Why are Customer Journeys Useful in Practice?
The best way to improve customer experience is to understand customer expectations, then align your business goals with them. Customer Journey Modeling is the most effective approach to identify the needs of customers.
A customer journey model provides you with a new perspective. It allows you to see your company from the outside-in. Instead of focusing on internal operations, the focus shifts to the results of those operations and how the customer perceives the process. A journey model (JM) can come in many forms, but usually the steps a customer takes in a process are visually represented. The individual steps highlight the interaction between the customer and the company.
It can include a wide variety of information, including things like:
- Critical decisions
- Involved departments
- IT systems
- Any other points that are specific to your company
Customer Journeys illustrate that what was originally classified as a simple end-to-end process is in fact sometimes not a straightforward process for the customer. Instead, it involves multiple processes and departments from across the organization. Only if all departments of our organizations operate seamlessly together we can deliver the experience that our customers expect and demand.
The end product should aid businesses in streamlining processes and eliminate customer pain points, resulting in a better customer experience overall. It forces businesses to consider each step from the customer's perspective and the results are often surprising.
Switching to the Outside-In Perspective with Customer Journeys
Interaction of the internal process and the customer journey.
Key Takeaways about Customer Journeys
Practical Journey Examples
Here are some examples of a Journey Models (JM).
They have one thing in common: the presented information. But as you can see, they differ in design and journey type. Nevertheless, they include the journey steps, touchpoints, and the emotions. There are no strict rules on how to build a JM. Your creativity is needed.
Source: Uber Customer Journey Map
Source: SAP Signavio post
Source: Employee Journey
How to Get Started with your Customer Journey
Imagine you have an e-commerce store where you sell and ship bakery ingredients and products.
Instead of focusing just on your internal processes, you want to pay attention to your customers to better understand them and improve their experiences in your online store.
Wouldn't it be great if we would know:
- Which dedicated steps the customer experiences on the journey?
- What the expectations are on every single step, so we can fulfill them in the best way?
- Which are the most used touchpoints - how they are affecting our process?
- Which improvements are necessary to turn our customer to a very loyal one?
Answering the four points above is the goal of customer journey modeling. Let's now focus on the four steps to take in order to create a Journey Model.
Step 1: Persona - Who is my customer?
Use your persona to describe the characteristics of the customer you want your product or service to be customized for.
The following questions can help you better describe your persona:
- What is the name, age, job of the persona?
- Does the persona have a family? Hobbies?
- What are the persona's living conditions?
- Does the persona have certain values?
The more detailed and realistic you describe your persona, the easier it will be for you to dive into the role of your customer.
This is our sample persona for our Customer Journey:
Step 2: Steps - What steps do my customers go through on the journey?
The next task is to define the actual steps within the persona's journey. Steps are different actions or stages that the persona passes through while engaging with your company.
The first step in a Customer Journey usually occurs at a time when the customer hasn't even heard about your company or the products and services that you offer. Therefore the first step could be when a person identifies an issue and requires help to solve it or a friend recommending a product they recently purchased.
Let's have a look at possible steps in Carla's Customer Journey.
Step 3: Touchpoints - Direct / indirect interactions with the company
Touchpoints are points of contact between the user and your company or product. A touchpoint is therefore an interaction with your company. A distinction is made between direct and indirect touchpoints.
So what is exactly the difference between a step and a touchpoint? Here are examples of each:
- Carla walks into a baked goods store and looks around, but hasn't seen your products yet. This is considered a step.
- Direct touchpoint: Carla finds your products in the store and looks at them.
- Indirect touchpoint: Carla doesn't see your products, but asks for your products from the supplier.
Time for a quick Knowledge Check
Step 4: Emotion - How does my customer feel?
This step is about identifying the emotions of our persona, Carla. Each step triggers an emotion for your persona. The emotion can be positive, neutral, or negative. To visualize and measure the emotional level of a persona a graph is utilized.
This graph allows us to read at which steps in our journey our persona is satisfied, needs assistance, or is open to interaction.
The goal is not to trigger a positive experience in every step. It is sufficient to record neutral results and only evaluate certain events as positively.
Additional Points to Capture in Customer Journeys
- Customer Experience Obstacles: What can lead to a bad customer experience? What could negatively impact the experience of the customer? Ordering a product online could, for example, lead to a bad experience if the package is lost, does not arrive on time or is damaged.
- Ways to improve Customer Experiences: Collect ideas to solve obstacles. For example, the integration of a button on your website to make it easier for customers to report a faulty or damaged product. The sales person gets notified and is able to contact the customer directly. Additionally, the sales person can instruct the shipping service provider to pick up the damaged product. This way the customer has less hassle and has to go through fewer steps to return the product. Thus, an initially negative experience can be transformed into a positive one.
- Define how to measure the customer experience (KPI) and which actions had positive outcomes. For example, measuring how many goods arrived damaged, how frequently the newly implemented button is used, and how satisfied customers are with the return process.
Ways of Creating a Customer Journey (CJ)
Besides the possibility to explore the customer's perspective in Customer Journeys, there are many other aspects to make those journeys more useful:
- Connect Customer Journeys with internal business processes.
- Embed your own corporate images into the customer journey map.
- Integrate your own corporate identity into your process models.
- Empower your employees to collaborate on your process model in a more collaborative and personal environment.
This powerful collaboration is further enabled by the cooperative agility of SAP Signavio Journey Modeler and SAP Signavio Process Collaboration Hub.
SAP Signavio offers two ways to create Customer Journeys. One refers to design, the other refers to model a table-based customer journey.
- Table-based Customer Journey (Using the dedicated SAP Signavio Journey Modeler)
The table-based customer journey focuses on a holistic presentation of available information. Rather than visualizing information it is kept in a table format. All relevant information, such as process steps, phases, emotions and data can be seen at a glance.
- Design-based Customer Journey (Using the notation for customer journey maps)
With the modeling of the customer journey a visual map is created which shows the individual steps of a persona. Additional information, such as associated processes, KPIs, customer information, obstacles, etc., are not displayed directly in the customer journey map, but can be accessed through the attributes.