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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Service design and customer journey



Kirjoittanut: Lucas Pääkkönen Alvim - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Akateeminen essee / 3 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 11 minuuttia.

Customer journey mapping through the example of Puhdistustiimi 

A 3-point essay by Aleksi, Lucas and Tuuli-Emily. 

 

Introduction:  

Ahead of the yearly long-awaited Sales Days event, the co-operative SYNTRE had the pleasure of hosting teampreneurs from Team Academy Switzerland.  

Together, our mutual goal was to network and learn more of the sales process in connection to Sales Days as well as develop a selling strategy for the event.  

As a part of the learning journey, Emily and Lucas prepared a learning session on the topic of customer journey mapping (CJM) to best undercover the touchpoints of customers and understand where selling could be made. 

After the Sales Days event, Lucas and Emily interviewed Aleksi to better understand the sales process of Puhdistustiimi and hopefully, inspire the team in Puhdistustiimi with the learnings from the learning session with Novio.  

This essay aims to explain the concept of customer journey mapping and provide an example of the process through Puhdistustiimi.  

 

Learning journey with a focus on Sales Days.  

During our learning journey, we had the privilege of hosting a team company from the Swiss team academy HES-SO, specifically the team company Novio. The plan for our learning journey was to plan how are we (SYNTRE) going to perform in the Sales Days event. The primary goal of the learning session was to create a strategy for all of the three winners (two products and one service) and assess each of the products’ sellability.  

 The Sales Days are an exciting competition between team companies to see which team is able to sell more products in the time frame of two and a half days. For the preparation for the learning journey, we in SYNTRE divided ourselves to smaller groups and Lucas was assigned into the group whose responsibility was to organize our learning sessions with the team company NOVIO.  

We decided to have one of the learning sessions about customer journey. With the help of our guests, we were able to learn about what is customer journey and customer journey mapping as well as throw in own experiences, prior knowledge and materials mentioned later in this essay brought into the learning session by the organizing team.  

The learning session went well and we learnt a lot through mutual exchanges in the process. As a warm-up, we began the learning session by going through people’s good and bad experiences with services to get the participants into a space where thoughts could be shared freely. Afterwards, we jumped into the topic of what is service design, moving then to look at the customer journey mapping (CJM) and trying to think how we can apply it to the Sales Days and its products and services. Finally, the CJM was discussed and evaluated in context with the products and services to develop a strategy for the event.  

 

The Ins and Outs of Service Design 

Service design can be used to improve a existing service or to create a new service from scratch. Service design is the process where designers try to create the best experience possible for customers and service providers. As the famous phrase says, when there are two coffee shops next to each other and the coffee is the same price in both of them, service design is what makes you go into one of them and not the other. 

Service design thinks about the big picture, all the interactions between people and the brand and the interactions between the service providers and customers. To be able to improve the experience to all kinds of customers and providers, you must understand the relations between service receivers and service providers and the context of the experience from the beginning to the end. After understanding all of these factors and seeing the picture as a whole, you can start to ideate solutions to these user specific contexts while ensuring that the brand can deliver sustainably what is promised. 

There are five key principles for service design according to Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider.  

User-centered, co-creative, sequencing, evidencing, holistic.  

Using data collection like interviews for example, so that you are able to design focusing on all kinds of users.
Include all stakeholders in the design process.
Break down the complex service into separate processes and customer journey sections.
Make yourself clear, so that the customer knows what they are getting and what to expect.
When designing the touchpoints keep in mind all different interactions, networks and experiences. 

To start the service design process, you need to identify these essential parts of the service encounter:

Actor, that is for example an employee delivering the service.

Location, the place virtual or physical where the customer receives the service.

Props, that are the objects used during the service delivery.

Associates, are other organizations involved in providing the service, for example logistics. And the processes, that are for example the workflows used to deliver the service. 

After having defined all the parts, one is strongly encouraged to define and understand the problems that need to be solved, and to continuously improve the design based on feedback from users and the needs of the business. To be able to do this, a holistic approach needs to be taken, that considers all dimensions of the service, including the needs and expectations of the users, as well the businesses objectives and limitations, having to understand the customer´s journey and the metrics that define success for the business. Some tools that you can use are customer journey map, to help find touchpoints, barriers and important moments in the process, personas, to help envision target users and service blueprints to help understand the whole spectrum of situations where users interact with the brand. (ITF, N.D). 

 

Benefits of using service design 

Service design has the goal of making the whole service experience smoother for the user and provider, consequently making it a better experience. 

 Using service design and constantly improving your service, there is a much bigger chance that the expectations of the customer will be exceeded, making the customer happier. If the service itself is constantly being improved or the employees receive continual training on how to better serve the customers, the customers are more likely to leave good reviews, come again and speak well about your business to others. Service design encourages a leaner process, as by doing service design the business can potentially deliver the service quicker and cheaper to the customer without losing quality, saving the business time and money, even making your service more sustainable as it would use less resources.  

