Mapping The Customer Service Journey to Improve Customer Experience

the service journey

Mapping the Customer Service Journey to Improve Customer Experience

In the days before Google Maps, finding directions to a new location, especially if it was in an unfamiliar city, took careful planning and attention. Routes had to be determined long before leaving, and an extra time cushion was absolutely necessary to accommodate for any wrong turns. In worst-case scenarios, gas station attendants could always be counted on to help guide a lost traveller. With the advent of smartphones, determining directions to a completely unknown locale is now a fairly painless process. Audio turn-by-turn directions make for safer navigation and quicker arrivals, although there may be fewer opportunities for human interactions. Now, a similar revolution is happening on another important route: the customer service journey.

Defining the Customer Service Journey

A customer service journey is the accumulated experiences a customer undergoes when they decide to interact with a brand, or purchase a service or product. Every single touchpoint they have with a brand makes up their journey, and the emotions they experience at each touchpoint have a huge effect on their decision to make a purchase or recommend the brand to a friend. On a recent episode of the Verizon Insights podcas t, Cary Cusumano, Customer Experience Designer, noted that in 17 out of 18 industries, the emotions that a customer experiences predict the level of their loyalty to a brand. (Even above their satisfaction with a product or service.) It is essential for companies to optimize the customer journey whenever possible to build loyal brand advocates and to show empathy to their customers.

Steps on the Customer Service Journey

The best way to show customers empathy is to understand the interactions they have with a brand over the course of their relationship. During the discovery phase, potential customers may interact with a brand through reviews, internet research, advertisements, or talking to acquaintances or friends.  Once someone becomes a customer, companies must invest in meeting their customers where they are. That means making sure that customers can reach out and engage with the brand through a variety of touchpoints, depending on their preferences. The four primary ways customers interact with brands after purchasing a product or service is through phone calls, e-mails, social media interactions, and live chat options. Customers choose each of these options based on their age, location, and lifestyle. A college student at a university may prefer a chat-based option that’s available later in the evening, while a parent may choose to call during a child’s naptime. No matter how customers decide to reach out, responsive companies have several options to best meet different communication styles and time constraints.  

The Need to Make the Customer Service Journey More Pleasant

In order to give customers what they want, brands must be willing to make an investment in each stop  along the customer journey to ensure it is a pleasant one. While money is funnelled into product development or marketing, customer experience is often pushed to the side as an unnecessary expense. However, it’s one of the most important factors to master in order to maintain a competitive advantage.With the advent of social media, interactivity between brands and customers has spiked, and companies don’t always known how to utilize these interactions to build positive impressions. Leadership at companies can feel overwhelmed by the bandwidth and expertise needed to ensure a smooth customer journey. Or, they’re unsure how to put customer service at the forefront of their company culture, even though they recognize that brands that do gain new leads and retain a strong customer base. As technology advances, many industry leaders predicted a de- emphasis on human interaction and empathy. Instead, the opposite is becoming more important. Understanding the routes customers take in relationship to brands, and investing in critical touch points is the only way to make the customer service journey a positive one.

If you’re looking for help implementing a culture of service to let your customers know they come first, our experts can help. For over twenty years, the team at Customer Direct have been leaders in creating positive customer experiences and managing voice, email, chat and social media interactions on behalf of prominent brands.  Delighting customers at every touchpoint on their journey is our passion and our business. Make your business more persona l by providing genuine customer service experiences each step of the way. Contact us today.

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Customer Journey Maps: How to Create Really Good Ones [Examples + Template]

Aaron Agius

Updated: April 17, 2024

Published: May 04, 2023

Did you know 70% of online shoppers abandoned their carts in 2022? Why would someone spend time adding products to their cart just to fall off the customer journey map at the last second?

person creating a customer journey map

The thing is — understanding your customer base can be very challenging. Even when you think you’ve got a good read on them, the journey from awareness to purchase for each customer will always be unpredictable, at least to some level.

Download Now: Free Customer Journey Map Templates

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While it isn’t possible to predict every experience with 100% accuracy, customer journey mapping is a convenient tool for keeping track of critical milestones that every customer hits. In this post, I’ll explain everything you need to know about customer journey mapping — what it is, how to create one, and best practices.

Table of Contents

What is the customer journey?

What is a customer journey map, benefits of customer journey mapping, customer journey stages.

  • What’s included in a customer journey map?

The Customer Journey Mapping Process

Steps for creating a customer journey map.

  • Types of Customer Journey Maps

Customer Journey Mapping Best Practices

  • Customer Journey Design
  • Customer Journey Map Examples

Free Customer Journey Map Templates

the service journey

Free Customer Journey Template

Outline your company's customer journey and experience with these 7 free templates.

  • Buyer's Journey Template
  • Future State Template
  • Day-in-the-Life Template

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The customer journey is the series of interactions a customer has with a brand, product, or business as they become aware of a pain point and make a purchase decision. While the buyer’s journey refers to the general process of arriving at a purchase, the customer journey refers to a buyer's purchasing experience with a specific company or service.

Customer Journey vs. Buyer Journey

Many businesses that I’ve worked with were confused about the differences between the customer’s journey and the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is the entire buying experience from pre-purchase to post-purchase. It covers the path from customer awareness to becoming a product or service user.

In other words, buyers don’t wake up and decide to buy on a whim. They go through a process of considering, evaluating, and purchasing a new product or service.

The customer journey refers to your brand’s place within the buyer’s journey. These are the customer touchpoints where you will meet your customers as they go through the stages of the buyer’s journey. When you create a customer journey map, you’re taking control of every touchpoint at every stage of the journey instead of leaving it up to chance.

For example, at HubSpot, our customer’s journey is divided into three stages — pre-purchase/sales, onboarding/migration, and normal use/renewal.

hubspot customer journey map stages

1. Use customer journey map templates.

Why make a customer journey map from scratch when you can use a template? Save yourself some time by downloading HubSpot’s free customer journey map templates .

This has templates that map out a buyer’s journey, a day in your customer’s life, lead nurturing, and more.

These templates can help sales, marketing, and customer support teams learn more about your company’s buyer persona. This will improve your product and customer experience.

2. Set clear objectives for the map.

Before you dive into your customer journey map, you need to ask yourself why you’re creating one in the first place.

What goals are you directing this map towards? Who is it for? What experience is it based upon?

If you don’t have one, I recommend creating a buyer persona . This persona is a fictitious customer with all the demographics and psychographics of your average customer. This persona reminds you to direct every aspect of your customer journey map toward the right audience.

3. Profile your personas and define their goals.

Next, you should conduct research. This is where it helps to have customer journey analytics ready.

Don’t have them? No worries. You can check out HubSpot’s Customer Journey Analytics tool to get started.

Questionnaires and user testing are great ways to obtain valuable customer feedback. The important thing is to only contact actual customers or prospects.

You want feedback from people interested in purchasing your products and services who have either interacted with your company or plan to do so.

Some examples of good questions to ask are:

  • How did you hear about our company?
  • What first attracted you to our website?
  • What are the goals you want to achieve with our company? In other words, what problems are you trying to solve?
  • How long have you/do you typically spend on our website?
  • Have you ever made a purchase with us? If so, what was your deciding factor?
  • Have you ever interacted with our website to make a purchase but decided not to? If so, what led you to this decision?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how easily can you navigate our website?
  • Did you ever require customer support? If so, how helpful was it, on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • Can we further support you to make your process easier?

You can use this buyer persona tool to fill in the details you procure from customer feedback.

4. Highlight your target customer personas.

Once you’ve learned about the customer personas that interact with your business, I recommend narrowing your focus to one or two.

Remember, a customer journey map tracks the experience of a customer taking a particular path with your company. If you group too many personas into one journey, your map won’t accurately reflect that experience.

When creating your first map, it’s best to pick your most common customer persona and consider the route they would typically take when engaging with your business for the first time.

You can use a marketing dashboard to compare each and determine the best fit for your journey map. Don’t worry about the ones you leave out, as you can always go back and create a new map specific to those customer types.

5. List out all touchpoints.

Begin by listing the touchpoints on your website.

What is a touchpoint in a customer journey map?

A touchpoint in a customer journey map is an instance where your customer can form an opinion of your business. You can find touchpoints in places where your business comes in direct contact with a potential or existing customer.

For example, if I were to view a display ad, interact with an employee, reach a 404 error, or leave a Google review, all of those interactions would be considered a customer touchpoint.

Your brand exists beyond your website and marketing materials, so you must consider the different types of touchpoints in your customer journey map. These touchpoints can help uncover opportunities for improvement in the buying journey.

Based on your research, you should have a list of all the touchpoints your customers are currently using and the ones you believe they should be using if there’s no overlap.

This is essential in creating a customer journey map because it provides insight into your customers’ actions.

For instance, if they use fewer touchpoints than expected, does this mean they’re quickly getting turned away and leaving your site early? If they are using more than expected, does this mean your website is complicated and requires several steps to reach an end goal?

Whatever the case, understanding touchpoints help you understand the ease or difficulties of the customer journey.

Aside from your website, you must also look at how your customers might find you online. These channels might include:

  • Social channels.
  • Email marketing.
  • Third-party review sites or mentions.

Run a quick Google search of your brand to see all the pages that mention you. Verify these by checking your Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. Whittle your list down to those touchpoints that are the most common and will be most likely to see an action associated with it.

At HubSpot, we hosted workshops where employees from all over the company highlighted instances where our product, service, or brand impacted a customer. Those moments were recorded and logged as touchpoints. This showed us multiple areas of our customer journey where our communication was inconsistent.

The proof is in the pudding — you can see us literally mapping these touch points out with sticky notes in the image below.

Customer journey map meeting to improve the customer journey experience

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Customer Journey Maps

What are customer journey maps.

Customer journey maps are visual representations of customer experiences with an organization. They provide a 360-degree view of how customers engage with a brand over time and across all channels. Product teams use these maps to uncover customer needs and their routes to reach a product or service. Using this information, you can identify pain points and opportunities to enhance customer experience and boost customer retention.

“ Data often fails to communicate the frustrations and experiences of customers. A story can do that, and one of the best storytelling tools in business is the customer journey map.” — Paul Boag, UX designer, service design consultant & digital transformation expert

In this video, Frank Spillers, CEO of Experience Dynamics, explains how you can include journey maps in your design process.

  • Transcript loading…

Customer Journey Maps – Tell Customer Stories Over Time

Customer journey maps are research-based tools. They show common customer experiences over time To help brands learn more about their target audience. 

Maps are incredibly effective communication tools. See how maps simplify complex spaces and create shared understanding.

Unlike navigation maps, customer journey maps have an extra dimension—time. Design teams examine tasks and questions (e.g., what-ifs) regarding how a design meets or fails to meet customers’ needs over time when encountering a product or service. 

Customer journey maps should have comprehensive timelines that show the most essential sub-tasks and events. Over this timeline framework, you add insights into customers' thoughts and feelings when proceeding along the timeline. The map should include: 

A timescale - A defined journey period (e.g., one week). This timeframe should include the entire journey, from awareness to conversion to retention.

Scenarios - The context and sequence of events where a user/customer must achieve a goal. An example could be a user who wants to buy a ticket on the phone. Scenarios are events from the first actions (recognizing a problem) to the last activities (e.g., subscription renewal).

Channels – Where do they perform actions (e.g., Facebook)?

Touchpoints – How does the customer interact with the product or service? What actions do they perform?

Thoughts and feelings – The customer's thoughts and feelings at each touchpoint.

A customer journey map helps you understand how customer experience evolves over time. It allows you to identify possible problems and improve the design. This enables you to design products that are more likely to exceed customers’ expectations in the future state. 

Customer Journey Map

How to Create a Customer Journey Map for Exceptional Experiences?

An infographic showcasing seven steps to create customer journey maps.

© Interaction Design Foundation, CC BY-SA 4.0

Define Your Map’s Business Goal

Before creating a customer journey map, you must ask yourself why you're making one in the first place. Clarify who will use it and what user experience it will address.

Conduct Research

Use customer research to determine customer experiences at all touchpoints. Get analytical/statistical data and anecdotal evidence. Leverage customer interviews, surveys, social media listening, and competitive intelligence.

Watch user researcher Ditte Hvas Mortensen talk about how user research fits your design process and when you should do different studies. 

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Review Touchpoints and Channels

List customer touchpoints (e.g., paying a bill) and channels (e.g., online). Look for more touchpoints or channels to include.

Make an Empathy Map

Pinpoint what the customer does, thinks, feels, says, hears, etc., in a given situation. Then, determine their needs and how they feel throughout the experience. Focus on barriers and sources of annoyance.

Sketch the Journey

Piece everything—touchpoints, timescale, empathy map output, new ideas, etc.). Show a customer’s course of motion through touchpoints and channels across the timescale, including their feelings at every touchpoint.

Iterate and Refine

Revise and transform your sketch into the best-looking version of the ideal customer journey.

Share with Stakeholders

Ensure all stakeholders understand your map and appreciate how its use will benefit customers and the organization.

Buyer Journey vs User Journey vs Customer Journey: What's the Difference?

You must know the differences between buyer, user, and customer journeys to optimize customer experiences. A customer journey map is often synonymous with a user flow diagram or buyer journey map. However, each journey gives unique insights and needs different plans.

Customer Journey

The customer journey, or lifecycle, outlines the stages a customer goes through with a business. This journey can vary across organizations but includes five key steps:

1. Awareness : This is the first stage of the customer journey, where the customers realize they have a problem. The customer becomes aware of your brand or product at this stage, usually due to marketing efforts.

2. Consideration : Once customers know about your product or service, they start their research and compare brands.

3. Purchase : This is the stage where the customer has chosen a solution and is ready to buy your product or service.

4. Retention : After the purchase, it's about retaining that customer and nurturing a relationship. This is where good customer service comes in.

5. Advocacy : Also called the loyalty stage, this is when the customer not only continues to buy your product but also recommends it to others.

The journey doesn't end when the customer buys and recommends your solution to others. Customer journey strategies are cyclical and repetitive. After the advocacy stage, ideally, you continue to attract and retain the customers, keeping them in the cycle. 

There is no standard format for a customer journey map. The key is to create one that works best for your team and product or service. Get started with customer journey mapping with our template:

This customer journey map template features three zones:

Top – persona and scenario. 

Middle – thoughts, actions, and feelings. 

Bottom – insights and progress barriers.

Buyer Journey

The buyer's journey involves the buyer's path towards purchasing. This includes some of the steps we saw in the customer journey but is specific to purchasing :

1. Awareness Stage : This is when a prospective buyer realizes they have a problem. However, they aren't yet fully aware of the solutions available to them.

2. Consideration Stage : After identifying their problem, the buyer researches and investigates different solutions with more intent. They compare different products, services, brands, or strategies here.

3. Decision Stage : The buyer then decides which solution will solve their problem at the right price. This is where the actual purchasing action takes place.  

4. Post-Purchase Evaluation : Although not always included, this stage is critical. It's where the buyer assesses their satisfaction with the purchase. It includes customer service interactions, quality assessment, and attitudinal loyalty to the brand.

All these stages can involve many touchpoints, including online research, social media interactions, and even direct, in-person interactions. Different buyers may move through these stages at different speeds and through various channels, depending on a wide range of factors.

User Journey

The user journey focuses on people's experience with digital platforms like websites or software. Key stages include:

1. Discovery : In this stage, users become aware of your product, site, or service, often due to marketing efforts, word-of-mouth, or organic search. It also includes their initial reactions or first impressions.

2. Research/Consideration : Here, users dig deeper, exploring features, comparing with alternatives, and evaluating if your offering suits their needs and preferences.

3. Interaction/Use : Users actively engage with your product or service. They first-hand experience your solution's functionality, usability, and usefulness to achieve their goal.

4. Problem-solving : If they encounter any issues, how they seek help and resolve their issues fall into this stage. It covers user support, troubleshooting, and other assistance.

5. Retention/Loyalty : This stage involves how users stay engaged over time. Do they continue using your product, reduce usage, or stop altogether? It includes their repeated interactions, purchases, and long-term engagement over time.

6. Advocacy/Referral : This is when users are so satisfied they begin to advocate for your product, leaving positive reviews and referring others to your service.

Download this user journey map template featuring an example of a user’s routine. 

User Journey Example

Understanding these stages can help optimize the user experience, providing value at each stage and making the journey seamless and enjoyable. 

Always remember the journey is as important as the destination. Customer relationships start from the first website visit or interaction with marketing materials. These initial touchpoints can influence the ongoing relationship with your customers.

A gist of differences between customer, buyer, and user journeys.

© Interaction Design Foundation, CC BY-SA 3.0

All customer interactions, pre and post-purchase.

Pre-purchase stages: awareness, consideration, conversion.

Subset of interactions in digital platforms.

Start/End Point

From marketing to end of customer relationship.

From awareness to conversion stages.

From user entry to exit on a digital platform.

All types of products and services—software and non—software interactions.

Decision-making before a purchase

Primarily digital platform interactions.

Drawbacks of Customer Journey Maps

Customer journey mapping is valuable yet has limitations and potential drawbacks. Recognize these challenges and create more practical and realistic journey maps.

Over-simplification of Customer Experiences

Customer journey maps often risk simplifying complex customer experiences . They may depict varied and unpredictable customer behaviors as straightforward and linear. This simplification can lead to misunderstandings about your customers' needs and wants. As a result, you might overlook customers' diverse and unique paths. 

Always remember that real customer experiences are more complex than any map. When you recognize this, you steer clear of decisions based on simple models.

Resource Intensity

Creating detailed customer journey maps requires a lot of resources and time. You must gather extensive data and update the maps to keep them relevant. This process can strain small businesses or those with limited resources. 

You need to balance the need for comprehensive mapping with available resources. Efficient resource management and prioritization are crucial to maintaining effective journey maps.

Risk of Bias

Creating customer journey maps carries the inherent risk of biases . These biases can arise from various sources. They can impact the accuracy and effectiveness of the maps. 

Alan Dix, an expert in HCI, discusses bias in more detail in this video.  

Common biases in customer journey mapping include:

Assumption Bias: When teams make decisions based on preconceived notions rather than customer data.

Selection Bias: When the data doesn’t represent the entire customer base..

Confirmation Bias : When you focus on information that supports existing beliefs and preferences. Simultaneously, you tend to ignore or dismiss data that contradicts those beliefs.

Anchoring Bias : Relying on the first information encountered (anchor) when making decisions.

Overconfidence Bias : Placing too much trust in the accuracy of the journey map. You may overlook its potential flaws.

These biases may misguide the team, and design decisions based on these maps might not be effective.

To address these biases, review and update journey maps with real user research data. Engage with different customer segments and gather a wide range of feedback to help create a more accurate and representative map. This approach ensures the journey map aligns with actual customer experiences and behaviors.

Evolving Customer Behaviors

Customer behaviors and preferences change with time. A journey map relevant today can become outdated. You need to update and adapt your maps to reflect these changes. This requires you to perform market research and stay updated with trends and customer feedback. 

Getting fresh data ensures your journey map stays relevant and effective. You must adapt to evolving customer behaviors to maintain accurate and valuable customer journey maps.

Challenges in Capturing Emotions

Capturing emotions accurately in customer journey maps poses a significant challenge. Emotions influence customer decisions, yet you may find it difficult to quantify and represent them in maps. Most journey maps emphasize actions and touchpoints, often neglecting the emotional journey. 

You must integrate emotional insights into these maps to understand customer experiences. This integration enhances the effectiveness of customer engagement strategies. You can include user quotes, symbols such as emojis, or even graphs to capture the ups and downs of the users’ emotions..

Misalignment with Customer Needs

Misalignments in customer journey maps can manifest in various ways. It can impact the effectiveness of your strategies. Common misalignments include:

Putting business aims first, not what customers need.

Not seeing or serving the varied needs of different customer types.

Not using customer feedback in the journey map.

Thinking every customer follows a simple, straight path.

Engage with your customers to understand their needs and preferences if you want to address these misalignments. Incorporate their direct feedback into the journey map. This approach leads to more effective customer engagement and satisfaction.

Over-Reliance on the Map

Relying too much on customer journey maps can lead to problems. These maps should serve as tools rather than definitive guides. Viewing them as perfect can restrict your responsiveness to customer feedback and market changes. Treat journey maps as evolving documents that complement direct customer interactions and feedback. 

Make sure you get regular updates and maintain flexibility in your approach. Balance the insights from the map with ongoing customer engagement. This approach keeps your business agile and responsive to evolving customer needs.

Data Privacy Concerns

Collecting customer data for journey mapping poses significant privacy concerns. Thus, you need to create a balance. You must adhere to data protection laws and gather enough information for mapping. 

You need a careful strategy to ensure customer data security. Stay vigilant to adapt to evolving privacy regulations and customer expectations. This vigilance helps maintain trust and compliance.

Learn More about Customer Journey Maps

Take our Journey Mapping course to gain insights into the how and why of journey mapping. Learn practical methods to create experience maps , customer journey maps, and service blueprints for immediate application.

Explore this eBook to discover customer journey mapping .

Find some additional insights in the Customer Journey Maps article.

Questions related to Customer Journey Maps

Creating a customer journey map requires visually representing the customer's experience with your product or company. Harness the strength of visual reasoning to understand and present this journey succinctly. Instead of detailing a lengthy narrative, like a book, a well-crafted map allows stakeholders, whether designers or not, to grasp the journey quickly. It's a democratized tool that disseminates information, unifies teams, and aids decision-making by illuminating previously unnoticed or misunderstood aspects of the customer's journey.

The customer journey encompasses five distinct stages that guide a customer's interaction with a brand or product:

Awareness: The customer becomes aware of a need or problem.

Consideration: They research potential solutions or products.

Purchase: The customer decides on a solution and makes a purchase.

Retention: Post-purchase, the customer uses the product and forms an opinion.

Advocacy: Satisfied customers become brand advocates, sharing their positive experiences.

For a comprehensive understanding of these stages and how they intertwine with customer touchpoints, refer to's in-depth article .

A perspective grid workshop is a activity that brings together stakeholders from various departments, such as product design, marketing, growth, and customer support, to align on a shared understanding of the customer's journey. These stakeholders contribute unique insights about customer needs and how they interact with a product or service. The workshop entails:

Creating a matrix to identify customers' jobs and requirements, not initially linked to specific features.

Identifying the gaps, barriers, pains, and risks associated with unmet needs, and constructing a narrative for the journey.

Highlighting the resulting value when these needs are met.

Discuss the implied technical and non-technical capabilities required to deliver this value.

Brainstorming possible solutions and eventually narrowing down to specific features.

The ultimate aim is to foster alignment within the organization and produce a user journey map based on shared knowledge. 

Learn more from this insightful video:

Customer journey mapping is vital as it harnesses our visual reasoning capabilities to articulate a customer's broad, intricate journey with a brand. Such a depiction would otherwise require extensive documentation, like a book. This tool offers a cost-effective method to convey information succinctly, ensuring understanding of whether one is a designer or lacks the time for extensive reading. It also helps the team to develop a shared vision and to encourage collaboration.  Businesses can better comprehend and address interaction points by using a journey map, facilitating informed decision-making and revealing insights that might otherwise remain obscured. Learn more about the power of visualizing the customer journey in this video.

