Customer Journey

There’s a film from 1985 called The Journey of Natty Gann.

“In the 1930s, a tomboyish girl runs away from her guardian to join her single father who is 2,000 miles away, because there was work there.”

Judging by the title, I think it’s reasonable to expect Natty Gann to be the protagonist and for the story to be about what she does and the trials and tribulations she goes through along her journey.

I would be somewhat bemused if the film turned out to be about the people Natty Gann interacted with along the way, if the story were told from their point of view and her character were just a shadowy figure in the background. While this version might still be a good film, I would consider the title misleading.

Similarly, if you are presented with an artefact titled “Customer Journey”, I think it would be reasonable to expect the journey of the customer, told from the customer’s perspective, revealing the trials and tribulations of the customer.

And yet when I see such artefacts, they usually tell the story of the customer interactions from the perspective of the business, what the nature of those interactions is from the perspective of the business and what the trials and tribulations are from the perspective of the business.

Of course, that is a very interesting story and it’s an important one to tell. But it is not “The Journey of The Customer”.

In business analysis being precise in our use of language is important. Ambiguity is our enemy. So if you are going to tell the story as experienced by those who deal with your customer, tell that story and title it accordingly.

And if you are going to ask your business analysts to produce a Customer Journey, make sure you clarify what you need the story to tell and make sure you give them access to actual customers who can tell them about the journey.

Kind regards.

Declan Chellar

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1 comment to Customer Journey

  • Nick Broom

    Perfectly and succinctly put, Mr C. It’s another used-and-abused phrase that has the best of intentions, but becomes a marketing buzzword that is used to garner the correct looks and nods of approval from senior management, when they have no real understanding of its purpose.

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