The Importance of Customer Journey Mapping
Customer journey maps are documents that visually illustrate an individual customer’s needs, the series of interactions that are necessary to fulfil those needs within a service process, the touch points the customer experiences during the service and the resulting emotional states a customer experiences throughout the process.
By detailing a customer’s needs throughout an experience and revealing how each interaction negatively or positively impacts the customer’s emotional state, businesses can convert volumes of research findings and analysis into a concise, yet visually compelling story, which stakeholders across many levels of an organization can easily understand and interpret. Figure 1 shows an example of a customer journey map that illustrates a customer’s critical pain points.
What makes a customer journey map much more powerful than simply delivering personas and scenarios is its ability to highlight the flow of the customer experience—from the ups and downs along the way to those critical pain points where our attention and focus are most essential. While personas and scenarios put a face to a name and can deliver vivid narratives that communicate a customer’s overall needs, journey maps break a customer’s experience down into individual interactions, making the needs and emotions easier to recognize and more digestible.
“What makes a customer journey map much more powerful than simply delivering personas and scenarios is its ability to highlight the flow of the customer experience….”
Bruce Temkin, the author of the popular blog Customer Experience Matters, supports this viewpoint, adding:
“With internal and external research in hand, journey-mapping leaders need to distill their findings about how customers interact with the company, what they want from each interaction, and how they feel about each interaction today—the three key elements of a journey map.” 
By showing how customers feel throughout their journey, customer journey maps invite stakeholders to enter the world of customers and share in their experience. In turn, stakeholders are better able to convey their story to management, fellow colleagues, and the teams who are responsible for improving the service and product experience.
The Value of Customer Journey Maps
We were recently lucky enough to work with an international relocation company, helping them complete a web alignment of all of their international websites into one central hub, which would be location specific.
This company has been operating in the international relocation business for over fifty years and each part of the world ran their businesses differently and offered their own unique products. Over the years this company’s online presence had become more and more dated and their competition was striving ahead of them in website experience. They were losing track of what their core value proposition was and needed guidance on how to move forward with the web alignment, ensuring it addressed the company’s core needs and goals.
Investment in Persona Research
For Customer Journey maps to work, they need to tell the story of a real persona, one which every stakeholder in the business recognise as core to their business. However, how many businesses in the world know who their customers really are? Our work started off by completing interviews with low to middle level staff around the company, talking about the customers they usually work with and what was a common request. We then completed web research on the group, looking into user reviews of their service. What this research did was show the three main areas that the business covered
: Private Movers – Customers who were relocating between countries and paying for the process themselves
: Consignment Movers – Customers who were being relocated by the business they work for, the business footing the bill for the move.
: HR Professionals – HR executives that were looking for a company to help relocate their staff across the globe.
With the research complete, we created three personas, each one meet one of the businesses main areas. We then went through the website and sales process as each of the personas, making notes at every point of the process (noting every need, content, touch point and emotion). These processes where then turned into three detailed customer journey maps (see figure 1 for an example of customer Journey Map).
Presenting the Proposition.
Instead of presenting the key stakeholders of the business with a website wireframe of what we think their website alignment needs to contain, we presented the three detailed customer journeys. We explained the research we completed on the personas and how frustrating parts of the journey had been. With the journeys providing a visual representation of the companies process, instead of a long document, the stakeholders within the business where instantly able to absorb the information and recognise where the website needed to be improves
“Customer journey maps bring customer needs and emotions to light by guiding stakeholders through the series of interactions customers follow to satisfy their needs.”
Customer journey maps bring customer needs and emotions to light by guiding stakeholders through the series of interactions customers follow to satisfy their needs.
We are now working closely with Boeing to envision the new website experience. In conjunction with producing an extensive list of design recommendations, we will be creating a new set of customer journey maps that will even more closely match expected customer behaviours, and contain regular processes.
By producing journey maps that illustrate an optimal customer experience, we enable stakeholders and executives to identify, prioritize, and maintain focus on the changes that matter. By comparing and contrasting these optimal journey maps with the maps we produced before the design and development efforts began, stakeholders can remain focused on transformational change and use both sets of journey maps to measure the new website experience