This CX Mini Masterclass is the first of a 3-part installment on the topic of the customer journey map. Show host and CX expert Julia Ahlfeldt provides an overview of the different types of maps, the kind of information that is normally included in a journey map, and how maps can be utilized to help organizations achieve their customer-centric goals. This episode will help you cut through the confusion and prepare for the first step in creating a customer journey map.
The first step to creating a customer journey map
Customer journey mapping is a major buzz word in the business world, and for good reason. Journey maps are an important strategic focal point for businesses that are looking to affect customer-centric change. Why? Well, because in order to improve customer experience, you have to understand the experience so that you can clarify what’s working and what’s not. It’s also important to establish a common language to that teams can effectively collaborate around solutions, and journey maps help with just that.
In my previous CX Mini Masterclass episode, I explored the definitions of touchpoints, experiences, and journeys. If you are interested in the conceptual theory behind journey maps, I’d highly suggest that you check out that episode and the accompanying shownotes, here. This episode takes you through the first step towards creating a journey map, which is clarifying which type of map is best suited for your needs.
The different types of maps
There are many different kinds of maps. I’ve broken them down into 3 main categories and highlighted the potential use for each:
- Customer lifecycle map – This is the highest level of customer journey map. It explores a customer’s experience fulfilling a need in their life, and the various stages of doing so. Ideally, a lifecycle map should fit on one page and be something that anyone in the business can pick up ans easily understand. If an organization has never mapped the journey before, or is documented the customer experience as part of launching a new CX function or rolling out a new brand-wide customer strategy, I typically suggest that they start with the customer lifecycle.
- The sub-journey map – These journeys are essentially a zoomed-in view of 1 or 2 phases of the lifecycle map. These maps can become a bit more granular and may ultimately extend onto a couple of pages, but it’s important to keep the detail under control so that the final output isn’t overwhelming for readers. For teams that have already mapped the customer lifecycle, are looking to understand a specific sequence of experiences in more detail or trying to pinpoint opportunities to improve customer interactions, sub-journey maps are a great option
- User experience map – These maps are the most detailed and granular of the experience visualizations. User experience maps help you define your taxonomy and interface with a customer by understanding the “flow” of the various tasks the user will undertake through different touchpoints. I’ve included UX maps as a category of journey maps, but this is where experience visualizations can become more inward looking. They are often used when a team is launching a new experience and can be a great reference point for wireframes, functional specifications and content strategies
Choosing your map
Before you and your team dive into journey mapping, it’s important to clarify your motivation for creating a customer journey map. Reflect on why you want to create the map and how you think it will be used. There is often a temptation to dive into sub journey maps or UX maps, but if your organization hasn’t clarified the high level journey, think about doing this first. It will help set the tone for future mapping efforts.
If your organization has already made a lifecycle map, think about the purpose for your next level of map and that will help you steer things in the right direction.
If you are curious about what to do next, stay tuned…my next 2 mini masterclasses for the month of December will unpack just that! These episodes will be released each Thursday.
Want to keep learning about CX?
If you’d like to checkout more of these CX Mini Masterclasses or listen to my longer format CX expert interviews, check out the full listing of episodes for this CX podcast.
And if you are looking to super-charge your CX skills and continue learning, be sure to check out CX University. They have a great array of CXPA accredited training resources available on a flexible monthly subscription plan. Use the code PODCAST10 to get 10% off your first month’s subscription and support this podcast.
Decoding the Customer is a series of customer experience podcasts created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and one of the top experts in customer experience management. To find out more about how Julia can help your business achieve its CX goals, check out her customer experience advisory consulting services (including journey mapping workshops!) or get in touch via email.