Your connection with your customer is one of the most important processes to manage. This is where you get your revenue...
Customer journey is a one of two interdependent processes – 1) customer process and 2) corporate process. Also those processes may be called co-processes (see example of co-processes in ref1; it is necessary to download this PPT to see animations).
Ideally, those processes should be mapped together with the use of several coordination techniques – state-based, event-based, rules-based, traditional flow-chart, etc. Usually, such a process is a set of traditional flow-charts.
See also customer experience as a process in ref2 and ref3.
By knowing customer processes, a corporate can adjust properly its own processes, anticipate customers' behaviour and advice a particular customer for "next" good action.
How can we make BPM more relevant today?
What if it can be shown that BPM is the technology enabler for today's frontiers of service and competition?
Customer journey is that frontier of service and competition!
Only just this past November, HBR published a high profile article Competing on Customer Journeys.
And process is at the core of how you compete.
Of four key capabilities required to support customer journey, the article's authors highlight "automation" as No. 1.
"By allowing consumers to execute formerly complex journey processes quickly and easily, automation creates the essential foundation for sticky journeys. This may seem self-evident, but companies have only recently started to build robust automation platforms expressly designed to enhance journeys." [ Edelman, D. C., & Singer, M. (2015). Competing on Customer Journeys. Harvard Business Review, 93(11). ]
So customer journey is important.
But how is journey related to process? Is "a journey a process"?
Let's state an answer (which could be falsified) in a strong form:
A Journey Is A Process
1. A customer journey is the experience of a given actor in a business domain performing a complex work process and
2. The technical aspects of this experience are completely describable by standard business process notations.
Note that "experience" and "journey" include work and affect that occur outside a technical business process. So to be precise, a customer journey is a superset of a class of business processes.
Why is the fact that customer journey maps to business process important?
Because BPM technology is therefore the technology of customer journey.
BPM technology by definition delivers a language of work in which the concepts of customer journey are first class citizens of that technology. Thank means that business execs, managers and analysits can think and deploy new ways of doing business in real time (OK within reason...) All other technologies require you to build customer journey automation artefacts manually. Think "mediation of business ideas by developers". Think 10X productivity hit.
And we can go further. A customer journey is the journey of just one actor. There are other journeys too, such as "employee" or "contractor" or even non-human actors such as "agent".
Are we excited yet? BPM technology is finally mature enough to break out of the ghettoes of insurance automation and other high volume STP plays . . . and the world needs BPM.
Clearly the Customer Journey is a set of touchpoints or steps, so is a "process". But it is not an operational process that directs your employees so that they can deliver a great customer experience. So these 2 "processes" are inter-dependent. Both can be mapped, shared and improved. But the customer journey map is more likely to be a high level, whilst the operational process will go into enough detail to cofigure the back office apps (BPM, CRM, ERP etc), direct the employees and put the KPIs in context.
The biggest issue with Customer Journey Maps, is the customer doesn't know they exist, so doesn't follow them.
Any purposefully coordinated series of steps towards a business goal is a business process.
If the ultimate goal is to deliver customer value (be it savings, revenue, risk reduction, image enhancement, satisfaction),the customer journey is a business process.
If there is no goal in the customer journey, it means you're just taking them for a walk. :-)
From a customer perspective I doubt they want to be seen as part of journey in a process...even if they are! Customer engagement is the desired tag where knowledge is readily available in format that leads to making the right choices. This is about a good experience and this should be the priority in designing and building the customer process....
In the IT sector on-boarding is the most important part of the customer journey, it’s the one that matters most for the long term relationship that is to follow. It’s the time when the client gets a first-hand experience of the organisation he has tied up with, which goes beyond the marketing brochures, umpteen presentations and other pitches. It is also the most visceral view of the service providers promises and his working practices that are now going to be visible to the customer. Customer journey is not just a process, but it is the process for organisations. In fact one should mandate that all customer facing processes or processes that cross cut with customers are necessarily the most crucial and the processes that must be made most adaptive to change.
The Customer Journey is a process but it's their process and it's unlikely a customer will have within their organization a specific process for each vendor.
The likely scenario is they will have a specific culture and set of values/thresholds that apply to all vendors - you may or may not be able to find out in detail what their trigger points are so whatever effort you make to map out the customer journey will be at a much higher level of summary than your corporate processes.
We do know today that you need "delighted" customers, not just "satisfied" customers.
What this means to me is you need to be prepared to link out to a customer at any step in your process, including ad hoc steps you may insert at any point along a process timeline, and be prepared, within reason, to allow the customer to link in to your processes at any customer-facing step, including ad hoc steps you may insert at any stage along a process timeline.
Including plan-side touch points is not good enough.
We have lots of experience in healthcare with Patient Portals - we know three kinds of services, a) infocenter, with or without "smart assistants", most of which are not so smart and will not improve until AI kicks back in b) out-reach that yields huge time/cost savings (sending out appointment reminders, test results etc) and c) in-reach that can seriously eat away at healthcare professionals' productivity.
A "hammer-and-nails" approach where you implement all three simply because it can be done, will not improve customer experience.
Given HIPAA rules/penalities and MU (which I call "meaningless uselessness"), we don't allow any portal user to view a list of patients nor establish a cursor position at any patient record. The way the out-reach module works is to push out to a portal listbox line items (giving the user an InTray, if you like) from an outer server for Events posted at the back-end hosting the Case Management system. The user clicks and gets to see any attached instructions, plus fill-in-forms. They record data and press Submit.
Two engines are used to link the inner dbms to the outer and link the outer to the inner. The only data at the outer server is data relating to Events and forms that are attached to current Events. Events at the outer service get deleted soon after a patient clicks on Submit.
Here's a recent (June 8th, 2016) excellent posting on LinkedIn by Gartner's Hank Barnes concerning the problems of customer journey mapping.