Customer journey vs process mapping

Customer journey mapping is a hot topic for many local authorities across the UK. Chief executives, strategy officers and service directors alike are asking their teams to “make sure the customer is at the centre of everything they do” and to design “customer centric” service improvements. Unfortunately, the process sometimes takes over and the customer journey can easily be forgotten.

There are three golden rules to remember when customer journey mapping (CJM) which differ from process mapping:

  • Start with the customer!
  • Go end to end (all the way)
  • Embrace emotions

Start with the customer

Create a customer persona at the start of the mapping session, this way the attendees will need to think and act as that customer all the way through the journey. A customer does not see what happens in the operation or service when they submit their digital form, make a request to the organisation or when they ask for help. From here the real customer journey starts to surface, and it can be quite illuminating.

I also find it key, to determine the desired goal the customer is trying to achieve within the specific interaction and then keep it at the fore to avoid the ‘process map trap’.

Where the customer journey begins and where it ends

The start of the journey for the customer is normally before the customer contacts the organisation. It’s quite common for mapping sessions to start at the point at which the customer first interacts with the organisation but this doesn’t consider the customers’ motivation for contacting or transacting with the service in the first place.

Customers start with a need or a want, which may result in them having to interact with an organisation. The customer needs to complete the task with the least amount of effort and has a preferred path in mind. This path doesn’t always match an organisation’s operational process. The customer will also have a desired outcome, and, therefore using the persona and thinking about the customer’s motivation will be crucial to successful customer journey mapping.

Let’s get emotional

We all have emotions and customers or residents interacting with local authorities are no different. Customers will have an emotional attachment to all interactions whether it is contacting their local authority to report a missed bin collection, through to making a planning application for a house extension which they may have had to save up for. When we are mapping a customer journey we need to remember these customer emotions.

Highlighting a range of emotions from delighted to disappointed will help us understand where those ‘moments of truth’ are and how we can improve the process to enhance the overall customer experience.

Ultimately, my belief is that if we understand our customers’ needs, we can then design the journey and ultimately the organisations’ processes to get it right from the outset and reduce the effort for the customer, lower failure demand and increase customer satisfaction.

To find out more about how in Capita our service design team fit within our digital specialists service check out our digital hub.

By Amanda Stevens, service design lead digital customer experience, Capita Local Public Services

Amanda leads the digital customer experience service design team whereby the focus is driving value based change, utilising customer data analytics, customer journey mapping, operational contact and service data analysis, best practice, customer insight and real world experience. She has significant customer value management experience coupled with project and team management and an in depth understanding of digital customer

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