By Chally Kacelnik
I can hardly believe that it’s been more than three years since I wrote How Process Mapping Can Add Value to Your Organisation – time flies when you’re process mapping. In that piece, I discussed the nature and value of process mapping, an undervalued and essential tool for knowledge capture, understanding how your organisation works, and providing the basis for improvement.
A process is a series of connected activities conducted in order to achieve a particular aim, like procurement or making a customer enquiry. A process map illustrates that process from start to finish. It clearly sets out a common understanding of what happens, when it happens, why it happens, and who is involved. […] People in different parts of an organisation tend to have differing ideas of how a process works, either based on a theoretical idea of how it should work or based on their perspective from one slice of the process. Capturing the true current state in one place allows you to see how the process works in practice, not in theory.How Process Mapping Can Add Value to Your Organisation
So much for knowing how you do the work. How do you know how your process is working out for your customers?
That’s where customer journey mapping comes in. Customer journey mapping illustrates the experience of actual customers as they navigate through your processes until their enquiry, purchase, or other matter is resolved. Their experience, perspective, and the impact of the service on the customer – good or bad – is the reality with which the service provider needs to contend to provide good service delivery.
Customer journey mapping provides a rich picture of the customer’s feelings and experiences at each step. We map individuals’ experiences before, during, and after the service provision as well as in their broader relationship with the organisation and social and informational contexts. Every time I have presented the findings of this work back to a client, there’s been something surprising that just hadn’t been considered from the organisation’s vantage point. By connecting the customer journey mapping back to the process mapping work, organisations are able to re-engineer their processes to better meet the needs of their actual customers, not just internal requirements.
Is this an extra and unnecessary step? No. By all means focus on the high value and high volume processes when you’re undertaking customer journey mapping, but approach it seriously. When you’re stuck in your bubble, it can be hard to connect your daily activities back to their purpose: the need being served. Sometimes it’s the language used that is impenetrable to the customer, sometimes there are a whole range of annoyances that have not been recognised, and sometimes it’s poor word of mouth that’s getting out to your customer base. There’s some humility required to recognise that you cannot know in advance of asking whether you are really meeting the customer’s needs well. It’s work worth doing.