Sunday, October 19, 2014

Customer Journey Mapping - Getting Started

A conventional journey by car or plane has a starting point, when we plan our route on a map, for example, and likely ends when we reach our destination.  So too does a journey map start with the point at which a customer starts to think about a transaction, and concludes with an agreed upon “destination”…a purchase or an activation, for example.  The objectives of the map are to identify and understand all of the various obvious and not-so-obvious touchpoints that a customer experiences though out the various facets of their particular transaction, while also capturing all of the related activities the organization undertakes to deliver on those particular activities.  It’s only by understanding the various dynamics of the journey from both the customer’s and the company’s perspectives can pain-points be identified, and enhancements developed.  

Just as a car or plane trip is experienced from the perspective of the individual travellers, so too is a particular transaction with your organization completed within the context of specific customer types.  Consider, for example, the purchase of a motorcycle by two different customer types…an ardent cyclist who uses his or her bike for extensive weekend trips, and a commuter who uses the bike to get to work each day.  From a purchase perspective, these two customer types are likely to take very different journeys in completing their purchases.  They may, for example, consult different research sources to learn more about the particular bike model, or they may shop for their bike at different dealerships that cater to either enthusiasts or commuters.  While the motorcycle manufacturer or dealer may have some anecdotal sense of these two different customer types, without the benefit of a journey map, they likely don’t have a robust understanding of how each experiences the end-to-end ownership of their bike.  With this in mind, the critical first step in developing a journey map is to establish the specific customer perspective (or persona) that the map will depict.

Personas are based on customer research that provides insights on various qualitative characteristics such as interests and lifestyles.  In many cases, an organization will already have this information available in the form of segments that make the most sense for facilitating the marketing and sales of the company’s products or services.  When segments either aren’t available or may not be applicable to developing a journey map, it will be necessary to develop a persona who represents the key characteristics of a particular customer type that completes a transaction with your company.  In the motorcycle illustration, for example, the company may have segmented customers based on the particular model, but neglected to account for the fact that the bike is purchased by both enthusiasts and commuters, and as mentioned, each goes about shopping for a bike in a different way.

If the creation of a persona is a prerequisite for your journey map, here’s a suggested approach as proposed in Designing for Growth by Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie:

  1. Identify a small number of customers (generally 12 to 20) representing the range of demographic attributes of interest to you.  In our motorcycle case, for example, we might identify that the majority of purchasers of the XYZ model are male, aged 45 to 55, university educated with a median income of $120,000 per year.  Remember, both of our enthusiast and commuter buyers are drawn from this same demographic, and our task is to identify the characteristics of each for developing our persona.
  2. Conduct  a few pilot interviews.  Ask the customer to walk you through why and how they complete a transaction.  Make sure to capture as much detail as possible, including what they like and dislike about the experience.
  3. From your interviews, identify a number of psychographic dimensions that you think reveal the differences in customer type.  In the case of the motorcycle, these dimensions may be adventurous - practical; introvert - extrovert; help yourself - ask for help.  
  4. Select the two dimensions that you feel are the most revealing in which each quadrant represents a potential persona.  Refer to the example below.
  5. Position each of your interviewees into one of the quadrants, and describe the persona in as much psychographic and demographic detail as possible.  
  6. Select one or two of these personas and develop a journey map for how each experiences the same transaction.

Now that a persona or personas have been established, we can proceed in the next post with the development of our journey map.

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