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Author  David Barrow – ITSM consultant

July 20, 2020 |

 3 min read

  • Blog
  • Customer needs
  • Skills

Why is mapping the customer journey with a service mindset important for organizations in the digital era?

Until recently, customers have mostly engaged with organizations via person-to-person engagement, such as paying in a cheque at the bank.

Now, there is an increasing digital “front end” in the customer journey, such as mobile cheque deposit services or applying for a bank loan online. When removing human interaction, you need to understand everything that sits behind that end-to-end journey and what outcome or value you’re building for the customer.

Technology has often been a method rather than an enabler and, with automation, organizations can get lost in the technology. This is something ITIL® 4 helps us avoid.

Human-centred design and an optimized customer experience

Now we are moving away from the IT supplier-focused concepts of service level agreements, uptime and availability, the focus is now shifting towards the consumer experience.

Consumers have a different understanding of what success means and that’s where human-centred design and customer experience is helping us think about what makes a great service and creating experience level agreements.

This means asking the question: what does the customer need? Are we delivering something we think they’ll like or are we anticipating what they’ll like and need? This is the approach ITIL 4 advocates and you can see it in action already, such as the digital services for companies and the public provided by the UK Government during the current Coronavirus pandemic. This includes advice on financial support and claiming wages through the Job Retention Scheme.

ITIL 4 and the customer journey

A new infographic for the ITIL 4 Specialist: Drive Stakeholder Value (DSV) module outlines the seven steps of the customer journey. So, how do these steps work in practice?

  1. Explore
  2. Understand what the customer needs from a service. If it’s an established service, you also need to ask the customer about their past experience using analytics to support this. Is it a service that’s repeatedly failing or something that just needs improving?

  3. Engage
  4. You should be engaging constantly with customers/users and recognize the stakeholders who have either influence or impact, in other words the people on the ground using the services. By engaging those groups, you can really start to evolve and continually improve the customer experience.

  5. Offer
  6. Continually ask what people require and allow them to articulate it. If an offer is not working, they may not let you know; this is dangerous in a world where the customer has so many choices. So, the offer must always be assessed and evolved.

  7. Agree
  8. An experience level agreement is a shared view of the scope and customers’ desired outcomes. Through customer feedback and market intelligence you can anticipate better and enable your business to grow.

  9. Onboard
  10. You mustn’t lose focus on the offer you’ve agreed. By involving customers/users it’s best to onboard them with particular service elements and get them right, because you can equally lose customers if you get it wrong. This is where ITIL 4’s embracing of DevOps really works.

  11. Co-create
  12. Co-creation of value comes from feedback and working closely with the customer. Get an early view of what they think of the service and always be co-creating value.

  13. Realize

You should understand what the desired outcomes are, whether you’re delivering them and they’re still relevant.

The key driver for experience level agreements is going through the mapping process to understand what’s important about the customer experience on their end-to-end journey and knowing how to measure it.