Customer Experience Journey Maps: Strings and Thumbtacks

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Linking strategic experiences together across journey maps

The purpose of customer journey maps is to get into the field with the customer and observe what they do, see, hear, and feel as they walk down the journey you are mapping. And make no mistake, you will find items you didn’t know about. But what do you do with all that data… all those emotional fluctuations and touchpoints that represent the end user? You definitely use it to develop that empathy for the user and to create that visual illustration of the needs, but are some touchpoints more important than others?

In a short answer, yes.

Strategic experiences are touchpoints that identify the experiences crucial to the successful execution of your experience ecosystem. These aren’t your regular experiences that present themselves as touchpoints for your end users; these are incredibly vital and important experiences that have to happen otherwise your strategy is at severe risk. They are the jewels you find that sit in the dirt you are digging in. They need to be cleaned up, polished to a bright sparkle, and set out for everyone in your organization to see and gather around.

As the strategic experiences are identified through multiple journey maps, they can be tied together and form the basis of an experience organization. This type of organizational model is a CX-focused, structural design, that centers your efforts around these strategic experiences, not around siloed functions.

These strategic experiences are not made to stand alone, however; they work best within the organization when they are tied together with other experiences — both strategic and normal — within the CX ecosystem. We call this linking and its one of the driving forces in seeing how one activity can affect another activity giving you a more holistic perspective. The more links that tie to a certain activity, the more strategically critical that experience is in your ecosystem. Tying them together is like one of those old-school bulletin boards you may have seen that have thumbtacks identifying something and string to tie certain tacks together. Pretty basic, but the results can be outstanding.

Same for this activity.

When you take the time to link the experiences together and identify the associated action activities, you will then begin to see redundancies, overloads, and major issues present in your organization. You’ll also see formal and informal connections that reflect how the real work gets done inside the company, not just the processes that try to dictate it. From this initial journey work, companies have launched Six Sigma projects and Balanced Scorecard initiatives.

Granted, it takes some work, I’ve never seen an organization that was sorry they did this. The results can immediately be used to form the basis of an experience organization and will be a focal point for your customer experience vision.


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