Beyond Journey Maps: Operationalizing Customer Experience with Blueprints

In the race to differentiate their customer experience, many companies use customer “journey maps” to study a customer’s points of interaction with the organization. These provide insight about how people may feel about these interactions. But you’ll also need to understand the internal operational complexity to actually do anything about it. That means examining the people, processes, and technologies that underpin those interactions.

Think of it in the context of a office diagram: A floor plan shows hallways, doorways, and rooms that indicate how a worker might move throughout the structure from the front door to her office, but it doesn’t show the wiring and light switches that enable her to illuminate a room before entering it. Or the thermostat and its connection to the HVAC system that allows her to control her comfort while in the office. To really understand and improve the worker’s experience, you need a blueprint. The same is true for customer experience.

We find an effective complement to a journey map is a customer experience “blueprint”—a multidimensional diagram builds on the persona and journey by layering on elements of the ecosystem (people, processes, technology, and data) responsible for making interactions “wow!”…or “bow-wow.”

A customer experience blueprint gathers input from people across functions—from front office marketing to back office legal and IT—to understand how their roles relate to and impact the customer experience. For example, a blueprinting exercise that included account managers and the legal department pointed out a misunderstanding between these two groups that resulted in delays and internal inefficiencies. The firm was able to make changes on the spot, which it wouldn’t have been able to do by simply mapping the journey.

A customer experience blueprint also can be an effective tool for designing future experiences—providing input about how new technologies can improve or even re-imagine the experience a company delivers to its customers while also outlining the operational requirements for implementing that experience.

Advanced firms will find that the customer experience blueprint is an excellent tool for re-thinking their organizational design and business architecture. Several firms have identified the key customer scenarios that correlate with customer loyalty and have established governance mechanisms around these. That means things like metrics, project funding, and accountability now revolve around the customer journey rather than an internal business process.

For more information about customer experience blueprints and how your firm can use them to operationalize customer experience efforts, please contact me at

Phone: 312-602-4000
222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
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