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Customer journeys

1 May 2017
Dana Neuman- Rotem
winding road

Although I've been involved in customer service since I was 14, I still love to provide and improve service. However, when asked in numerous meetings to mention a memorable service experience I've had some difficulty presenting one. Don't get me wrong, I have been fortunate enough to encounter great service on several occasions, efficient service with a smile- I just don't think that counts as memorable. This all changed during my last spring vacation.


I've wanted to experience a different kind of vacation for quite a while; to rent a trailer for a few days and camp outdoors with my family. My journey began on a previous vacation in a B&B several months ago. During this vacation we happened to see a trailer the B&B manager had just purchased and presented to us proudly. We got all excited and said to ourselves "maybe someday…"Come spring vacation I decided this might be the right time and talked a couple of friends into joining us. The only problem was that the B&B manager owned only one trailer. Don't worry, he said. I will take care of everything; all you have to do is show up. And you know what? He did. When we arrived at the site we saw 2 trailers, straw-mats, a shade awning, tables & chairs. Even the water and electricity was taken care of; this all led to a super vacation!

When examining this remarkable service experience and what actually made it so good, I reached a simple conclusion: the service experience enveloped my entire journey, from the idea to its actualization. It all started when I was exposed to the trailer at the B&B and continued when my needs were addressed to the point when a product unavailable at the time was pursued in order to fulfill my requests. The journey advanced when we settled in our trailer and were provided constant connection just in case and of course ended with the service experience regarding payment. In short, the service experience was complete due to attention to all stages of the journey.

What is a Customer Journey?

A customer journey illustrates the interactions people have with an organization over time via all available channels (telephone, digital, frontal service, email, etc). The journey relates to what people do, what they experience, what they expect and what they feel regarding these interactions and the service-providing organization. A journey can focus on a certain task (e.g. product purchase) or the customer's lifecycle when dealing with a long term service. A customer journey is total experience the customer will encounter on his/her journey i.e. total interactions with the brand and organization. Instead of viewing only a part of the experience or deal, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.

This requires viewing the journey from the customer's point of view. In order to produce a persistent learning and service improvement process we must utilize our opportunities in order to research, comprehend and implement these lessons in order to improve the journey experience. Furthermore, it is important to understand that what is considered today high-quality service will be viewed tomorrow as satisfactory and next week as obvious. Learning and contributing value to quality service must be consistent.


The Map

The customer's journey map presents the customer's experience: from the initial encounter to a long-term relationship. The map can focus on a certain part of the story or provide a general review of the entire experience. It is vital to recognize key interactions between the customer and the organization. The map should also relate to the customer's feelings, motivations and questions regarding all points of interaction and can serve as a tool through which organizations can learn more about their customers and the service experience they are provided.

There is no single correct way to create such a map. Usually, some sort of infographics with a timeline of the user's experience is used yet other models such as a video or schedule. The map must tell a simple story in order to focus people's attention on the customer's needs and relate to the total encounters, service channels, procedures and documents required in order to highlight the customers' needs, requests and feelings during their interaction with the organization.View the journey map as a poster on the office wall. In one glance, people should be able to see the main interactions the user has experienced. This should remind them that the customer's needs must always be a top priority.


In conclusion: learn about your customers; try to experience the service you provide through their eyes. Creating this map can assist us to learn about the process a customer must go through in order to receive service. Service is a world that requires us to improve constantly.

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