I hate explaining these infographic concepts. In many cases, it’s stating the obvious, and in others, the thing is visualized because putting it in words doesn’t work whatsoever in the first place. However, for those unfamiliar with the motivation behind designing a specific visualization, or who are unfamiliar with the concept behind it, these tedious (for both sides) explanations are sometimes mandatory. That, very sadly, is the case for the customer experience journey map.
Let me point out first of all that of the concepts for making the customer experience tangible, the customer experience journey’s not honestly my favorite approach, but compared to some of the others, it has the advantage of being less convoluted. The problem is that it tries to be a little more linear than customer experience tends to be, but when that nonlinearity is attempted to be expressed, you get the more convoluted concepts nobody, myself included, really likes at all.
So, how does this thing work? Well, there are a few templates out there, the most common one being a segmented circle of phases, along with higher segmentation inside, and sometimes a thing called a “loyalty curve”. The pretense of that curve is what irks me about this concept, but we’ll get to that.
Along with these segments are the steps possible for a user to take, and indications of which ones are preferred. Another minor issue is that some of these models use way too many segments, where some phases could be converted to single larger ones.
Below, I’ll go over the components briefly, and indicate the preferred and not preferred actions. I will have to be brief.
Phase 1: Need Generation – Marketing outreach is the preferred starting point here, but sometimes it’s the less-preferred internet search resulting in the directive of a customer to acquire your service.
Phase 2: Initial Consideration – This is where the customer considers options. You will prefer they contact a partner channel, but the less desirable path is for them to use your support/service contact center.
Phase 3: Engagement – This is where their active research of you comes into play. At this point, you’ll want them contact you through your site and read your publications. You want this to only be needed once, the more times they revisit during initial engagement, the more time they have to choose someone else.
Phase 4: Evaluation – Ideally, this phase can be bypassed if your engagement went well. But if needed, they can study you and query your contact center further. This also may include demos and trials.
Phase 5: Purchase – They purchase your product or sign a service contract.
Phase 6: Delivery – This includes delivery of the product or service, any training needed, etc. The one thing you don’t want to happen here is for their needs to unexpectedly raise prices.
Phase 7: Usage – Active time using your product. You don’t want there to need to be follow ups, maintenance or the like during this, but they can happen.
Other: Loyalty Curve – This is a pretentious embodiment of a customer who has made it through the journey restarting the cycle by jumping directly to moment of purchase in the future, vis a vis, a loyal customer.
As you can see, the customer experience journey is a simple concept, but it’s still a little too convoluted. Phases 2, 3 and 4 could easily be one item, as could phases 6 and 7.