Customer Experience: Mapping the Customer Journey

Posted On: 10/20/16

By: Susan G Abbott   

laptop computer photoForming a deep understanding of the end-to-end customer experience is a powerful tool for developing a stronger competitive position. We live in an experience economy. Competitive advantage is difficult to come by. The low-hanging-fruit of innovation has been exploited already.

Journey Mapping can help you dive deep and find new territory for innovation.

Journey Mapping will put your team in the experience, giving them empathy for the customer, and compelling reasons to mobilize change.

Defining the scope

Our experience with Journey Mapping strongly supports defining the scope of a journey in customer terms, not company terms. The start of the journey begins before the customer touches your web site, your product, your staff or your stores. Extending our enquiry to the natural milestones customers experience often uncovers new territory for innovation, either before or after the traditional boundaries of the experience.

Customer journey studies are well served by hybrid research methods. We can bring in insights from many sources, including a Knowledge Harvest of previous research and public data. Employee Insights can help guide the development of the project, and also enlighten about internal processes and policies that impact the customer experience. Subject Matter Experts that are external to the company can often bring a different perspective as well. We can look at Competitive Intelligence Shops, Social Media Mining, and other tools to fill in specific parts of the picture.

Deep Discovery at the core

Regardless of the other tools selected, individual Deep Discovery Interviews are at the core of Journey Mapping. We want a one-on-one interaction with the customer for a couple of hours on the topic, so we can deeply probe into their experience.

High-definition video is an important part of the record keeping. As we work through these interviews, we will start to develop a rough journey map and test our ideas with customers. By the time fieldwork is done, we will know what the key Moments of Truth are.

Creating the Journey Map

Condensing dozens of ethnographic interviews into a one or two-page Journey Map is a major challenge of analysis. The map is the core deliverable of the project, but we provide full analysis of each Moment of Truth.

Journey Maps will show the stages of the journey in customer terms. At each stage, you will see what customers are doing, what they are thinking, how they are feeling, and what the overall experience is. Pain points and frustrations will be identified.

At this phase of analysis, we also assemble themed Video Vignettes from the many hours of video. For each Moment of Truth, we let the customers tell the story. This is a huge job for the research team, but crucial for your project. Only a few people will experience the customer interactions first hand, but everyone on the team can gain empathy from the video.

We can also work with you to facilitate working sessions to map out a Future Journey, identify and prioritize opportunities. Or our consultants can create an Ideal Journey, and the internal team can refine it.

The Web-Report and Archive

We offer clients a secure, web-based reporting format for multi-media projects. It’s a single archive that contains all project elements, including documents, graphics, and videos. Everyone from executives to the design team can dive a little or a lot into the detailed insights using the web report.Once you have a multi-media report, you will wonder how you ever lived with PowerPoint alone.

We’ll host the site for you during the project, and you can move it to your own internal servers on completion, where it will keep the insights alive.

Want more information? Please contact or or for more information about the projects or the methodologies discussed, or to arrange for a presentation.