Over the last few years, the UX community has latched onto experience maps as a way to visualize a series of interactions between a customer and an organization. Their purpose is to develop a system-wide, outside-in perspective of the series of touchpoints between the customer and the organization. Once developed, they can help guide design decisions and identify opportunities for improvement.
I’d love to see these tools become more common in the customer service/contact center settings where VHT does most of its work. The broad view provided by experience maps can help an organization understand its customers’ context and objectives at each phase of their journey. Anyone who has worked in this space for a while has seen businesses undertake initiatives that suffer because they only address a single customer touchpoint, leaving the experience fractured or inconsistent. A holistic approach will be vital as the number of customer touchpoints multiply.
Adaptive Path has written about the components they believe make for a good experience map. If you’re interested in the concept, they provide a great place to start.
I haven’t found many examples of teams using the maps in their day-to-day practice as they work to improve experiences, and that’s something I would really like to see. Most of the material online shows lots of collaboration leading up to the creation of the map, but little mention of the map’s lifecycle after its creation. This seems to be possibly one of the most powerful ways these tools can be used — as a way of understanding present state, building shared vision and then refining it through day-to-day efforts.
Does your business use experience maps or a similar tool? How do you maintain a holistic view of the interaction between customers and your products, services and applications? Any thoughts on how they could be used by teams?