Business cases of journey maps: examples of using journey maps for various challenges
Journey maps are a useful tool for many organizations and they have countless use cases. When looking at it without any preoccupation, it’s a series of steps in chronological order. This sequence of steps is triggered by a certain event.
In this article, you will learn about different cases in which journey maps can help you develop a customer-centered service. We practice journey mapping in various ways, but these business cases also show how some of our customers use journey mapping.
Understanding your customer’s experience
The most obvious use case is what journey mapping was invented for: to understand your customer’s experience along the entire customer journey, including the pre and post-service phase. Their initial purpose is to help your team empathize with your customers. That’s what they were invented for, and to this day it’s their main purpose.
For more details, jump over to this article on customer journey maps.
It’s crucial to be aware that all markets evolve over time and customers, users, patients, employees, and citizens evolve with them. Find a way to make a journey map not just a deliverable, but a living document that is updated, rethought and validated regularly. Then employees will go back to it to understand the status quo of the current context the organization finds itself in. The same goes for personas.
Using journey maps for product roadmaps
SaaS companies usually have roadmaps that they communicate to their customers, either publicly to all, or only to selected customers.
A journey map can be helpful in two ways when creating a roadmap.
First of all, using journey maps to understand your customers’ experiences helps you see pain points, and ideally, quantify the demand. This helps you to prioritize the features and projects you want to see on your roadmap.
And on the other hand journey maps are a great way to visualize a roadmap. A journey map offers the ideal structure you need for a roadmap, it can be visualized chronologically and makes it easy to present details. For example, these can be things like departments that might benefit from a specific release or a more detailed description of the feature that might include various use cases for it. Giving context to your users improves their usage of your product and therefore makes them more likely to be loyal customers.
When there’s a big feature launch coming up, and there might be a lighter, not-so-polished version of the feature available earlier already, it’s the perfect opportunity to make it visible.
Journey maps can also help you to positively influence the learning curve of your users.
Using journey maps as blueprints for new business
When thinking about starting a new business or creating a new product, it’s crucial to understand what problem it solves for your potential customers.
Therefore, it makes sense to create a blueprint of your business offering, that includes the backstage processes and activities.
A service blueprint is based on a customer experience, either current or future state. So, ideally, it’s visualized as a journey map. One limitation here is that a service blueprint is not a visualization of an end-to-end experience in most cases, but a representation of a specific situation, or part of a customer journey. A service blueprint drills down into the details of the backstage processes, whereas in a journey map the whole customer experience from beginning to end is in focus.
Keeping track of sustainability goals
Looking at a current topic that is as pressing as never before: climate change, and how to slow down its development through sustainable management. An increasing number of companies are looking for ways to implement sustainability in their management practices. At the same time, the demand is growing to a significant extent.
Journey mapping can be a great opportunity to implement sustainable management practices. Depending on how deep an organization plans to go into the topic, there are a number of ways how to start. For example, including a lane for each part of sustainability in a journey map creates awareness of the topic. The framework of the triple bottom line takes the following parts into account: economical, ecological, and social sustainability.
Adding a lane for each one in a journey map could look like this:
On the journey map above you can see how each aspect can be impacted through a step in the customer journey, either by the consumption of a product or by how a commodity is produced.
For an impact in the ecological lane, it’s foremost the emission of CO2, the usage of scarce resources, or the like.
In the lane for social sustainability, it might be sensible to track the work conditions of the people who are responsible for producing a certain product.
When looking at economical sustainability the question is quite evident: is it reasonable and does it make sense to sell the product at a certain price long-term?
Planning projects with journey maps
We –the team at Smaply– use journey mapping to plan certain projects. It helps us to keep an overview of wide-ranging projects where many different channels and tasks have to be considered. Especially helpful in this context is the connection with project management tools, such as Jira. For example this helped us in the example of pricing communication.
Here, we’ll look at the communication process for the launch of our new pricing in October 2021. We used Smaply to map it out and keep track of the progress, as well as update the process as needed.
We used the following lanes in our journey map:
At the very top we have a lane that is called checklist. When something is done, we marked the field green to make it easy to see where in the process we were at a specific point in time.
This lane indicates the tasks that have to be done. The actual journey, so to say. A sequence of steps that leads to our desired outcome: every existing customer feels well informed about the changes that are going to be made, every potential customer finds it easy to figure out how the pricing structure of Smaply works.
A visual description can sometimes be helpful, and always makes a document easier and more appealing to read. For example, you can add a draft of how you would like a graphic to look, so your designers have an idea of what they’ll be working towards.
