An experience map is a tool that allows a company to capture important insights into customer interactions that occur through a multitude of channels available. These channels are interconnected and in the best case create a complete, positive experience for the customer.
The experience often breaks down when multiple channels are involved and for companies it is extremely important to know at which point during the journey things might go wrong. An experience map gives a holistic view of the needs, goals, expectation of customers at all stages of their journey and it allows companies to understand where to direct their focus, time and budget.
What is a customer experience map?
On his blog, Mel Edwards defines an experience map as
a graphical representation of the service journey of a customer. It shows their perspective from the beginning, middle and end as they engage a service to achieve their goal.
What makes a useful user experience map?
First, it should be a model that can be circulated throughout the organization without the need of any further explanations, meaning it should tell a complete story. Second, it shouldn’t be an end it itself but a tool to inform decisions. And third, creating an experience map is a collaborative effort, not a solo project.
Creating a useful experience map
Chris Risdon at Adaptive Path outlines five critical components for the creation of a useful experience map:
- The lens
The lens is an overriding filter through which you view the journey of the customer. This can be a persona (or personas) or an overarching principles, such as design principles or a value proposition.
- The Journey Model
Outlines channels and touch points across which the customer interaction takes place, including also variables such as context, time and space. Avoid a simple step-by-step representation but ideally use the data to reveal more insights, e.g. how many people use one channel over another, which part of the experience is blatantly broken, or which part of the experience hasn’t been considered much?
- Qualitative research
Use a framework of “doing, thinking, feeling” when looking at qualitative data, the doing being the journey map, the thinking and feeling being insights into the subjective viewpoint of the customer, unveiling frustrations, satisfaction, sadness, confusion.
- Quantitative research
Try to reveal more insights with quantitative information (numbers) like surveys, web traffic reports, page visits. This could tell you for example which touch points are more frequently used than others.
The map is not an end it itself (a conclusion), but a tool (a catalyst). An experience map drives the next phase of the design or strategy, helping to identify opportunities, pain points, and calls to action. An experience map should drive the next step in the process.
Examples and more resources
Below are two very good examples [nForm’s]: