Having a standardized journey framework is great, but not every organization is the same. While some are just starting out and need something more linear, others have larger journeys that need to be divided into a series of smaller ones. We typically see three levels of complexity for a journey framework: simple, structured, and complex. The way in which your organization constructs its journey framework is up to you and your needs. Here are some of the pros and cons of each to help you decide.
Anatomy of every journey framework
Before we dig into the details of each type of framework, let’s look at the two dimensions that make up a general framework: time and complexity.
Over 90% of the organizations we work with tend to use time as the horizontal axis because it’s easy for everyone to understand. The time dimension follows the customer experience. The complexity then exists along the vertical axis. How can you layer on journeys so that you have a standard way of understanding your business? Some use channels – retail vs online vs omnichannel – while others use countries or regions to determine the different layers of the framework.
1. Simple Journey Framework
A simple framework is great for organizations that are just starting out. There is a single customer lifecycle, split up over time (horizontally from left to right). Every stage encompasses a few journeys that show what the customer does, as in the above example of an omnichannel experience we got from our friends at Qualtrics.
When building a simple framework, keep in mind that customer experience is not this linear. Furthermore, using a single journey to map out the entire customer journey from start to finish can result in information overload, making it difficult to produce any insight.
The anatomy of a simple journey framework
- There is one framework that is split up into stages (time dimension = lifecycle)
- Every stage comprises a few journeys on the vertical dimension, in no particular order
2. Structured Framework
Picking up where the simple framework left off, a structured framework groups each stage of the customer lifecycle into chapters that are part of a larger ‘master’ or ‘macro’ journey. For example, ‘Not a customer’, ‘Become a customer’ and ‘I am a customer’ can be different chapters that each represent a part of the customer experience. This is then followed by a series of related journeys that map onto that stage.
The structured journey framework shown above is an example from a Telco’s B2B framework.
Each black bar represents a chapter, followed by the main color bars which are master journeys, and then the subsequent color bars which represent journeys on a channel or product level.
While structured frameworks look simple, maintaining various master journeys and their sub-journeys can be very time-consuming and it can take many iterations to get it just right. At the same time, they’re great for executive presentations.
The anatomy of a structured framework
- The lifecycle gets split up into chapters (i.e. not a customer)
- For every stage in a chapter, there is a macro journey (i.e. Discovery)
- For every stage, below are a few micro journeys that map onto that stage
3. Complex Framework
The next level combines multiple structured frameworks, connected by journeys that are created once and then linked across. How can different journeys map onto stages over time? How can you compare journeys from a business perspective? These are the types of questions that a complex framework can answer – by literally dragging the journeys out, or creating vertical lanes within each chapter (or board, as we call them).
The magic emerges when you use the same journeys without thinking about time as the only dimension, and redistribute journeys across the existing business organization. People love this because they can easily understand which journeys belong to ‘their’ part of the business, while those managing the customer lifecycle over time can still work with the same journeys.
The anatomy of a complex framework
- There are multiple structured frameworks connected
- One framework uses the customer Lifecycle, while another might be using the business domains from left to right over time
- Journeys are compared over time, and over business dimensions
- There are no macro to micro journey relations. Every journey is mapped onto one or more stages of a chapter in the framework.
While a complex framework is great for design-mature organizations, it can be challenging to put together and requires some thinking upfront. At the same time, it’s flexible to change over time because the customer journeys are the only building blocks. Over time, you can create structures very quickly – even on the fly for that big meeting.
Start building your framework
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of which framework fits your organization so that you can get started building yours.
Consider the pros and cons of each type of journey framework and choose the one that matches how mature your organization is in terms of working with journeys to align teams.
Need information about how to do this step by step? Check out our guide: 5 steps to create a journey framework.
At the end of the day, a journey framework is more of an internal alignment tool as opposed to a way to map out everything about the customer. It’s about finding a common ground around which your team can align, and then working as one to manage the experience.