I get asked this by clients a lot. So here's my little write-up I've started putting in emails or when I present clients with Journey Maps.
A customer journey is a scenario based way to follow a customer through a particular path to witness from the CUSTOMER’s point of view what they THINK, SEE, FEEL and HEAR as they move through the journey and engage with various aspects (touch points) of the service.
Why do we create customer journeys?
Through “following” a customer, we can uncover at different stages and within different situations, friction points a customer experiences as well as aspects of the service they like (delighters). This helps to give a holistic view of what is and isn’t working - and the how each touchpoint and interaction works together.
A customer journey is a tool for innovation that helps us understand, create empathy for and improve an overall service so we can uncover the areas of opportunity and gaps that have the biggest & most positive impact on their overall experience.
They will be very useful when we design / re-design a new service in order to improve on and even re-imagine it.
When should we create a journey map?
A customer journey should be used to tell us that we don‘t already know, isn’t already obvious or isn't already being solved by UX through the re-design of the current online process”.
(show Starbucks example & layer in the other elements as well as impact / effort chart)
“What was that place we went to last week? It was awesome.” - remember as a value prop