Expanding a customer journey map to create a service blueprint
User Experience & Usability
One of my favourite type of projects is working with a client to research, build and design a customer journey map. I love tapping into the knowledge that the client already has about their customers, building on that insight with research and creating a visualisation of a customer journey which becomes the source of truth for that client, at that moment.
Customer journey mapping is a popular client request, and many now have their maps displayed in their office, built into their roadmaps and have their UX metrics linked to the map. However, far fewer clients take their customer journey map one step further and create a service blueprint.
Firstly, what is a customer journey map?
As always, there are slightly differing definitions and nuances between customer journey maps/user journey maps/ experience maps etc. But essentially, a customer journey map visualises the process that your customer goes through and the actions they take to complete their task or goal. Along the way, it maps their highs and lows to create a narrative. It will be based on user research and the knowledge of subject matter experts within the organisation.
Where does the service blueprint come in?
Whilst a customer is experiencing a product or service, something is happening behind the scenes –the business is doing it’s thing to allow a customer to have this experience. And that’s where the service blueprint comes in. You could call it the sequel to the customer journey map.
So once the customer journey is mapped, how is what’s happening behind the scenes (within the business) affecting what the customer is experiencing? There will be many different customers and many different journeys, but there is only one business working behind the scenes and a service blueprint aims to uncover this. It is about documenting a business’ processes and procedures to understand what is allowing that customer journey to happen and what could be obstructing it. A poor customer experience can be down to issues that are deep-rooted within the organisation, and only by fully understanding where these issues lie can you improve the customer experience.
Service blueprints are often described like a theatre stage:
The audience of a theatre production is the customer (this is where the customer journey map exists)
Front stage are the actors on the stage that are in full view of the customer (the customer service staff, apps, webchat etc.)
Back stage includes all the behind the scenes work that isn’t visible to the customer (warehouse employees, employees organising deliveries for the customer, designers of a website etc.)
Behind the scenes includes all the rules, regulations, policies and budgets that dictate what can and can’t be done.
Which journeys benefit from creating a service blueprint and how do we go about it?
The service blueprint is particularly useful for businesses who have different departments all working towards the same customer experience. We often find ourselves running a workshop with teams who all contribute to the same customer journey, but rarely communicate with each other. It also works particularly well for omnichannel experiences and those that have multiple touchpoints with a customer.
In order to gather the data for a service blueprint, we may conduct interviews with employees, facilitate workshops with internal staff (both front and back-stage employees), conduct observations or run diary studies. We also look closely at the transitions between the employees or departments (where one department takes over the customers’ experience from another).
Creating a human-centred organisation using your service blueprint
Once we have gathered all this data and information, we can begin to see where the business is not supporting the customer or where the business is delighting customers, but perhaps there is a lot of pain within the business to make that happen. By mapping all of these dependencies we can identify ways to optimise the customer experience, employee experience and business productivity by, for example; streamlining; eliminating duplication; reducing red-tape; breaking through silos; or generally dealing with inefficiencies.
To be a truly human-centred organisation it is about building your internal processes around those customer goals and needs that you identified in your customer journey map – and the best place to start is to map those internal processes in a service blueprint.
It’s often easier for an independent person to run this research with employees and build the blueprint from an objective point of view.
If you would like System Concepts to help, please get in contact and we would be happy to talk through some ideas.
Amadeus ePower is a customisable online booking engine used by travel agents and travellers. We undertook customer journey mapping and persona ...
Amadeus ePower is a customisable online booking engine used by travel agents and travellers. We undertook customer journey mapping and persona development work to help Amadeus enhance understanding of...