Much of market research’s work is an effort to understand what it’s like to walk in the customer’s shoes, i.e., asking questions that aim to get at motivational drivers, designing studies to understand behaviors in store or when interacting with service. But individual research studies are often looking at one step in the customer’s walk rather than the whole journey. A lot can be gained by mapping out the whole walk in a customer journey model—a map, image, or framework that describes a series of stages a customer traverses when interacting with a company’s products or services.
Here are some tips on making a model, and making it work for your research department:
1. Keep the customer central
Where as in some foundational knowledge exercises research might map out everything it knows in groups based on type of research question, or relationship to business unit, a customer journey map puts the customer before Research or the business. A model can look like a roadmap, pinwheel, flow chart, or set of swim lanes. The important thing is that it centers on the customer.
Theta Communications* customer journey model:
2. Use the model to synthesize and communicate insights
A Customer Journey model is a useful tool for organizing and framing an information synthesis process. Research insights can be organized by stage in the customer journey, and model-based research products can highlight and communicate key customer understandings and gaps in company knowledge.
- Sara Lee put together a customer journey framework as a means of de-siloing and sharing research findings between multiple functions in the company responsible for generating customer insights—specifically, shopper and consumer insights.
3. Use the model to structure new research studies and questions
A customer journey model can be a valuable tool around which new studies can be designed. Basing research on a cohesive customer model leads to customer-driven business strategy and outcomes.
- Southern California Edison used a customer journey model to map how customer satisfaction is a result of interactions with groups, rather than individual business functional units. By describing business processes through the customer’s eyes, the journey modeling process allowed the company to achieve cross-functional customer satisfaction improvements.
Details of how Sara Lee, Southern California Edison, and other companies put their journey maps to use are available to members in our newest whitepaper: Using a Customer Journey Model for Synthesis and Strategy.