestrates the touchpoints of the service experience
An organization usually meets its customers through several channels. All these touchpoints, where the customer meets the organization, contribute to the customer’s overall experience of the service. The purpose of the customer journey map is to orchestrate these touchpoints and create a consistent and positive user experience.
When we design the customer journey, we map out each touchpoint, seen from the customer's perspective, and analyze the role of it. We want to understand the customer's expectations and needs at each particular touchpoint. We also want to understand what we need to do to exceed the customer's expectations (gain points) and what we should avoid (pain points).
What it is used for
To understand how your value proposition is being perceived by the customers, and to get an outside-in perspective on your service. Most organizations believe they know a lot about their customers, but not all of these "internal truths" are necessarily true. The customer journey is always seen from the customer's point of view and is based on real user insights. It helps you to go from customer hypotheses to customer insights.
As a roadmap for future improvements. If you find out that some parts of the customer journey don't live up to the customer's expectations, you need to prioritize to improve these areas.
To make sure that your brand promises are being kept. If your brand promises are to be simple and flexible, but the customers experience something completely different, you need to know that! When you keep your promises, you will create a strong and long-lasting relationship with your customers. A strong relationship with your customers pays off in loyal customers who are recommending your services to others and also keep coming back to use your service.
The service map
In larger organizations, the customer journey map can also be transformed into a service map. The service map visualizes the customer journey in relation to the internal processes. The customer journey is shown at the top lane, and the internal processes are underneath.
A service map is an excellent tool for understanding how each employee contributes to the overall customer experience through their role and their work. Both the customer journey map and the service map are frequently used by service designers to design services and to help organizations towards customer-centricity.
How to design your own customer journey
If you are early on in the early development phases, you can host a workshop or event where you walk through your service with your potential customers, and let them express their feedback, needs, and expectations. The first attempt of a customer journey can also be done by interviewing potential customers and map out their answers on the map.
If your service is already up and running, you can gain customer empathy by shadowing the customers through their journey and ask them questions along the way.
To visualize the journey, I recommend you to use a tool like Mural. The customer journey needs to be based on user insights, and the bigger part of designing a Customer Journey is to collect the insights.
Social Innovation Booster is offering a Booster Program in Customer Journey Design, where we work hands-on with you during 5 weeks. We go through the process of collecting user insights, analyzing the touchpoints, and visualizing the journey. Welcome to join the program, or check it out here!