How do we keep the Customer Journey Maps alive?

When starting off a customer journey initiative, focusing on and using the customer journey map, or service blueprint, is often quite easy. The use of journey maps comes naturally — working on and updating the maps is often part of the project. That is, until the project is closed. But what happens after that, and how do we stay customer focused in our day-to-day business?

To get some advice, we met with Anders Landström, a senior service designer at service design consultancy Antrop. Anders has helped many organizations to improve their customer experience, and is currently working as customer centric organization lead. We asked him about his best advice for keeping the the customer journey maps alive and relevant, to enable teams and organizations to stay on the customer centric track.

Anders says the challenge often arises when regular teams are expected to continuously stay customer centric in their day-to-day activities. Then the focus on the customer journey often begins to fade. A common question is “how can we make sure that the Customer Journey Map or Service Blueprint becomes a shared compass in our organization?

Anders’ best tips for keeping your Journey Maps alive

Make the map relevant and attractive to use

First of all, the customer journey activities in your map must be connected to touchpoints, channels and to the internal processes and activities that teams and people are involved in. According to Anders, one of the most important thing is to make sure that the map is relevant for the people that are supposed to contribute to the changes you strive for. You need to make it attractive for them to work with the map. The more useful information the map contains, the more it will contribute to people’s everyday work. They will then go to the map for information, as well as contribute to the map to create customer value.

Another basic but nevertheless important thing is to continuously educate and inform about the map and its content to make sure that everyone understands the structure and meaning of the map.

Assign ownership and responsibilities for the map

A second advice from Anders is to assign “map-owners”, responsible for updating and managing the content in the map. Depending on the scope, you will also need owners responsible for certain cards, lanes or areas in the map. For instance digital channels (lanes) or the onboarding (phase). To further increase the map’s business relevancy, as well as emphasizing ownership and responsibility, you could also connect cards or areas in the maps to performance metrics. Updated with current figures or KPI:s that are relevant for your organization, the map will then be a relevant key document to use and revisit in meetings, stand-ups or retrospectives.

Share, share, share!

The greater the amount of people who uses the map, updates it and refers to it— the greater the impact. By having many collaborators and viewers on a map, you’ll extend the value and lifetime of it. Also, sharing maps and making the customer journeys visible to many, as well as showing the work-in-progress, will build the customer centric mindset and create a shared view of the customer internally. Even those who are not working directly with the maps, should still have access to them and be able to follow. How about publishing the maps on the intranet? Or print them and put them in places where a lot of people can see them?

Make the map part of the workflow

Apart from sharing the maps and invite people to take ownership, updating maps and follow up on activities in them needs to be done on a regular basis. In a customer centric organization, the map should be the thing people refer to when new improvement plans are made. So how do you make the map part of the internal processes? One way is to introduce the customer journey map or service blueprint as part of the teams’ existing workflows. How about making the map part of the weekly or monthly team updates? Or as part of any business reporting routine already in place?

Adapt the map to your organization

There is not a simple answer to the complex question in the beginning of this post. But one thing stands clear from our talk with Anders: To drive a customer centric initiative by using the customer journey map as a shared compass — you need to understand the needs of your organization. And you need to adapt the map to meet and fulfill those needs. By doing so, you’ll keep the map relevant not only from a customer perspective, but also from the organizational perspective. And that’s a really good starting point when driving any kind of change.

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