Defining a Customer Journey


After completing this lesson, you will be able to Understand the value of Customer Experiences and Customer Journeys.

Customer Journey

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
  • Touchpoints
  • 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 might 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. 

Internal Process (Inside-out view)

Focus on tasks and responsibilities within the company to provide a product/service to the customer. External interactions are also described (for example, sending an invoice) as part of the process.

Customer Journeys (Outside-in view)

Focus on interaction and steps with the company from the customer perspective. These interactions happen as part of the journey of the customer experience to get a product/service.

Key Takeaways - Customer Journeys

Practical Journey Examples

Here are some Journal Model (JM) examples.

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, the 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.

It would be great to know:

  1. Which dedicated steps the customer experiences on the journey?
  2. What are the expectations on every single step, so we can fulfill them in the best way?
  3. Which are the most used touchpoints - how they are affecting our process?
  4. Which improvements are necessary to turn our customer to a loyal one?

Answering the previous four points is the goal of customer journey modeling. Let us now focus on the four steps in creating 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 is 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.

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 exactly is 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.

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 used. 

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.

Additional Points to Capture in Customer Journeys

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 further enables 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 CJ.

  1. Table-based CJ (Using the dedicated SAP Signavio Journey Modeler)

    The table-based CJ 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.

  2. Design-based CJ (Using the notation for customer journey maps)

    With the modeling of the CJ, a visual map is created which shows the individual steps of a persona. Additional information, such as associated processes, KPIs, customer information, obstacles, and so on, are not displayed directly in the CJ map, but can be accessed through the attributes.

Let's Take a Look at How to Create Table-\based Customer Journeys.

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