Pain points in a customer journey map represent customers' challenges or frustrations while interacting with a product or service. They can arise from unmet needs, gaps in service, or barriers faced during the user experience. Identifying these pain points is crucial as they highlight areas for improvement, allowing businesses to enhance the customer experience and meet their needs more effectively. Pain points can relate to various aspects, including product usability, communication gaps, or post-purchase concerns. Explore the detailed article on customer journey maps at Interaction Design Foundation for a deeper understanding and real-world examples.

Customer journey mapping offers several key benefits:

It provides a holistic view of the customer experience, highlighting areas for improvement. This ensures that products or services meet users' needs effectively.

The process fosters team alignment, ensuring everyone understands and prioritizes the customer's perspective.

It helps identify pain points, revealing opportunities to enhance user satisfaction and loyalty.

This visualization allows businesses to make informed decisions, ensuring resources target the most impactful areas.

To delve deeper into the advantages and insights on journey mapping, refer to Interaction Design Foundation's article on key takeaways from the IXDF journey mapping course .

In design thinking, a customer journey map visually represents a user's interactions with a product or service over time. It provides a detailed look at a user's experience, from initial contact to long-term engagement. Focusing on the user's perspective highlights their needs, emotions, pain points, and moments of delight. This tool aids in understanding and empathizing with users, a core principle of design thinking. When used effectively, it bridges gaps between design thinking and marketing, ensuring user-centric solutions align with business goals. For a comprehensive understanding of how it fits within design thinking and its relation to marketing, refer to Interaction Design Foundation's article on resolving conflicts between design thinking and marketing .

A customer journey map and a user journey map are tools to understand the experience of users or customers with a product or service.

A customer journey map is a broader view of the entire customer experience across multiple touchpoints and stages. It considers physical and digital channels, multiple user personas, and emotional and qualitative aspects.

A user journey map is a detailed view of the steps to complete a specific task or goal within a product or service. It only considers digital channels, one user persona, and functional and quantitative aspects.

Both are useful to understand and improve the experience of the users or customers with a product or service. However, they have different scopes, perspectives, and purposes. A customer journey map provides a holistic view of the entire customer experience across multiple channels and stages. A user journey map provides a detailed view of the steps to complete a specific task or goal within a product or service.

While user journeys might emphasize specific tasks or pain points, customer journeys encapsulate the entire experience, from research and comparison to purchasing and retention. 

Customer journey maps and service blueprints are tools to understand and improve the experience of the users or customers with a product or service. A customer journey map shows the entire customer experience across multiple touchpoints and stages. It focuses on the front stage of the service, which is what the customers see and experience. It considers different user personas and emotional aspects.

A service blueprint shows how a service is delivered and operated by an organization. It focuses on the back stage of the service, which is what the customers do not see or experience. It considers one user persona and functional aspects. What are the steps that the customer takes to complete a specific task or goal within the service? What are the channels and devices that the customer interacts with at each step?

For an immersive dive into customer journey mapping, consider enrolling in the Interaction Design Foundation's specialized course . This course offers hands-on lessons, expert guidance, and actionable tools. Furthermore, to grasp the course's essence, the article “4 Takeaways from the IXDF Journey Mapping Course” sheds light on the core learnings, offering a snapshot of what to expect. These resources are tailored by industry leaders, ensuring you're equipped with the best knowledge to craft impactful customer journey maps.

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Why do designers create customer journey maps?

  • To document internal company processes and designer feedback
  • To replace other forms of customer feedback
  • To visualize customer experiences and identify pain points

In which stage do customers first recognize they have a problem?

What element is essential in a customer journey map?

  • Competitor analysis
  • Customer's thoughts and feelings
  • Empathy maps and user stories

Why are scenarios included in a customer journey map?

  • To exemplify the design thinking process
  • To list product features
  • To show the context and sequence of events

Why should designers iterate and refine customer journey maps?

  • To ensure it remains relevant and accurate
  • To keep the map visually appealing
  • To reduce the number of customer interactions

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Literature on Customer Journey Maps

Here’s the entire UX literature on Customer Journey Maps by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Customer Journey Maps

Take a deep dive into Customer Journey Maps with our course Journey Mapping .

This course will show you how to use journey mapping to turn your own complex design challenges into simple, delightful user experiences . If you want to design a great shopping experience, an efficient signup flow or an app that brings users delight over time, journey mapping is a critical addition to your toolbox. 

We will begin with a short introduction to mapping — why it is so powerful, and why it is so useful in UX. Then we will get familiar with the three most common types of journey map — experience maps, customer journey maps and service blueprints — and how to recognize, read and use each one. Then you will learn how to collect and analyze data as a part of a journey mapping process. Next you will learn how to create each type of journey map , and in the final lesson you will learn how to run a journey mapping workshop that will help to turn your journey mapping insights into actual products and services. 

This course will provide you with practical methods that you can start using immediately in your own design projects, as well as downloadable templates that can give you a head start in your own journey mapping projects. 

The “Build Your Portfolio: Journey Mapping Project” includes three practical exercises where you can practice the methods you learn, solidify your knowledge and if you choose, create a journey mapping case study that you can add to your portfolio to demonstrate your journey mapping skills to future employers, freelance customers and your peers. 

Throughout the course you will learn from four industry experts. 

Indi Young will provide wisdom on how to gather the right data as part of your journey mapping process. She has written two books,  Practical Empathy  and  Mental Models . Currently she conducts live online advanced courses about the importance of pushing the boundaries of your perspective. She was a founder of Adaptive Path, the pioneering UX agency that was an early innovator in journey mapping. 

Kai Wang will walk us through his very practical process for creating a service blueprint, and share how he makes journey mapping a critical part of an organization’s success. Kai is a talented UX pro who has designed complex experiences for companies such as CarMax and CapitalOne. 

Matt Snyder will help us think about journey mapping as a powerful and cost-effective tool for building successful products. He will also teach you how to use a tool called a perspective grid that can help a data-rich journey mapping process go more smoothly. In 2020 Matt left his role as the Sr. Director of Product Design at Lucid Software to become Head of Product & Design at Hivewire. 

Christian Briggs will be your tour guide for this course. He is a Senior Product Designer and Design Educator at the Interaction Design Foundation. He has been designing digital products for many years, and has been using methods like journey mapping for most of those years.  

All open-source articles on Customer Journey Maps

14 ux deliverables: what will i be making as a ux designer.

the service journey


What are Customer Touchpoints & Why Do They Matter?

the service journey

  • 3 years ago

How to Visualize Your Qualitative User Research Results for Maximum Impact

the service journey

How to Resolve Conflicts Between Design Thinking and Marketing

the service journey

How to Create a Perspective Grid

the service journey

4 Takeaways from the IxDF Journey Mapping Course

the service journey

  • 2 years ago

The Power of Mapping

the service journey

User Story Mapping in Design

the service journey

Start Your UX Journey: Essential Insights for Success

the service journey

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Customer Journey Mapping

Journey mapping helps you visualize how customers experience your product or service, and how they feel along the way. Scroll to step 6 for a real-life example from one of our product teams!


Understand the customer journey from a specific persona's perspective so that you can design a better experience.

User Team

Running the play

Depending on how many touchpoints along the customer journey you're mapping, you might break the journey into stages and tackle each stage in pairs.

Sticky notes Template

Define the map's scope (15 min)

Ideally, customer journey mapping focuses on the experience of a single persona  in a single scenario with a single goal. Else, the journey map will be too generic, and you'll miss out on opportunities for new insights and questions. You may need to pause creating a customer journey map until you have defined your customer personas . Your personas should be informed by  customer interviews , as well as data wherever possible.

Saying that, don't let perfect be the enemy of good! Sometimes a team just needs to get started, and you can agree to revisit with more rigor in  a few months' time. Once scope is agreed on, check your invite list to make sure you've got people who know the details of what customers experience when using your product or service.

Set the stage (5 min)

It's really important that your group understands the user  persona  and the goal driving their journey. Decide on or recap with your group the target persona and the scope of the journey being explored in your session. Make sure to pre-share required reading with the team at least a week ahead of your session to make sure everyone understands the persona, scope of the journey, and has a chance to delve deeper into research and data where needed. Even better- invite the team to run or attend the customer interviews to hear from customers first hand!

E.g. "We're going to focus on the Alana persona. Alana's role is project manager, and her goal is to find a scalable way for her team to share their knowledge so they spend less time explaining things over email. We're going to map out what it's like for Alana to evaluate Confluence for this purpose, from the point where she clicks that TRY button, to the point where she decides to buy it – or not."

Build a customer back-story (10 min)

Have the group use sticky notes to post up reasons why your target persona would be on this journey in the first place. Odds are, you'll get a range of responses: everything from high-level goals, to pain points, to requested features or services. Group similar ideas and groom the stickies so you can design a story from them.

These narratives should be inspired by actual customer interviews. But each team member will also bring a different perspective to the table that helps to broaden the lens.

Take a look at the example provided in the call out of this section. This back story starts with the pain points – the reasons why Alana would be wanting something like Confluence in the first place.

  • E.g., "Her team's knowledge is in silos"

Then it basically has a list of requirements – what Alana is looking for in a product to solve the bottom pain points. This is essentially a mental shopping list for the group to refer to when mapping out the customer journey.

  • E.g., "Provide structure"

Then it has the outcomes – goals that Alana wants to achieve by using the product

  • E.g., "To keep my team focused on their work instead of distracted by unnecessary emails and shoulder-taps"

And finally the highest-level goal for her and her team.

  • E.g., "Improve team efficiency"

Round off the back story by getting someone to say out loud what they think the overall story so far is, highlighting the main goals the customer has. This ensures a shared understanding that will inform the journey mapping, and improve the chances that your team will map it from the persona's point of view (not their own).

  • E.g., "Alana and her team are frustrated by having to spend so much time explaining their work to each other, and to stakeholders. They want a way to share their knowledge, and organize it so it's easy for people outside their team to find, so they can focus more energy on the tasks at hand."

Content search

For example...

Here's a backstory the Confluence team created. 

Map what the customer thinks and feels (30-60 min)

With the target persona, back story, and destination in place, it's time to walk a mile in their shoes. Show participants how to get going by writing the first thing that the persona does on a sticky note. The whole group can then grab stickies and markers and continue plotting the journey one action at a time.

This can also include questions and decisions! If the journey branches based on the answers or choices, have one participant map out each path. Keep in mind that the purpose of this Play is to build empathy for, and a shared understanding of the customer for the team. In order to do this, we focus on mapping the  current state of one discrete end to end journey, and looking for opportunities for improvement.

To do a more comprehensive discovery and inform strategy, you will need to go deeper on researching and designing these journey maps, which will need to split up over multiple sessions. Take a look at the variation below for tipes on how to design a completely new customer journey.

Use different color sticky notes for actions, questions, decisions, etc. so it's easier to see each element when you look at the whole map.

For each action on the customer journey, capture which channels are used for the interactions. Depending on your context, channels might include a website, phone, email, postal mail, face-to-face, and/or social media.

It might also help to visually split the mapping area in zones, such as "frontstage" (what the customer experiences) versus "backstage" (what systems and processes are active in the background).

Journey mapping can open up rich discussion, but try to avoid delving into the wrong sort of detail. The idea is to explore the journey and mine it for opportunities to improve the experience instead of coming up with solutions on the spot. It's important not only to keep the conversation on track, but also to create an artefact that can be easily referenced in the future. Use expands or footnotes in the Confluence template to capture any additional context while keeping the overview stable.

Try to be the commentator, not the critic. And remember: you're there to call out what’s going on for the persona, not explain what’s going on with internal systems and processes.

To get more granular on the 'backstage' processes required to provide the 'frontstage' customer value, consider using Confluence Whiteboard's Service Blueprint template as a next step to follow up on this Play.

lightning bolt


Your map has heaps of branches and loops.

Your scope is probably too high-level. Map a specific journey that focuses on a specific task, rather than mapping how a customer might explore for the first time.

Map the pain points (10-30 min)

"Ok, show me where it hurts." Go back over the map and jot down pain points on sticky notes. Place them underneath the corresponding touchpoints on the journey. Where is there frustration? Errors? Bottlenecks? Things not working as expected?

For added value, talk about the impact of each pain point. Is it trivial, or is it likely to necessitate some kind of hack or work-around. Even worse: does it cause the persona to abandon their journey entirely?

Chart a sentiment line (15 min)

(Optional, but totally worth it.) Plot the persona's sentiment in an area under your journey map, so that you can see how their emotional experience changes with each touchpoint. Look for things like:

  • Areas of sawtooth sentiment – going up and down a lot is pretty common, but that doesn't mean it's not exhausting for the persona.
  • Rapid drops – this indicates large gaps in expectations, and frustration.
  • Troughs – these indicate opportunities for lifting overall sentiments.
  • Positive peaks – can you design an experience that lifts them even higher? Can you delight the persona and inspire them to recommend you?

Remember that pain points don't always cause immediate drops in customer sentiment. Sometimes some friction may even buold trust (consider requiring verification for example). A pain point early in the journey might also result in negative feelings later on, as experiences accumulate. 

Having customers in the session to help validate and challenge the journey map means you'll be more confident what comes out of this session. 

Analyse the big picture (15 min)

As a group, stand back from the journey map and discuss trends and patterns in the experience.

  • Where are the areas of greatest confusion/frustration?
  • Where is the journey falling short of expectations?
  • Are there any new un-met needs that have come up for the user type?
  • Are there areas in the process being needlessly complicated or duplicated? Are there lots of emails being sent that aren’t actually useful? 

Then, discuss areas of opportunity to improve the experience. E.g., are there areas in the process where seven steps could be reduced to three? Is that verification email actually needed?

You can use quantitative data to validate the impact of the various opportunity areas identified. A particular step may well be a customer experience that falls short, but how many of your customers are actually effected by that step? Might you be better off as a team focused on another higher impact opportunity?

Here's a user onboarding jouney map our Engaging First Impressions team created.

Be sure to run a full Health Monitor session or checkpoint with your team to see if you're improving.


Instead of mapping the current experience, map out an experience you haven't delivered yet. You can map one that simply improves on existing pain points, or design an absolutely visionary amazeballs awesome experience!

Just make sure to always base your ideas on real customer interviews and data. When designing a totally new customer journey, it can also be interesting to map competitor or peer customer journeys to find inspiration. Working on a personalised service? How do they do it in grocery? What about fashion? Finance?

After the mapping session, create a stakeholder summary. What pain points have the highest impact to customers' evaluation, adoption and usage of our products? What opportunities are there, and which teams should know about them? What is your action plan to resolve these pain points? Keep it at a summary level for a fast share out of key takeaways.

For a broader audience, or to allow stakeholders to go deeper, you could also create a write-up of your analysis and recommendations you came up with, notes captured, photos of the group and the artefacts created on a Confluence page. A great way of sharing this information is in a video walk through of the journey map. Loom is a great tool for this as viewers can comment on specific stages of the journey. This can be a great way to inspire change in your organization and provide a model for customer-centric design practices.


Now that you have interviewed your customers and created your customer journey map, circle back to your customers and validate! And yes: you might learn that your entire map is invalid and have to start again from scratch. (Better to find that out now, versus after you've delivered the journey!) Major initiatives typically make multiple journey maps to capture the needs of multiple personas, and often iterate on each map. Remember not to set and forget. Journeys are rapidly disrupted, and keeping your finger on the pulse of your customer's reality will enable your team to pivot (and get results!) faster when needed.

Related Plays

     Customer Interview

     Project Poster

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Shared understanding

Different types of teams need to share an understanding of different things.


The team has a  shared vision  and collective  purpose  which they support, and  confidence  they have made the right strategic bets to achieve success.

Proof of concept

Project teams.

Some sort of demonstration has been created and tested, that demonstrates why this problem needs to be solved, and demonstrates its value.

Customer centricity

Service teams.

Team members are skilled at  understanding , empathizing and  resolving  requests with an effective customer feedback loop in place that drives improvements and builds trust to improve service offerings.

Creating the user's backstory is an important part of user journey mapping.

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the service journey

What is a customer journey?

A customer journey is the process that includes all touchpoints and interactions—from initial awareness to post-purchase loyalty—that a consumer undergoes with a brand, aiming to understand and optimize the experience to each unique individual’s needs.

Things to know about customer journey?

What is the difference—customer journey vs. the buyer journey, what are the stages of the customer journey, why is the customer journey important, what are the benefits of customer journey mapping, how can you create an effective user journey map, manage your customer journey with servicenow.

The customer journey is a comprehensive framework that outlines the entire spectrum of interactions between a customer and a brand. In this way, it goes well beyond the transactional aspect covered in the buyer’s journey. Instead, it encapsulates the entire experience of a customer, starting from the initial awareness of a brand or product and extending through various stages such as consideration, purchase, post-purchase, and advocacy. 

The thing that sets the customer journey apart is its focus on the customer’s ongoing relationship with the brand, including all interactions that shape their perception and satisfaction levels. This journey is not linear but rather a dynamic process influenced by multiple factors. These factors include things like customer needs, preferences, feedback, and even market conditions.

Customer mapping plays a vital role within the customer journey framework as it involves identifying and analyzing different touchpoints that customers encounter throughout their journey. By mapping these interactions, businesses gain a deeper understanding of the customer experience at different stages and can tailor their strategies to enhance engagement and address potential pain points.

In essence, the customer journey, coupled with effective customer mapping, empowers businesses to proactively manage and enhance the overall customer experience, driving customer satisfaction.

Think beyond traditional CRM

The journey that a customer takes is married to each instance that a customer comes in contact with your company. These instances include pre-purchase, mid- purchase, and post-purchase. When you break these three instances down into their constituent parts, there are seven phases of the customer journey to be aware of.


This is the phase where a customer is looking to improve their business, and they want the company to be productive and efficient. At this point, they may not have a solution to achieve their goals, but they are open to inspiration and ideas.

A customer uncovers the opportunity to grow and improve their business at this phase—they have identified an issue that could be resolved.

Initial consideration

After customers have identified a solution to their problem, they will begin to research. Stakeholders and a project group work to identify the top brands in the market they need, scope out a project, and review the key functionalities and requirements.

Active evaluation

Customers then take their long list of possible solutions and narrow it down to a short list of brands. Customers contact the vendors on the short list and invite them to a meeting or demo, at which point they will review the solutions based on their trust, expertise, and scalability.

Purchase decision

Once the customer has found the solution and teamed up with a company, they want to get the solution up and running as quickly as possible, and they want a smooth launch process. It is important to ensure that all users are trained and have proper access to consultants or account managers for support.

Once the solution has been rolled out, the customer wants to see fast results. The provider of the solution follows up, implements the solutions, and continues to help the customer fulfill their goals. This phase is where customers become loyal as results are being delivered.

Identifying critical touchpoints and moments of truth

Aligning processes and resources for customer needs, facilitating continuous improvement and innovation, driving customer retention and lifetime value, provides an inbound perspective.

Inbound marketing depends on your ability to create interesting and useful content to help generate interest and draw in prospective customers. Customer mapping gives you clever insight into your customers’ interests, as well as how they feel about individual aspects and touchpoints as they interact with your business. With this information, you can tailor your content offering to better attract and retain qualified leads.

Encourages proactive service

Identifies and refines target audiences.

Locating and guiding prospective customers through their journey can be expensive, and when your leads fail to become customers, then all of that cost goes to waste. A detailed customer journey map can help you more clearly identify the demographics and traits of those who would be most interested in your services. By understanding their needs, pain points, and goals, you will be better positioned to market to the right audiences.

Improve customer retention rates

The customer journey isn’t designed only for new customers; a complete view of the customer journey provides opportunities to improve any areas that stand out as possibly problematic for returning customers as well. Customer journey mapping can help you identify those who might be considering leaving. By comparing journeys between churned customers, you may be able to identify common issues, which you can then then address to help ensure that future customers keep coming back again and again.

Creates a concise representation of the user experience for your entire organization

It can be difficult to coordinate all departments as your company grows. Sometimes, sales and marketing goals may not be aligned, or might not actually be relevant to your customers wants or needs. Your customer journey map supports a shared vision across departments. When adopted throughout your business, it can become the basis for decision-making, informing goals, supporting strategy, and aligning teams towards creating a better experience for your customers.

Understanding the importance of the customer journey map is only the first step. Before you can enjoy the advantages it offers, you first have to build it. Here, we break down the essential steps you’ll need to consider to create an effective journey map for your customers.

Define the scope for the map

  • Take the time to identify the persona that you are mapping, and provide a single point of view per map to build out a strong and clear narrative.
  • Choose the process that you’ll be mapping and ensure that it has a clear beginning, middle, and end point, and that it relates to the business insights you are seeking.
  • Conduct research using resources such as call center logs, field studies, usability results, and user feedback.
  • Include the goal of your personas and what their expectations are, as well as quantifiable expectations, such as time to completion.

Identify the journey phases

  • Think of the phases of the map as stages along the journey. If you’re mapping the user experience for onboarding, it’s possible that the journey may include setting up training, facilities access, benefits, and more.
  • Choose simplicity and craft a journey map that tells a simple story. That said, be sure to include all relevant information and touch points.

Map the user’s action steps and experiences for each phase

  • Document action steps for each phase of the journey, encompassing the actions that need to be taken. Most often you will have from four to twelve action steps, which may include learning about options, resolving questions, comparing choices, selecting services, etc.
  • For each step, clearly document customer emotions, pain points, and challenges.

Use your journey map to build a shared vision of the user experience

  • Create a journey map visualization and gather feedback from key users.
  • Use the journey map to identify potential opportunities to improve the customer experience and process.
  • Continuously socialize and evolve the customer journey map to improve its effectiveness over time.

Measure your success

The success of your customer journey map relates directly to how positive and successful the overall customer experience is that you are offering. With this in mind, you can use many of the same success metrics as those used to measure and evaluate CX. These metrics include the following:

  • Customer Effort Score (CES)
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSS)

Involve the right people

Creating an effective customer journey map requires involving the right people from various departments within an organization. Marketing and UX teams play crucial roles in understanding customer behavior, pain points, and preferences. Marketing teams research the target audience and market trends, while the UX team focuses on user interactions, interface elements, and building a seamless experience.

Ultimately, you will want to include the following teams at some point during the process of developing a user journey:

  • Process owners
  • Technology owners
  • Upper management
  • UX or UI representatives, such as an experience architect

Pricing for ServiceNow Customer Service Management

Understanding the customer journey is essential for businesses that want to deliver exceptional customer experiences and build lasting relationships. Mapping out the various interactions across the customer lifecycle can help your organization better understand and meet customer needs. However, creating an effective customer journey requires the right tools and strategies.

The ServiceNow Customer Service Management (CSM) platform offers a comprehensive solution for managing and optimizing the customer journey. With features designed to streamline customer interactions, automate processes, and personalize experiences, ServiceNow CSM empowers businesses to deliver seamless and memorable customer experiences.

Explore firsthand how ServiceNow CSM can help you exceed customer expectations to drive loyalty and keep your customers coming back to you for reliable solutions. Demo ServiceNow today!

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The digital journey to enhanced Customer Experience

Service journey quality: conceptualization, measurement and customer outcomes

Journal of Service Management

ISSN : 1757-5818

Article publication date: 4 May 2021

Issue publication date: 17 December 2021

The quality of the customer journey has become a critical determinant of successful service delivery in contemporary business. Extant journey research focuses on the customer path to purchase, but pays less attention to the touchpoints related to service delivery and consumption that are key for understanding customer experiences in service-intensive contexts. The purpose of this study is to conceptualize service journey quality (SJQ), develop measures for the construct and study its key outcomes.


The study uses a discovery-oriented research approach to conceptualize SJQ by synthesizing theory and field-based insights from customer focus group discussions. Next, using consumer survey data ( N  = 278) from the financial services context, the authors develop measures for the SJQ. Finally, based on an additional survey dataset ( N  = 239), the authors test the nomological validity and predictive relevance of the SJQ.

SJQ comprises of three dimensions: (1) journey seamlessness, (2) journey personalization and (3) journey coherence. This study demonstrates that SJQ is a critical driver of service quality and customer loyalty in contemporary business. This study finds that the loyalty link is partially mediated through service quality, indicating that SJQ explains loyalty above and beyond service quality.

Research limitations/implications

Since service quality only partially mediates the link between service journey quality and customer loyalty, future studies should examine alternative mediators, such as customer experience, for a more comprehensive understanding of the performance effects.

Practical implications

The study offers concrete tools for service managers who wish to understand and develop the quality of service journeys.


This study advances the service journey concept, demonstrates that the quality of the service journey is a critical driver of customer performance and provides rigorous journey constructs for future service research.

  • Service journey
  • Customer journey
  • Service delivery
  • Customer experience
  • Service quality
  • Service design

Jaakkola, E. and Terho, H. (2021), "Service journey quality: conceptualization, measurement and customer outcomes", Journal of Service Management , Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 1-27.

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Elina Jaakkola and Harri Terho

Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at

1. Introduction

The notion of satisfying customers through service excellence is a cornerstone of service research and practice. During the past decade, managers and researchers alike have increasingly stressed the role of customer journeys as opposed to individual service encounters for the achievement of service excellence and the subsequent competitive advantage ( Rawson et al. , 2013 ). This emphasis aligns with broader marketing research suggesting that the set of touchpoints along the customer journey gives rise to customer experience ( Lemon and Verhoef, 2016 ; Tueanrat et al. , 2021 ). Indeed, a recent industry report suggests that, across industries, companies' journey performance is substantially more strongly correlated with customer satisfaction and business outcomes, such as revenue and repeat purchase, than is firm performance at individual touchpoints ( Duncan et al. , 2016 ).

In the extant marketing literature, the “customer journey” is commonly defined as the series of touchpoints that customers encounter and interact with during their purchase process ( Becker and Jaakkola, 2020 ; Lemon and Verhoef, 2016 ; Becker et al. , 2020 ). In today's markets, customer journeys are ever more complex, as digitalization has accelerated the birth of a myriad of channels through which customers can interact, search for information and conduct their purchases ( Sousa and Voss, 2006 ; Edelman and Singer, 2015 ). What is more, increasing specialization has fragmented the contemporary service delivery to involve a network of providers ( Tax et al. , 2013 ). Firms must therefore manage expectational, operational and functional interdependencies between various touchpoints ( Dhebar, 2013 ), keeping in mind that clumsy and inconsistent journeys have been identified as an important source of customer churn ( Rawson et al. , 2013 ).

The customer journey is a powerful concept for understanding a customer's path to purchase (e.g. Edelman and Singer, 2015 ). However, the purchase decision-making focus is less useful for supporting service management; as in service-intensive contexts, service delivery and consumption encounters play a major role in the formation of customer experiences, accentuating the importance of touchpoints that customers interact with after their purchase decision (see Lemke et al. , 2011 ). Thus, service researchers and practitioners seeking to understand and design high-quality journeys can benefit from journey constructs that capture the functional and operational interdependencies between touchpoints comprising the service process (e.g. Tax et al. , 2013 ; Rawson et al. , 2013 ; Dhebar, 2013 ).

Extant service research offers valuable methods for analyzing and designing the composition of journeys, such as service blueprinting ( Bitner et al. , 2008 ), customer journey mapping ( Zomerdijk and Voss, 2010 ) and multilevel service design ( Patricio et al. , 2011 ), but it lacks the conceptual tools for assessing the quality of service journeys from the customer's viewpoint. This means that managers are missing the tools for measuring to what extent they succeed in designing their journeys for service delivery, and many service organizations continue measuring perceived service quality at particular touchpoints, or rely on simple aggregate measures, such as the Net Promoter Score. Research on customer experience (CX) also considers journeys, but CX measures predominantly focus on customers' perceptions of their overall experience with a brand (e.g. Brakus et al. , 2009 ) or a firm during the purchase process ( Kumar et al. , 2014 ; Kuppelwieser and Klaus, 2021 ), offering limited insights on the touchpoints related to service delivery and consumption that are critical for service-intensive contexts.

Against this background, the purpose of this paper is to conceptualize service journey quality (SJQ), develop measures for the construct and study its customer outcomes . Service journey refers to the process or sequence that a customer goes through to access and use a particular service (cf. Tueanrat et al. , 2021 ; Følstad and Kvale, 2018 ; Voorhees et al. , 2017 ). This study adopts a discovery-oriented approach for conceptualizing SJQ ( Zaltman et al. , 1982 ). First, by synthesizing extant theory (e.g. Homburg et al. , 2017 ; Lemon and Verhoef, 2016 ) and field-based insights from customer focus group discussions, we define SJQ as the degree to which customers perceive the combination of provider-owned service process touchpoints functioning as a (1) seamless, (2) coherent and (3) personalized whole. Second, by building upon the definition and insights from the qualitative study, we develop measures for the SJQ constructs using survey data ( N  = 278) from consumers in the financial services context. Third, we demonstrate the nomological validity and practical relevance of the SJQ constructs by linking them to service quality and customer loyalty using a second survey dataset ( N  = 239) from the financial industry.

This study makes three key contributions. First, the developed conceptualization and measure for SJQ advances extant service research that has, for nearly a decade, highlighted the critical role of journeys (e.g. Zomerdijk and Voss, 2010 ; Ostrom et al. , 2015 ), but offered scant insight into what constitutes the quality of a journey in a service-intensive context. This study develops service process-focused SJQ constructs that capture the key aspects of functional service journeys, putting the emphasis on customer perceptions of the interdependencies between journey touchpoints rather than on individual encounters or the overall evaluation of a firm, thereby complementing current constructs in the area of customer journeys and experience (e.g. Lemke et al. , 2011 ; Kuehnl et al. , 2019 ). Second, this study provides rare empirical support for the notion that the journey quality is a critical driver of customer performance in contemporary service businesses (e.g. Lemon and Verhoef, 2016 ). Specifically, we demonstrate that service journey seamlessness, personalization and coherence are central drivers of customer loyalty intentions. Third, the study clarifies the nomological network of service journeys by providing new insights about the theoretical mechanisms through which journey quality affects loyalty. Earlier research has pointed out that the link between journey quality and loyalty is primarily due to improved brand attitudes ( Kuehnl et al. , 2019 ). Our results show that in service-intensive contexts, the journey-loyalty relationship can furthermore be partially explained through improved service quality perceptions. Since the service quality's mediation effect is only partial, we encourage future research to study more closely the role of other alternative mediators, such as customer experience, in linking SJQ to customer loyalty ( Lemon and Verhoef, 2016 ; Becker and Jaakkola, 2020 ). All in all, this research provides new measures for service design, service management and customer experience research, as well as for managers who wish to set goals, understand and develop their performance in service journeys as a strategic priority.

This paper is organized as follows. The next section outlines the key literature streams that offer the conceptual building blocks for SJQ. The subsequent sections report the empirical research conducted; we first conceptualize SJQ and its key dimensions by synthesizing theory-based views and field-based insights into SJQ, second, develop measures for the construct and finally demonstrate its nomological and predictive validity. The final sections outline the study's theoretical and managerial implications.

2. Conceptual underpinnings of service journey quality

The research that can be drawn from to conceptualize service journey quality is fragmented in multiple literature streams. In the service context, many of the dealings between customers and providers take place after the actual purchase decision has been made as the realization of a service offering often involves both parties. SJQ is hence best understood through literature streams that tackle the various stages of the process that consumers go through when accessing and consuming a service.

Table 1 outlines the key literature fields that offer insight into SJQ. The service management and service design research discuss high-quality service delivery processes; customer experience studies identify strategic journey-related goals for service providers and channel management research provides insights on the design and deployment of diverse channels for effective service processes.

The traditional service management literature has highlighted that customers' quality perceptions are affected not only by what they receive as an outcome of the service but critically also by the functional performance of the service process ( Grönroos, 1984 ). This research has mainly focused on the quality of the core service delivery taking place during the service encounter ( Voorhees et al. , 2017 ), typically examining customer perceptions of either a firm's service excellence at one point in time or their overall experience with the firm (e.g. Parasuraman et al. , 1991 ; Brady and Cronin, 2001 ). The studies considering the service encounter's processual nature have analyzed how positive service outcomes are affected by a particular phase or event of the service process ( Stauss and Weinlich, 1997 ; Verhoef et al. , 2004 ; Sivakumar et al. , 2014 ) or the customer relationship ( Dagger and Sweeney, 2007 ). In other words, service management research mostly focuses on individual service encounters or overall service quality rather than on the journey elements that support the functioning of the service process as a whole.

The literature on service design focuses on the customer-centered innovation of new services by emphasizing the user experience, suggesting methods for analyzing customer journeys and aligning the partners in service delivery (e.g. Karpen et al. , 2017 ; Steen et al. , 2011 ; Yu and Sangiorgi, 2018 ). Methods such as service blueprinting emerged as an attempt to gain a broader view of the service process that comprises both joint service encounters and the steps customers take outside the service setting ( Bitner et al. , 2008 ). Subsequent service design studies have expanded the analysis to include complex systems that customers and users navigate to fulfill their needs (e.g. Patricio et al. , 2011 ; Tax et al. , 2013 ). This stream highlights the importance of designing the journey in a holistic manner and incorporating the entire service delivery network to ensure a consistent service experience (e.g. Tax et al. , 2013 ). Yet, the emphasis lies on offering tools for mapping and developing customer journeys, and these studies do not offer constructs for measuring service journey quality from the customer's perspective.

Customer experience research highlights the importance of journeys by defining the customer experience as “customers' nondeliberate, spontaneous responses and reactions to offering-related stimuli along the customer journey” ( Becker and Jaakkola, 2020 ). Research on customer experience management (CEM) focuses on sellers' activities for strategically designing and managing experiences throughout the customer journey. Homburg et al. (2017) found that best-practice firms have four strategic goals for designing and improving customer journeys: (1) the thematic cohesion of touchpoints, (2) the consistency of touchpoints, (3) the context sensitivity of touchpoints and (4) the connectivity of touchpoints. Kuehnl et al. (2019) found evidence for the first three of these dimensions. These findings offer tentative insights into the relevant dimensions of SJQ. However, the CX research predominantly studies customer purchase journeys, and the only existing consumer-assessed journey design construct by Kuehnl et al. (2019) emphasizes brand-focused journey qualities relating to the brand experience, brand attitudes and customer loyalty. The CX stream has thus paid very limited attention to the functional and operational touchpoint interdependencies that are critical for service contexts ( Rawson et al. , 2013 ; Dhebar, 2013 ).

Finally, research on multichannel customer management addresses “the design, deployment, and evaluation of channels to enhance customer value through effective customer acquisition, retention, and development” ( Neslin et al. , 2006 , p. 96). Customer channels are the medium through which service providers communicate or interact with customers (e.g. call centers, e-mails, SMS, chats and face-to-face conversations) hence representing platforms for digital or human-served touchpoints ( Halvorsrud et al. , 2016 ; Sousa and Voss, 2006 ). The multichannel literature predominantly focuses on channel choice behavior, such as the drivers for online channel use (e.g. Melis et al. , 2015 ), an optimal mix of channels (e.g. Montoya-Weiss et al. , 2003 ) and the role of specific channels during particular phases of the purchase process (e.g. Verhoef et al. , 2007 ). In terms of SJQ, this stream contributes insights into channel properties that attract and guide customers, especially the importance of integrating channels to enable the easy transitioning from one channel to another (e.g. Montoya-Weiss et al. , 2003 ; Neslin et al. , 2006 ; Barwitz and Maas, 2018 ). However, as noted by Anderl et al. (2016) , channel studies tend to either focus on one single channel or consider the interplay of a few selected channels to understand the consumer's path to purchase. This literature reveals little about the quality of the combination of different types of touchpoints located within a range of channels as the focus lies on the channel strategies rather than on the functioning of the journey for service delivery.

As this literature review demonstrates, the issue of understanding and designing service journeys is relevant for many research streams, but the question as to what constitutes SJQ has not been explicitly addressed so far, and the research lacks valid measures on this topic. The research on service management and service design emphasizes the importance of gaining a customer view of the service process, but does not offer tools for understanding and measuring the functional quality of journeys. Customer experience and channel management research, in turn, focuses on the customer purchase journey and offers little insight into the interdependencies between post-purchase touchpoints that are critical for service delivery processes.

3. Conceptualization of service journey quality

To conceptualize SJQ, we applied a discovery-oriented research approach (e.g. Zaltman et al. , 1982 ). By adhering to this approach's established procedures, we build upon our initial insights from a literature review for a theory-based view and complement and refine it with a field-based view. The existing research offers a good basis for forming an initial, theory-based understanding of SJQ, but since existing studies have not addressed journeys specifically from a service process perspective, we conducted a qualitative study on consumers' perceptions of high-quality service journeys to (1) substantiate and (2) enhance and nuance the theory-based view. The conceptualization process was abductive in nature: we moved between theoretical concepts and empirical observations in an iterative fashion ( Dubois and Gadde, 2002 ), resulting in a synthesis of theory and qualitative insights that allowed us to define the SJQ construct and its key dimensions. The conceptual basis established in this phase also forms a robust foundation for the scale development process in the study's latter stages.

3.1 Theory-based view of service journey quality

The first step of the conceptualization process focuses on forming a theory-based view of the SJQ concept's key content. As our literature review demonstrates, research on service process quality and customer journeys can together offer tentative insights into SJQ. First, many studies stress the importance of designing the journey as a whole and integrating touchpoints such that the journey runs smoothly (e.g. Lemon and Verhoef, 2016 ; Homburg et al. , 2017 ; Sousa and Voss, 2006 ). However, due to the increasing functional and operational touchpoint interdependencies of the service processes, mere excellence in individual interactions may not be enough for successful service delivery if the service delivery touchpoints do not align and work in concert (see Rawson et al. , 2013 ).

Second, many authors highlight that touchpoints and their cues should be thematically consistent and coherent along the journey (e.g. Homburg et al. , 2017 ; Kuehnl et al. , 2019 ). Customers experience and evaluate service cues across touchpoints, and with an increasing number of channels and partners involved in service delivery, they may feel lost if the service touchpoints are very dissimilar (cf. Berry et al. , 2006 ).

Third, research emphasizes the individual and subjective nature of journeys, suggesting that they should be sensitive to customers ' individual needs and channel preferences (e.g. Barwitz and Maas, 2018 ; Patricio et al. , 2011 ). High-quality service delivery should therefore adapt to the needs of the individual customer throughout the whole service process (cf. Dhebar, 2013 ). These three themes – touchpoint integration, thematical coherence and sensitivity to individual customer needs – were adopted as the initial theory-based view for SJQ conceptualization, which was refined and complemented with empirical insights from service-intensive contexts.

3.2 A qualitative study for establishing a field-based view of service journey quality

Next, we conducted a qualitative study to generate an understanding of SJQ by drawing from human experiences ( Gioia et al. , 2013 ). Following Sharma and Conduit (2016) , we took the Gioia approach to first conduct open coding to identify themes emerging from data, to capture any SJQ aspects that are relevant for consumers' lived service experiences. In accordance with the abductive approach, we next integrated the first-order codes into second-order, theory-centric themes iterating between the data and the tentative conceptualizations derived from previous research ( Dubois and Gadde, 2002 ). The qualitative data thus served the purpose of substantiating and refining the theory-based view and formulating service process specific definitions for the tentative themes.

3.2.1 Data collection

We employed focus groups to capture consumer insights into SJQ. Focus groups are a suitable data collection means for explorative purposes because the method allows one to gain insights from a large number of individuals through nondirective inquiry strategies that result in a rich understanding of the studied phenomenon ( Flick, 2018 ). We organized nine focus groups of four or five consumers each, and the participants were both female and male and aged between twenty and forty years ( Table 2 ). The aim of selecting focus group participants was to facilitate the open sharing of views and understandings while ensuring that the generated data would be able to meet the research aim's requirements ( King et al. , 2019 ). The participants were university students with differing backgrounds, thus ensuring some common ground, yet a relatively broad range of views.

Each group discussed service journeys in one of the following service contexts: retail, hospitality, teleoperator and insurance services ( Table 2 ). Service delivery in these contexts often features multiple touchpoints, facilitating the gaining of a rich set of insights. The groups were asked to choose one of the four contexts, wherein each participant had some recent dealings. The participants were instructed to discuss their actual experiences of service processes in the chosen context by focusing on experiences they perceived as particularly positive or negative. The participants were asked to describe their service journeys and elaborate upon the aspects that they perceived as the root causes of their positive and/or negative perceptions of the service process. All these procedures aimed to elicit the recall and identification of critical SJQ dimensions in a nonobtrusive way.

3.2.2 Data analysis

Following the Gioia approach ( Gioia et al. , 2013 ), we conducted a thematic analysis on the data, starting with identifying any journey-specific themes mentioned by the focus group participants as relevant to their positive or negative past service experiences; this stage is akin to open coding as conducted in grounded theory ( Strauss and Corbin, 1990 ). Next, we compared and grouped the first-order codes to identify broader second-order themes related to journey quality aspects by iterating between the data and the tentative theory-based conceptualizations. The first-order analysis adhered to the informants' voices, while the second-order analysis developed a higher level of abstraction and used theory-driven insights to determine if and how the first-order themes may be connected and labeled to suggest concepts that explain the observed phenomenon ( Gioia et al. , 2013 ; cf. Sharma and Conduit, 2016 ).

3.3 Conceptualization: synthetizing theory-based view and empirical findings

By synthesizing previous research with findings from qualitative study, we define SJQ as the degree to which customers perceive the combination of provider-owned service process touchpoints functioning as a (1) seamless, (2) coherent and (3) personalized whole. With provider-owned touchpoints, we refer to touchpoints controllable by the service providers, i.e. brand- and partner-owned touchpoints ( Lemon and Verhoef, 2016 ). The rationale is that while modern multichannel service processes may involve a network of service providers and outsourcing partners ( Tax et al. , 2013 ), the customer nevertheless evaluates the process as a whole and often sees each touchpoint representing, and remaining the responsibility of the focal service provider, whether outsourced or not ( Kranzbühler et al. , 2019 ). Thus, the SJQ construct focuses on service delivery touchpoints that service providers are able to design and manage (see Becker and Jaakkola, 2020 ). We identify three key SJQ dimensions: seamlessness, personalization and coherence discussed in detail below.

I hit a car at the parking lot and called my insurance company. Their call center connected my call to the insurance payout services and also transferred my details since the person picking up already knew who I was and why I was calling! She told me what would happen next and helped me pick a repair shop. After the call, I got a text and an email with instructions to the repair shop, and the owner of the other car immediately got a call from my insurance company about his compensation, and I did not have to worry about it at all. (I2)
I had ordered from their online store but I could return items at the [physical] store…that was very convenient, not having to pack and send the clothes that did not fit. (R2)
I was trying to activate my new mobile phone subscription, but it was very difficult. I got a letter that instructed that I should register in one place, then confirm in another site, and then activate it in a third place! The salespersons gave totally different instructions. (T1)

These findings find support in existing research, pinpointing that journey touchpoints should be functionally integrated to enable a smooth end-to-end journey ( Homburg et al. , 2017 ). Edelman and Singer (2015) note that firms should streamline journeys so that customers are able to execute complex service processes quickly and easily; and Rawson et al. (2013) recommend shifting from siloed to cross-functional approaches in developing journeys. Combining the qualitative insights with extant research, we define journey seamlessness as the degree to which touchpoints are integrated allowing a customer ' s smooth transition between various service process touchpoints .

The [mobile phone] service provider sent me an ad to promote its special package for young adults; it looked trendy and playful. The firm was also present in our student event; they organized a funny game and gave away energy drinks…Even their sales reps were cool; they called themselves “social media ninjas”—so everything was about the trendy, bold, and youthful brand… (T1)
It is easy since every Ikea store is almost identical, and it feels the same since you can see Ikea colors all the time…their website looks like Ikea since there is blue and yellow. You also see yellow and blue signs in the stores, and you collect stuff in a yellow bag, and they pack them in a blue bag! (R1)
Different service employees had completely different styles of doing things...So their service principles seem to depend on who you happen to ask! (R3)

These findings resonate with the notion of brand cues' thematic cohesion and consistency across touchpoints (see e.g. Berry et al. , 2006 ; Kuehnl et al. , 2019 ). Previous research on customer experience management has indeed recommended that firms should systematically manage and orchestrate “experience clues” across various touchpoints ( Berry et al. , 2006 ; Zomerdijk and Voss, 2010 ). Synthesizing the qualitative insights with previous research, we define journey coherence as the degree to which service process touchpoints provide consistent experience cues .

We went to a big concert and stayed in a hotel close by. There were many concert attendees staying there, and the hotel had decided to extend the breakfast time the next morning so that we could sleep in after the concert! That seemed like excellent service. ( H2 )
I needed to file an application for compensation for a broken sink in my bathroom. I could've done that online, by phone, or by visiting their office, but I chose the mobile application since I like to do everything with my phone. (I1)
We were two families with small kids traveling together [on a cruise ship] and had booked family cabins. It was really convenient that all the family cabins were located along the same corridor, and party people were at the other end of the ship. Passengers with prams had their own entrance to the ship, and there was a ship mascot greeting us and handing coupons for free ice cream at the play area, our kids loved it! ( H1 )

Also previous research has noted the importance of designing touchpoints that are sensitive to the customer's situational context ( Homburg et al. , 2017 ; Kuehnl et al. , 2019 ), highlighting that customers should find the touchpoint architecture adaptive to their changing needs ( Dhebar, 2013 ). Combining the empirical and research insights, we define journey personalization as the degree to which the combination of service process touchpoints is tailored to fit the customer ' s preferences and situational context.

4. Service journey quality scale development

4.1 qualitative scale development procedure.

The conceptualization of SJQ enabled us to proceed into building measures for the construct. The scale development follows the established procedures for building new scales ( Churchill, 1979 ; MacKenzie et al. , 2011 ). Specifically, on the basis of the construct definitions and insights from the qualitative study, we built an initial indicator pool for all three SJQ constructs, coming up with 23 total indicators that have been designed to evenly reflect the key domain of each SJQ dimension. Next, we assessed the indicator content validity through a qualitative item-sort task test suggested by Anderson and Gerbing (1991) . Twelve senior scholars were asked to assign each scale item under one SJQ construct definitions or option “other” if it could not be accurately assigned to any one definition. All but one indicator received more than ten out of twelve correct responses, thereby passing the suggested threshold criterial of psa (>0.5) and csv (>0.7). When a reviewer felt unclear about or rated an item incorrectly, the indicator was carefully evaluated, and some wordings were consequently fine-tuned. Finally, we selected the six representative indicators from the item sort test for each dimension to sustain the final scale at a reasonable length – see Appendix for the final scale indicators.

4.2 Data collection for the scale validation

To validate the developed measure, we conducted a consumer survey concerning SJQ in financial services where the process of accessing and using the service typically involves a multitude of touchpoints in different channels. The data were collected in a centrally located downtown shopping center in a northern European town. We randomly approached adult customers and asked them to participate in an academic study that concerned their experiences with their primary financial service providers. We implemented a movie ticket draw as an incentive for consumers to participate and guaranteed full anonymity for each respondent and received N  = 278 responses. The data were deemed adequate for the initial scale validation purpose of the first survey study.

4.3 Assessment of the SJQ scale validity and reliability

The SJQ scale validity was assessed based on confirmatory factor analysis using AMOS 24 software. The initial analysis of the proposed three-factor SJQ model with 18 indicators led to the elimination of two items from the seamlessness construct due to problems with discriminant validity. The elimination of problematic items is possible since the reflective indicators are interchangeable and because the construct is unchanged when an indicator is removed ( Bollen and Lennox, 1991 ). A purified three-dimensional model with 16 items demonstrated a satisfactory fit. The chi-square statistic was significant (222.4; p  = 0.00), but the critical ratio of the chi-square over degrees of freedom was close to 2 ( χ 2 /df = 2.2), thus indicating a reasonable fit. The central fit indices provide support for the scale validity: goodness of fit index (GFI) = 0.91; comparative fit index (CFI) = 0.95; Tucker–Lewis index (TLI) = 0.94; standardized root mean residual (SRMR) = 0.042 and root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.066 [0.054; 0.078] (c.f. Hu and Bentler, 1999 ). All indicator loadings were above 0.70 and significant at p  < 0.01. Figure 1 summarizes the CFA results.

The Fornell and Larcker (1981) test further supports the discriminant validity because the average variance extracted (AVE) values for all constructs exceeded 0.50, and the squared AVE values of each construct exceeded correlations with other constructs. Construct reliabilities were also satisfactory, as all Cronbach's alpha and composite reliability values were higher than 0.70 (see Table 3 for scale details).

Finally, we compared the proposed three-dimensional model against alternative models, including a null model, a single-factor SJQ model and three two-dimensional SJQ models, to further assess the dimensionality of the construct. All alternative models had poor fit (see Table 4 ), thereby supporting the proposed three-dimensional conceptualization of SJQ. All in all, the initial scale validation stage provided support for the validity and reliability of the scales.

5. Nomological and predictive validity of SJQ

5.1 research model and hypotheses.

The study's final stage focused on testing the nomological and predictive validity of each SJQ construct. For this purpose, we identified the two seminal constructs of customer loyalty and service quality from earlier service research, which are conceptually related to SJQ. Figure 2 below presents this study's research model. Next, we discuss the research model and its hypotheses as well as justify the use of composite constructs to test the hypotheses.

Service journey quality has a positive relationship with customer loyalty.

Service journey quality has a positive relationship with service quality.

The relationship between service journey quality and customer loyalty is partially mediated by service quality.

5.2 Use of composite constructs in the research model

Theoretical constructs are not per se multidimensional or unidimensional, but can usually be operationalized either way, thus representing various levels of theoretical abstraction ( Law et al. , 1998 ). SJQ and service quality represent two theoretically distinctive, although complex concepts in the research model, as both possess multiple unique dimensions. Against this background, both constructs can be meaningfully operationalized at a higher level of abstraction by means of second-order composite constructs ( Hair et al. , 2017 ). The use of hierarchical component models offers two important benefits for this study. First, they can notably reduce model complexity by decreasing the number of relationships in the full mediation model, thereby increasing parsimony ( Hair et al. , 2017 , p. 281). Second, although all studied SJQ and service quality constructs are independent by nature, they are likely to correlate with one another due their conceptual closeness concerning quality in service business settings. Establishing a higher-order structure can reduce potential collinearity issues ( Hair et al. , 2017 , p. 281).

Research should always carefully consider specification of the studied constructs because model misspecification can severely bias structural parameter estimates and lead to inappropriate conclusions about the hypothesized relationships between constructs ( Jarvis et al. , 2003 ). We argue that SJQ and service quality are best modeled as first-order reflective, second-order formative (Type II) composite constructs. We build this argument upon the following four criteria that define whether a construct is more efficiently measured by a reflective or formative perspective: (1) causality between the construct and its dimensions, (2) interchangeability of the dimensions, (3) covariation among the dimensions and (4) whether or not all dimensions have the same antecedents and consequences (cf. Jarvis et al. , 2003 , p. 203). The qualitative study suggests that the three SJQ dimensions form the overall level of the construct rather than a uniformly reflect the construct as dropping one dimension would alter the SJQ's conceptualization. Similarly, the dimensions can but are not required to correlate since a service firm might score high in seamlessness, but at the same time fail to provide personalized service encounters. Finally, one may logically expect that the various independent dimensions can have different drivers and outcomes.

5.3 Data collection

The data collection for testing the research model was conducted in collaboration with a Northern European bank that is classified as the second-largest bank in the country wherein the study was conducted. The bank provided us access to its consumers in one of its branches and drew a sample of 4,757 customers from its customer base. A customer experience-labeled survey was sent to the customers in the university's name as an academic survey. A movie ticket draw was used to incentivize the selected customers to participate in the study. All responses were highlighted to be fully confidential, and the respondents were guaranteed full anonymity for their responses. The data collection with two reminders led to N  = 239 customer responses. The respondents' characteristics are summarized in Table 5 .

5.4 Measures

We employed established scales for all the constructs in the research model. Specifically, we measured customer loyalty using the scale by Zeithaml et al. (1996) , service quality with the measure developed by Cronin and Taylor (1992) and SJQ with the developed scale. In addition, since the study relied on a single-respondent design, we included a common method variance (CMV) marker variable to the questionnaire. For this purpose, we used an a-priori “Consumer Orientation Toward Sporting Events” scale developed by Pons et al. (2006) with four indicators and no nomological relationship with other study constructs, as recommended by the established guidelines ( Lindell and Whitney, 2001 ; Chin et al. , 2013 ).

5.5 Analytical procedures

Since the maximum-likelihood-based SEM is problematic for testing models with formative constructs, we analyzed the research model with PLS modeling using the SmartPLS3.0 software ( Hair et al. , 2012 ). This method is closely suited to studies that build upon formative constructs and complex models with higher-order constructs and mediation effects. We implemented the guidelines established by Hair et al. (2012) to estimate the research model. The modeling of second-order composite constructs follows the guidelines of Becker et al. (2012) as well as Cadogan and Lee (2013) . Specifically, the simulation study conducted by Becker et al. (2012) demonstrates that reflective-formative, hierarchical type II constructs are most effectively modeled by the repeated indicator approach, path weighting scheme and mode B measurement. We further tested the SJQ construct's relationship with the second-order formative service quality construct through its lower-order dimensions (see Figure 2 ), which represents a conceptually superior way to estimate antecedent relations for formative constructs ( Cadogan and Lee, 2013 ). To account for the total effects on service quality, the explained variance in each dimension was multiplied by its weight, and the individual contributions of each dimension were added together ( Becker et al. , 2012 ). The statistical significance of the PLS parameter estimates were tested with a bootstrapping procedure based on 5,000 subsamples. For clarity, we estimated the research model in two parts; we first estimated a simple baseline model with exclusively direct relationships between SJQ and customer loyalty and second, estimated a full model with the service quality construct as a mediator.

5.6 Common method variance

Because the study relies on a single-respondent design, common method variance (CMV) must be taken into account. We relied on both procedural and statistical approaches to assess and control CMV as recommended by Podsakoff et al. (2003) . The procedural means include respondents' guaranteed anonymity, careful scale item development for added clarity and the use of different scale anchors for IV and DV. We also used several statistical means to assess CMV. First, Harman's single-factor test produced seven factors with eigenvalues greater in an un-rotated factor analysis and no single factor explained above 50% of the covariance. Second, we applied Lindell and Whitney's (2001) partial correlation technique to assess the magnitude of CMV effects in construct correlations. Importantly, the marker variable was found to have low (0.06–0.12) and insignificant relationships with other study constructs (see Table 6 ), while the specific data analysis procedures (see Lindell and Whitney, 2001 ) did not exhibit any substantial changes in their correlation coefficients or their significance when controlling for the CMV marker variable. Finally, we applied a measured latent marker variable approach when testing our research model, which has been proven to effectively detect and correct CMV in a PLS analysis (see Chin et al. , 2013 ). Specifically, our full research model includes separate CMV marker variables for all constructs in the model (see Figure 2 ). All marker variable paths were again close to zero and insignificant (see Table 7 for full details). Importantly, the marker variable's inclusion in the model did not change path coefficients or significances; overall, the results indicate that a common method bias is not a major problem for this study.

5.7 Testing the research model and hypotheses

We began testing the research model by assessing the scale validities and reliabilities. The outer model results show that all standardized indicator loadings exceeded the recommended threshold of 0.70 and were all significant at the p  < 0.01 level (see Appendix ). The construct reliabilities were supported, as all Cronbach's alpha and composite reliability values were higher than 0.70. Convergent and discriminant validity were supported because all AVEs were higher than 0.50 and because the AVE's square root exceeded the construct correlations (see Table 6 for scale details). The scale correlations were high, although closely aligned with earlier service quality research findings that have found key service quality constructs and customer performance outcomes to be tightly interrelated ( Brady and Cronin, 2001 ; Dagger and Sweeney, 2007 ). The correlations are also theoretically meaningful since all the studied constructs measured diverse aspects of service performance, including service journey quality, overall service quality and customer loyalty. Finally, a separate test of PLS cross-loadings confirmed that all indicators loaded highest on the construct that they were intended to measure ( Hair et al. , 2012 ).

The inner model evaluation also supported the quality of the model. We examined VIF values of the first-order constructs in relation to higher-order formative constructs and concluded that all values were below the suggested threshold of 5 ( Hair et al. , 2012 ).

The structural model results provide support for all three hypotheses. First, the direct effect model confirms that the developed SJQ measure has a strong, positive relationship with customer loyalty, thus supporting H1 (see Table 7 ). Specifically, the second-order SJQ construct had a path coefficient of 0.76** for loyalty in the direct effect model, thus explaining 60% of its variance. All first-order dimensions had positive and significant weights: personalization (0.40**), coherence (0.38**) and seamlessness (0.29*), thus supporting the predictive validity of all three dimensions for customer performance. The first-order path coefficients to the second-order constructs can be interpreted similarly to formative indicator weights – that is, by indicating the relative contribution of the lower-order construct to the higher-order construct while predicting outcomes in the studied nomological network ( Becker et al. , 2012 ).

Second, the full structural model results support the second hypothesis that SJQ is a central enabler of service quality in today's complex business environment. Interestingly, SJQ was positively related to all dimensions of service quality: reliability (0.85**), assurance (0.73**), tangibles (0.68**), empathy (0.65**) and responsiveness (0.57**). Yet, only two first-order dimensions of service quality contributed significantly to the second-order construct when predicting loyalty. By calculating the total indirect effects ( Becker et al. , 2012 ), SJQ explains 53% of the variance in service quality.

Third, the full mediation model results also support the partial mediation of H3 because the relationship between SJQ and customer loyalty became weaker, yet remained significant when controlling for the service quality mediation link. A separate, bootstrapping-based Preacher Hayes mediation analysis confirms the significance of the hypothesized partial mediation (see Table 8 ).

Specifically, when controlling for the service quality link, SJQ's direct effect on customer loyalty (0.26**) remained substantial and highly significant. SJQ also had a strong indirect effect (0.50**) on customer loyalty through the service quality link. Interestingly, SJQ's total effect on loyalty (0.76**) due to its direct and indirect effects was stronger than service quality's effect on loyalty (0.58**). Finally, a closer look at the dimension weights of the second-order constructs provides insight into the relative importance of the dimensions in the broader nomological network. When broadening the study focus to the full research model with both service quality and loyalty as dependent variables, the SJQ dimension weights slightly changed as the relative impact of personalization (0.56**) and seamlessness (0.28**) became more important compared to coherence (0.21*). In line with earlier findings in banking contexts (see Bloemer et al. , 1998 ; Choudhury, 2013 ), reliability (0.70**) is the dominating dimension of service quality when predicting customer loyalty. Beyond reliability, the tangibles (0.18*) represent the only other significant 2nd order service quality dimension.

6. Contributions and implications

6.1 theoretical implications.

This research responds to calls for the development of a more thorough understanding of what makes service journeys excellent and supportive of superior customer outcomes ( Ostrom et al. , 2015 ), as well as to the managerial need for easily applicable tools for measuring performance in service delivery through complex journeys. The customer journey is considered a key concept for understanding the emergence of customer experiences (e.g. Lemon and Verhoef, 2016 ), but extant research has overlooked the development of this concept to fully capture the essence of service processes. This paper informs research and managerial practice by conceptualizing SJQ, developing measures for the construct and studying its relationship with service quality and customer loyalty. Extant journey research spans various literature fields ( Table 1 ), thus rendering the findings relevant for many areas of service research. This study makes three main contributions, which are discussed in detail below.

First, the conceptualization and measure development for SJQ offers researchers constructs that capture the key aspects of functional customer journeys from the service process point of view. This contributes to the service management and experience research by moving the focus from individual encounters or overall service or brand evaluations (e.g. Parasuraman et al. , 1991 ; Brakus et al. , 2009 ; Lemke et al. , 2011 ; Kumar et al. , 2014 ) to the potentially multichannel and multiprovider service journeys as whole. As such, the SJQ construct provides a modern service quality tool that tackles service delivery through complex journeys, whose quality cannot be exclusively understood as an aggregate sum of individual service encounters ( Rawson et al. , 2013 ). For service design research, the SJQ construct offers a set of concrete goals for designing journeys to ensure that cues and touchpoints operate in concert and allow for personalized configurations, and it enables the measuring of to what degree these designed journey qualities are achieved. For customer experience research, SJQ offers a journey conceptualization that captures the key elements that affect CX formation in service-intensive contexts. This supports customer experience management ( Homburg et al. , 2017 ) and complements the constructs developed by Kuehnl et al. (2019) that link brand-focused journey qualities to brand attitudes, brand experiences and loyalty, but scarcely address the operational and functional touchpoint interdependencies relevant for service processes. For multichannel customer management research, the SJQ construct provides a tool for analyzing the performance of channel integration in service-intensive contexts, complementing the existing journey perspective that is purchase-process focused.

This study's second contribution is in confirming that SJQ is a critical driver of customer performance in contemporary service businesses. Specifically, we demonstrate that service journey seamlessness, personalization and coherence act as central drivers for both perceived service quality and customer loyalty intentions. The positive connection between the quality of journeys and service quality is intuitive, yet no earlier study has demonstrated this link. This study's findings indicate that customers' overall service quality assessments are affected by their perceptions of how successfully various service delivery touchpoints operate in concert. This link is evident even though many service quality dimensions focus on personal interactions at a single encounter. It is likely that encounters at earlier stages of the service journey build expectations that affect the customer's interpretation of later service encounters. In other words, high-quality journeys reduce negative surprises and enable the consistent meeting of customer expectations, which builds better service quality perceptions. Thus, this study demonstrates that SJQ represents an important service quality enabler and provides evidence for the assumption that, in today's multichannel, digitalized markets, service excellence warrants the perfection of service journeys (cf. Halvorsrud et al. , 2016 ; Lemon and Verhoef, 2016 ). This finding is underscored by the empirical finding that SJQ has a stronger total effect on customer loyalty than on service quality.

Finally, this study contributes to the existing literature by clarifying the nomological network of service journeys and the theoretical mechanisms through which journey quality affects loyalty. Our findings reveal that service quality mediates the direct relationship between SJQ and customer loyalty. In other words, improved service quality represents a central mechanism that explains why high-quality journeys can help secure more loyal customers. This result complements earlier studies that have attributed the link between journey quality and loyalty primarily to improved brand attitudes ( Kuehnl et al. , 2019 ). However, this mediation is merely partial, thus indicating that SJQ contributes to customer loyalty above and beyond service quality when controlling for the mediation link. This finding is of great importance because it indicates that the relationship between SJQ and customer loyalty cannot be explained by improved service quality perceptions alone, but there may be other potential mediators as well, such as customer experience (see Lemon and Verhoef, 2016 ; Becker and Jaakkola, 2020 ). This proposition is discussed further in the implications for future research section.

In sum, this research provides new measures for service research, as well as for managers who wish to set goals, understand and develop their performance in service journeys. This study is among the first to develop the concept of service journeys to capture the nature of the process customers go through to access and use offerings in service-intensive contexts, in order to complement the customer journey concept that is predominantly anchored in the consumer decision-making process. In doing so, this study helps organize the pieces of the customer experience and journey puzzle by clarifying and nuancing the nomological network of some of these key concepts of contemporary service research.

6.2 Managerial implications

Contemporary service businesses rely increasingly on numerous interconnected online and personal service delivery channels, as well as diverse partners, in providing a service. This means that firms need to consider and manage various expectational, operational and functional interdependencies between various service delivery touchpoints ( Dhebar, 2013 ). While service design tools, such as blueprinting, have been developed to help in designing functional service journeys, very few tools have been developed for assessing the quality of service journeys from the customer's viewpoint. This is problematic because measuring perceived service quality at individual touchpoints says little about the quality of the service process as a whole, and simple aggregate measures, such as the Net Promoter Score, do not reveal the cause of customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. This study develops constructs to assess customer-perceived SJQ and provides empirical evidence for the relevance of high-quality service journeys, demonstrating that consumers' SJQ perceptions drive both service quality and customer loyalty. These findings indicate that service providers should invest in the development and monitoring of SJQ instead of just focusing on individual service encounters or overall satisfaction.

Specifically, our results highlight that service journey quality from the customer's perspective is determined by the three key dimensions of journey seamlessness, coherence and personalization. These SJQ dimensions provide managers concrete goals in designing their service journeys. First, journey seamlessness requires that the various provider and partner-controlled touchpoints along the service process are integrated and aligned so that the customer can smoothly transition between the touchpoints, whether outsourced or not. Second, journey coherence can be achieved by thematically integrating all touchpoints and the related “experience cues” to provide a consistent impression of the firm or the brand throughout all service encounters. Third, journey personalization stresses the tailoring of the combination of service process touchpoints to fit the customer's service delivery preferences and the customer's situation. Firms can use the SJQ measures developed in this study to analyze, monitor and develop the quality of their service journeys, as well as to set collaboration and quality goals for partners (see Appendix ).

The three SJQ dimensions can also be used to analyze the functionality of customer relationship models for different customer segments that typically follow distinct journeys (e.g. when customer segments are served through different service channels). Measuring SJQ perceived by different customer segments helps the internal benchmarking of journeys, in order to reveal potential pain points in different journeys and improve performance, particularly for mass segments wherein the customers navigate their journeys independently. We also urge companies to assess whether or not SJQ might be a source of differentiation and thereby a competitive advantage in their industry and to develop their journeys accordingly.

6.3 Limitations and implications for future research

This study naturally has some limitations. Noteworthy is that the SJQ construct does not capture social and customer-owned touchpoints that are outside a firm's influence ( Lemon and Verhoef, 2016 ; Becker et al. , 2020 ), but instead focuses on provider- and partner-owned touchpoints, i.e. the parts of the journey that firms can seek to manage ( Becker and Jaakkola, 2020 ). Furthermore, as the SJQ construct focuses on the quality of the service process, it does not cover what the customer receives as the outcome of the service. Therefore, when the aim is to study both technical and functional quality ( Grönroos, 1984 ), the SJQ construct should be used together with complementary measures.

While the conceptualization builds upon a broad empirical basis that includes a qualitative study and two quantitative studies, further research related to the SJQ construct's nomological network is needed. This study has identified initial evidence that service journey quality predicts customer loyalty, but those findings were based on a single-respondent study design with subjective performance measures. Future research should confirm the findings using stronger research designs with objective performance measures and multiple-respondent study designs. Also, since the quantitative study findings are based on data exclusively from the financial sector, future research should investigate the relative importance of the construct dimensions and test the results' generalizability in other empirical contexts. We assume that the developed measure is applicable across service-intensive industries, but this assumption warrants further research. Researchers could study not only brand-focused contexts, such as tourism and hospitality but also contexts such as healthcare, public services, and B2B settings, wherein more functional interdependencies between touchpoints should be a key. Future studies could also examine the SJQ construct's application to experience-centric and hedonic versus mundane services, as well as to different types of journeys.

We call for a systematic research effort that focuses on SJQ and its antecedents, outcomes, mediators and moderators. Various areas of service research – including service management, service design and customer experience management – should more closely study which marketing activities drive seamless, coherent and personalized service journeys. On the outcome side, future research should study SJQ's effects on objective performance and examine whether or not improved customer experience also mediates the performance link. The role of experiential outcomes is emphasized by the study finding that the SJQ-loyalty link is not fully mediated by service quality improvements. Since customer experience refers to customers' nondeliberate, spontaneous responses and reactions to offering-related stimuli along the customer journey ( Becker and Jaakkola, 2020 ), high-quality service journeys should logically be connected to positive customer experiences. Due to the complexity of the customer experience phenomenon, its measurement is challenging. Advances in this area can offer the means to study the suggested experience link in more detail (e.g. the EXQ measure by Kuppelwieser and Klaus, 2021 ), in order to clarify whether and how service journey quality relates to customer experiences. Finally, we call for research attention on the key moderators – that is, those conditions that either strengthen or weaken SJQ's antecedent and outcome sides in different contexts.

the service journey

Confirmatory factor analysis of the three-factor SJQ scale

the service journey

Research model

Connection of the Service Journey Quality concept to extant journey literature

Focus groups

Scale properties and correlations – scale validation sample 1

Respondent characteristics

Scale details for the full research model

Scale details

Note(s) : a Seven-point Likert-scale, anchored by 1- “strongly disagree” and 7- “strongly agree”

b Seven-point rating scale concerning likelihood, anchored by 1- “very unlikely”, 7- “very likely”

c Deleted items

* p  < 0.01

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Zaltman , G. , LeMasters , K. and Heffring , M. ( 1982 ), Theory Construction in Marketing: Some Thoughts on Thinking , John Wiley and Sons , New York .

