Customer Experience Mapping Helps Find the Best Way to Serve Your Customers

Mapping a great customer experience: Part 2
In Part 1 of this series on customer experience mapping, we provided a quick introduction and overview. As you’ll recall, customer experience mapping is a valuable exercise that builds on your user research to create a great experience for your target audience. In Part 2, we’ll explore the concept of mapping across devices.

Mobile is all the buzz these days and nearly every company is trying to find the best strategy for its specific situation. Questions abound, such as:

Do you need a stand-alone app? Is it enough to have a website that uses responsive design (or other methodologies) to morph your content to fit smartphones or tablets?

Customer experience mapping is a big help with these decisions.

Let’s use Starbucks to explain how customer experience mapping can help with mobile strategy. (And please note that that this is an example to show how mapping works; we were not working with Starbucks when the mobile strategy was set.)

In search of Starbucks: A story
Starbucks has a great in-store and online experience. The consumer website is responsive, meaning that it touches all devices and serves up content tailored to the device.

On the outside, they’ve delivered on customer needs. However, by creating customer profiles, you can determine that this mobile strategy is not as effective as it could be. Play along as we map a hypothetical Starbucks customer experience on a mobile phone.

Scenario 1 – Starbucks mobile site
You’re in a new city and want to find the nearest Starbucks using your smartphone. Because you don’t have the Starbucks app downloaded and don’t want to take the time to do that, you go to the Starbucks website using your phone’s browser.

First, you notice that there’s no Store Locator link, which is odd on a mobile site. You’re ready for caffeine, so you start scrolling for the store locations. Near the end of the mobile site, you find it.

Since the phone is set to automatically allow websites and apps to detect your location, a store list pops up for a few seconds showing the nearest stores. But it is immediately replaced by an interactive map with multiple pins showing nearby stores.

The initial view shows so many pins clustered together that it’s impossible to make sense of which one is closest (which is not a surprise in Seattle, given the number of Starbucks there are here). While you probably can work with the map, the immediate reaction is frustration.

Starbucks store locator

You turn off the browser and resort to the old-fashioned method: You ask someone. (Nothing wrong with that, but I’m sure Starbucks wouldn’t want a customer to walk away frustrated with his mobile experience. Starbucks also can’t control what the other person may say.)

Scenario 2 – Starbucks app
OK, you travel a lot and are addicted to Starbucks, so of course you have the app on your phone. You arrive in Seattle for a business meeting, but you want coffee before it starts so you click on the app to find the nearest store.

You see “Stores” immediately at the top center spot on the screen. Tap on Stores, allow the app to find your location and you get the information right away. The screen shows a map at the top, and it displays a list of the stores and their street addresses in order of proximity.

Starbucks store locator


And the verdict is…
This high-level mapping gives a clear customer experience verdict: Both the mobile version of the website and the app tackle the same action (finding a store), but there’s no question which one is more efficient and elegant.

Starbucks’ website, though very effective, does not handle all of its mobile needs in an ideal way, especially given what native apps can provide.

So what features should we have with each of these experiences (native app vs. responsive site)? How do you know if you tackled the needs of your customers? Answering these questions (and others) are great examples of where the Customer Journey Map can really come in handy. Another benefit of the map… we can get additional insights into how customers feel and experience in the Starbucks brick-and-mortar store.

Coming soon: So how do we create these maps? Next, we’ll dive into the research methods that are the foundation of customer experience maps.