- Last updated: 17 September 2011
- Originally published: 10 May 2010
Service design can be traced back to the writings of G. Lynn Shostack in the early 80s. [1, 2] Though not new, there is a lot of talk these days about service design. In the past 5 or so years we’ve seen a service design renaissance, so to speak.
Literature on service design is thin(ish), relatively speaking (i.e., compared to other disciplines like psychology), but does extend back for decades. The Köln International School of Design (KISD), for one, established service design as a field of study in 1991. The Service Design Network has held two annual service design conferences on the subject so far, reflecting the recent burgeoning interest in the field.
Service design is by nature interdisciplinary, drawing attention from people in sales, marketing, product management, product design, interaction design, and user experience. Take the Information Architecture Konferenz in Germany in 2010, for instance: the theme is “Service. Design. Thinking,” with talks focused on service design.
A cornerstone deliverable in service design, in general, is a map of the service process. Shostack refers to “service blueprints” in her articles 30 years ago. Service blueprints are still a widely-used approach to visualizing the steps and phases in the service.
More recently, “customer journey maps” (CJMs) have emerged, which are very similar to service blueprints. In fact, you could contend that blueprint and CJMs are the same. Arguably, however, CJMs tend to take a more customer-centric view of the service. For instance, CJMs show things like customer pain points, moments of truth, and other emotional aspects, including brand perception. Service blueprints do not necessarily include this type of information. Instead, then tend to illustrate backstage processes in a more provider-centric view of the service.
Typical elements of CJMs include:
- Customer actions, usually broken into chronological phases of some kind
- Goals and needs at each step in the process
- Moments of truth, or areas of particular importance in the overall customer experience
- Pain points, gaps and disconnects in service
- Brand impact, satisfaction, and emotional responses
- Business touchpoints and process, including roles, systems and departments of the provider
- Existing services and opportunities for improvement
Other descriptive and contextual elements may also appear, such as quotes and photos.
Writing for Forrester reports, Bruce Tempkin stresses the relevance and importance of CJMs. He writes in a blog post:
…companies need to use tools and processes that reinforce an understanding of actual customer needs. One of the key tools in this area is something called a customer journey map… Used appropriately, these maps can shift a company’s perspective from inside-out to outside-in.
Yet, there are few resources on CJMs and how to create them, particularly on the web. (There isn’t even a Wikipedia entry on CJMs.) I’ve just completed a CJM project with my company, and in preparing for it have gathered a list of resources on the subject.
Below is a list of English resources on the web for CJMs. The focus of the list is on CJM as a document and deliverable, and how to create them. It doesn’t include general resources about serivce design and, with one exception, doesn’t include resources about service blueprints. The resources that begin with an asterisks are recommended starting points with particularly good practical information.
Customer Journey Map Resources On The Web:
Bob Apollo. “Understanding Your Prospect’s Buying Journey,” Inflexion Point [website] (last visited May 2010).
The consultants at Inflexion Point examine the B2B buying process in particular. They offer a generic buying journey that includes moments of truth, as well as tips on how to create a journey map. This is not a how-to resource, but discusses aspects of CJMs in detail with good examples.
* Mary Jo Bitner, Amy L. Ostrom & Felicia N. Morgan. “Service Blueprinting: A Practical Technique for Service Innovation,” Working Paper, Center for Leadership Services, Arizona State University [pdf] (2007).
This is the only expection to this list of resources on CJM that is primarily about service blueprints. This 24-page paper is very detailed and includes practical information. “Service blueprints allow all members of the organization to visualize an entire service and its underlying support processes, providing common ground from which critical points of customer contact, physical evidence, and other key functional and emotional experience clues can be orchestrated.”
Cabinet Office. “Customer Journey Mapping Guidance,” Website (last visited May 2010).
This site provides log-in details to a SharePoint with excellent presentations and documents on customer journey mapping. A lot of the materials mirror the reports commissioned by the Cabinet Office by Oxford Strategic Marketing (see below). Most of the documents are PowerPoints. Log-in details:
To access the detailed guidance and the online training modules please go to sharepoint.oxfordsm.co.uk/gjm. You will need to enter the following:
Tracy Caldwell. “A Route To Insights,” Kable (Feb 2010).
This is a long-ish article summarizing CJMs, in general, and focuses in particular on recent advances in the public sector in the UK. The author points to the Cabinet Office’s resources and discusses the Stoke-on-Trent case study.
Dale Cobb. “Creating Your Own Customer Journey Map,” Servant Selling [blog] (Jan 2008).
