So what is customer experience and why should we map it? The term customer experience was first attributed to Bernd Schmitt, who in 2003 defined CEM as “the process of strategically managing a customer’s entire experience with a product or company.”

Customer experience designers look closely at usability and the human interfaces at all points along the customer service journey. These professionals endeavour to understand customer through cultural, sociological, behavioural and demographic analysis. With the ultimate aim to fully comprehend the wants, needs, requirements, desires, expectations and the conditions needed to proactively engage the customer. Once these nuances are understood they are then aligned with the company’s strategy and future investments.

Therefore to understand, to really understand customer experience the fundamental piece of knowledge a company needs to appreciate is the journey that the customer takes. By doing this well the company can begin to understand those critical moments of truth and come to imagine the metrics needed to measure and improve these interactions. Customer journey mapping recognises that customer experience is empathetic, emotionally linked, cultural and collaborative and is a company‐wide exercise, not delivered in silos.

It is more than identifying breakdowns or mismatches in service expectations it is about walking in the customer’s shoes and experiencing the processes and interactions just as the customer does. It aims to lift people out of their internal worlds and look externally to solving customers’ problems and to seek out what their customer’s truly value. It should also be remembered that the journey map is not the end product it is the actions that result, that are most important.

Extract by  Adam Voak, IoSCM Australia.