A date is needed in order to bring structure. It can be a hard deadline, or an orientation, depending on the project, dependencies and co-dependencies, the number of people who work with it, and more. But setting a date is a good starting point, you can always adjust it in the process.
This can either be names, or departments. It depends a lot on the size of an organization, as well as how clear responsibilities are defined within teams.
A section where comments and notes are stored is mostly needed, as some questions might pop up or to put down a reminder for oneself or another team member.
Open questions that need to be clarified. When we’re looking at a digital (SaaS) product it might be in regard to the specifics of the new feature.
Where will things be communicated? Multiple channels will be needed to reach all customers, users and potential buyers.
In the communication journey map of our new pricing, we had a separate text lane where text ideas could be noted down, i.g. for the initial email or a social media post.
Check out the journey map that we made for the communication of a new pricing structure.
Journey maps also turned out to be useful for event planning. In this case, it could be ideal to create multiple personas that carry different responsibilities, so it’s very easy for every respective person to see what their role is.
Using journey maps as prototypes for new products or services
When companies build new products, there needs to be a vision of how this product is going to be used, and what problem it is going to solve. This is the basis of the product. Through this vision, the team is often biased when starting to build it. To avoid going down the wrong path, it’s often helpful to build a prototype.
And even before starting to build a prototype, it might be sensible to map out the steps roughly. Most probably you will discover some issues.
The earlier problems are discovered, the cheaper it is for the organization.
What we are going to look at here is how to use a journey map framework for imagine-like prototyping. Planning out your business processes as a journey map helps you to see where pain points could potentially emerge and discover new opportunities for growth.
In the next step, we recommend you use a journey map to map out your imagine-like prototype. A good starting point is to create personas. It helps your team to empathize and step in the customer’s shoes. When you have a good understanding of your user's needs, you can start to map out the steps they will take to achieve their goal. This exercise is ideal for a workshop setting, where everybody can work individually, and therefore many ideas and different points of view are considered. To get a variety of ideas and perspectives, it’s important to get a diverse group of people in a room to conduct a workshop.
Subsequently, you combine the various journeys. Some people may have considered other things than you have or people may approach tasks differently. This is such an easy and fun hands-on way to find out where things could go wrong.
So, what we can learn from this is that journey maps provide the context in which your customers and users use the product or service. This is very important to shape key features and functionality because journey mapping helps you eliminate assumptions. Also, it’s crucial to keep in mind that not every person approaches a situation in the same way: create personas to understand and empathize with your customers first. Understanding how your customers use your product with a journey map beforehand, creating a prototype might save you an iteration or two, and it brings the prototype closer to its final version.
Remember: it doesn’t have to be a polished document, it just needs to be accessible and easy to read.
Journey maps for content planning
Journey maps are a great framework for planning content, for example, social media or blog content.
The first step is to find out what content your (potential) customers are provided with at what point of the journey, and what they might actually be looking for.
In this case, it's often helpful to map out what content your customers are interacting with when they hear about you for the first time, in contrast to what they consume wen they are loyal customers, this is a current state journey map. Adjacently, you map out the future state journey map, what’s the ideal content to consume at what point? Do some research to find out, and then map it out.
Now – prioritize which piece of content to create first according to the impact it has on your customer’s experience and their potential buying intention.
This can work similarly for blogs, as well as social media content.
Journey maps for strategy planning
Businesses that compete on customer experience will thrive in the long run and outperform competitors, according to the University of Cambridge. Hence, having a clear understanding of what the customer needs and how to meet these needs better than any other actor on the market is key to sustainable success. It’s important to learn how to plan and deliver products that solve real customer needs, and a journey map can help you to map out the processes.
If you’re looking for more extensive, overall guidance on strategic planning for an organization, this article on journey mapping for strategy planning might be of interest to you.
In a nutshell
Journey maps have a variety of use cases – most companies start with understanding the customer’s experience, which is 100% recommendable, and most certainly a reasonable starting point.
However, once your organization has mastered this discipline, don’t underestimate the less obvious opportunities journey mapping has to offer.
Explore the numerous possibilities, find out what might help your organization, and improve your product or service. Always keep your customer in mind – think about what makes or breaks their experience, and in what context.
Empathize, understand, and through that, permanently increase your revenue.
Ready to get your hands dirty?
Start creating your own journey maps with Smaply! The tool will guide you through the process of journey map creation. For free, forever.