This is a very short post, but it includes a CJM template with explanations of the different elements of a CJM.
Customer Faithful. “Customer Journey Mapping and the Experience Pulse,” Presentation [pdf] (January 2010).
A brief overview of CJMs with a few examples.
Department of Health (UK). “Improving the service from start to finish: customer journey mapping,” DH Care Networks [website] (Nov 2009).
This is a short article outlining the benefits of CJMs and the steps to create one. There are two documents at the end that point to the Oxford Strategic Marketing approach to CJMs.
Mel Edwards, “Customer Experience Mapping,” blog post on Desonance (June 2010).
This post includes a unique example of what the author calls a “customer experience map.” This is similar to a CJM, and seems to have many additional facets of information about the experience, such as triggers and delight opportunities. He gives some practical tips on creating them, as well as argument for when and why to use an experience map. There is a related post on service blueprints.
Engine Group. “Customer Journey Mapping,” Engine Service Design, Methods [website] (last visited May 2010).
Brief overview of CJMs in the form of a sale pitche for Engine’s services. There are links to case studies and images of CJM deliverables.
Experience Solutions. “Customer Journey Mapping,” Website (last visited May 2010).
This is a brief marketing pitch for Experience Solutions’ services, but it includes an example of a customer journey map as PDF. It doesn’t include much how-to information.
* Joel Flom. “The Value of Customer Journey Maps: A UX Designer’s Personal Journey,” UX Matters (Sept 2011).
This is a good case story around the use of CJMs at Boeing. There’s also a good illustration of a CJM with an interesting layout and form. Look at this article if you need some arguments for convincing others to use CJMs. The author was first skeptical of their use, but concludes: “By producing journey maps that illustrate an optimal customer experience, we enable stakeholders and executives to identify, prioritize, and maintain focus on the changes that matter.”
Jon Harvey. “Customer Journey Mapping: New Workshop,” Jon Harvey Associates [blog] (April 2010).
Jon Harvey follows the Stoke-on-Trent implementation of CJM on his blog. This post links to other posts on the subject he’s written. Not much practical information.
Hawdale Associates. “Customer Journey Mapping,” YouTube Video [2:31] (March 2010).
This short video does a good job at explaining CJMs and related deliverables. It’s mostly a marketing pitche for Hawdale Associates and doesn’t include how-to information.
Jeff Howard. “Using Diary Studies for Customer Journey Mapping,” Design for Service [blog] (Dec 2009).
This is a nice, short blog post focusing on a specific way to get at data needed to create a CJM: diary studies. There is little about CJMs themselves, but it’s worth getting some ideas around diary studies.
Hetal Joshi. “Customer Journey Mapping: The Road To Success,” Cognizant CRM Insights [pdf] (2009).
This is a short 4-page article on the benefits and process of CJMs. “Customer journey mapping is a systematic exploration of a customer’s interactions with yourorganization across all channels and throughout their lifecycle.”
Valeria Maltoni. “3 Steps to Mapping the Customer Journey,” Conversation Agent [blog] (June 29).
Short article about CJMs: “Mapping the customer journey means visualizing how customers interact with you and your business across multiple channels and touch points at each stage of their involvement with your service.”
The Marketing Spot. “Build Your Marketing Plan Part 4: Customer Experience Map,” SlideShare Presentation (2008).
A presentation with audio on CJM. Some interesting examples are included.
Peter Martin. “Customer Journey Mapping,” SlideShare Presentation (April 2010).
A presentation with enough bullet points to follow most of it. There are good examples of CJMs included.
* Mulberry Consulting. “Mulberry Consulting CJM Presentation,” White Paper [pdf] (2009).
The authors write: “Customer Journey Mapping provides a clear picture of your customers’ interactions with you at every stage of the lifecycle.” This presentation provides a broad overview of CJM but includes some how-to tips. There are lots of good examples of CJMs.
* Arne van Oosterom. “Mapping out customer experience excellence: 10 steps to customer journey mapping,” MyCustomer.com (March 2010).
This article is a great resource for both a general discussion of why CJMs are important as well as practical information to complete them. Mr van Oosterom is a leader in the field and breaks the process down to 10 steps, as the title suggestions. He writes: “A customer journey map is built up layer by layer. We start ‘above water’, with the customer and slowly dive deeper and deeper into the organisational structures and context. The tool can be used with customers or management, employees and other stakeholder or, even better, in a mix.” See also the Customer Journey LAB from DesignThinkers, Arne’s company in Amsterdam.
