In the recent years many companies have recognised the power of using journey maps started using them now as part of their project development process. In the first article I published in 2018 on this topic I explained what they are and how to create them.
I would recommend to read that first in case you haven’t read yet, as in this article I will explain the most misconceptions of journey maps, and how to apply the Jobs-to-be-done methodology to Journey Maps.
If you have created journey maps yourself or have used them as product owner or team member you most likely have struggled with the question how to design them, run into some limitations, or has not met expectations.
In this article I will explain how to turn them into a far more powerful tool that will provide better insights on how to improve your customers’ experiences, or discover new business opportunities.
Misconceptions about Journey Maps
First of all I’d like to mention two most common misconceptions that will help to avoid pitfalls.
Journey maps need to be updated when your product or service changes
This is one of the most mentioned request I get from product owners; in their perception journey maps are similar to business flow charts. This is understandable as at first glance they can look visually very similar. Since journeys are created from the perspective of the customer’s need they often are product agnostic.
Unless your product dictates their behaviour, the journey map would not change much over time. However, it is needed to keep tabs on what is happening in the world as sometimes external events such as a global pandemic can have major impact on their lives that it changes their needs and behaviour.
How can we design the ideal or desired journey for our customer?
This is maybe the second most mentioned request I have heard. Although this may sound as a very logical question, but you should look at journey maps as a simplified representation of the customer’s behaviour. Customers will not think in the terms of ‘This is my ideal behaviour’; their behaviour is mainly driven by a specific need in a specific context.
It might be that their behaviour is dictated by how your product is designed, and then you will be measuring the results within your own system; not how well your product performs compared to the competition. Your product could even be gaining in conversion rates and revenue, but still losing compared to your competitors that provide even better experiences.
First you need to change the common approach of using your own products or services as starting point, and start with the Tasks your customer wants to get done. That’s why the Jobs-to-be-done methodology will help you to create effective journey maps.
- People buy products and services to get a “job” done.
- Jobs are functional, with emotional and social components.
- A Job-to-be-Done is solution agnostic.
- Customer needs, when tied to the job-to-be-done, make innovation predictable
Defining Job-to-done correctly is essential to establish a common understanding to avoid any misinterpretations:
A JOB-TO-BE-DONE is a statement that describes, with precision, what a group of people are trying to achieve or accomplish in a given situation.
A DESIRED OUTCOME STATEMENT is a specially constructed need statement that has a unique set of characteristics: desired outcomes are devoid of solutions, stable over time, measurable, controllable, structured for reliable prioritisation in a quantitative customer survey, and are tied to the underlying process (or job) the customer is trying to get done.
This different approach will now also help you in measuring the impact and success of any product improvements:
- Customer segments aren’t based on demographics or psychographics, they are based on how customers struggle differently to get a job done.
- The unit of analysis is no longer the customer or the product, it’s the core functional “job” the customer is trying to get done.
- Needs aren’t vague, latent and unknowable, they are the metrics customers use to measure success when getting a job done.
You can read more in detail on Jobs-to-be-done here.
Applying the approach
Now that we have a common understanding on the approach, we can start applying it to the journey maps in these three basic principles:
Turn Personas into Actors (their role and context)
In real life customers are performing different roles and wear a different ‘hat’ in a given context. Therefore the term ‘Actor’ and not persona is more useful as the customer has a specific task in mind to complete.
For example: Your company run a travel site and defined the personas ’business traveller’ and ‘exchange student’, but both will perform the same tasks when they want to book a flight; the only difference might be in the specifics that would influence their decision (e.g. price, comfort, etc.). Hence the actor ’Traveller’ would be more appropriate in this example.
Turn Goals or Objectives into Mindsets (of the ‘Actor’)
Once you have defined the role of the actors, you can start defining the goals for that role. To make journey maps effective and reusable for different personas it is better to create dedicated journeys for each Goal. These are the end-goals that your customer has in mind to complete; therefore ‘Mindset’ is a more accurate description as the starting point for their journey.
For example: when elaborating further on the example; the actor ‘Traveller’ would have specific needs in order to complete the task successfully: ‘I want to book the cheapest flight’ or ‘I want to book a direct flight on date X’.
Turn ‘Job-to-be-done’ into Tasks (steps they need to take)
Now that you have defined the Actor and its Mindsets, you can map out each task they need to preform. This requires in-depth insight from your customers. Sometimes this can be done based on common sense, or existing knowledge about your customers’ behaviour. However, when you develop new products or start large product overhauls it is very risky to build upon assumptions and should without validating hypotheses by conducting qualitative interviews, as the UX researcher can ask in detail on what they do and how they do this and what the underlying motivations are.
For example: the customer would explain which sites they use to compare prices (e.g. Skyscanner, Expedia), at which moment they start interacting on your site, which specific requirements they have (e.g. Maximum price, Covid Vaccination), and what their motivations are for making a decision during each step.
After collecting all your findings from your UX research and data analysis you will see reoccurring patterns in behaviour; filter out exceptions. You can include them as secondary flows, or as sub-flows in your map if needed.
Once you have defined the flows you can link them to the ‘Mindsets’; sometimes the same flows can be linked to multiple mindsets.
Then you can start add any issues or comments they have mentioned during the interviews, or expressed via your customer support channels (email, phone, chat, social media, etc).
That’s it! Now you know the basics of turning your journey maps into powerful tools.
Please feel free to contact me if you want learn more or need help for your project.