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Yuri Vedenin
Founder and Boss of UXPressia

Good, better, the CJM


Choosing between UX tools can be overwhelming as there’s a whole lot of options while the resources are finite. At the same time deciding on which technique to pick is an inevitable step in UX designing process. On top of that, it requires a solid knowledge of the industry including the latest trends. Well, choices are always hard to make. You might be wondering whether CJM is worth it and whether there are alternatives. To save you your precious time, UXPressia came up with an overview of possible customer journey map substitutes. Are they worth it?

To know what alternatives CJM has, we first need to define what goals it pursues. It’s no chicken-egg question, the need always determines what tools will be used to satisfy it. In one of our previous posts, we tried to analyze business goals in the UX context and how CJM can solve all of them. This time we’ll look at other tools and try to see if they can stand a chance against journey mapping.

Making both ends meet


Photo: http://endsmeet.webstarts.com/

Understanding the entire end-to-end customer experience is one of your goals, no matter what your business is. A smooth UX path is the key to happy customers, but how do you analyze it? To see the entire UX path as it is seen by people who take it you’ll need to get armed to the teeth. This goal is enormously complex, so one tool won’t do it for you. Let’s break it down.

Getting the customer’s profile


Whatever your approach is, you’ll have to find out what your typical customer looks like. Empathy maps may be something worth looking into as they are great at persona analysis. They reveal what our customer feels, thinks, hears and says. But in the end, empathy maps lack clarity and order - the sweet couple we’ve got to have when building customer images. But you want a profound and consistent description. That’s where CJM comes in play with its personas. Unlike empathy maps, CJM offers an in-depth study of your customer. It covers background, goals, expectations, and reactions of people when they meet with your business. And as a bonus, well-built persona makes your personalized content even more personal. But don’t give up on the empathy maps completely - use them bundled with CJM’s personas to double the power. And to triple the power, build your personas with our mind-blowing Persona Building tool!

Knowing what people really want

Speaking of goals, if you want to know what customers want, you can fall back on User Stories. Simple, yet very effective, they can lay out peoples’ objectives. But don’t expect more than a brief explanation. With nothing more than that, they raise more questions than giving answers when used on their own. To avoid frustration, use CJM as your primary tool and refer to User Stories as a part of building a customer journey. By the way, nailing user goals solves your other problem – it helps you reduce customer effort as well as improve the customer experience (or CX) at large. When targeting specific goals you can remove unnecessary contacts from the UX path. Not to mention, that knowing what to offer specifically improves marketing efficiency. How about that?

Going down the CX path

When analyzing the end-to-end CX you end up analyzing the touch-points. But taken apart, each touch-point may seem okay, the problem turns out to be somewhere in between. That is where you switch focus to a continuous journey, rather than separated touchpoints. Making it at this point can be and is hard without proper tools. After a quick research, you may want to settle with Scenarios. Scenarios concentrate on the action, i.e. users’ behavior. They identify each step of a user. What scenarios don’t give, though, is users’ identity. Without knowledge of users’ background and goals, finding what spooks people away is next to impossible. But guess what – customer journey mapping got your back here too.  Better yet, it helps eliminate silos in the organization as when you see the gaps in customer experience, you see where things go the wrong way between departments.

Uniting your team


Photo: http://aguar.es/

When developing products and services there’s always a division between the front-line and the back-end staff. And this always leads to misunderstandings. The front guys don’t know what happens behind the scenes and folks behind the curtains have no idea what they impact on CX is. To fix this, you may be tempted to use a Service Blueprint. This one has your whole service flow as its focal point. However, service blueprints are all about the backstage while CJM rules in the world of front-end. You’re free to use them both, but what if you’re tight on money and time? Journey mapping will save your day again. As it gives your team a view on gaps in services thus gaps in the backstage. As a side-effect, getting users’ picture on your wall kills another bird. A big one. Your entire team will have a single view of a customer. That will improve the overall understanding of CX.

While customer journey mapping has a very simple concept at its core, you shouldn’t mistake its simplicity for easiness. CJM is a complex solution for complex challenges and knowing customers is definitely one of those challenges. And as we just saw, CJM targets many objectives apart from getting inside customers’ hearts without surgical intervention. It absorbed all tools listed above so why waste time when you can buy one and get four? Good deal I’ll say! And speaking of good deals, make sure you visit us at uxpressia.com to get even better deals. Free customer journey map templates of all stripes are waiting for you! Oh, and there's a rad persona building tool too.

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