Zeithaml , V.A. , Berry , L.L. and Parasuraman , A. ( 1996 ), “ The behavioral consequences of service quality ”, Journal of Marketing , Vol. 60 No. 2 , pp. 31 - 46 .

Zomerdijk , L.G. and Voss , C.A. ( 2010 ), “ Service design for experience-centric services ”, Journal of Service Research , Vol. 13 No. 1 , pp. 67 - 82 .

Corresponding author

About the authors.

Elina Jaakkola is Professor of Marketing at Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland. Her research interests focus on value creation, customer/actor engagement, customer experience, service innovation, and knowledge intensive business services and solutions. Her research has been published in a wide range of journals and book chapters, for example Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Service Research, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Service Management, Journal of Business Research, and AMS Review.

Harri Terho is Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Fellow in Marketing at Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland. His research interests focus on value creation in business markets, selling and sales management, the role of technology in marketing and sales, as well as B2B customer experiences and journeys. His research has been published in Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, and Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing among others.

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Website 101: Exploring the Service Journey

the service journey

By now, you’ve probably heard about the Service Journey, a new way Lions Clubs International is thinking about service. Lions have been serving their communities faithfully for more than 100 years—so what is it about our service that has stood the test of time? In a world of increasing need, can we increase our service to keep up? And can we do it even better?

The Service Journey is the way we’re addressing these questions—and, hopefully, answering them. To better understand the Service Journey and how it can support your vision and passion to make a difference, is a great place to get started.

The Service Journey webpage on provides a high-level overview of what the journey is all about, focusing on four distinct phases: Learn, Discover, Act and Celebrate.

As a  Lion, you’re constantly learning—increasing your understanding of your community, your world, and the needs that face them. Deepen your awareness of these critical challenges by exploring our five global causes : diabetes, vision, hunger, the environment, and childhood cancer.

Everyday experience tells us that learning inspires creative thinking. We’re constantly looking for ways to apply what we’ve learned to our own context. Clubs looking to inspire and expand their impact with new insight can click through to the Service Toolkit , a collection of five resources designed to help clubs assess, position and spring into action. From the Club & Community Needs Assessment to the Developing Local Partnerships guide, the toolkit is a great way to take your exciting next step in the journey of service.

Lions and Leos are people of action—it’s what our organization is known for. Once we’ve understood a challenge and discovered ways to overcome it, we’re ready to do something about it. If that describes you and your club, then be sure to check out the Service Launchpad , an interactive tool that will connect you with planning resources to help you serve the causes you care about. After asking you a few questions, the launchpad will show you an array of Service Project Planners that meet your criteria.

We take joy in service. Celebration has always been a value of our organization’s journey through the decades, and we have no intention of stopping. Serving humanity in more than 200 countries, we take pride in the unique expressions of kindness found in each member and club around the world. It’s because of this rich diversity that we share our stories and report our impact —to build unity, inspire our communities and show the world how we’re making a difference. Click through to read our service stories when you visit the Service Journey page.

Remember, there are tons of ways you can get to know the Service Journey and explore how it might fit into your own expression of service. The Service Journey page is a fantastic place to get started.  

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Taylor Birkey is a creative lead at Lions Clubs International.

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Service blueprint vs. journey map

CJM in Miro

Table of Contents

Understanding journey maps.

A journey map is a visual representation of a customer's experience with a product or service over time. Creating a customer journey map is pivotal in business because it enables a comprehensive understanding of the customer's perspective, encompassing interactions, emotions, and pain points. A journey map consists of stages, touchpoints, and channels, and may be used in real-world scenarios like understanding the user experience on an e-commerce platform.

Understanding Service Blueprints

A service blueprint, on the other hand, is a tool used to visualize the service delivery process from the customer's and service provider's perspectives. It is essential in a business context as it aids in identifying potential problem areas in service delivery. Components of a service blueprint include customer actions, frontstage and backstage interactions, and support processes.

For example, a restaurant may use a service blueprint to streamline its order and delivery process. You can refer to the service blueprint template as an illustrative example that demonstrates how the service delivery process can be effectively visualized.

Service blueprint vs. journey maps and their importance

Journey maps and service blueprints are important tools for any profession that requires a deep understanding of customer experiences and the intricacies of service delivery.

They are especially valuable for those in roles related to customer experience management, product or service development, and process optimization. For instance, UX/UI Designers, Customer Experience Managers, Service Designers, and Product Managers frequently use these tools to understand and enhance user interactions with their products or services. Additionally, Business Analysts and Process Improvement Specialists use service blueprints to visualize and improve service delivery processes.

Service blueprints vs. journey maps: similarities

While journey maps and service blueprints each have their unique attributes, they share key similarities that reinforce their value in enhancing customer experience and service delivery.

Customer-centricity: Both tools center around optimizing the customer's experience with a product or service.

Visual representation: They use graphical elements to simplify complex interactions and processes.

Holistic approach: Each offers a comprehensive view of the customer journey or service process.

Basis for improvement: They highlight gaps and inefficiencies to guide service improvement initiatives.

Cross-functional collaboration: Both tools promote teamwork across departments within an organization.

Customer journey maps vs. service blueprint: differences

In understanding the nuances of a customer journey map vs. service blueprint, their key differences highlight their unique applications:

Perspective: A journey map zeroes in on the customer's perspective, while a service blueprint covers both the customer's viewpoint and backstage service delivery processes.

Focus: Journey maps trace the customer's experience over time, whereas service blueprints offer a comprehensive snapshot of the entire service process.

Service blueprints vs journey map: when to use them

Use a journey map when you need to understand the customer's emotional journey, needs, and pain points. When you want to optimize the whole service delivery process, considering both customer interactions and the behind-the-scenes activities, use a service blueprint.

Miro has both a customer journey mapping template and a service blueprint template that can help you get started.

Service blueprints vs journey map: benefits and limitations

Journey maps excel in providing insights into customers' emotions and experiences, while service blueprints provide a comprehensive view of the service process. However, journey maps might lack the details of the delivery process, and service blueprints might not capture the emotional aspect of the customer experience.

Questions to consider

When should my business use a journey map over a service blueprint? A business should use a journey map when the goal is to understand the customers' experiences, emotions, and interactions at each touchpoint.

Can journey maps and service blueprints be used together? Yes, journey maps and service blueprints can be used together to provide a comprehensive view of the customer experience and the service process.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when creating a journey map or a service blueprint? Common mistakes include not involving all stakeholders, not considering the customer's perspective, and overlooking important steps in the service process.

How often should my business update its journey map and service blueprint? The frequency of updates depends on changes in the business environment, customer behavior, or service process. However, regular reviews are recommended for continued relevancy.

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Service Blueprints vs. Journey Maps: differences & use cases

August 25, 2023

by Clockwork

service blueprints vs journey maps

Investment in customer experience drives customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and more. We use a few key tools to help our clients improve their customer experience—Service Blueprints and Journey Maps.

What are Service Blueprints and Journey Maps?

Before we delve into the differences and use cases, let’s get a grasp of what these tools are all about.

Service Blueprints

Service Blueprints visualize the service journey from both the customer’s and the employee’s perspective.

Service Blueprints consist of three layers:

  • Top layer: the steps and interactions the customer has while using the service.
  • Middle layer: the visible touchpoints where customers interact with the service provider.
  • Bottom layer: the behind-the-scenes processes and resources involved in delivering the service.

Journey Maps

A Journey Map is a visual representation of the entire customer journey, weaving together each touchpoint and interaction.

Unlike Service Blueprints, Journey Maps focus solely on the customers’ emotions, thoughts, and experiences at each stage of their journey. They are valuable tools for businesses to connect emotionally with customers and improve their experience.

Complementary tools

Service Blueprints and Journey Maps have the same goal of improving customer experience, but they use different methods to achieve it. Let’s dive into the key differences of these tools:

Depth of detail

Service Blueprints delve deep into the nitty-gritty of service delivery, mapping out internal processes, resources, and frontline interactions. They provide a detailed view of how the service operates from an organizational perspective.

Journey Maps show the overall customer experience, including emotions, problems, and happy moments at each interaction. Their strength lies in presenting a holistic, empathetic view of the customer’s experience.

Service Blueprints empower service designers, process managers, and frontline staff to streamline processes, optimize resources, and ensure seamless service delivery.

Journey Maps, on the contrary, are the perfect companions for customer experience strategists, marketers, and product designers. Understanding customers’ emotional highs and lows enables strategies that delight customers and earn their loyalty.

Service Blueprints are more quantitatively focused, allowing businesses to measure and analyze specific service metrics. This includes metrics like service efficiency, average handling time, and resource utilization.

On the other hand, Journey Maps offer a qualitative perspective by capturing the emotional and experiential aspects of the customer journey. Metrics like customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and customer loyalty metrics align with Journey Maps.

Now, let’s look at their real-world applications.

Service Blueprint use cases

Service Blueprints help optimize service efficiency and streamline internal processes by identifying bottlenecks and optimizing resource allocation. This empowers businesses to deliver services with speed and precision. Additionally, Service Blueprints support smooth integration of new services into existing processes and provide a consistent customer experience.

Service Blueprints also help businesses create effective training programs for frontline staff by showing how service delivery works. This ensures employees are well-equipped to provide exceptional service.

Journey Map use cases

Journey Maps display customer emotions throughout their journey. This helps businesses create products that meet customer desires and needs. Creating a customer journey map helps find and fix problems in the customer experience. Building strong customer relationships by understanding customers’ emotions throughout their journey helps companies build deeper connections and foster customer loyalty.

Service Blueprints and Journey Maps can support business leaders in creating great customer experiences . While Service Blueprints delve into the organizational intricacies of service delivery, Journey Maps focus on customers’ emotions, experiences, and motivations. Remember, both tools are equally essential to customer experience excellence.

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How to capture what the customer wants

Customers now have an unprecedented number of ways to engage with companies, from traditional channels to an ever-growing array of digital modes. Many organizations have responded by investing in digital channels, frequently in an effort to replace traditional modes of engagement. The thinking is that as customers become more technologically savvy, they favor digital channels, significantly reducing the need for live agents and thus saving significant costs. Many companies have expected to save more than 40 percent through reducing live contacts. Yet companies that take this approach often see their customer interactions increase rather than decline, despite significant efforts and resources.

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To understand what such companies got wrong in their omnichannel strategies, one needs look no further than digital leaders. Amazon, for example, has also built self-service and e-care capabilities, but with a key difference. Because self-service has thus far largely proven inadequate—that is, customers still often seek out a live agent on the phone—Amazon steers customers to the channels that are best suited to their preferences while also offering digital live interactions and company-initiated contact. So despite being a digital leader, Amazon has designed an omnichannel customer-care strategy in which live agents still figure prominently to handle complex requests, demonstrate empathy, and resolve issues quickly.

Companies seeking to keep pace with industry leaders must embark on an omnichannel transformation—one that views touchpoints not in isolation but as part of a seamless customer journey. And since customer journeys aren’t simple and linear but a series of handoffs between traditional and digital channels that can vary significantly by customer type, an effective strategy requires an in-depth understanding of what customers truly want. To design an omnichannel experience, companies should follow a sequential process composed of four essential components:

  • Setting the design principles based on an overarching omnichannel strategy.
  • Designing service journeys, ensuring that the end-to-end digital and live-contact journeys address identified customer needs and preferences and have clearly defined digital migration points.
  • Identifying foundational enablers to support the journeys, featuring multiskilled agents and best-practice contact-center operations to engage with customers live.
  • Defining the IT architecture with next-generation enabling technology to support a seamless omnichannel experience.

An omnichannel transformation is the only way for a company to address rising complexity, provide an excellent customer experience, and manage operations costs.

Critical insights to build successful omnichannel strategies

Our research on the future of customer care in 2017 reinforced the importance of omnichannel and digital and the key role that live channels play in creating an excellent experience. 1 For more on the future of customer care, see Jeff Berg and Julian Raabe, “ New technology means new value from contact centers ,” June 6, 2018. Many of the trends we highlighted, particularly the growing number of digital channels, have made the journey to omnichannel more arduous. Three trends in particular are reshaping successful approaches to customer care.

Digital channels have completely changed the ways that customers prefer to interact. Beyond the expectation that information and service will be accessible with a few keystrokes, customers have also become accustomed to engaging with companies through multiple channels. Many customers, for instance, use different channels to gather information on products and to make a purchase. Social media and chat are also rapidly gaining channel share. Companies that believed digital channels would reduce the volume of engagement and the number of touchpoints have been disappointed to find both often continue to increase.

Quality customer care is highly dependent on digital performance. Many companies have subpar digital capabilities that actually increase customer demand for engagement. Indeed, organizations that attempt to migrate customers to digital channels before they are fully ready can trigger the “boomerang effect,” in which customers can keep coming back to a company multiple times in an effort to resolve a problem. In our experience, trying to implement digital care channels prematurely can significantly increase both the number of transactions and the cost per transaction (Exhibit 1).

Individual touchpoints must be seen through the lens of the end-to-end customer journey. While companies can be tempted to focus on optimizing individual touchpoints, believing that the whole will automatically be greater than the sum of its parts, such targeted intervention can magnify variations in service and inconsistencies in other interactions. Moreover, no matter how successful specific tools are (for example, online self-service), companies that lack visibility into where customers are choosing to interact from touchpoint to touchpoint can still experience service breakdowns.

Customers still favor live agents for complex requests. In a British Telecommunications survey, 52 percent of respondents indicated they want to speak to a live agent when they are facing a crisis and need a solution to a problem with a product or service. Even 24 percent of customers looking to complete a routine task, such as paying a bill, sought out a live agent. 2 Nicola J. Millard, “Serving the digital customer 2017,” British Telecommunications, 2017. Companies with strategies that seek to minimize access to live agents at all costs often see lower customer satisfaction without reducing their overall customer-care expenses.

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These trends all conspire to make omnichannel customer care that much more complex. Live agents clearly are not going away; in fact, they are more important than ever for certain kinds of interactions. Digital channels can be invaluable when well executed and integrated, but they can also create issues and increase demand for live agents when poorly managed. Therefore, companies embarking on an omnichannel transformation must ensure that each channel, as well as handoffs across channels, are optimized for each customer interaction. To do that, they must seek to understand what customers truly care about on a granular level.

What really matters to customers

Conventional wisdom can be an insidious obstacle to improving customer care. Companies frequently assume they know what their customers care about. The result is that customer care often settles on standard approaches to resolving issues that aren’t based on actual customer needs and preferences. In general, customer expectations in service journeys fall into three categories:

  • Speed and flexibility, defined as minimum processing time, responsiveness, and needs-based service.
  • Reliability and transparency, including proactive outreach and communication.
  • Interaction and care, consisting of comprehensive competence, personal attention, empathy, and simplicity and clarity.

That said, not all customer expectations fall into predictable categories. Organizations should gather direct, up-to-date feedback from customers to understand what matters most to them. Additionally, not all of the above factors contribute equally to overall experience, so homing in on the most important factors or combination of factors is critical. One company, for example, made speed of issue resolution a top priority because customers were consistently complaining that its service was too slow. In response, customer care redesigned processes and made significant investments to enable agents to move more quickly. It was only when these moves didn’t translate to improved customer satisfaction that the executives realized they needed to get greater visibility into their customers to understand what combination of factors was at play.

An in-depth analysis of data and surveys uncovered some interesting insights (Exhibit 2): customers were dissatisfied when they received fast responses but little information on an issue. The real revelation was that customers were content with longer wait times—provided that they received regular updates and felt fully aware of why issues were taking longer to resolve.

Four steps to a successful omnichannel transformation

The sheer range of variables that customer-care functions must account for—not just on the customer side but also internally—can quickly become overwhelming. But by first establishing some parameters on what good looks like and setting priorities by customer segment, companies can gain clarity on where to direct resources.

1. Define strategy and design principles

Companies must develop a customer-service strategy, or set of principles, that encompasses not only a vision for how to deliver an excellent experience but also how these interactions should feel for their customers. These principles help companies design service journeys that strike the right balance of speed, transparency, and interaction within each channel and that achieve a successful interplay of digital and live channels. Such an approach can ensure that companies apply an omnichannel lens to each service journey rather than focusing on optimizing individual touchpoints (such as interactive voice response, chat, voice, and digital).

To apply an omnichannel lens to the service journey, companies must understand customers by their digital behavior and offer the right channels that best align with the interests of each segment. Not all customers are the same, and it’s how they differ in their behavior and preferences—particularly on digital—that should have an outsize influence on how service journeys are designed. Our research into digital customer experience identified four different personas, and each is receptive to different ways of being engaged.

Digital by lifestyle (23 percent). For these consumers, digital is fully integrated into their lives. They don’t perceive a separation between the digital and traditional worlds—that is, they use social media every day and tend not to watch traditional TV or read newspapers.

Digital by choice (35 percent). Individuals who enjoy the advantages that digital brings, such as Netflix, Skype, YouTube, online check-in for travel, and online banking transactions, have options for how they engage but opt primarily for digital channels.

Digital by need (25 percent). Digital is beyond the comfort zone of these consumers, who engage with digital channels only when necessary.

Offline society (17 percent). Individuals who live in the nondigital world and prefer personal contacts make up nearly one-fifth of all customers. They use bank branches, shop in brick-and-mortar stores, and typically do not use the internet.

Focusing on the right set of customers will help companies prioritize efforts and identify key attributes and characteristics that would motivate each group. Best practice is to design primary service for each segment, using contact volume distribution and persona profiles that differentiate by digital behavior to determine engagement strategies and the necessary investments in each channel (Exhibit 3). For customers who are more tech savvy, the goal might be to promote online self-service and automated tools for basic tasks such as payments and installation updates. Only a small percentage of contacts—around 10 percent—require a highly skilled live agent. These contacts include cancellation requests and complaints, interactions for which the right engagement can turn a potential issue into an opportunity to strengthen customer relationships.

2. Map service journeys

Once companies have gained greater visibility into customer personas, they can design end-to-end service journeys across digital and live channels. These journeys should take into account the migration of a customer across channels to ensure seamless handoffs. It’s also critical to note that customer preferences aren’t static; they will continue to evolve, sometimes in surprising ways, based on the channels at their disposal, demographic shifts, and other factors (such as the influence of digital leaders in raising customer expectations). Companies can use the principles to construct a vision of how the customer journeys would look three years from now in a fully omnichannel world and then develop ambitious solutions that can keep pace with this change.

Understanding the end state of the most important service journeys can help companies set goals accordingly. To start, companies must determine which service journeys are most important in terms of the cost of the journey to the organization, the complexity involved in improving the journey, and how important the journey is to the customer. Companies must also overcome entrenched thinking and assumptions; senior managers, for example, often believe that customer care should seek to resolve issues in one session. However, this perspective can overlook opportunities to strengthen customer relationships. Take the claims process in insurance: if a customer has a car accident, he might feel guilty and could look to agents for emotional support. If an insurer is too focused on first-call resolution and speed, the customer might come away with a negative view of the encounter—and, by extension, the insurer.

Companies should apply a “test fast and learn” methodology. Tactics such as design thinking and ideation sessions with customers can structure these interactions; industry best practices show that “customer-experience labs,” which are built like innovation centers with customers and employees jointly designing journeys, can support the quick implementation and live-testing of prototypes with customers. This rapid, iterative approach can be summed up as, “Test, fail, adapt.”

In addition, quantitative research (including customer surveys) and qualitative efforts (ethnographic research) can offer a comprehensive view of customer groups and segments and open executives’ eyes to customer needs. By conducting this process for the most important journeys, companies can piece the omnichannel experience together—including additional touchpoints, detailed personas, a deep understanding of pain points and delight moments, preferences, and trade-offs about channels.

A look at a typical e-commerce journey reinforces the importance of taking an omnichannel view (Exhibit 4).

A customer might begin online by researching products but then reach out to a live agent to get more information and inquire about inventory. After comparing prices online and through a mobile app, he or she purchases the product online. A call to a live agent to check on the order status confirms the package’s delivery time. When the customer decides to return the product, it sets off an additional round of contact with a live agent to manage the process. Since movement between channels has become a common occurrence, managing this movement seamlessly and providing a consistent experience are paramount to customer satisfaction.

This in-depth consideration of service journeys can enable companies to determine what capabilities they need across technology, people, and the organization.

3. Invest in foundational enablers

To design and implement an effective omnichannel strategy, companies must embrace a culture of customer orientation across all employers and managers. This commitment helps to guide the development of three foundational enablers. First, agile process redesign empowers customer-care managers and agents to move more nimbly, improve transparency, and ensure frontline processes and actions are aligned with overarching business objectives. 3 For more, see “ Bringing agile to customer care .” Agile methodologies create ownership for care groups, deepen their resolution skills, and establish appropriate incentives—all to accelerate progress on a customer-first, omnichannel experience. Companies should establish and test interaction models to confirm that they are providing a seamless experience across channels.

Second, the workforce must have the right service skill sets. An omnichannel transformation also requires a shift in mind-set, from one focused on execution to continuous improvement and problem solving. To support this shift, employees must also build new skills. Care agents who possess the range of skills to resolve the most complex issues are a critical component of the omnichannel model.

Last, these efforts all need to be supported by well-designed and efficient foundational capabilities, from automated measurement that enables a meaningful performance management to routing based on personal attributes, harnessing customer data using advanced analytics. 4 For more, see “ How advanced analytics can help contact centers put the customer first .”

Customer first: Personalizing the customer care journey

Customer First: Personalizing the Customer-Care Journey

Measurement and accountability are also critical to gauge the progress of these efforts. For example, lots of companies measure Net Promoter Score and customer satisfaction, among other metrics, at a company level, but this approach doesn’t highlight issues in specific parts of the customer journey. Therefore, measurement must be sufficiently frequent to identify patterns in customer engagement and granular to get an accurate picture of how customer care is performing at crucial interactions in each journey.

Accountability often requires companies to build a cross-functional team. Most companies are still organized by function, so improving a customer journey could involve operations, product development, the back office, legal, and compliance. These functions, when left to their own devices, typically focus on optimizing their area of the process rather than thinking about overall customer satisfaction. Providing an excellent customer experience across multiple touchpoints requires functions to coordinate their efforts more closely. Companies should set up a cross-functional team of senior managers that is responsible for improving the customer journey. They can then convene on a biweekly basis to determine how they can collaborate to reach the business’s goals instead of just focusing on their own function’s.

