A practical guide to evaluating customer journey mapping tools
A journey mapping tool should not only help you create fantastic customer journey maps and service blueprints. It should also enable you to feel confident and help you make a strong case with your stakeholders and colleagues. Here is a guide on how to evaluate customer journey mapping tools
As a journey manager or customer experience manager, we know you work hard to put the customer journey on the management’s agenda. You need to bring a convincing and strong customer case to your leaders and colleagues to quickly seize their interest, motivate them, and make the customer story understood and accepted. The tools you use should be helping you get your job done, and saving you time on tedious tasks so you can focus on the things you are hired for.
We’ve set out to create the most helpful and professional journey mapping tool for customer experience professionals, and one of the first things we did was to ask Custellence-users from all over the world: “What is important in a customer journey mapping tool?”
Based on their answers we’ve not only shaped our development roadmap for Custellence, we’ve also created a list of what to look for in a journey mapping tool when evaluating different options.
Guide to evaluate customer journey mapping tools
- Is it fast and fun to capture an idea or to sketch up a journey map?
- Can I create a graphically appealing Customer journey map that I can proudly present to others?
- Do the tool and the journey maps support our agile and iterative ways of working?
- Can I have a place for “everything”, without creating a big hairy monster of a map?
- Does the journey map enable me to tell the customer’s story?
- Will the tool support our ongoing customer journey work going forward?
- Additional resources for evaluation of journey mapping tools
1. Is it fast and fun to capture an idea or to sketch up a journey map?
Let’s say you have an idea and quickly want to jot down a customer journey. Maybe you would like to do a preliminary structure of a journey map as a start, and add customer insights, pain points, etc at a later stage. Sort of like a sketch. You don’t want to lose the momentum and your inspiration by having to spend time setting up the tool or learning the tool, right? You want to get to the mapping.
Try this in the tool
Think of a customer journey you have been through yourself, for example buying a cup of coffee, going to the hairdresser, or visiting the museum. Now start the clock.
Map the journey:
- Start with adding the stages for before, during, and after in the map.
- Add your customer steps, maybe a maximum of 10 cards in total.
- Create a few lanes for 1) customer needs, 2) pain points, and one lane for 3) ideas for improvements, or next-step actions
Now, look at the clock, how long did this exercise take? Were you able to keep the focus on the task and create a small map of your customer journey, or were you interrupted by obstacles and other distractions in the tool? Did you find yourself restricted in any way or was it easy enough?
2. Can I create a graphically appealing Customer journey map that I can proudly present to others?
To be honest, nicely designed things that look appealing, will be taken more seriously and they tend to feel more professional and trustworthy. Information and data that are well presented are easier to take in and your chances to succeed will increase.
Test this in the tool
Take the map you just made and make it look a little bit nicer. For example:
- Change lane colors
- Choose some icons for the lanes
- Add icons for some of the cards
- Change the shape of the cards
- Change the cards with pain points to a different color.
Now export the map to a PDF, or share the map through a public link to a colleague or a not-so-convinced stakeholder. Would you be able to feel confident of what you’ve created?
3. Does the tool and the journey maps support our agile and iterative ways of working?
So you’ve created the first version of the journey map. As you know, this will probably not be the final version of the map. From this step, you will build on the map as you go along. This iterative process during the exploration phase often results in a growing journey map that expands in all directions: you will add more information, adjust the customer steps and lanes, maybe merge steps and lanes. You want to make sure that the journey map is easy to update and change when new insights are made.
Test this in the tool
Can you put in new data and content without destroying the structure of the map? To test how the map behaves when you quickly need to update and edit the map to reflect your findings, try doing this:
- Move cards from one place to another in a map
- Do the same with lanes
- Copy an existing card and add it somewhere else on the map
- Extend the length of cards
- Add additional lanes and columns
- Select a few random cards and delete them.
- Select a row of cards and move them to another place in the map
4. Can I have a place for “everything”, without creating a big hairy monster of a map?
You probably have a bunch of research used for building the map such as user interviews, quantitative and qualitative data, marketing data, metrics, and notes. When you attach the sources of insights and data to the map, you build credibility and context for your customer case. Any good tool for journey mapping should let add this, without making the map look like a big hairy monster.
Test this in the tool
- Create a sub-lane, and in the sub-lane create a sub-card where you attach a document or an image to one of the customer steps.
- Create a sub-card and add an image
- Create a sub-card and add a URL to create a hyperlink
- Try hide and show the sub-lanes
- Try the “pin lane to top” that makes it easier to orient yourself while scrolling the map
5. Does the journey map enable me to tell the Customer’s story?
So, now you have created a map, then what? One of the major tasks, apart from managing the actual journey mapping process - is to use the customer journey map to tell a story, or as some might put it: to sell the customer case. Great journey maps will help you to influence stakeholders’ and leaders’ thinking, by visualizing exactly which journey the customers take, what customers think, feel and say, and how we as a business may respond to it.
- Is the look and feel of your journey map professional? Does it give you the confidence to lead others through and create empathy for the customers?
- Can you zoom in and out of the map and easily navigate to show the horizontal steps and vertical themes in the customer journey?
- Are the journey maps readable and easy to quickly grasp, even for someone with a short span of attention?
- Can you easily show and tell the customer story on several levels; the high-level journey, and lower levels with the more detailed steps?
6. Will the tool support our customer journey work going forward?
Making a single journey map is often easy in any tool you choose. But if your goal is to drive customer-centric change, you know that the journey map is not the final deliverable.
To make the maps valuable and alive for more than the duration of a project, they need to become part of the operational systems of your organization. You may create dashboards, build more customer journeys that are similar, go back and edit things, add more insights, work on “as-is” and “to-be” journeys, and engage more people as you go along.
Therefore when choosing a journey mapping tool, it’s important to consider whether the tool is built to support continuous journey mapping and customer experience work.
- Can I use the tool and the journey maps for continuous research and insights? Is it easy to go back and update the maps?
- Can I connect different customer journeys to one another as we develop more journey maps?
- Is it easy to get an overview of the maps we’ve built in the tool?
- Can I manage my team members’ access to the tool and maps?
- Can we use the tool on a greater scale in my organization?
7. Additional resources for evaluation of journey mapping tools
If you want to dig even deeper into comparing and evaluating journey mapping tools, here are some helpful resources to check out.
Here is an extensive review of journey mapping tools
By Sabina Persson - December 28, 2021