ArticleOctober 13, 2021 · 4 min read time
Many Nitor designers work with big clients where the design of holistic customer experience requires continuous collaboration with different projects and organizational units. This is why we were intrigued by Marc Stickdorn’s concept of Journey Map Ops that he presented at This is Doing Festival V2.
The idea of Journey Map Ops is to put the customer in the centre and build around that. Overall, it is about visualizing and mapping the experience on a high level and then creating underlying journeys below that. This helps you to use the visualisation like a map where you can zoom into different parts of the journey like you would using a map application like Google Maps. This way different zoom levels can be utilized to better manage the holistic experience: it’s seeing the forest for the trees.
Marc tends to use travelling as an example of a holistic customer experience. In his example, the different stages of the experience start from dreaming, orientation and booking. It proceeds to stages that consist of preparations, transport and airport, and ends with the actual flight and arrival. This is a very high-level description of an experience where one stage may include several smaller service moments.
Figure 1, A general visualisation of a high-level customer journey describes its different stages.
Whereas Marc’s example of a travel experience, where the airport is one part of the whole experience, is easy to understand, we have found that from the perspective of organisations, the reality usually is way more complex. A smooth customer experience requires seamless cooperation inside the company that provides the experience. And what is more, the experience is often the result of not just one company and its teams, but several separate organizations.
To be honest, the orchestration of this kind of collaboration can feel overwhelming. As consultants, we are in a good position to support the collaboration between different teams inside the organization and to highlight potential improvement areas. This makes it easier to start breaking the silos and improve the transparency in the organization.
That process usually involves taking a more holistic viewpoint. This can be done by interviewing other teams or people that work in silos inside the company. Based on our experience, discussions between different teams are not often recurring as there might not be a clear process or way to work on that. What we are talking about here is what Marc refers to in his Journey Map Ops: we are building bridges between different teams inside the organization.
Figure 2, High-level customer journey splits into sub journeys which are owned by different teams.
What is valuable in the bridge-building process is that people are suddenly getting access to information that they have not accessed before or even knew existed. This does not only help the new project but brings value to the other teams and their projects as well.
The big takeaway here is that it introduces the concept of managing the end-to-end customer experience at the company level. With the bridge-building process, teams get a clear vision of how their efforts are contributing to certain parts of the whole customer journey and experience.
This may also reveal overlapping work - where multiple teams can be working with the same part of the journey - and developing the customer experience with no clue that there is another team working on the same issue.
Figure 3, Communication and keeping in sync between teams may be challenging, but Journey Map Ops can help with the creation of smooth holistic customer journeys.
How to apply Journey Map Ops in practice?
Create your own journey map that describes the part of the customer experience your team is responsible for, or ensure that your journey map is up to date. Make sure that the journey map is created in a manner that it is accessible outside of your team. This means using tools that are widely used and available within the organisation. While designer tools are great for this, your colleagues in other teams may not have the licence or skills to use it. Sometimes a simple solution like a shared PowerPoint or another low threshold application works best.
Reflect your starting point and how well you know your own position in the organization: who are the people around you and what are their roles and responsibilities regarding the customer journey?
Open the discussion within your team of the value of knowing the surrounding organization context and its impacts. Collaborate with the teams and people that contribute to your team’s work.
Identify the people to whom your team's progress is relevant to and make sure they have access to that information. The importance of a tool that is easily accessible to everyone within the organization cannot be overemphasized.
Utilising the Journey Maps Ops concept can have a huge impact on the bottom line of the company because it helps to identify possible bottlenecks and avoid duplicate work. In addition, it also improves the employee experience by making the work more transparent while supporting the collaboration between different teams and departments. If you are interested to learn more about this topic, do not hesitate to contact us for a quick sparring session!
Nitor’s service designers spent a day together on June 22 to focus on holistic design and collaboration between different teams. As an inspiration for this, they signed up for the This is Doing Festival V2 and watched the talks together. At Nitor, the employees can use five external training days to improve on their competence areas This time it was service design.