4. Build out IT architecture

The principles, service journeys, and functional enablers must be supported by an integrated IT architecture that can help to deliver a seamless experience. This architecture consists of the following elements:

Omnichannel desktop. Each agent’s command center integrates chat, cobrowsing, and email via applications. Routing and analyses efficiently direct complex requests to skilled agents, and chat and callback are offered via digital channels using javascript applications.

Omnichannel platform. This platform coordinates all channels used by representatives and routes and manages all incoming requests. An integration platform brings together a customer’s entire contact history and coordinates with the back end. Through a 360-degree customer perspective in the omnichannel desktop, representatives gain access to a self-service portal and can steer the process for customers.

Back-end interfaces. A self-service portal uses back-end interfaces to handle all requests. Data from these interactions are saved in data storage where they are quickly accessible. The portal also interfaces with the back end for synchronized communication.

Advanced analytics and new technologies, such as predicting issues before the customer explains the reason for the call, allow first movers to create “wow moments.” Similarly, algorithms based on natural language processing allow companies to promote behaviors to their agents that could affect customer satisfaction. For example, a system could coach an agent to talk slower or to use more energy in the conversation. New technologies and applications are seemingly arising each day; in the near future, they will enable companies to implement an IT backbone for their omnichannel experience that we cannot even imagine today.

The push to omnichannel is not confined to specific industries. Instead, it emanates from the evolution of customer preferences and behaviors as more channels emerge. And though customers are becoming more tech savvy, their comfort with digital channels only serves to elevate the importance of live agent interactions. Companies that understand this apparent contradiction, truly commit to understanding customer journeys, and build the capabilities to provide seamless omnichannel service will be well positioned to delight customers for years to come.

Jorge Amar is a partner in McKinsey’s Stamford office, and Julian Raabe and Stefan Roggenhofer are partners in the Munich office.

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What Is Journey-as-a-Service (JAAS)?

Table of Contents

Simplified and Accessible Customer Journey Management

According to Forrester, the age of the customer started in 2010 . Thirteen years later, it’s still such a prevalent topic of conversation, it’s as if the age of the customer has only truly just begun.

Customer experience (CX) has plenty of room for improvement. Across 13 industries, CX quality dropped in 2022 for the first time since 2017. The average U.S. CX Index score across industries was 71.3 (out of 100)—a score equivalent to a “C.”

One of the ways CX can make a comeback, in our view, is when more brands leverage Journey-as-a-Service (JaaS). JaaS helps brands manage journeys more quickly and easily, simplifying the improvement of customer experience. Keep reading to discover what is JaaS and how you can use it to improve CX.

What is Journey-as-a-Service (JAAS)?

A customer journey is the arc of engagement with a particular brand or service. As customers move through the five customer journey stages—awareness, consideration, purchase/decision, retention and advocacy—they interact with a variety of systems through multiple channels. Those systems span marketing, sales and service technologies. Customers may research, compare, and purchase products and services on company websites, pay their bills using an app, communicate with customer service via interactive voice response (IVR), and complete surveys via SMS.

JaaS is a self-service tool that enables CX, digital experience (DX) and marketing professionals to design, test and launch cohesive customer experience initiatives without getting seven teams involved. JaaS takes industry-specific best practices to address common CX issues and streamlines the implementation of a unified process across systems and departments.

CSG’s JaaS is a self-service portal that allows all users to input and change journey details without calling technical support or a professional services team. Using JaaS is like using TurboTax to prepare your tax return. The user-friendly software makes it easy to identify your CX challenge and deploy specific journeys to address those issues.

Benefits of Journey-as-a-Service

Here’s what an effective JaaS tool can do to help brands improve CX:

  • Help brands and services guide their customers from initial contact through purchasing a product/service, paying monthly bills, seeking customer support, and renewing their contract or repurchasing
  • Allow brands and services to quickly launch and deploy industry-specific, pre-built customer journeys
  • Make it easy to start with a single journey (e.g., cross-selling) and then build a library of customer journeys across an organization

Examples of Customer Journeys that Can Be Deployed with Journey-as-a-Service

JaaS can manage many customer journeys related to researching, buying, onboarding, using, managing and receiving support for products and services. Here are a few examples:

Retail: Shopping Cart Abandonment

If a customer placed an item in the online shopping cart and then abandoned the website, the journey orchestration component of JaaS determines the communication channel where the customer has been most responsive (e.g., email or SMS). The system immediately sends a message and link via that channel, prompting the customer to complete the purchase. If the customer completes the purchase, the platform continues sending cart abandonment notifications in future instances.

Healthcare: Appointment Reminders

When a patient is scheduled for an upcoming medical visit, the JaaS system determines the optimal channel and time(s) for appointment reminders based on the patient profile. The system sends the reminder(s) via email or SMS, requesting patient confirmation. When the patient confirms the appointment, the systems sends a “how to prepare” informational message via the same channel.

Financial Services: Mortgage Loan Approval

When a loan applicant has not responded to requests for additional documents, the system determines alternative channels where the person may be more active. The system sends reminders over those channels (e.g., email, push notifications, or outbound IVR). After submitting the missing documentation, the person receives an automated message confirming receipt.

Telecom: Payment Reminders

When the customer’s account is at risk for becoming overdue, the system determines the message and timing based on segmentation, regulations and prior communications. Then the system sends proactive and compliant SMS payment reminders. After payment, the customer receives confirmation and a note regarding what to expect for future payments due.

RELATED EBOOK: Retail Experience: Orchestrate Compelling Communications that Capture Consumer Attention

Best Practices for Journey-as-a-Service

CX initiatives are difficult to start, and they thrive on results and momentum. It’s critical that they can demonstrate their impact quickly to help build support inside your organization.

Identify the biggest customer pain points. Where is your organization falling short of delivering positive experiences? For example, you might audit contact center calls to identify why customers are calling.

  • Are they confused by their bill?
  • Are they having a hard time redeeming promotional offers?
  • Are they angry that they haven’t received any updates regarding their internet outage?

Start by orchestrating one journey. Choose a journey that’s easy to improve and provides quick return on investment. Getting a quick win up on the board drives organizational awareness and board support for future CX investment .

Then deploy more journeys. You’ll see greater impact (better customer satisfaction, greater revenue) as you incorporate multiple journeys.

Now is the Time to Invest in CX

Improving CX pays off, directly impacting revenue. According to Forrester, a 1-point improvement in a large multichannel bank’s CX Index score can lead to an incremental $123 million in revenue . Realizing the potential return on investment, forward-thinking business leaders are investing in CX technology. The IDC predicts the overall customer experience software market to rise from $167.3B in 2021 to $295.7B in 2026.

To be competitive, your brand must deliver superior CX throughout the customer journey and work to simplify the customer journey. If you have been mapping customer journeys and/or employing journey analytics—or even if you’re just thinking about starting—now is the time to adopt JaaS.

CSG’s journey management software is user-friendly, allowing any user to analyze and orchestrate customer journeys without needing an army of technical resources. We help customers figure out where to start, and we provide industry-specific, pre-built journeys to get you up and running quickly. At the core of our Journey as-a-Service is CSG Xponent Ignite , our award-winning, industry-leading customer engagement solution that can help businesses supercharge their CX outcomes.

RELATED VIDEO: Learn about CSG Xponent Ignite

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The complete guide to customer journey stages.

12 min read If you want to turn a potential customer into a lifetime one, you’ll need to get to know every step of the entire customer journey. Here’s why the secret to customer retention lies in knowing how to fine-tune your sales funnel…

What is the customer journey?

What do we actually mean when we talk about the customer journey? Well, the simplest way to think about it is by comparing it to any other journey: a destination in mind, a starting point, and steps to take along the way.

In this case, the destination is not only to make a purchase but to have a great experience with your product or service – sometimes by interacting with aftersale customer support channels – and become a loyal customer who buys again.

stages of the customer journey

And, just like how you can’t arrive at your vacation resort before you’ve done you’ve found out about it, the customer journey starts with steps to do with discovery, research, understanding, and comparison, before moving on to the buying process.

“Maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also lift revenue up by 15% while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%”

– McKinsey, The Three Cs of Customer Satisfaction

In short, the customer journey is the path taken by your target audience toward becoming loyal customers. So it’s really important to understand – both in terms of what each step entails and how you can improve each one to provide a maximally impressive and enjoyable experience.

Every customer journey will be different, after all, so getting to grips with the nuances of each customer journey stage is key to removing obstacles from in front of your potential and existing customers’ feet.

Free Course: Customer Journey Management & Improvement

What are the essential customer journey stages?

While many companies will put their own spin on the exact naming of the customer journey stages, the most widely-recognized naming convention is as follows:

  • Consideration

5 customer journey stages

These steps are often then sub-categorized into three parts:

  • Sale/Purchase

It’s important to understand every part of the puzzle, so let’s look at each sub-category and stage in turn, from the awareness and consideration stage, right through to advocacy:

Customer journey: Pre-sale

In the pre-sale phase, potential customers learn about products, evaluate their needs, make comparisons, and soak up information.

Awareness stage

In the awareness stage, your potential customer becomes aware of a company, product, or service. This might be passive – in that they’re served an ad online, on TV, or when out and about – or active in that they have a need and are searching for a solution. For example, if a customer needs car insurance, they’ll begin searching for providers.

Consideration stage

In the consideration stage, the customer has been made aware of several possible solutions for their particular need and starts doing research to compare them. That might mean looking at reviews or what others are saying on social media, as well as absorbing info on product specs and features on companies’ own channels. They’re receptive to information that can help them make the best decision.

Consider the journey

Customer journey: Sale

The sale phase is short but pivotal: it’s when the crucial decision on which option to go with has been made.

Decision stage

The customer has all the information they need on the various options available to them, and they make a purchase. This can be something that’s taken a long time to decide upon, like buying a new computer, or it can be as quick as quickly scouring the different kinds of bread available in the supermarket before picking the one they want.

Customer journey: Post-sale

Post-sale is a really important part of the puzzle because it’s where loyal customers , who come back time and again, are won or lost.

Retention stage

The retention stage of the customer journey is where you do whatever you can to help leave a lasting, positive impression on the customer, and entice them to purchase more. That means offering best-in-class customer support if they have any issues, but it also means being proactive with follow-up communications that offer personalized offers, information on new products, and rewards for loyalty.

Advocacy stage

If you nail the retention phase, you’ll have yourself a customer who not only wants to keep buying from you but will also advocate on your behalf. Here, the customer will become one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, in that they’ll actively recommend you to their friends, family, followers, and colleagues.

What’s the difference between the customer journey and the buyer’s journey?

Great question; the two are similar, but not exactly the same. The buyer’s journey is a shorter, three-step process that describes the steps taken to make a purchase. So that’s awareness , consideration, and decision . That’s where things stop, however. The buyer’s journey doesn’t take into account the strategies you’ll use to keep the customer after a purchase has been made.

Why are the customer journey stages important?

The short answer? The customer journey is what shapes your entire business. It’s the method by which you attract and inform customers, how you convince them to purchase from you, and what you do to ensure they’re left feeling positive about every interaction.

Why this matters is that the journey is, in a way, cyclical. Customers who’ve had a smooth ride all the way through their individual journeys are more likely to stay with you, and that can have a massive effect on your operational metrics.

It’s up to five times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing customer, but even besides that: satisfied customers become loyal customers , and customer loyalty reduces churn at the same time as increasing profits .

So companies looking to really make an impact on the market need to think beyond simply attracting potential customers with impressive marketing, and more about the journey as a whole – where the retention and advocacy stages are equally important.

After all, 81% of US and UK consumers trust product advice from friends and family over brand messaging, and 59% of American consumers say that once they’re loyal to a brand, they’re loyal to it for life.

Importantly, to understand the customer journey as a whole is to understand its individual stages, recognize what works, and find things that could be improved to make it a more seamless experience. Because when you do that, you’ll be improving every part of your business proposition that matters.

How can you improve each customer journey stage?

Ok, so this whole customer journey thing is pretty important. Understanding the customer journey phases and how they relate to the overall customer experience is how you encourage customers to stick around and spread the news via word of mouth.

But how do you ensure every part of the journey is performing as it should? Here are some practical strategies to help each customer journey stage sing…

1. Perform customer journey mapping

A customer journey map takes all of the established customer journey stages and attempts to plot how actual target audience personas might travel along them. That means using a mix of data and intuition to map out a range of journeys that utilize a range of touch points along the way.

customer journey map example

One customer journey map, for example, might start with a TV ad, then utilize social media and third-party review sites during the consideration stage, before purchasing online and then contacting customer support about you your delivery service. And then, finally, that customer may be served a discount code for a future purchase. That’s just one example.

Customer journey mapping is really about building a myriad of those journeys that are informed by everything you know about how customers interact with you – and then using those maps to discover weaker areas of the journey.

2. Listen like you mean it

The key to building better customer journeys is listening to what customers are saying. Getting feedbac k from every stage of the journey allows you to build a strong, all-encompassing view of what’s happening from those that are experiencing it.

Maybe there’s an issue with the customer sign-up experience, for example. Or maybe the number advertised to contact for a demo doesn’t work. Or maybe you have a customer service agent in need of coaching, who only makes the issue worse. By listening, you’ll understand your customers’ issues and be able to fix them at the source. That customer service agent, for example, may just feel disempowered and unsupported, and in need of the right tools to help them perform better. Fixing that will help to optimize a key stage in the customer journey.

Qualtrics in action with sentiment analysis

The key is to listen at every stage, and we can do that by employing the right technology at the right customer journey stages.

Customer surveys, for instance, can help you understand what went wrong from the people who’re willing to provide that feedback, but conversational analytics and AI solutions can automatically build insights out of all the structured and unstructured conversational data your customers are creating every time they reach out, or tweet, or leave a review on a third party website.

3. Get personal

The other side of the ‘listening’ equation is that it’s worth remembering that each and every customer’s journey is different – so treating them with a blanket approach won’t necessarily make anything better for them.

The trick instead is to use the tools available to you to build out a personalized view of every customer journey, customer journey stage, and customer engagemen t, and find common solutions.

Qualtrics experience ID

Qualtrics Experience iD , for example, is an intelligent system that builds customer profiles that are unique to them and can identify through AI, natural language processing , and past interactions what’s not working – and what needs fixing.

On an individual basis, that will help turn each customer into an advocate. But as a whole, you’ll learn about experience gaps that are common to many journeys.

Listening to and understanding the customer experience at each customer journey stage is key to ensuring customers are satisfied and remain loyal on a huge scale.

It’s how you create 1:1 experiences, because, while an issue for one person might be an issue for many others, by fixing it quickly you can minimize the impact it might have on future customers who’re right at the start of their journey.

Free Course: Customer Journey Management Improvement

Related resources

Customer Journey

Buyer's Journey 16 min read

Customer journey analytics 13 min read, how to create a customer journey map 22 min read, b2b customer journey 13 min read, customer interactions 11 min read, consumer decision journey 14 min read, customer journey orchestration 12 min read, request demo.

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  • What’s a Service Journey
  • The Structural Conflict
  • Real-World Solutions

Four Stages To Implementing a CX Transformation: From Mapping To Dataflow to Your Journey Model

The structural conflict that acts as a barrier to optimizing cx.

The structural inefficiencies of silos have been the source of complaints for decades.  There are both departmental silos and responsibility silos. Silos typically have a leader and its own tools, data, budget, teams and metrics and each of these contributes to its vertical focus.

The conflict lies in the fact that our customers traverse across the silos.  In other words, customers are traveling horizontally across the vertical silo focus.  This occurs in both the end-to-end customer journey, and in the individual and primary service journeys that make up customers’ end-to-end journey.

the service journey

The end-to-end customer journey is made up of separate and distinct service journeys.

Service journey: The path taken by an individual interacting with any combination of touchpoints regarding an interest, need, request or requirement .  Primary service journeys are those that together and sequentially make up the end-to-end customer journey.

Until this conflict is addressed, an organization will forever be challenged to optimize the results of its CX efforts.

Solution: Progress along the stages of the Customer Experience Transformation Maturity Model

Progressing through the Model accomplishes two shifts critical to addressing the conflict, optimizing outcomes and better positioning the organization to compete and win.

  • Shift from a silo focus to a service journey focus
  • Shift from segment-centric to individual-centric communications

the service journey

Shift to becoming journey-focused

The shift to a journey focus creates a better understanding of what customers are trying to accomplish as they engage with the organization.  With this knowledge, staff are shown to change both thinking and actions.

Journey focus drives dramatic results

I worked with a Fortune 200 company that layered a journey-focused model over their siloed structure.  At the beginning they were in the middle of Forrester’s CX Index.  After the journey model was set up and fully implemented, they didn’t just improve. They rose to the number one position in the index as they realized tangible benefits for customers, employees and the organization.

Shift to becoming individual-centric

The second shift is a shift to individual-centric communications.  This isn’t about doing away with segments or personas but delivering touchpoints that are truly relevant to the person and their service journey.

Individualization is much more than personalization. If an email arrives using your name, it is personalized.  However, if the content is for a persona or segment that doesn’t really fit, it isn’t relevant to you as an individual.

Utilizing the Maturity Model to optimize outcomes

The answers to a series of questions will help clarify the path forward to desired benefits for your organization.

  • Where in the Model is the organization today? Note that most companies’ current state is in the first stage.
  • Where in the model does the organization seek to progress? In other words, what is the desired future state?  It is not uncommon that the desired future state changes over time.  However, with these two questions answered, you have identified the current state to future state gap to close.
  • What is a high-level roadmap and key first steps to close the gap to the future state?

Typical first steps start with relevant CX strategy and plan. Both need to have a focus on closing the current to future state gap and becoming journey-focused and individual-centric.  With a strategy and plan in place, it is time to execute the first stage.

Stage 1: Identify, Blueprint and Develop

Best case prerequisite : CX transformation-geared strategy and plan.

the service journey

This stage covers the foundational work necessary to make the shift to becoming journey-focused.  As a part of the service journey work, this stage includes developing the strategies that cover what most call channel or digital transformation strategy.  There’s a lot to accomplish in this early stage that drives immediate improvements while also preparing the organization for optimizing the benefits of subsequent Maturity Model stages.

Goal : Generate specific channel, experience or touchpoint improvements via foundational service journey work.

Steps of Stage 1

  • Identify, blueprint and name the current state of each of the primary service journeys
  • Define and blueprint the future state of primary service journeys and channels
  • Develop and implement service journey and channel improvement roadmap

Output of this stage include :

  • Defined beginning and end points of primary service journeys
  • Named service journeys from the customer’s perspective
  • Completed Service Journey/Channel Matrix
  • Surfaced and prioritized service journey improvement opportunities
  • Developed future state roadmap for each service journey
  • Defined metrics for each service journey

Step 1: Identify and blueprint the current state of primary service journeys

The activities of this first step typically include:

  • Internal input
  • Customer input
  • Review of operational data and secondary research
  • Identify and name each primary service journey
  • Define and blueprint each primary service journey
  • Capture improvement opportunities

From silo steps to the purpose of the survey journey

One key to becoming journey-focused is shifting the internal emphasis from completing steps within the silo to helping the customer accomplish the purpose of their service journey.

  • From the step of sending a monthly invoice to their service journey of maintaining service
  • From the step of getting a loan application submission to their service journey of being approved to buy their new home
  • From the step of taking the order to their service journey of enjoying a meal out

The power of a name

During this first stage, organizations identify, define and name service journeys  from their customers’ perspective.   This can often lead to a wholesale change in how employees think and approach their work.

Example: From payments to maintaining eligibility

I was working with a large US insurance company that developed a service journey focus.  One of the activities of every insurance company is to collect payments for insurance premiums.  As the nature of that service journey was examined from the perspective of customers, it started to be clear that the service journey wasn’t about payments at all.  Customers viewed paying their premiums as maintaining their eligibility for their insurance benefits.

Building that service journey around the title and understanding of “maintaining eligibility” had a dramatic impact.

First, it impacted employees that worked that service journey.  They shifted from thinking they were collecting money or payments to the fact that they were now helping individuals maintain their eligibility for health insurance.

Second, this dynamic change in perception delivered quantifiable benefits.  First call resolution around what was previously called payments improved as did the related transactional Net Promoter Score.  This simple name change also had a positive impact on the organization’s cash flow.

Step 2: Define and blueprint the future state of primary service journeys and channels

The activities of this second step typically include:

  • Blueprinting the future state primary service journeys
  • Completing the Service Journey/Channel Matrix
  • Prioritizing improvements generated from future state blueprinting and the Service Journey/Channel Matrix
  • Developing the future state roadmap for each primary service journey

As CX consultants, employees often share with us, “If I could get responsibility X to do Y, it would make the customer journey and my job so much better.”  Employees complain about silos.  They complain about what’s happening or not happening up or downstream from their work, which inhibits the best service journey for customers and for them.

The real power of the Maturity Model is unlocked when the focus is based on the intent of customers’ service journeys. This horizontal lens that cuts across siloed departments is a key to improving service journey and channel/digital performance.

The Service Journey/Channel Matrix – its not a channel strategy

As organizations consider the future state, it is common practice today to develop a channel or digital strategy.  Typically, what we see under this activity is organization’s focusing on the channel or the tool. The challenge with that focus is that some service journeys just can’t be accomplished in every channel. For instance, few organizations enable customers to pay via chat.

When somebody’s in the wrong channel for what they’re trying to accomplish, it’s bad for them and bad for the organization.

Recent COPC research:

  • 82% of customers had to use multiple channels to resolve a single issue
  • 63% of them were “forced” to use multiple channels
  • Those that were “forced” had 1.5x higher dissatisfaction rates than those who “chose” multi-channels

The key is to approach what is typically called a channel strategy through the lens of service journeys.  Think of it this way. It’s not a channel strategy, it’s a service journey strategy by channel.

The Service Journey/Channel Matrix helps organizations view channels through the lens of service journey purposes.  If a service journey’s purpose can’t currently be achieved via a specific channel, ask the question; is it the organization’s desire to eventually enable that service journey through that channel?  The answer drives both the roadmap and customer communication.

One output of the Service Journey/Channel Matrix is clarity of where communications are needed to help ensure that customers don’t try to accomplish a service journey in a dead-end channel. If a customer is in a dead-end channel for the purpose of their service journey, it is bad for them and bad for the company.

How the first stage serves subsequent stages

Identifying and defining your customers’ primary service journeys is foundational.

Stage two, the Gap Analysis & Roadmap, can benefit from the service journey lens and service journey strategy by channel.

The future state service journey roadmap will integrate with the gap analysis roadmap from the second stage.

Defined primary service journeys are critical to the Integrated Service Journey Model stages.

Maturity Stage 2 – Gap Analysis & Roadmap

the service journey

Best case prerequisites :  Defined primary service journeys and future state service journey roadmaps.  Developed Service Journey/Channel Matrix.

This stage is all about improving the timely actionable intelligence and capabilities needed to develop and deploy individual-centric touchpoints that help improve service journeys and conversions.

