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25th July, 2016  

Customer Journey Maps for Enterprise Applications

By Harsh Bhangalia

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Introduction

We live in a world where we want to have all the practical information handy before we start/try anything new. You want to go to a certain restaurant because one of your friends tweeted a picture of the most perfect, yummiest dish you’re craving? Or check out that gallery that’s running a timely exhibit of your favourite artist? Or maybe there’s a particular running route you want to cover within the next few days after you reach your destination? All of these questions are just a click away, thanks to the thousand web/mobile applications available out there.

In the world of travel, before you pack your bags and see the world, you will find a list of travel apps that anticipate all your needs, from booking tickets to eating at the city’s best cafes.

So when I was given a design brief to design a Travel Management App for organisations, I was nothing short of excited and, to be honest, a little over confident! I started my research by collecting information about how travel takes place within a certain organisation. This lead me to the stage of making one of the most critical and testings phase of the design process, which we call, the Customer Journey Map.

It was at this stage that I realised how hard it is to design something which is truly beneficial to the end users. Before I go any further, let me start with a very informal definition of what exactly is a customer journey map:

A customer journey map is a type of infographic which gives a holistic view of the entire experience of the customer’s journey by identifying the key interactions that the customer has with the product.

Personas, timelines, emotions, touch-points and channels are the key contributing elements of a good customer journey map

Now let me share my experience of this creating a journey map. In this particular case there I considered 3 broad categories of users i.e. employee, manager and the staff from the administration team.

The journey map is split into five stages. Each stage talks about the journey module, qualitative insights, quantitative insights and takeaways (on the left). It comprises of linear, ongoing linear, non–linear but time bound processes.

First Stage

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In the first stage I recorded the interaction that takes place is between the manager and the employee. This flows in a linear process. In this stage a need for business related travel is identified by the manager.

Then the manager shares the travel opportunity with the employee, which comprises of business itineraries. The entire process takes place both formally and informally between the employee and the manager .

By this time there are various thoughts that come across the employees’ and the managers’ minds which in turn reflect in the form of emotions. These feelings and thoughts help in identifying their experience.

Second Stage

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The second stage is ongoing linear. The employee shares the travel details with the administration team through a request portal. In this process the request goes to both,the admin team and the manager. But the admin team does not start work on this till the manager approves the raised request. If the employee faces problem while raising a request then there are alternatives which can be used.

Third Stage

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In this stage there are two processes, one being circular and the other being linear. After the manager approves the request the admin sends the travel details to the external ,who then takes care of the booking. This entire process in circular and time bound.

The time taken by the admin to deliver the booked tickets to the employee is a linear process and time bound. Linear processes are called so as they loses its relevance, if the task is not performed at a given time.

Fourth Stage

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The fourth stage follows a non-linear path as the task is performed in a timeframe which is flexible. For example, the employee can enter his daily expenses anytime: from the first day of travel till it ends. The employee in an unfamiliar place without his social circle. This is a very good example where one can see how thoughts are reflected in the form of emotions and in turn help us find opportunities.

Fifth Stage

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The last stage is the post travel stage where the employee is back from his travel and is following up on refunds. In this stage the interaction is mainly between the employee and the finance team for refunds. This is a circular process.

Conclusion

One gets a fair idea of how he would like to take the project forward after the research. But what is important is to convey the same information to others so that they can identify its value. Actually, this is something that everyone does at the back of their mind while working on a project. However, after making my first customer journey map I feel it’s always useful to make one before because it gives a sense of clarity in the thought process which helps in coming up with the best design solution.

I ended up making the entire application and names it “Assist”. Will share a documentation of the entire project here soon. Stay tuned!

About Harsh Bhangalia : I'm Harsh Bhangalia. A good samaritan and a washed-up athlete. A mountain boy from Himachal, currently residing in Hyderabad. Interaction designer by profession, technology seeker by interest. You'll find me hunting places with great food or checking out luxury brands with a wide-eyed curiosity.

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