An experience map is a method you can use to get insights into the holistic experience of your target group (be it users, customers, clients) in order to understand and visualize the ups and downs of their experience across the service or ecosystem.
When do I use this method?
Whenever you want to identify and optimize customer touchpoints for a better experience you can use experience mapping as a systematic framework that guides you through the whole process from understanding customer behavior and gaining insights to revealing customer pain points and seeing new opportunities.
How do I use this method?
There are four steps to follow that have been nicely described in the guide to experience mapping by Adaptive Path. I highly recommend downloading the guide for a more detailed description. Below is my summary:
First you need to study and understand your customers‘ behavior, emotion, and thoughts in the context of your product or service. You can use different research methods (qualitative, quantitative) in order to find out how customers act, how they feel and what they think during their journey. For example, if you are the owner of an online food delivery service und you want to learn about the customer experience on your website, you need to find out how customers act on your page, how they feel when they e.g. search for a pizza and what they are thinking during their pizza order journey.
After you have gained an understanding of this, you then need to synthesize the insights in the form of a journey model. Try to cluster your findings, for example into actions, emotions, and thoughts. You can also try to identify different stages during the journey (in the pizza example, the stages could be pre-order, order, post-order).
Next, you can visualize the key components of the journey. Try to find out what the key moments of the customer are and visualize these. You can explore different ways of visualizing the journey, e.g. you can either model the journey around the customer touch points or around their emotions. In the pizza experience map example, the focus was on emotions.
In the end you can use the map to identify pain points and derive new ideas. With the online food delivery service opportunities for optimization are outlined and an overall rating of usability and “enjoyability” of the webpage is provided.
What are the benefits?
With experience mapping you can reveal the key customer moments in a structured way. As it is also a very visual way of depicting the customer experience, it is a good tool to use whenever you need to share your insights with others.