As given in the example of the coffee shops, service design can make you stand out from your competitors, for example by being spot-on targeting your customers. (Amaresan, 2022) 

 

Customer journey mapping as a part of the service design process. 

As mentioned above, customer journey mapping (CJM) is a visualisation tool that can offer significant insights into consumer needs and identifies pain points in interactions with the organizations. (NN Group, 2016). CJM belongs to the service design process and can be used in physical interactions as well as e-commerce. In comparison to the sales journey, where a customer’s decisions have been followed and assessed from awareness to purchasing of a product or a service, the CJM focuses on creating personas and following the journey from awareness to customer retention. In other words, CJM additionally follows the customer relationship after the purchase and identifies, what could make a persona share their experiences of the product or service and what would increase their likeliness of purchasing the product or service again from the organization. 

The tool consists of three zones: The Lens, The Experience and The Insights.  

The Lens provides context and focus for the situation of the CJM. It highlights which of the personas does the CJM focus on and what is the scenario in which the CJM is used. As an example, a person that has had their gutters cleaned via a bought-in service may have a greatly differing customer journey map as opposed to a first-time client who is debating whether the service is needed in the first place. During the first time of using CJM, the scenarios commonly include the purchasing process but can also focus on returning the product, learning more of the product or moving in the sales funnel. 

 

The Experience highlights the different phases of the process we wish to evaluate that has been outlined in the scenario and the persona’s predicted behaviour within each phase. Commonly, the phases focus on the individual steps of a purchasing process that can be marked onto the CJM template as ‘stepping stones’ or blocks, where the touchpoints have been identified. The behaviour entails the persona’s actions, thoughts and emotions during each of the phases (oftentimes expressed as a line, where satisfaction and dissatisfaction can be marked in spikes).

When marking down the experience phase, it is very beneficial to work on the customer journey mapping with stakeholders from different areas of expertise (even data collection from the customers, if possible) for an honest and multidimensional outcome. It should be encouraged to be honest with the consumer behaviour and mark down true satisfaction and dissatisfaction points rather than being ‘neutral’ to best understand where important touchpoints are located. 

The Insights is the final phase of the CJM and oftentimes also the most overlooked phase of the tool. The phase includes metrics, internal ownership and opportunities and acts as a tool of reflection. As an example from e-commerce, when the consumer abandons their shopping cart in the check-out process and the stakeholders provide a feedback of the check-out taking too long, the form elements could be revised and marked down as an opportunity of improvement to ensure a smoother check-out process and ultimately, more sales.  

The insights are an integral part in creating an improvement plan for the optimization of the user experience and act as a whole: while opportunities provide clear steps of improvement and ownership suggests accountability and urgency of improving the touchpoint, metrics offer a way of measuring to see if the changes really improve the experience.  

After the customer journey mapping has been made, the process can be continued with service blueprints, which offer more insights on how the phases are lined up from the perspective of business and technical management.

Together, these tools offer a powerful and highly insightful model of the customer and company processes to best improve the current scenarios and be able to provide more value to all the stakeholders involved.  

 

Preparing for a valuable Customer Journey Mapping

In 2016, a survey was held by the Nielsen Norman Group ahead of their CJM webinar, which saw 48 user experience professionals honestly expressing their opinions on what factors affect a successful customer journey mapping process.  

It was highlighted that primary frustrations lie in understanding the scope and the proper process for creating the CJM. Thusly, in order to prepare for a CJM of your services, it is recommended to ensure that the CJM is aligned with the problem you face and is specific enough to allow the stakeholders to properly assess the touchpoints and more importantly, its metrics and opportunities.  

When applied properly, the CJM has the possibility of outlining improvements, which in turn means that the team can create an efficient action plan and thus create common goals and visions of the process across departments.  

 

Puhdistustiimi 

During the learning session where CJM was used as a tool, the attendees felt most confident when discussing the personas and using CJM to understand the touchpoints of a service provided by Puhdistustiimi due to its established web platform and nature of the service, which was delivered to a specific audience.

An interview was conducted with one of the owners of Puhdistustiimi, Aleksi Stoilov, regarding Puhdistustiimi and its incorporation of the customer journey within their business.  

Puhdistustiimi is a business that focuses on gutter cleaning and washing in the Pirkanmaa region. The values and the message of the company are simple: the hardworking team wishes to show that they are friendly, approachable neighbourhood guys that are reliable and good at what they do. The team makes sure that each of their customers has been reached out to individually and the highest quality possible is provided, which can be reflected in their exceptionally high reviews and feedback on various websites. The young men have established themselves well and Puhdistustiimi can be seen as a company who to look up to and get truly inspired by. 

The business was created in Proakatemia in 2021 and sold to the current owners in 2022. When the current owners bought the business, the service and the customer journey had been carefully thought through and established. The owners assessed that the established systems were working so well that no improvements or remarkable changes were necessary at the point of purchase. 

The service is offered to businesses and customers that are home and/or property owners. The primary way that potential customers find the business is by searching for it on a search engine online when they need a gutter cleaning service. 

