Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Journey Mapping - Capturing Customer Expectations and Designing a Future State Customer Journey - Part 1

At this point, we’ve developed a journey map that depicts all of the touchpoints a customer experiences in the course of completing a defined end-to-end transaction.  These touchpoints may include such things as a visit to the company’s website, a call to customer service, a discussion with a sales representative at a retail location, or a review from a third-party website.  To further inform the journey map, we validated the touchpoints with a group of customers representing the persona…that is, the customer type most likely to complete the journey depicted in our map.  In our validation session, we also gleaned the key emotions customers experienced while completing the transaction.  The final portion of our exercise with customers is to identify and capture their expectations in completing the particular transaction, and what they were specifically intending to accomplish.  This is critically important because it will inform our process redesign, or future-state journey map.

The Value Proposition Canvas developed by Alex Osterwalder is a useful framework for identifying and understanding customer expectations.  Using the Jobs-to-be-Done concept developed by Clayton Christiensen and Anthony Ulwick (my Amazon review of Ulwick’s book), our objective is to elicit the functional, social, and emotional items that customers want to achieve when completing a particular transaction or journey.  From what we’ve learned, we can then design a “future state” journey that addresses the shortcomings in our current process, better aligns with customer expectations, and results in an improved experience.  A comprehensive discussion of the Value Proposition Canvas and the Jobs-to-be-Done framework is beyond the scope of this blog, and so in subsequent posts, I’ll focus on the essence of these concepts by using a hypothetical case to illustrate the approach in the context of a journey mapping exercise.

What follows is an overview of the Value Proposition Canvas using extensive references to Alex Osterwalder’s book, Value Proposition Design. As depicted in the diagram below, the Canvas consists of two components…the Customer Profile (i.e. the Persona we identified) and the Value Map  (i.e. in our case, the enhanced touchpoints in our future state customer transaction, or journey map).  Let’s define each component of the canvas, beginning with the Customer Profile:

Customer Jobs
Jobs describe the things your customers are trying to get done (in our case, in the course of completing their journey or transaction).  A customer job could be the tasks they are trying to perform, the problems they are trying to solve, or the needs they are trying to satisfy.  These jobs fall into three categories: Functional, that is, specific tasks to complete or problems to solve (this is the most common job associated with a journey); Social, or jobs that in some way are related to how customers want to be perceived by others; Emotional, that is, jobs where customers seek to experience a specific emotional state such as feeling good, or peace of mind (this is also a common job associated with a journey).

Customer Pains
Pains describe anything that annoys your customer before, during, or after trying to get a job (or journey/transaction) completed.  There are three types of Pains: Undesired Outcomes and Problems…in a journey context, this can be, for example, receiving an incorrect order such as a product or a meal in a restaurant; Obstacles, for example, when a customer can’t speak with a company’s service staff because of prolonged hold times while on the phone; Risks, that is, the potential for things to go wrong as a result of having completed a particular transaction.

Customer Gains
Gains describe the outcomes and benefits customers want after having completed a transaction with the organization.  Some gains are required, expected, or desired by customers, and some would surprise them.  Gains associated with completing a journey include functional utility, social gains, positive emotions, and cost savings.

Now, let’s define the components of the box on the left, the Value Map.

Pain Relievers
In this box, we’ll develop a list of “countermeasures” that we think will eliminate or reduce as many of the Pains as possible that customers experience in the course of a particular journey.  In the context of developing an improved future-state journey, the objective is to address those Pains that matter most to customers.  For example, typical Pain Relievers in the course of a journey may include clear navigation of a website resulting in less time spent completing an online purchase.

Gain Creators
Items in this box include those things that you think will provide the customer with potential value added outcomes as a result of having completed a journey.  An excellent example of a Gain Creator is the personalized book recommendations Amazon generates for its customers.  These recommendations, based on a customer’s purchase history, are a win-win for the customer and the company…the customer is made aware of potential new titles of interest, and Amazon realizes potential new sales.

In the next couple of posts, we’ll walk through a hypothetical future-state journey mapping exercise using the Value Proposition canvas as guide to developing an improved customer experience. 

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