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The Magic of Customer Journey Mapping in Luxury Retail  

I have always found customer journey mapping workshops magical. When you start facilitating a workshop with a client you have no idea what will emerge. The team always gives you the perception that they know what their customer wants, so in my early days as a designer I would be always hopeful that these four hours together would be valuable. I can’t believe I ever doubted the process, because having conducted several of these workshops for clients I can say, the output is always illuminating for everyone involved.


So what is a customer journey map?  

 It’s a diagram or chart that breaks up the customer experience into micro interactions. Some of the salient features include:


a) Cross functional teams: You bring all stakeholders together, some frontline members with back office from different functions

b) Chronical Sequencing: You break up customer actions from the first moment they become aware of your brand or search for a solution, till post purchase.

c) Micro actions: You walk through the customers actions one step at a time through the sequence. It allows you to capture the small moments as well and linkages between different touchpoints, like your website, chat and social media. Usually that’s where friction occurs.

d) Customer thinking: Beyond actions you imagine and examine what the customer needs, desires, feels and thinks during these moments. You can correlate it with customer data and customer interviews to validate these conjectures.

e) Identify improvements: Based on this thinking you identify the priority pain points and ideate solutions. You can apply design thinking principles to prototype and test these ideas with customers themselves for quick implementation.


You can create several maps for different customer personas and scenarios, and conduct workshops in person with a white board and sticky notes or on a virtual white board. There are a few online tools to simplify journey mapping as well.


How is this different from the usual approach organisations take?

Well in my experience, responsibility of the customer usually lies with one team. It can be hard for them to relay it to other departments productively. I worked for a growing fashion brand where the customer had a big issue with the return process. The return policy was hard to find on the website and didn’t clearly state that international returns need to be arranged by the customer.  The sales team was different from the post sales service team, so if a customer wanted to refer to why she wanted to return the product based on what was sold to her, she felt frustrated as the person she was speaking to had no context. Pick up of returns was arranged by the operations team who frankly had little understanding of how big a pain point this was for the customer. Cost of absorbing international returns impacted the finance team. I could go on, but I think you got the idea.  When operations, tech, customer service, sales, marketing and finance could together empathise with the customer, they spent half hour willingly to find a resolution for this challenge. A lot of times inter departmental friction occurs because they don’t share a unified view of the customer’s experience, but neither do they have a common mission, to delight the customer.


In the world of luxury retail, these kind of oversights or points of friction are unacceptable. Examining the customer journey frequently and using it as discussion to aggregate customer insights is an essential practice, for every customer centric brand that wants to retain customers. Customer journey mapping doesn’t only help teams identify problems, it fosters unity and collaboration which drives service innovation.


If you are ready to take out half a day and give this simple but magical tool a try check out this workshop curated for luxury brands



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