The company’s visibility is enhanced by investing into its website, search engine optimization and paid advertisements, resulting in Puhdistustiimi’s page to be among the first to pop up when doing an organic search for services of this kind online.
Last year, the company’s return on investment was 5-6 times the original amount from their investment on Google Ads, meaning that their primary methods of reaching out to new customers are excellent. As they provide a well thought out service, their reviews are also visible and on point.

Another strategy used by the guys at Puhdistustiimi to reach customers is by targeting paid ads in an area, sharing physical fliers to post boxes of private houses and following up with door-to-door sales after a few days with the intention of getting to know the customer, whether they have a need for the service and try to close a sale. The process, Aleksi said, has been refined in the process. Through the feedback from customers, they have realized that the fliers on their own are not enough unless they are combined and accompanied by the door-to-door sales in the following days, as people may easily dismiss the flier unless they are aware of the service or are in a dire need of the service. Combining the fliers with targeted ads and a door to door salesperson reminding them of the opportunity to have their gutters cleaned and washed is an excellent way to increase the amount of touchpoints that a consumer has, meaning that the consumer may also become unconsciously aware of the service beforehand and be more inclined to book the service. 

Once the customer has been reached, the consultation and the booking of the service has been made with being as simple, fast and thorough as possible to maintain high efficiency on both sides. Puhdistustiimi also makes sure that the customers have the necessary means to reach the team whenever, which adds an element of reliability into the relationship.  

After the service has been provided, the company sends a report of the service, which includes pictures of the before and after state of the gutters to show the impact that their service has. In the event that the customer is at the property while the service is taking place, the workers in charge are polite and honest with the client to give the feeling that they are not some big faceless corporation but rather approachable neighborhood guys and talk about their gutter cleaning and washing needs for the next year to retain their client. The guys also do check-ins with the client to receive feedback and ensure that the customer feels heard and appreciated. In the following year or the change of a season, they will call the client about the possibility of arranging another time for the cleaning and washing to retain the client. 

According to Aleksi, it is important for the company to show that they truly respect and value each of their clients, which is also reflected in their reviews and increases the demand. The demand for services to ease the everyday life of a consumer has increased over the last years, as Puhdistustiimi with their marketing and sales force are creating the demand, and the trend is only growing.  

As of last year, around 500 monthly Google searches were done in the Tampere and Pirkanmaa area for companies doing gutter cleaning, while in the area of Kuopio only 3 or 4 monthly searches were made. Aleksi opened up about the topic, explaining that in Kuopio there is no company specialized in gutter cleaning and washing, so there is no advertisement for this service but the demand may be there soon.  

In today’s world, consumers are more and more appreciative of their free time and prefer to have automated or bought in services, that would improve their life quality. The statement is also backed up scientifically: research suggests that people with more free time tend to be happier than people with more money but no free time (Knowledge, 2021).  This indicates that people who outsource their problems tend to be happier, showing that the industry of services will increase, as for example the house cleaning industry has increased on average 6,6% per year in the last 10years (Peysakhovich, 2022).  

When discussing outsourcing, scaling the business, using customer journey mapping and future endeavors, the writers agreed that conducting CJM is important to detect changes in consumer behaviour and provide as many high-quality touchpoints as is possible for the best possible business outcomes and satisfied customers.  

 

Conclusion. 

The writers mutually agree that the learning journey with the Swiss Team Academy HES-SO and the Novio team impacted the organisers, active participants and the service provider in a positive way. The proper implementation of the tool combined with personas and service blueprinting may offer a valuable overview that could significantly improve the processes undertaken by the company. Learning to practically use the customer journey map and recognizing the importance of a well-thought-out use of the visual tool plays an integral part in perceiving what are the customer’s practical successes and what could be improved, thus resulting in a better customer experience and eventually, more sales. Proakatemia’s community should be – and definitely is – proud of the work by Puhdistustiimi and is excited to see what the future holds for them.  

 

References 

Amaresan, S. (2022) Service design 101: The Essential Guide, HubSpot Blog. HubSpot. Available at: https://blog.hubspot.com/service/service-design (Accessed: April 7, 2023).  

ITF (no date) What is service design?, The Interaction Design Foundation. Available at: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/service-design (Accessed: April 6, 2023). 

Kaplan, K. (2016) Journey Mapping in Real Life: A Survey of UX Practitioners. Nielsen Norman Group. Available at: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/journey-mapping-ux-practitioners/  (Accessed: April 15, 2023)   

Knowledge, H.B.S.W. (2021) Want to be happier? make more free time, Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2021/02/05/want-to-be-happier-make-more-free-time/ (Accessed: April 7, 2023). 

Peysakhovich, R. (2022) 51 cleaning statistics: Market Size & Industry growth, 51Cleaning Statistics: Market Size & Industry Growth. Available at: https://www.getonedesk.com/cleaning-stats#:~:text=In%20the%20past%2010%20years%2C%20the%20cleaning%20industry,around%2012%2C896%20hours%20cleaning%20in%20their%20entire%20lifetime. (Accessed: April 7, 2023). 

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