I will never forget it. This prospective customer was so excited to show it to me. He had hired a graphic artist to take the journey map they had created and turn it into this beautiful rendering that he had framed and hung on the wall.
I had to agree, it was stunning.
The stages, the steps, the linkages between them and the emotional curve that traversed up and down across the bottom of the map to characterize the feelings that the experience produced.
And then I asked a regrettable question. “So that was your first Journey Map? What does the Journey look like now??”
My prospective client looked puzzled and asked, “What do you mean?”
“Well, didn’t you merge with a European company and deploy a whole new product line a few months ago? Wouldn’t this look a lot different now??”
Things went downhill from there. But you can’t win them all I told myself and licked my wounds that evening back at my hotel. But here is the deal: There is nothing wrong with hiring an artist to turn your journey map into a great story of your experience, but just remember that the artifact that they create is not the point. It might look beautiful, but if 30 days later it is IRRELEVANT (all caps – seriously) because of the pace of change, then it is only a piece of art.
At a minimum, a journey map is a visual expression of the customer experience. It helps move us from a “product out” mentality, to walking in our customers’ shoes and really appreciate the impact of a dropped call on a small business owner trying to place a supply order before the last day of the shipment window. Journey Maps are the means to the end, not the end themselves.
At CX Workout, we take a completely different approach to customer journey maps. Of course, we lay out a creative view of the journey, but rather than framing it, we keep it online and fill each touchpoint and customer action with videos and photos and real-time insights from both frontline employees and customers. We turn journey maps from something you might frame to something that stimulates conversation, that creates alignment across functions and, most importantly, that inspires action.
Seriously, if you want to see a masterpiece, go to an art gallery.