Customer Journey Mapping – an art or a science? Part 2

In this two part blog, we take a look at Customer Journey Mapping. In the first blog, we examined the origins and principles of journey mapping, with this blog going on to look at different elements, approaches and methodologies.

Customer Journey Mapping – which way now?

There are a number of different ways in which journey mapping can be done. There are four main approaches, namely the research route, the diagnostic route, the behavioural route and finally a combination of the three.

The research route – Voice of the Customer

The research approach utilises market research techniques to ensure that the as-is journey that is being plotted provides an accurate reflection of the customer’s experience by directly utilising their feedback. A combination of qualitative and quantitative research, which is sometimes referred to as Voice of the Customer or VoC, is employed to generate an empirically based journey map.

Voice of the Customer allows the business to plot CX ‘Curves’ that detail the current and expected or ideal performance of the business across each of the touch points along the journey. CX Curvesallow the practitioner to identify Moments of Truth (points on the journey when customers’ expectations are at their greatest) and pain points (points on the journey when delivery performance is at its lowest OR where the gap between the customer’s expectation and the delivery is at its greatest). Furthermore, multiple regression analysis of the VoC data allows the business to identify the key drivers of certain types of behaviour (e.g. loyalty, repurchase and/ or likelihood to recommend) depending on the questions that have been asked.

The diagnostic route – Mystery Shopping and Walking the Processes

The next approach can be referred to as diagnostic, as it utilises the skills of an expert practitioner to diagnose the existing experience. There are two ways in which this can be done, namely Mystery Shopping and a technique known as Walking the Processes.

Mystery Shopping is often referred to as a research technique, however differs from classical market research as it utilises the skills and experience of an expert witness to provide personal insight on their experiences. With Mystery Shopping, an individual performs the role of an actual customer. Unknown to the staff of the business, the Mystery Shopper transacts or interacts with the business as a customer to understand the reality of the journey first hand.

They are able to personally experience the Moments of Truth and pain points, although as a qualitative technique we are not able to substantiate the experience using statistical significance. What they are able to do, however, is potentially identify why a Moment of Truth or pain point is occurring, thereby providing some level of explanation to the data gathered via the VoC research.

Walking the Processes mirrors Mystery Shopping, as an expert witness follows a similar journey to that of the customer, however this time from the perspective of the employees of the business. With this Systems Thinking based approach, the expert witness tracks the journey of the customer from the inside-out, getting to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the processes and systems utilised by the business for service delivery.

The purpose of this exercise is to understand where time is being spent managing value demand (doing things of value to customers, i.e. doing what the business should be) and failure demand, i.e. dealing with service delivery failures (e.g. complaints). This exercise can often be driven or backed up through the analysis of operational data, which can reinforce the findings of the expert witness.

The behavioural approach – human psychology and observation

The third technique is a behavioural science based approach. This technique looks at the behaviours of customers and attempts to understand the underlying psychological motivations behind them. From an as-is perspective, the technique can be useful to observe behaviour in certain settings to make practical decisions about how things should be best designed to meet customers’ needs, such as the layout of a retail store.

However this technique is also extremely useful when the business is looking to design future-state experiences in a physical or non physical setting, e.g. the ideal customer journey for someone dealing with a call centre. The technique looks at the various touch points along a journey, and utilises groupthink practices (e.g. a workshop) to attempt to understand what a customer might want to think, feel and do in an ideal scenario.

This technique is often described as the business undertaking a storytelling exercise, creating detailed narrative across the journey touch points to describe what the experience might be like for different personas from a think-feel-do and 5 senses perspective. It is certainly the most creative approach that can be utilised for customer journey mapping.


Considering all of the information in this article/ blog so far, we are able to build up a process flow, detailing the different stages that can be followed when undertaking customer journey mapping.

1. Journey Framework

The first is the creation of a journey framework. Principally, this step is about creating a framework around which the entire journey mapping exercise can be built. The framework typically identifies the generic stages and phases of the customer journey, as might be experienced by any customer from any persona within any channel. For example, stages could be Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Usage, Help, etc.

2. Current-State Customer Journey Map

The current-state journey map details the current chronological experience. It needs to consider different channels and touchpoints, different personas or segments, identify the Moments of Truth & pain points along the journey and also identify both the functional and emotional experiences along the way.

It can include a combination of the techniques detailed within this document (VoC, CX Curves, Mystery Shopping, Walking the Processes/ Systems Thinking and Behavioural Science) and culminates in a brown-paper workshop exercise undertaken by the business to pull all of the findings into maps for each persona or segment.

3. Future-State Journey Map

Future-State Journey Mapping looks to design an improved, expected or ideal chronological experience by persona or segment. It can utilise the CX Curves as a starting position to understand the empirical ideal or expected experience; including the utilisation of pain points, Moments of Truth and key behavioural drivers for prioritisation. However the mapping exercise is ultimately led utilising behavioural science techniques to ensure that the storytelling narrative captures both the functional and emotional expectations (Think, Feel & Do) of the improved experience. Again, a brown-paper workshop exercise is undertaken by the business to pull everything into maps for each persona or segment.

4. Gap Identification and Gap-Closing initiatives

Although this step is not strictly speaking part of Journey Mapping, it is a natural follow on, as it compares the current-state and future-state customer journey maps in order to identify gaps between the two; and ultimately initiatives that the business should consider to close the gaps. This step is the link between the research and the transformation.

And that, as they say, is more or less that. Of course, this article may not be completely exhaustive, and there are likely to be other techniques that could be included in this article. Naturally, thinking will evolve.