"This is a re-publication of my article I wrote for MyCustomer.com. I re-posted it to have a better opportunity to discuss it."
A product or service is merely a means to an end. The real deeper value lies in the story attached.I don’t want to own a coffee maker - I need to wake up early with a little help from a cup of coffee. I don’t want to use a train - I want to get home to my wife and children. I don’t want to go to a store and buy a stereo set - I just want to listen to my favourite rock music when I’m home, it makes me unwind after work.
Unfortunately, most organisations are not capable of listening to stories. And this is why the gap between "inside and outside" has grown too wide. To stay competitive and survive the changes organisations are presently facing, they need to reassess the way they are structured, function and build relationships with customers. Closing the "reality gap" between organisations and people (employees and customers alike) should be the number one priority. And for this we need a new set of skills, methods and tools.
People-centred approaches like Design Thinking, Social Design and Service Design have emerged because it provides us with useful methods and tools to bridge the gap. One of the tools is customer journey mapping. And in this article I’ll explain what customer journey mapping is, and how it is used to improve quality and foster a culture of innovation. But first I’ll explain why tools like customer journey mapping emerged and are needed.
I like the description given to it in an article by Kable: "CJM maps the route people take as they interact with services, taking quantitative measures such as number of contacts made and the time taken to access a service. What distinguishes it from data that might be gleaned from customer relationship management systems is its equal focus on emotional insights about the citizen's experience. The goal is to mix quantitative approaches with qualitative, experiential data, providing a dispassionate analysis of the issues."
Change causes friction
Thinking in journeys can be very helpful. Change is a constant. And thinking in journeys takes this into account and puts more emphasis on quality of the whole experience. Dwight Eisenhower said it like this: "planning is everything, the plan is nothing."
Only those who are adaptable survive. That’s just one of those inconvenient evolutionary things. But generally speaking, companies and governmental organisations are not designed for adaptability. They are organised in static, pyramid shaped, top-down-broadcasting models and not organised to receive feedback from the outside or the bottom of the pyramid or to use this information for change and continuous improvement. Most organisations are incapable of having real and meaningful (two-way-street) conversations with their customers.
And it’s exactly in this area where the biggest business opportunities lie. We need to design and implement systems that will allow our organisations to have meaningful and ongoing conversations with our customers, using the insight we gain to improve and innovate in an ongoing iteration. And this all starts by taking a good look at the organisation from the outside. There are no magic tricks. But it’s just common sense to start with the people you work with and
Customer journey mapping builds a mirror and enables us to question why we do the things we do. It makes things visible, which might have been right in front of us, but were so familiar we did not notice them or question them. It never occurred to us we could change them. It brings knowledge, already embedded in the organisation, to the surface and makes explicit what is
implicitly already there.
Building a culture of trust
Customer journey mapping is primarily used as a tool to investigate, analyse and improve customer experiences. However there is another more profound use of the customer journey. DesignThinkers has developed a system called the Customer Journey LAB.
The Customer Journey LAB is used to facilitate an ongoing conversation within the organisation and build or strengthen a culture of mutual trust. The LAB is embedded into the internal workings of an organisation. It’s a "short iterative feedback loop" and allows for top-down and bottom-up conversations. It’s facilitated by an online LAB and offline media and events.
The Customer Journey LAB is an iterative method to build a culture of trust and adaptability, which is the most important step into building a relationship with your customer and maintain a strong, long term, almost irreplaceable competitive edge.
This allows us to step into the customer shoes. It shows us the customer’s perceptions and the larger context in which we play a part. It lets us be emerged in their world, their reality. Get a deeper insight into customer needs, perception, experience and motivation. It will answer questions like: What are people really trying to achieve? How are they trying to achieve this? What do they use and in what order? Why do they make a choice? What are they experiencing, feeling, while trying to reach the desired outcome?
A customer journey map is built up layer by layer. We start 'above water', with the customer and slowly dive deeper and deeper into the organisational structures and context. The tool can be used with customers or management, employees and other stakeholder or, even better, in a mix.
A customer journey map (e.g. used by front-office employees) in its simplest form will contain the following:
We will shortly be publishing all the materials for building your own Customer Journey LAB and all the material will be downloadable with a guidebook from the DesignThinkers website.
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