In the first stage one key output was a roadmap based on the gap between two sets of data: the current and future state blueprints of the organization’s service journeys.

In this stage, the resultant roadmap is also the output of the gap between two sets of data: the current state and best practices across five critical marketing/CX activities.

Goal :  Generate the intelligence and capabilities to develop and deliver individual-centric communications.

  • Conduct a current state analysis of five critical marketing/CX activities including the integration of related platforms and data flow.
  • Conduct a gap analysis of the gap between the current state and best practices of the five critical marketing/CX activities.
  • Determine the desired future state of the five marketing/CX activities.
  • Develop the roadmap to achieve the desired future state.

Primary output of this stage includes:

  • Current state analysis
  • Defined future state
  • Roadmap to close gap between current and future states

Shifting from segment-centric to individual-centric communications

The second shift that improves CXM maturity and results is the shift to becoming individual-centric.  This isn’t about doing away with segments or personas but delivering touchpoints that are truly relevant to the person and their service journey.

Individual-centric communication replaces communication that can be perceived as irrelevant and doesn’t prompt engagement with the call-to-action, or worse, actually hurts the brand.  The truth is nobody wants to receive a communication to a persona or segment that doesn’t really fit.  People want to be treated as an individual and benefit from content that is relevant to them.

A factor in the need to shift to individual-centric communication is the proliferation of privacy laws.  Whether it’s GDPR in Europe, TCPA in the United States or individual states or countries passing privacy laws, companies need to understand those privacy laws and deal with privacy on an individual basis.

5 critical marketing/CX activities are:

  • Profile: The data that can be attributed to an individual.
  • Preferences & Consents: Communication channel preferences and any consents required to meet privacy regulations.  Tied to the Profile.
  • Analytics: Aggregating and analyzing relevant data to generate actionable intelligence.
  • Blueprint/Map: Identify and sequence the touchpoints of primary service journeys to identify improvement opportunities.
  • Develop & Deploy: Deliver relevant touchpoints.

Right touchpoints

An opportunity this stage represents is the individual-centric capability to finally be able to develop and deploy “right” touchpoints.

Right touchpoints are outputs of the five critical marketing/CX activities based on the right intelligence and deployed:

  • To the right person
  • At the right time (including in real-time)
  • With the right message
  • Compliantly via the right channel
  • Creating the right experience
  • And the right results based on the individual’s service journey intent

Right touchpoints are great for the individual; their individual-centric nature helps build trust and the happiest of paths. Right touchpoints benefit CX, sales, marketing, customer service, IT, finance and the bottom line. Right touchpoints help create the right service journey results.

Right touchpoints and conversions

Organizations focus a lot on conversions. Conversions to register, buy, renew – those conversions significant to the organization. To achieve any one of those significant conversions, the individual has to convert touchpoint-to-touchpoint to complete the service journey.  How many touchpoints are there for one of your prospects get to the point of buying/paying?  The touchpoint-to-touchpoint conversions are critical.  If an individual doesn’t convert to the next touchpoint along their service journey, then there isn’t an opportunity to get to a significant conversion such as buying.

Establishing the capabilities to develop and deploy individual-centric right touchpoints helps improve the touchpoint-to-touchpoint conversions critical to achieving significant conversions.

Emerging technologies and individual-centric capabilities

One key to maximizing benefits from the Maturity Model is understanding the purpose of an individual’s service journey. How is that accomplished?  There are emerging technologies today that will capture each of the touchpoints across social, online, call center, retail, etc. and map those by the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and millions.

This omni-channel touchpoint sequencing in real-time enables the identification of the individual’s service journey within a reasonable level of confidence.  Application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to that knowledge coupled with the aggregation and analyzation of profile, purchase and other relevant data positions the organization to deliver individualized communications.  The technology to know the individual and their service journey and deliver right touchpoints  in real-time  that help the customer accomplish the service journey’s purpose is available and in use today.  And conversion results can be impressive.

Emerging marketing/CX technologies have dramatically increased the capability to deliver individual-centric communications and do so in real-time.

574 options

Amazingly enough, there isn’t a single platform that covers all five of the critical marketing/CX activities. There are 574 different platforms in rating reports covering most of the types of platforms that serve these five activities. This is one reason for the challenges integrating these activities, their various platforms and related data flow.

Improving the integration, data flow and capabilities around these five marketing/CX activities is complicated and challenging.  The Model’s second stage presents a logical approach of conducting the current state to best practices gap analysis. This is the holistic method needed to address the five critical marketing/CX activities and the various tools in current stacks and consider emerging technologies.  Through this gap analysis the organization will clearly see how to dramatically improve the capabilities needed to achieve the benefits of individual-centric communications.

How the second stage serves subsequent stages

While this stage is not a critical prerequisite for the Integrated Service Journey Model (ISJM) stages that follow, the improved capabilities help optimize ISJM results.

This stage’s roadmap will need to integrate with the ISJM roadmap.

Maturity Stage 3 and 4 – Integrated Service Journey Model (ISJM)

the service journey

Prerequisites :  Identified, defined and named service journeys.

In these stages the organization codifies and layers its ISJM structure over its departmental structure to address the silo conflict, transform culture and optimize results.

Goal :  Define and implement the organization’s ISJM.

  • Define ISJM structure
  • Develop change management and governance functions
  • Assign roles
  • Continuously improve
  • Completed charters for each service journey
  • Defined teams and roles by service journey
  • Developed job descriptions for each role
  • Defined success metrics and related accountability for each service journey
  • Completed charter for governance
  • Completed charter for change management

Due to ISJM complexity, the Maturity Model separates the ISJM into two stages.  The first of the two stages involves defining and implementing the various components.  The second stage is primarily focused on continuous improvement.

Just as departments have an owner, team, budget, metrics and accountability, under an ISJM the same is applied to each service journey.  Service journey teams are much smaller than departments as not everyone in an organization is assigned a service journey role.

Implementing an ISJM is a significant undertaking and needs to be well planned, communicated and structured.  Prior to rolling out the new responsibilities, it is advised that governance and change management are chartered and initiated.  Additionally, it is typically best to roll the ISJM out service journey by service journey over time.

The benefits are worth the challenge.  It is through implementing the ISJM that the organization truly overcomes silo conflict and becomes service journey-focused.  Service journey outcomes will be improved for both customers and employees as well as the organization.

Tying the four stages together

There are three primary roadmaps that result from Maturity Model stages that need to be viewed holistically:

  • Service journey roadmap (roadmaps for each primary service journey’s future state).
  • Roadmap from the five critical marketing/CX activities gap analysis.
  • Roadmap for implementing your Integrated Service Journey Model.

Note that these roadmaps are generated via a holistic and service journey approach rather than as pieces within silos. Governance and change management are keys to efficiently working these separate roadmaps concurrently.


An updated CX strategy and plan doesn’t have to include all of the Maturity Model’s stages, nor do the stages have to be done in sequence. There are various paths and sequences to achieve an organization’s desired level of maturity.

The organization can start by defining and blueprinting a single service journey. And not all organizations will initially plan to adopt an Integrated Service Journey Model, which is OK. A key is that as a stage or part of a stage is executed, to ensure that the output serves subsequent stages whether there is or isn’t a plan to advance to a subsequent stage.

Support for becoming journey-focused

Forrester : “ Embrace journeys as the new segments. It is the journey, and not the segment, that should dictate which customers receive an experience, what the experience is, and when it happens.” The Best of Times and the Worst of Times for Segmentation
COPC Inc. : “ With consumer use of multiple channels increasing rapidly and the race to differentiate in the market, organizations must have a complete picture of these journeys and how they impact the consumer and the business.” Creating Purposeful Multichannel Journeys to Transform the Customer Experience
Pointillist : “ The most effective teams rely on journey-based approaches to CX. Top performers align their organizations around customer journeys with dedicated roles or teams to manage, measure and improve CX.” 2021 State of Customer Journey Management & CX Measurement

How do you benefit from advancing through the CX Transformation Maturity Model?

The results improve outcomes for customers, employees and the organization.

Helping customers accomplish the purpose of their service journeys becomes the focus

We have all seen the data that customers value good and efficient customer experiences.  Focusing the organization on understanding and helping customers accomplish the purpose of their service journeys could be viewed as the definition of being customer-centric.

Blueprinting and completing the Service Journey/Channel Matrix will improve channel execution of service journeys and direct communications needed to help avoid dead-end channels and undesired channel shift.

The focus on the entire service journey vs. the steps within a silo will improve customer experiences and resultant CSAT and/or NPS scores.

Greater efficiencies and cooperation reduces internal and customer problems for employees

Employees are frustrated by the inefficiency of silos.  Improving service journeys and the cooperation between silos will reduce employee complaints about internal processes and customer complaints to employees.

A journey focus improves the professional lives of employees .

Organizations enhance the ability to measure CX while improving KPIs and its competitive position

The shift to becoming journey-focused improves customer and employee experiences and the resultant KPIs.  Service journeys are also a better way of measuring the impact of CX efforts and ROI.

Improving capabilities to enable individual-centric communications improves the touchpoint-to-touchpoint conversions that improve sales, renewals and other significant conversions.

Customers and employees are happier and the organization improves its competitive position and bottom line. 

Journey-focused and individual-centric. These are keys to addressing the conflict between silos and journeys and to organizations successfully competing in today’s economy – the journey economy. It’s about our customers’ service journeys and really focusing and being efficient and effective in building value for customers and the business through that journey focus. But it’s not going to be easy. We’ve been complaining about silos for how long?

The CX Transformation Maturity Model is an innovative tool to help organizations take a holistic approach to winning the journey economy.  As Gartner’s research notes, over two thirds of companies compete primarily on customer experience.

It is time to move on from focusing on steps within silos and to reap the benefits of becoming journey-focused and individual-centric by progressing through the stages of the CX Transformation Maturity Model.

Schedule a Short Chat.

What is a service journey.


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Customer Journey Maps vs. Service Blueprints: What’s the difference?

Journey Map Blog Post.jpg

When it comes to design research tools, two of the most frequently used are Customer Journey Maps and Service Blueprints . Both are incredibly valuable communication tools that show the end-to-end processes and experiences of your staff and customers. BUT, what’s the difference, and how do you know which one is right for your project?

Whenever we meet with a new client or read a project brief, we’re faced with some of the same questions. Today we’re answering those tricky questions and breaking it down for you:

What is a Customer Journey Map?

What is a Service Blueprint?

What is the purpose of each tool and why are they helpful?

What are the key differences between each tool?

How to choose the right tool for your next project?

Core Concepts of Service Design

Before we can really dive into the differences between the mapping tools used in service design, we need to explain the core concepts of service design — and we’ll use the analogy of a theatre or play.

One of the biggest differences between journey maps and service blueprints is the actors or people that are considered in each one. In service design, actors are anyone involved in customer interactions and supporting business activities and processes that directly impact the customer’s experience. For example, store clerks, customer service/support, warehouse staff, and customers themselves.

Service design also uses a theatre analogy to explain the different parts of the service, all that goes into making it work, and which parts of the service are customer facing versus operational.

Front-Stage : The front-stage includes everything the customer sees and experiences. These are activities conducted by the people involved directly with your customers. Using the analogy of a theatre, they could be the play actors, ticket sales people, snack kiosk workers, ushers… and more!

Back-Stage : Back-stage activities are behind the line of visibility and involve the people and activities that your customer’s don’t see. Back to the analogy of a play, back-stage activities can include lighting, sound, rehearsal, costumes, and a lot of people reading lines getting ready to take their turn on the front-stage. Without these activities, the show would not go on and it certainly wouldn’t be a great experience for the audience. Applying the back-stage theatre analogy to business, these jobs are often customer support representatives, warehouse workers, managers, etc.

Behind-the-Scenes: These are all of the activities that customers don’t see, but they ensure that the production goes off without a hitch. It’s all of the support processes, administrative work, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and organizational tasks that need to happen to ensure the organization is running smoothly.

Customer Journey Maps and Service Blueprints - Guide to Customer Journey Maps vs Service Blueprints to help determine which tool you need and when.

Customer Journey Maps

What is a customer journey map.

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the end-to-end experience your customers have when they interact with your service or try to accomplish a goal through something you offer (e.g. trying to renew their driver’s license). We always recommend that journey maps are created using in-depth research (such as interviews and observations ) with your company’s real customers and users. The “actor” in customer journey mapping is the customer or end-user themselves. It’s an artifact that is created from the perspective of your customer or end-user. Typically, a journey map will also consider the front-stage experience, but won’t dive deep into the activities of other actors (or staff).

A journey map will include all of the tasks and activities of a user or customer, their pain points and challenges, and the brand touchpoints they encounter (e.g. your website, an app, a customer support person, and more). It also includes the thoughts and feelings they experience as they go along their journey. These among other attributes of the map help to tell a story of what that person’s experience was, and all of the steps and miss-steps they took along the way.

Why is it useful?

Customer journey maps are useful for highlighting key areas in the customer’s journey that provide a poor experience and highlighting opportunities for improvement within your product or service. Customer journey maps can also show major inefficiencies in the customer experience. Take for example someone who is trying to use an online system to remedy a billing issue and update their payment information — If for some reason the online service doesn’t work or provide the information they need, your customer resorts to calling the support team. Here, they wait on hold before having to explain themselves to a few different people and their goal of fixing their credit card information be accomplished. As you can imagine, and have probably experienced in your own lifetime, this is a bad experience. By outlining this arduous journey, we discover key areas of improvement and places where processes could be streamlined.

The ultimate goal of customer journey mapping is to:

Identify areas for improvement and places to reduce friction – ultimately making things easier for the customer.

Identify new product, service, or feature opportunities!

Prioritize which areas of the experience should be fixed first – (journey maps are great at showing the relative importance of one issue over another, since they are all in one map together)

Bridge the gap between siloed teams. Not every department is focused on customer experience, but surely the customer’s experience throughout different parts of the journey will impact your organization’s various departments (such as marketing, IT, and customer service).

Build empathy for your customers by stepping into their shoes. You’ll find out what their experience is really like, what’s motivating them, and most importantly, what’s bugging them! So you can fix it and design a better experience.

Service Blueprints

Okay, so now you know what a customer journey map is and why they are helpful tools. Let’s dive into service blueprints.

Service Blueprint Example

What is a service blueprint?

Service Blueprints focus on how an organization supports the customer journey, keeping customers, staff, and other key players at the forefront. Blueprints depict the business’s processes and operations that occur within the front-stage (customer facing), backstage (internal) and behind-the-scenes!  Ultimately, a service blueprint is a business process mapping tool. The main differentiator between service blueprints and other mapping tools? Instead of “swimming lanes” used in traditional workflow diagrams to depict different task owners, we approach service blueprints from a human-centered lens . Similar to customer journey maps, service blueprints should be created through research with the actors (in this case, staff) involved. This might mean shadowing employees as they interact with customers and go about their day-to-day work, or conducting several interviews over a few days or weeks with employees. By doing this, we can understand what the back-end processes are and where your employees think things are going wrong/could be improved.

Service blueprints also tend to be a bit more specific – zooming in on a single business process vs. looking at an end-to-end journey with an entire service.

Service blueprints usually focus on actions and physical evidence (aka tools and technology needed by the actors to do their work). To summarize, the anatomy of a service blueprint includes:

Physical Evidence (tools, technology, websites, resources, etc.)

Customer Journey (actions/steps taken by customers)

Front-Stage (actions taken by employees who directly interact with customers, as well as the technology they’re using)

Back-Stage (actions taken by employees who help front-stage staff behind the line of visibility, or front-stage staff who complete an activity outside of the view of customers)

Behind-the-Scenes (actions taken by employees who support the business internally)

Pain Points (issues or challenges that staff might experience when completing certain tasks)

Time (the length of time it takes to complete certain tasks or a series of tasks)

Why are service blueprints useful?

Service blueprints are an amazing tool to outline the inner workings of your business. They look at all of the activities (good, bad, and useless) that your employees are doing and highlight the reasons why parts of the customer experience are failing. In particular, service blueprints help to:

Pinpoint weaknesses in the current business processes.

Find opportunities to optimize business and support processes – with a detailed breakdown of all the steps involved.

Tie the customer journey together with the inner workings of the company.

Understand complications and inefficiencies within your organization

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Outwitly | UX & Service Design (@outwitly)

Journey Maps vs. Service Blueprints over on Outwitly’s Instagram account!

Key Differences Between Journey Maps and Service Blueprints

Now that we understand both of these mapping tools, let’s call out their key differences:

Customer Journey Map:

Depict an end-to-end experience as a narrative

Focus on customer/users

Focus on the customer’s experience, thoughts and feelings, and pain points when trying to accomplish their goal

Focus on the customer actions and some front-stage (customer facing) tasks, tools, and touchpoints

Service Blueprint:

Depict the business processes and operations

Focus on customers and mostly on staff (and any other actors involved)

Focus on how the organization supports the customer journey (what activities, tasks, and physical evidence are needed)

Focus less on the actual visceral experience – but will usually show pain points

Focus on the front-stage, backstage, and behind-the-scenes tasks (using the customer journey as a foundation)

How to Choose the Right Tool?

Ultimately, these tools are complementary to one another. The customer journey map provides the step-by-step tasks that form the foundation for a service blueprint. To be specific, the activities completed by customers are the first row of tasks in a service blueprint. Journey maps can help you understand where to focus and which business areas may need further investigation using a service blueprint and service blueprints will breakdown all of the processes involved in making that experience a reality.

When to choose a Customer Journey Map

Start with a journey map when:

You want a broader understanding of your end-to-end customer experience

You need to learn about how your customer is experiencing your offerings (services, products, user interfaces, customer support, online touch points)

You don’t have a lot of clarity about where things are going wrong or why your customers are unhappy

Then once, you have a deeper understanding of the areas which need improvement — launch a service blueprinting activity to find out what is happening behind-the-scenes in the company.

When to choose a Service Blueprint

Create a service blueprint when:

You feel confident in your understanding of the customer’s all-encompassing experience, but need to alleviate friction with a specific pain point

You want to take a more detailed look into a specific process and find efficiencies!

Getting Started

If you want to know more about how to create a journey map, dive into our three-part blog series all about customer journey mapping!

The Power of Customer Journey Mapping: 101

How to Research and Build a Customer Journey Map: 201

How to Make your Journey Map Actionable and Creating Change: 301

Resources we like…

The Difference Between a Journey Map and a Service Blueprint by Practical Service Design

Defining Service Blueprints by Nielson Norman Group

Similar blog posts you might like...

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Behind the scenes of Service NSW’s AI Hackathon

Blog article – Our journey from inception to execution. Find out about what we learnt along the way.

By Abhishek Dadhich , Head of Software Engineering, Service NSW Digital Services Published 9 July 2024 – 5 minute read

At Service NSW, we are constantly exploring innovative ways to serve our customers better. We believe Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is one such avenue that holds immense potential. To truly explore this technology and unlock its potential we organised an in-house AI hackathon in March 2024. This post describes our journey from inception to execution in organising the hackathon, the lessons learnt along the way and the way forward.

One of the Service NSW teams at our March 2024 AI hackathon

Starting with why

We started this journey by clearly articulating why we are undertaking it. We experienced the immense hype AI is generating currently and we wanted our teams to explore this technology deeply, yet safely and responsibly, so that they could cut through the hype and see for themselves the art of the possible with AI. 

We set the following four goals for the hackathon:

  • Customer service: Discover new ways to enhance the service experience for our customers by using AI.
  • Hands-on learning: Cut through the hype and genuinely experience and explore the true capabilities of AI first-hand.
  • Collaboration: Break-down silos and work together across the digital and non-digital teams.
  • Employee engagement: Provide dedicated time to our passionate people to learn and experiment in a safe environment.

Planning the hackathon

We knew that organising a hackathon for an organisation of our size and for a technology that is at the peak of its hype cycle wouldn’t be an easy feat.

Rough sketch

We carefully worked on arriving at realistic timelines by considering optimal preparation lead time, actual hackathon duration, communications, and an engagement strategy.

This helped us to quickly sketch out a rough overall plan for the event including potential training sessions and post-event activities. We decided that the hackathon will be a two-day event and finalised 6 and 7 March 2024 as the dates for the event. This gave us a nice tight yet comfortable lead-time of around 8 working weeks.

In-person event

In a hybrid post-pandemic world, we are acutely aware of the challenges people face in developing deep and meaningful connections. We believed that the delight of learning a new technology and then building something exciting with it together in-person would help immensely with this challenge. 

But there was a flip side. During the pandemic many of our colleagues had moved to regional NSW and we were deeply aware of the challenges it would present to them if they were required to be at our offices for two consecutive days. Our well-laid-out goals regarding employee engagement and collaboration helped us weigh the options for this trade-off, leading us to decide to host this event in person at our Sydney offices. 

Preparing for the hackathon

We recognised that AI technology is new for many people, and that they might feel lost without some hands-on training and practical experience

Hackathon announcement

We spread the word about our AI hackathon through our Slack channels and newsletter. We knew people might be busy or new to AI, so we offered a beginner-friendly session first. This session showed some cool things people are doing with AI and then explained what would be involved in the hackathon itself.  Registration opened after the session so people could sign up and form teams.

Immersion days

We recognised that AI technology is new for many people, and that they might feel lost without some hands-on training and practical experience. We partnered with one of our existing cloud technology providers, Amazon Web Services (AWS), for two ‘immersion days’. 

In these two days the participants learnt and created their own simple AI chatbots, learnt how to use no-code/low-code AI/ML services for predictions, forecasting, text analysis and computer vision. These sessions equipped them with the tools and knowledge they needed to bring their hackathon projects to life.

Judging excellence

To judge hackathon projects, we created clear judging criteria, focusing on customer value (25%), originality & innovation (25%), impact (20%), presentation (15%), and responsible and inclusive use of AI (15%).

Then, we assembled a diverse panel of judges with a mix of public and private sector leaders with both technical and business expertise. Our panel included members from Service NSW’s digital and non-digital divisions, AWS, and our Service NSW CEO Greg Wells came along as well to check out the ideas being generated by our teams and celebrate the event's success.

The main event

With all the planning and preparation done, we were ready to host the hackathon. When we closed the registrations, our initial expectations were pleasantly exceeded with 17 teams registered. Each team, composed of 5 to 8 individuals – engineers, designers, product managers and more – brought a wealth of talent and brilliant ideas to the table.

We reserved two floors of our offices for the event, ensuring that teams had ample space to collaborate. We created dedicated 'stations' for each team, where members could gather to turn their ideas into reality. On the first day, teams focused on ideation and active hacking, while on the second day teams finalised their projects, prepared presentations and demos, and the day concluded with the judging. We made sure to arrange sufficient technical support on these two days by having tech experts from our Cloud Operations team and the AWS team on-site.

Hackathon spirit

The energy and enthusiasm throughout the hackathon were electric; walking the floors, I could feel the creativity, collaboration, and a shared sense of purpose. We witnessed animated discussions, healthy rivalry, genuine teamwork, incredible collaboration, and compelling ideas coming to life.

