Customer Personas

Understanding Customer Personas

Customer personas are a key part of customer journey maps. While customer journey maps tell of a customer’s experience, customer personas give insight into the customers themselves. When trying to understand a customer’s experience, it is impertinent that you first understand who the customer is. Not all of your customers are the same, and to treat them as such is a grave misstep. Individualization is key in understanding the customer experience and bringing key insights to light that can help make your business more successful.

The First Key Journey Mapping Question: What is the Right Journey to Map?

Editor’s Note: As we get ready for our book launch in May, we’re previewing the major topics. You can read more about our book at www.HowHardIsIttoBeYourCustomer.com.

What differentiates a mapping program that drives action from one that doesn’t? A major factor is the reason for doing journey mapping in the first place.

We can confidently predict whether a mapping program will be successful in our very first conversation. Does the company have a solid reason they want to do mapping? Or is it because they heard it’s a good thing to do?

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Introducing “How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer? Using Journey Maps to Drive Customer-Focused Change”

At Heart of the Customer, we’re pleased to introduce our forthcoming book on journey mapping best practices!

Journey mapping opens up extraordinary avenues for business growth, but only when done wisely and well. Through insight from CX pros, extensive research, and real-world case studies, you can learn the best way to capture your customers’ experiences to drive action that gets results, boosting loyalty, satisfaction, and your bottom line.

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Journey mapping tools don’t address the most critical challenges.

There are a ton of journey mapping tools out there. I’m most familiar with Touchpoint Dashboard, but I’ve had demos from many others. They all excel at certain components of journey mapping, but they don’t (and probably can’t) address some of the largest problems.

That’s because the biggest reasons journey maps fail have nothing to do with digital problems; they’re analog. As we’ll discuss tomorrow, the biggest problem in journey mapping is that it’s done in silos. Small teams are created to do journey mapping. Those small teams intimately learn the customer experience, but because they don’t control the critical touch points, the effort fails to drive change.

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Too many see journey mapping as an employee workshop.

What is journey mapping?

That may seem like a strange question from a blogger whose title is “Mapper-In-Chief,” but there’s so much confusion on the topic that it’s a question that needs to be asked.

This confusion is fueled by vendors who offer “journey mapping workshops.” This is a half- or full-day workshop where you gather a bunch of employees who each adopt a customer persona and use Post-It Notes to document your perceptions of that customer’s journey. Oracle hosts this type of workshop, and by all accounts it’s a ton of fun. It’s possible they mention the need to actually talk with customers, but the attendees I’ve spoken to don’t remember them saying that.

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It’s not Necessarily a Design Issue

I regularly receive emails that go something like this: 

I have almost completed my organization’s journey map! Can you give me some design suggestions before I share it with my company?

This request comes from a good place, a desire to educate the company about the customer’s journey, but after a few questions, it quickly falls apart. There are at least three problems with this request. 

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An experience designed for everybody helps nobody

One unforeseen result from our journey mapping best practices survey was that a surprising number of practitioners – almost one-third – do not use segments or personas in their journey maps.

If you don’t use personas in your maps, then you probably don’t design around specific types of customers. And that’s a real risk.

Because customers are different. And if you’re not using personas to capture those differences to design your experiences, it’s likely that you’re missing some important nuances in your experience design.

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