Empathy through experience mapping

Following on from my post on using experience maps and journey maps, I’ve been thinking how to explain why the two artefacts themselves are important in their own, distinct right – and, specifically, why the experience mapping element is vital, especially in large corporate environments, where it is crucial to imbue empathy to drive customer centric business growth.

Experience mapping forces us to focus on the customer’s experiences throughout their journey… not just the journey itself.

Experience mapping forces bias towards how the customer is feeling and thinking; their emotions and drivers of behaviour. It helps us to build empathy and really get under the skin of customers as human beings. An experience map can be abstracted from segments and services and products, and forces us to think and feel as a customer would when they engage with us.

Journey mapping, alone, is too functional an approach; and focuses us too much on touchpoints and channels. Journey mapping can become complex when lenses such as segments, products and services are applied. This abstraction from the experience can cloud how we should craft and shape our interactions with customers.

While, without a doubt, very important, I contend that it’s vital to understand the drivers of behaviour as much, if not more, as the journey itself. This allows us to understand how a customer wants to feel, and how we can build experiences to make them feel this way.

Using Experience Maps and Journey Maps

What is the difference between a customer experience map and a customer journey map? And what benefit does each bring in delivering quality and value driving customer experiences.

It’s worth saying, up front, that there is no set way of creating and using experience and journey maps. I am merely putting forward a method that I have used, with success, in the past! I believe it is useful to try and codify methodologies, especially in emerging areas, if for no other reason that to spark debate and discussion, so that improvement may be the result!

 

Experience Maps versus Journey Maps

Experience Map: What is it?
A representation of a person’s psychological process across the end to end journey of a significant event (e.g. annual holiday, buying a car). It starts from the trigger of the journey to the very end point of the experience.

Experience Map: What does it tell us?
The drivers of customer behaviour. What a person is thinking, doing and feeling; their frustrations; their needs and wants, and the goals that they are trying to achieve.

Experience Map: How can it be used?
To give a truly customer centric view of the service/experience/product that a business provides; but not limited to just the interactions with the service/experience/product – all influencing factors are included.

This allows for the identification of pain points and opportunities, and allows solutions to be crafted for these. These solutions enhance a customer’s experience and drives value into a business (via increased sales, customer satisfaction and loyalty and opportunities to reduce waste and cost).


Journey Map: What is it?
A representation of the ideal interactions that a person has with a product/service/experience, across the end to end journey. What channel and/or platform they interact with and what they are trying to accomplish during that interaction.

It can represent the current, as is, journeys; as well as the ideal, to be, journey. The former is an input into experience mapping (as well as giving a clear steer on where to fix pain points in the current journey), the latter is an actionable artefact.

Journey Map: What does it tell us?
What a customer is trying to achieve at each interaction, what goal they are trying to fulfil and what a business needs to do to help them to achieve this. It also gives a clear understanding of the transition between channels, and provides insight on what a customer needs to best move seamlessly between channels.

Journey Map: How can it be used?
Identify and prioritise requirements/projects; identify KPIs for measuring the efficacy of projects across the customer journey. It can show success factors from a customer point of view, and these can be used as (customer centric) KPIs.

Most importantly it can be used to ensure that the handoff between channels is being facilitated in a seamless and easy way.


 

Experience Maps are a very customer centric view of a journey. They are somewhat agnostic of where an interaction or activity happens, and are more interested in why a person is doing what they are doing: what goal are they trying to achieve. While abstracted from the what, experience maps force us to concentrate on a person’s core needs: what is it that they really want?

Journey maps are less abstract and show us more how and what a person does. What are they doing and where are they doing it; importantly, what are they doing next and where are they doing it. They can be created on a per persona basis to get a very granular view of customer behaviour by channel.

 

A poster version of this post is available here:  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1973254/Profile/experience_journey.mapping_Alex.Horstmann.pdf