The two days flew by, culminating in memorable and impactful presentations and demos from the 17 teams. The talent within the teams was on full display as they showcased their innovative solutions in creative ways. One team incorporated a full skit into their presentation, while some others created their own AI-generated avatars to stage captivating narratives!

Celebrating innovation

Choosing winners from such an impressive lineup was tremendously difficult for the judges. With nine categories of awards, we celebrated a wide range of achievements, from the most innovative to the people's choice. Here are our award categories: 'Most Innovative,' 'Most Impactful,' 'Most Responsible,' 'Most Original,' 'Best Presented,' 'People's Choice,' 'Second Runner-Up,' 'First Runner-Up,' and 'Overall Winner.'

All seventeen ideas were unique and aimed at solving customers’ real issues in innovative ways. I’d need multiple separate posts to capture the details of each of them.

But, to give you a taste, here are a few samples:

  • ‘Mr Plow’: The first-place winner project focused on empowering the Service NSW service centre, middle office and contact centre teams to use AI to standardise, streamline and expedite customer digital issues with troubleshooting, resolution, and ticket creation processes.
  • From conversations to customer story: The ‘Most Innovative’ award winner project focused on using AI to analyse customer conversations and capture richer details beyond basic forms. By understanding tone, sentiment, and qualitative aspects, the idea centred around developing deeper empathy with our customers to serve them better.
  • AI Innovators: The ‘Most Responsible’ award winner project explored how customers could share their verifiable credentials securely and be instantly assessed and provided tailored products and services through an AI service assistant.

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Survivor, Marine: One man’s incredible journey to inner peace

T here’s a unique beginning to "The Guide: Survival, Warfighting, Peacemaking" — Greg Munck ‘s moving and uplifting memoir of his fascinating journey that took him from a nightmarish childhood to becoming a war hero as a U.S. Marine and finally finding peace in his life’s work as a man of God.

The book opens with a dramatic forward from Munck’s longtime friend, a man named Kenny Luck, who introduces the author to readers as “the complex Renaissance man I call my friend, Greg Munck, USMC ret., one of the greatest human beings I know walking planet Earth.”

“It is most honest to introduce ' The Guide' to you in this way,” Luck writes. “Prepare to let your blood boil, your heart break and your inner person feel encouraged by the triumph of the human spirit in the midst of life’s most unwelcome, uncontrollable and unbelievable events.”

As it turns out, this introduction sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the book in which Munck tells us his wildly improbably story of success and salvation.

He begins by recounting a terribly troubled childhood in which he grew up with a drunk, drug-addicted father who forced Munck to use cocaine with him at the age of 13; was frequently in trouble with the law and in jail; and disappeared from the family for long periods of time to satisfy his addictions.

But Munck survives all this and really begins to turn his life around when he joins the Marines after high school. In fact, the title of The Guide comes in part from an incident that happened to him as a young Marine.

“My book is called The Guide because I was the platoon leader in Marine Corps boot camp,” Munck writes. “You carry the platoon flag with the platoon number on it, called “the guidon,” so in turn, that makes you the guide.”

Munck tells a dramatic story about how a tough drill sergeant told him he was worthless as a Marine and screamed at him to spit on the Marine platoon flag. Munck refused, even though the drill sergeant threatened him with a court martial for defying a direct order. “No, sir! I won’t spit on our flag, our platoon, our family, our corps and our country! No matter what you do! No, sir, I won’t do it!”

He said the drill sergeant then hugged him like a proud father. It had been a test. And Munck had passed the test with flying colors. “That’s why you’re the guide!” the drill sergeant said.

Later, we also find out that The Guide also refers to Munck’s acceptance and embrace of Christianity in his life.

After boot camp, Munck embarks on a weeks long boat trip with other Marines to the Iraqi war front; serves admirably in combat as a Marine; returns to the U.S. after his discharge and gets a high-paying job with a technology company; and marries the woman he loves and raises five children with her.

But during those early years after the Marines, Munck still felt something was missing for him — and he finally found it in God and his Christian religion. He eventually left his high-paying job to work with the church — first as a youth counselor, then as a full-time minister. Today he is the pastor of his own church in Southern California.

Throughout the book, Munck talks about the importance of his Christian religion in his life’s travels — and it includes numerous quotes from and about Jesus and God and verses from the Bible. Munck makes it clear this has been the most important aspect of his life, the thing that helped him go from his sad childhood to the life he has managed to live now. As he says himself so eloquently at the end of the book:

“Life doesn’t always go as planned, and some of the most memorable things in life that happen to us are both good and bad. When life throws you a detour, don’t miss what you can learn from it. We seem to grow the most through the toughest times. And who knows? Maybe your craziest story could be the thing that blesses someone else, or at least makes them laugh. There is one thing that stands out the most on the wonderful journey of writing this book: how God’s hand has been guiding me and providing for me every step of the way — even when I was far from Him. I hope you see that too and know that God has a plan for your life.”

This is a heartwarming story of perseverance, determination and faith by a man who seemingly had all the cards stacked against him in life but came out a winner.

©2024 BookTrib. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

"The Guide: Survival, Warfighting, Peacemaking," by Greg Munck.

Hurricane watch issued for Beryl in Texas

Editor's note: Read USA TODAY's live coverage of Beryl for Sunday, July 7, including the storm's track as it heads toward Texas.

Watches and warnings for flooding rainfall, storm surge and hurricane winds were in effect along much of the Texas coast on Saturday, as the National Hurricane Center watches to see whether Tropical Storm Beryl will become a hurricane again as it approaches the Texas coast on Monday.

In its 10 a.m. Central update on Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane watch covers the Texas coast from the mouth of the Rio Grande north to San Luis Pass, south of Galveston. A tropical storm warning is in effect south of Baffin Bay to the Rio Grande. And the storm surge watch is in effect south of High Island, meaning almost the entire coast.

Beryl is forecast to approach Matagorda Bay the coast of Texas and northeastern Mexico on Monday as a Category 1 hurricane with 85-mph winds, but first it has to recover from its trip over the Yucatan Peninsula and the dry air and wind shear it has been fighting in the Gulf of Mexico. Almost the entire Texas coast lies within the hurricane center's potential forecast for the center of Beryl's path over the next five days.

On Saturday morning, Beryl had 60-mph winds and was about 460 miles Southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, moving west-northwest.

The average forecast track error at 48 hour is about 70 miles, the hurricane center said on Saturday morning. Because of the angle of the storm's approach to Texas, that size margin of error can make a significant difference in where the biggest impacts occur.

Beryl is forecast to produce 5-10 inches of rainfall in Texas , with up to 15 inches in isolated locations, across portions of the coast and in eastern Texas beginning late Sunday through the middle of next week, the hurricane center said. The storm also is forecast to deliver a storm surge amounts of 2-5 feet along the coast and dangerous rip currents.

Residents in Texas should be familiar with their flood zones – as well as those who live in Louisiana – and should be closely monitoring the storm's progress, according to the hurricane center.

"All of South Texas should be preparing for a hurricane," Kirsten Snodgrass, a meteorologist in Corpus Christi wrote in a Friday morning forecast update.

Even though heat is a concern going into the weekend, for those that live in Beryl's potential path, now is the time to make sure preparations are complete, know your flood zone and check on your neighbors, especially those who may be vulnerable, forecasters said.

It's important to know your risk , Michael Brennan, hurricane center director, told USA TODAY in March. It’s "knowing  if you live in a storm surge evacuation zone ."

What is a hurricane watch?

A watch means hurricane force winds above 74 mph are possible within 48 hours.

What is a hurricane warning?

A warning means hurricane force winds above 74 mph are expected within 36 hours.

What is a tropical storm warning?

A warning means tropical storm force winds of 39-73 mph are expected within 36 hours.

What is a tropical storm watch?

A watch means tropical storm force winds 39-73 mph are possible within 48 hours.

What's the forecast for Louisiana and Texas?

After ripping through the Caribbean , brushing Jamaica and making landfall along the Yucatan Peninsula, the storm's winds have weakened considerably, but the hurricane center's forecasters aren't quite sure what will happen once Beryl fully re-enters the Gulf of Mexico.

Its future wind strength depends on how much of its core remains intact, and its future path depends on how strong Beryl becomes and how it interacts with atmospheric systems over the southern United States. At 10 a.m. C.T. on Saturday, the forecast called for Beryl to gradually intensify over the Gulf, making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with 85-mph winds on Monday.

Regardless of the path or intensity of the storm, life-threatening beach conditions are expected later today across much of the Gulf Coast and are forecast to continue through the weekend.

Track Beryl's forecast

Forecasters say it's important to monitor the storm's progress, but remember the hurricane center's forecast cone shows only the likely path of the center of the storm. Weather impacts could occur many miles away.

How to prepare your home

If you're in an area where high winds are possible with Hurricane Beryl, here are things you can do to get ready .

  • Secure loose items in your yard that could be blown over, such as lawn furniture, grills, bicycles, etc.
  • Check your emergency go-bag and medical supplies in case you must evacuate
  • Charge your phone
  • Fill up or charge your vehicle 
  • Help your neighbors, especially if they're vulnerable.

What is storm surge?

Brennan has said water is one of the greatest dangers in a hurricane , including storm surge, intense rainfall and rip currents. Storm surge occurs when the winds of a hurricane push the water higher than normal high tides, raising the ocean level, and then big waves occur on top of that. It's one of the most destructive forces in a hurricane.

Understanding storm surge Graphics explain the deadly phenomenon

Preparing a kit

If you live in a low-lying area prone to flooding, you might be asked to evacuate and need to prepare an emergency "go bag" to take with you . As of Friday, the forecast called for up to 10 inches of rain in areas along the coast, with even higher amounts in isolated locations . A flash flood risk extends well east along the Gulf Coast into Louisiana by Tuesday.

Hurricane season is here: Here's how to put together your preparedness kit or "go bag"

Beryl's historic journey

Beryl was born as a tropical depression on June 28 and became a tropical storm later that evening. It broke records over the next several days for rapid intensification so early in hurricane season. It became a hurricane within 24 hours of formation. Within another 24 hours, its winds had increased 55 mph, reaching 130 mph, almost a Category 4 hurricane.

Hurricane Beryl: A history making path through the Caribbean

Beryl battered the Windward Islands along the eastern Caribbean, causing widespread destruction in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada , destroying or severely damaging more than 90% of the homes and buildings on at least three islands. After plowing through the islands, Beryl again re-strengthened, becoming a Category 5 storm , then reaching winds of 165 mph on the morning of July 2.

Dinah Voyles Pulver and Doyle Rice cover climate and the environment for USA TODAY. Reach Dinah at [email protected] and Doyle at [email protected].

🎙️ Welcome to "Beyond the Shield," where we delve into the heart and soul of first responder leadership, on-the-job experiences, and the profound impact of serving the public. Join us as we journey through captivating stories, insightful discussions, and invaluable lessons from the frontlines of emergency response. In each episode, we sit down with seasoned first responders and leaders in the field to explore the challenges, triumphs, and moments of reflection that shape their careers and lives. From adrenaline-fueled rescues to the quiet moments of camaraderie, "Beyond the Shield" offers a glimpse into the dynamic world of those who answer the call to serve. This podcast is for first responders, aspiring leaders, and those curious about the realities of life as a first responder.

Beyond The Shield Paul Conway

  • 5.0 • 1 Rating
  • JUN 11, 2024

Beyond The Shield, Episode 8: Exploring grief, suicide, and the efforts to prevent it.

Understanding grief, the epidemic of suicide, and the efforts to prevent it. This week, Mary VanHaute, suicide prevention specialist, shares invaluable insights into the needed change to address suicide rates in America and the firehouse. Paul and Mary also discuss how grief affects people and can change families. This week's podcast captures the mission of Beyond the Shield Perfectly as we talk about difficult topics and ignite hope for change.    Subscribe and don't miss an episode! Visit us on: Instagram: Website: Important links Conway Shield: Chief's Choice: Conway Shield Training: About us:  

  • 1 hr 24 min

Beyond The Shield, Episode 7: Organizational betrayal and the death of the brotherhood.

Dissecting the modern firehouse! Watch fully for insights from Stephanie white, author of several articles about changing times in the Brotherhood. Paul and Stephanie, each with their unique perspectives, offer a fascinating dichotomy on the topics discussed. Paul, as a chief, and Stephanie, a firefighter who was not promoted, bring contrasting insights to the table. Subscribe for updates on all future episodes! Visit us on: Instagram: Website: Important links Conway Shield: Chief's Choice: Conway Shield Training: About us: Stephanie’s links:

  • 1 hr 23 min
  • JUN 6, 2024

Beyond The Shield, Episode 5: Paul Conway and RJ

In this episode, host Paul Conway sits down with RJ from Capitol Fire Training, a renowned firefighter training company founded in 2009. Join us as RJ shares invaluable insights and expertise in firefighter training, offering crucial tips and techniques for first responders. Don't miss out on this enlightening conversation! Special thanks to RJ for sharing his knowledge. Hit subscribe for more exclusive content and stay updated on the latest in firefighter training.

  • 1 hr 31 min

Beyond The Shield, Episode 4: Optimistic Leadership, The Support of a Firefighter Community

In This episode of Beyond the Shield, Firefighters Joe Flick and Paul Conway discuss matters of community and leadership in the firehouse. Watch through and learn how shared actions and experiences bond firefighters and communities. Follow and support ignite the spirit that benefits first responders in Milwaukee. Ignite the Spirit, Joe Flick:  

Beyond The Shield, Episode 3: Faith and firefighting with Paul Conway and Jason Sautel

In this episode of Beyond the Shield, Paul Conway, Founder of Conway Shield, and Jason Sautel, evangelist and author, discuss matters of faith and firefighting. If you're interested in more content like this visit the links below: Jason Sautel links Facebook: Book: linkedin: Conway links Website: Instagram:

  • 1 hr 19 min

Beyond The Shield, Episode 2: Discuss the generational learning gap in the fire service with us.

Tune in to our latest podcast episode, where Paul Conway interviews Mike Wise! As a firefighter training instructor, Mike brings invaluable insights to the table. In this episode, we delve into the generation gap within the firehouse, exploring its impact on training, viewpoints, and experiences. Don't miss out on this thought-provoking discussion! Like, comment, and subscribe for more content like this!

  • 1 hr 48 min

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  2. Customer Journey Mapping Guide Templates (67-slide PowerPoint Presentation (PPTX)) Flevy

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  3. What are some easy-to-use Service Design Tools…? Part 3

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  4. Service journey

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  5. Customer Journey Map

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  6. Customer Journey Mapping Tips

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  1. The Service Journey

    The Service Journey Learning Course is a highly engaging way for Lions and Leos to learn key phases of Lions service. You can find the course by using your Lion Account login credentials to access the Lions Learning Center (LLC) and searching for "Service Journey." By taking the course, you will:

  2. Mapping A Customer Service Journey to Improve Customer Experience

    Mapping the Customer Service Journey to Improve Customer Experience. In the days before Google Maps, finding directions to a new location, especially if it was in an unfamiliar city, took careful planning and attention. Routes had to be determined long before leaving, and an extra time cushion was absolutely necessary to accommodate for any ...

  3. Customer Journey Maps: How to Create Really Good Ones [Examples + Template]

    6. Make the customer journey map accessible to cross-functional teams. Customer journey maps aren't very valuable in a silo. However, creating a journey map is convenient for cross-functional teams to provide feedback. Afterward, make a copy of the map accessible to each team so they always keep the customer in mind.

  4. Lion Magazine January 2019: The Service Journey

    The service journey is a new way to think about service. It has four phases—Learn, Discover, Act, and Celebrate—that define the service experience. Each phase is connected. Each phase can help Lions innovate how they serve. Knowledge is power.

  5. Customer Journey Map: Definition & Process

    Customer journey maps are visual representations of customer experiences with an organization. They provide a 360-degree view of how customers engage with a brand over time and across all channels. Product teams use these maps to uncover customer needs and their routes to reach a product or service. Using this information, you can identify pain ...

  6. Service Blueprint Guide With Examples

    A service blueprint is a tool that helps teams understand how the customer sees or experiences a business's service process. It's a diagram that visualizes relationships between people, processes, and physical and digital touchpoints tied to a specific customer journey. Think of a service blueprint like a treasure map.

  7. Service Blueprints 101: Examples, Design, How to make one

    Service design has great tools to explain how a service works; one of them is a service blueprint. The service blueprint illustrates a service journey, specifying and detailing the relationships between each aspect of a service along a timeline. One touchpoint on the line of interaction can contain multiple smaller actions in the background.

  8. The Six Rethinks

    Shift from a silo to a journey focus to better align customer experience (CX) activities, technology, data, people and process to improve the results of your customers' service journeys.

  9. Customer Journey Mapping

    Define the map's scope (15 min) Ideally, customer journey mapping focuses on the experience of a single persona in a single scenario with a single goal. Else, the journey map will be too generic, and you'll miss out on opportunities for new insights and questions. You may need to pause creating a customer journey map until you have defined your ...

  10. Lead Customer Service Journey Mapping Efforts That Drive Action

    A ttempts to improve the customer experience (CX), which is the number one priority for service and support leaders in 2024, often start with a focus on the service journey. Customer journey mapping is commonly used to understand the current-state journey and design a future-state one.. Journey mapping often fails to drive improvements to CX, due to a lack of leadership involvement and ...

  11. What is a customer journey?

    The journey that a customer takes is married to each instance that a customer comes in contact with your company. These instances include pre-purchase, mid- purchase, and post-purchase. When you break these three instances down into their constituent parts, there are seven phases of the customer journey to be aware of.

  12. Service journey quality: conceptualization, measurement and customer

    SJQ comprises of three dimensions: (1) journey seamlessness, (2) journey personalization and (3) journey coherence. This study demonstrates that SJQ is a critical driver of service quality and customer loyalty in contemporary business. This study finds that the loyalty link is partially mediated through service quality, indicating that SJQ ...

  13. Website 101: Exploring the Service Journey

    To better understand the Service Journey and how it can support your vision and passion to make a difference, is a great place to get started. The Service Journey webpage on provides a high-level overview of what the journey is all about, focusing on four distinct phases: Learn, Discover, Act and Celebrate.

  14. Customer Journey Map: Everything You Need To Know

    A customer journey map helps you gain a better understanding of your customers so you can spot and avoid potential concerns, make better business decisions and improve customer retention. The map ...

  15. The Service Journey

    The Service Journey is an approach to living and serving well. To making a real difference people can see and feel. It embraces four simple phases: Learn, Discover, Act, and Celebrate. We love these words because they transcend organizational formulas. They have no borders. They are the essence of Lions and Leos.

  16. Unlocking the secrets of the customer engagement model

    The key is to map out your customer's journey, determine the level of service needed at each touchpoint, and implement a flexible model that adapts to your customer's evolving needs. Best practices for improving customer engagement. Here are some expert tips for consistently improving your customer engagement. Focus on the customer journey

  17. The Difference Between a Service Blueprint and a Journey Map

    Understanding Journey Maps. A journey map is a visual representation of a customer's experience with a product or service over time. Creating a customer journey map is pivotal in business because it enables a comprehensive understanding of the customer's perspective, encompassing interactions, emotions, and pain points. A journey map consists of stages, touchpoints, and channels, and may be ...

  18. Service Blueprints vs. Journey Maps: differences & use cases

    Service Blueprints delve deep into the nitty-gritty of service delivery, mapping out internal processes, resources, and frontline interactions. They provide a detailed view of how the service operates from an organizational perspective. Journey Maps show the overall customer experience, including emotions, problems, and happy moments at each ...

  19. How to capture what the customer wants

    Understanding the end state of the most important service journeys can help companies set goals accordingly. To start, companies must determine which service journeys are most important in terms of the cost of the journey to the organization, the complexity involved in improving the journey, and how important the journey is to the customer.

  20. What Is Journey-as-a-Service (JAAS)?

    CSG's JaaS is a self-service portal that allows all users to input and change journey details without calling technical support or a professional services team. Using JaaS is like using TurboTax to prepare your tax return. The user-friendly software makes it easy to identify your CX challenge and deploy specific journeys to address those issues.

  21. Customer Journey Stages: The Complete Guide

    One customer journey map, for example, might start with a TV ad, then utilize social media and third-party review sites during the consideration stage, before purchasing online and then contacting customer support about you your delivery service. And then, finally, that customer may be served a discount code for a future purchase.

  22. Home

    Journey focus: Shift from a silo to a journey focus to better align customer experience (CX) activities, technology, data, people and process to improve the results of your customers' service journeys. Individual centric: Shift communication capabilities from segments to the individual to improve personalization, relevance and conversions. We will help your organization improve customer ...

  23. Four Stages To Implementing a CX Transformation: From Mapping To

    Service journey teams are much smaller than departments as not everyone in an organization is assigned a service journey role. Implementing an ISJM is a significant undertaking and needs to be well planned, communicated and structured. Prior to rolling out the new responsibilities, it is advised that governance and change management are ...

  24. Customer Journey Maps vs. Service Blueprints: What's the ...

    Customer Journey Design Methods Service Design. outwitly. Ottawa, Ontario. View profile. outwitly. 908 posts · 2K followers. View more on Instagram. 43 likes. In this blog, we break down the definitions, similarities, and differences between customer journey mapping and service blueprinting.

  25. Behind the scenes of Service NSW's AI Hackathon

    Customer service: Discover new ways to enhance the service experience for our customers by using AI. Hands-on learning: Cut through the hype and genuinely experience and explore the true capabilities of AI first-hand. Collaboration: Break-down silos and work together across the digital and non-digital teams.

  26. Survivor, Marine: One man's incredible journey to inner peace

    There's a unique beginning to "The Guide: Survival, Warfighting, Peacemaking" — Greg Munck's moving and uplifting memoir of his fascinating journey that took him from a nightmarish childhood ...

  27. Former Journey guitarist and founding member dies at 76

    George Tickner, a founding member of the platinum-selling San Francisco rock band Journey, has died at 76, according to guitarist Neal Schon. "You will be missed immensely," Schon wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday, July 4. "Thank you for your incomparable contributions to Journey's early years." No cause of death was given.

  28. As Hurricane Beryl's path heads toward Texas, state on alert

    Beryl's historic journey. Beryl was born as a tropical depression on June 28 and became a tropical storm later that evening. It broke records over the next several days for rapid intensification ...

  29. ‎Beyond The Shield on Apple Podcasts

    🎙️ Welcome to "Beyond the Shield," where we delve into the heart and soul of first responder leadership, on-the-job experiences, and the profound impact of serving the public. Join us as we journey through captivating stories, insightful discussions, and invaluable lessons from the frontlines of emergency response.

  30. Azure API Center

    Azure API Center - The ultimate service to streamline API Governance across your organization. ‎Jul 09 2024 12:00 AM Assume you joined an organization today that produces hundreds of independently deployed & hosted APIs and you now carry the responsibility of managing all these APIs from different teams across the entire organization.