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Annette Franz

Customer Care

Understanding the Customer Journey Map

Six steps from journey maps to outcomes

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 13:03

I’ve written previously about 11 myths and mistakes about journey mapping, but I should add one more myth, which is really the umbrella myth that likely encompasses all the others: Journey mapping is just a tool.

Nope, it’s not just a tool; it’s not just a workshop: It’s a process. Journey mapping is a creative and collaborative process that allows you to understand—and then redesign—the customer experience. You must view it as the process that it is, otherwise there’s no point in mapping.

This diagram outlines the six-step journey mapping process I advocate:

CX Journey Inc.’s six-step journey-mapping process

At a high level, here’s what each of the steps entail.

1. Plan: This first step includes all the prework and prep work that needs to be done to get ready for your journey-mapping workshop, including identifying the personas for which you’ll map, outlining the scope and the objectives of the map, determining the appropriate workshop participants, and educating the participants on what lies ahead.

2. Empathize: This is the actual current-state mapping workshop, where you’ll map what customers are doing, thinking, and feeling along the journey you selected in step one. You’ll also add data and metrics into the map to help identify moments of truth and bring the map to life with artifacts (e.g., pictures, videos, documents); identify moments of truth; and assign owners to each of the customers’ steps.

3. Introspect: Once you’re done with the journey map, it’s time to look inward and create a service blueprint, which outlines the people, tools, and systems that support and facilitate the customer experience; and a process map, which outlines the workflows that do the same, to correspond with the customer journey you’ve mapped.

4. Identify: The map alone doesn’t identify moments of truth; for that, you need data—and that’s one of the main reasons you need to insert data into your maps. In this step, you’ll prioritize moments of truth, research issues behind those broken moments, conduct root cause analysis, develop action plans, and assign owners and deadlines to the plan.

5. Ideate: Next up, you’ll conduct future-state mapping workshops, for both the customer journey and the corresponding service blueprints, during which you’ll ideate solutions to customer and backstage pain points, and then design the future state.

6. Implement: And finally, it's time to get to work, time to implement the changes. Prototype and test the new design with customers—and fail fast. Fix, test, and fail fast; implement the new experience; share the maps and train employees on the updated processes and the new experience to deliver to customers; close the loop with customers and let them know what’s changed; and always update the maps to reflect the new current experience.

You might have thought that journey mapping was as simple as “map and done.” But that couldn’t be further from the truth. And that’s where a lot of companies stumble with their mapping efforts.

Maps are really just the beginning; as you can see, the current state map was only the second step, with four more steps to follow! And the maps must be done right in order to be the catalyst for change that they are meant to be.

The process is not as simple as it seems. There are rules, considerations, and guidelines to adhere to in order to get it right; after all, you want to ensure that the maps provide meaningful information that will allow you to design a better experience.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. If you don’t do anything with what you learn, then stop doing it. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. But that’s not why we’re here. Instead, you need to listen, learn, understand, and do something.

Now, go do it! If you need help, I’m here. Just reach out!

“Your customers don’t care about you. They don’t care about your product or service. They care about themselves, their dreams, their goals. Now, they will care much more if you help them reach their goals, and to do that, you must understand their goals, as well as their needs and deepest desires.”
—Steve Jobs

First published Nov. 21, 2018, on the CX Journey blog.

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About The Author

Annette Franz’s picture

Annette Franz

Annette Franz, CCXP is founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc. She’s got 25 years of experience in both helping companies understand their employees and customers and identifying what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and the overall experience – so that, together, we can design a better experience for all constituents. She's an author (she wrote the book on customer understanding!), a speaker, and a customer experience thought leader and influencer. She serves as Vice Chairwoman on the Board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), is an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council, and is an Advisory Board member for CX@Rutgers.