Note:  This is a guest blog from my friend Adan Ramshaw, Director of Genroe Pty Ltd. in Sydney Australia

I have been running customer journey mapping workshops for our clients for many years. In the last few years I’ve noticed, as the popularity of the term “customer journey map” has grown, people have started pinning the term to different things, i.e. people call different types of map, customer journey maps. Of course this makes it confusing when you’re talking to someone about what you’re trying to achieve.  So today I’m going to layout the different types of map and where each is used.

Why you would use a Journey Map?

First things first: why do you use a Customer Journey Map?  The general goal of a journey map is to document the journey that a customer takes when interacting with the organization. Understanding this journey is not nearly as obvious as it sounds.  While you may think everyone in the organization has a clear and consistent view of the entire set of interactions a customer experiences, they almost certainly do not.

Many times attendees at our workshops react with surprise when learning what happens in another part of the organization. Staff often understands the part of journey that relates directly to their own area of responsibility but not the overall journey.  This can lead to problems. What might seem to be a very efficient way of running a process at the local organizational level can cause issues (lost sales, higher costs, annoyance, etc.) for the customer and the organization in a broader context.

For instance, while Accounts may be processing bad debts very efficiently – it may not be taking into account clients with multiple products. A poor experience with Accounts may cause a customer to take their non-bad debt business elsewhere.  This is a common issue in industries like banking and telecoms but it applies equally as well to a range of businesses.  It’s not that the Accounts process is wrong, just that it doesn’t consider the entire customer journey.
So the “why” of a customer journey map is to clearly document the agreed current state of the customer journey to that it can be dissected and improved.

Which Type of Map Should you Use?

If you search the term “customer journey mapping” you will see a confusing array of information the topic because, while everyone talks about journeys, they are often talking about different types of journeys used for different purposes. Sometimes the differences are quite subtle. For instance a user experience and customer experience map can cover many of the same ideas. However, they are different and treating them as if they are the same is confusing for all concerned.  There are three main types:

User Experience Focused Maps (UX Journey Maps)

Folks working in the on-line and application software space will often use journey maps focused on the User Experience of websites or applications.

Typically, these focus on understanding how users interact with software in order to understand what users find intuitive and easy and what they do not. With this information companies can design ways to make their software more simple and easier to use.  In UX Journey Maps techniques like click testing, web testing, card sorting and usability testing are used to document and understand how users actually interact with the software.

Below is an example user experience map. Notice how detailed the map is and how it considers all of the web pages and communications that a new user will receive.  Notice also that it ends when the user has successfully created their profile. It does not consider other, non-software, aspects of the user’s interaction with the organization.

Reference: https://www.boxuk.com/insight/blog-posts/the-benefits-of-user-journey-mapping

Marketing Automation / Sales Journeys (Sales Automation Journey Maps)

Sales Automation Journey Maps help the sales and marketing team to map the customer’s path from Awareness to Prospect to Customer. The focus is to optimize the customer’s journey through the marketing process and maximize sales. With a large range of email marketing, CRM and marketing automation systems now available and multiple potential communication channels (email, SMS, Facebook, etc.) these maps have become very important in understanding exactly what each customer and segment of customers is experiencing.

Below is an example of a high level journey from one well known vendor (Marketo). Notice how many types of communication are considered and how many different areas of the company are involved.  Without a map of the process it would be easy to miss an interaction.

Reference: http://blog.marketo.com/2014/06/the-future-of-digital-marketing-is-already-here.html

Customer Experience Journey Maps (CX Journey Maps)

Lastly, we look at what they type of map that I use most often in our Net Promoter and Customer Feedback Practice: Customer Experience Journey Maps. Where other types of map examine one or other part of the customer’s experience, customer experience maps typically seek to document the entire journey: from awareness to sales, delivery and service.  Of course, different areas may have greater or less detail but the overall journey is the goal.
Using this type of map organizations will typically seek to document the existing customer journey so that they can focus on:

  1. Improving the customers’ perceived experience with the organization, i.e. have more loyal customers.
  2. Improving the organization’s delivery of that experience, in order to reduce costs or streamline operations.

People with experience in the quality industry (TQM, 6Sigma, Lean) will often think of these maps in a “service blueprinting” or “service deign” context. The Rail Europe Experience Map below is relatively well known and you can see that it covers the entire journey (no pun intended) from research to post travel.

Reference: http://adaptivepath.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/RailEuropeCXMapFINAL.001.png

Choosing which customer journey map to use is dependent on what you are trying to achieve.  Once you know your goal the type of map to use will be obvious.

About Adam Ramshaw

Adam Ramshaw has been helping companies to improve their Net Promoter® and Customer Feedback systems for more than 10 years. He is on a mission to stamp out ineffective processes and bad surveys.