* Oxford Strategic Marketing. “Customer Journey Mapping: An Introduction” and “Customer Journey Mapping: A Practicioner’s Guide,” Cabinet Office website (Sept 2009, last visited May 2010)
This is a series of documents written by the Oxford Strategic Marketing commissioned by the UK’s Cabinet Office and is perhaps one of the most complete resources on the web on CJM. Section 4 of the 6-part practicioner’s guide is devoted to the process of creating CJMs with step-by-step instructions. They define customer journey mapping as: “..the process of tracking and describing all the experiences that customers have as they encounter a service or set of services, taking into account not only what happens to them, but also their responses to their experiences. Used well, it can reveal opportunities for improvement and innovation in that experience, acting as a strategic tool to ensure every interaction with the customer is as positive as it can be.” An article in the Guardian Public discusses this report from the Cabinet Office.
Quality Improvement Agency. “Customer Journey Mapping,” White Paper [pdf] (2007).
This resource provides a brief overview with some of the benefits of CJMs, and it includes an example and template of a CJM.
* Adam Richardson. “Using Customer Journey Maps to Improve Customer Experience,” Harvard Business Blog (Nov 2010) and “Touchpoints Bring the Customer Experience to Life,” Harvard Business Blog (Dec 2010).
This pair of articles from Frog Design expert Adam Richardson covers some basics of CJMs. The second one dives deeper into touchpoint analysis and provides some good tips and examples of what to potentially look for and map. The important thing about these articles is that they appear in a leading business venue. Pointing to these can help get the attention of stakeholders at different levels.
Stacy Surla. “Service Design and the Customer’s Journey,” Fit and Finish [blog] (April 2010).
Brief blog post that summarizes some presentations at the IA Summit 2010 related to service design. There are a couple of examples of service blueprints from Adaptive Path included in the post.
Roberta Tassi. “Tools: Customer Journey Map,” Service Design Tools [website] (last visited May 2010).
“The customer journey map is an oriented graph that describes the journey of a user by representing the different touchpoints that characterize his interaction with the service.” There are good examples of CJM diagrams tied into case studies on this site. Though lacking detailed how-to information, this is a good place to start learning about CJMs.
Bruce Tempkin. “It’s All About Your Customer’s Journey,” Customer Experience Matters [blog] (March 2010).
Brief overview of CJMs, but includes and interesting example from Lego as well as an overview to the steps necessary for creating a CJM.
* Bruce Tempkin. “Mapping the Customer Journey,” Forrester Report (Feb 2010).
Detailed 18-page report about CJMs from Forrester. The findings are based on interviews with 11 firms, including Razorfish, Mullberry Consulting, and Sapient. They define CJMs as “documents that visually illustrate customers’ processes, needs, and perceptions throughout their relationships with a company.” Forrester reports are not cheap, for sure, but if you can get your hands on this report it provides some of the best details and guidance on CJMs. This is probably one of the more detailed resources on CJMs with practical how-to information. It also includes a discussion of the Kano model for distinguishing user needs.
This is the blog for Touchpoint Dashboard, a software solution for customer journey mapping. I’ve not used the software and can’t vouch for it, but the blog has many good posts on CJMs, including a pretty good basic explanation (See: “What is a Customer Touchpoint or Journey Map“). As of Fall 2011, the blog has regular updates at a rate of 2-4 per month (dating back to July 2011).
Westminster IC. “Customer Journey Mapping,” YouTube Video [3:14] (Nov 2009).
Members of the Westminster Council talk about there experiences testing customer journeys. Very interesting short video that makes some good points.
Web Searches for “Customer Journey Map.”
One of the best ways to get an overview of approaches to customer journey mapping is looking at the final deliverables others have made available on the web. Try some of the searches below for examples:
James Womack and Daniel Jones. “Lean Consumption,” Harvard Business Review (Feb 2005).
The authors call for: “streamlining the systems for providing goods and services, and making it easier for customers to buy and use them, a growing number of companies are actually lowering costs while saving everyone’s time.” This streamlining is what they called “lean consumption.” They write: “Mapping the steps in a production and consumption process is the best way to see opportunities for improvement. A map can reveal how broken processes waste providers’ and consumers’ time and money.” The recommend creating explicit diagrams showing activities on both the customer side and the supplier side. Exact timings in minutes are given in the examples in this diagram, so the proposed approach is not as broad as a full CJM, but it’s very similar.
 Shostack, L. G. (1982). “How to Design a Service.” European Journal of Marketing 16(1): 49-63.
 Shostack, L. G. (1984). “Design Services that Deliver.” Harvard Business Review(84115): 133-139