Do you understand how your association’s members perceive your organization? Are you confident that you are meeting the needs of your members, even as those needs change over time? Though you are familiar with back office functions, are you and staff aware of the journey the individual members must take to engage and interact with your organization? Are you confident that all touchpoints of interaction with your organization are meeting the expectations of members in a manner that is efficient, pleasant and stress free?
Engaging the process of Customer Journey Mapping assists your organization in answering these questions from the membership’s perspective, giving new insight into Service Design planning.
CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING: A TOOL TO UNDERSTANDING MEMBER NEEDS AND EMOTIONS IN THE SERVICE DESIGN PROCESS
Exactly what is Customer Journey Mapping and how may utilizing this tool inform association Service Design processes to improve member experiences and add value to the association?
Customer Journey Mapping employs two powerful tools: storytelling and visualization. Storytelling captures thoughts and emotions derived from grounded research using in-depth ethnographic style interviews. The visualization, or map is a diagram of the touchpoints and various communication channels within a service process. Critical information concerning the member’s experience is layered onto the map, including members’ positive and negative thoughts and emotions. “Journey mapping creates a holistic view of customer experience, and it’s this process of bringing together and visualizing disparate data points that can engage otherwise disinterested stakeholders from across groups and spur collaborative conversation and change.” (Kate Williamson, July 31, 2016. When and How to Create Customer Journey Maps, blog)
Most notably, this process does not begin from the perspective of business processes, systems or employees, and then, simply add in member experiences. Instead, Customer Journey Mapping starts with the experiences of the member. It documents what they do, and should always include what they think and how they feel, as they interact with the touchpoints of the association. Developing authentic understandings of the members’ experiences across front and back-stage touchpoints can serve a dual purpose, improving the customer experience and optimizing business processes. Journey maps are customizable and may include different information depending on the stakeholder’s needs and the desired level of relevant detail. However, the most important element on every map is the member’s journey across all touchpoints of the organization.
The main point of constructing this visualization of the member’s journey is to empower informed decision-making by all stakeholders to benefit members and add value to the association. Journey mapping is a collaborative endeavor, and as a final product, is more authentic when all stakeholders are willing to participate in a co-created product. The quality of the final visualizations, and ultimately the power it lends to insightful decision making is dependent on a collaborative effort and a willingness to engage with the data gathered to create journey maps based on truthful narratives. In fact, many organizations that have used journey mapping have found the actual co-creative process, itself, to be of great value. Engaging management and staff with members’ stories reminds everyone in the organization that members are real people who belong to your organization for many different reasons. Their multiple needs and concerns are a reality that may have become lost in the day-to-day business environment. These organizations have found that participating together is an excellent way to foster empathy toward members through enriched understandings, sparking insights that can lead to improved service processes that not only meet members’ needs, but exceed their expectations. In addition, journey mapping is ideal as a culture building exercise. In the co-creating process of journey mapping, collaboratively making informed decisions about Service Design, association employees will, by necessity, be exploring the organizations shared assumptions, values and beliefs.
Customer Journey Mapping can be a complex process. It is helpful to engage an outside professional to do interviews, gather data and guide your organization and its employees through this worthwhile process. The CIMATRI team has expertise in research, communication and culture. We can help!