Solving business problems by using journeys instead of moments
What’s the difference between a moment and a journey? A moment happens and then you move past it, whereas a journey is a collection of moments which tell the story of an overall experience.
Over the last year, I got the opportunity to put this comparative framework to work when leading a design investigation into a business problem across an entire customer journey: having a mortgage.
A team at a financial institution [FI] wanted to understand why experience metrics and feedback from people who’d had their mortgages for a while indicated they were less satisfied with the FI than surveys from those who had just gotten their mortgage.
One measures a moment and a journey differently. The business had a KPI related to a moment in the relationship — directly post-origination — but no one had been looking at longitudinal behavior or sentiment as it developed over time,
I believed we needed to understand the entire post-origination mortgage customer journey, so as to identify any moments impacting the overall experience. From there, I expected to facilitate stakeholders to identify immediate actions and longer term enhancements.
Oh, and during the hottest housing market in history. No pressure.
We started with a design sprint, working with people across several teams to generate empathy and a shared understanding of what was happening.
We output two journey maps: an as-is to use empathy to inspire, and recommended changes we documented in a to-be:
Product and marketing teams were able to pick up these recommendations and each activate on two of them, making major strides in eliminating common digital and physical friction points.
After the sprint, in order to evaluate impact and prioritize next steps, we wanted to understand behavior more deeply and monitor outcomes. We kicked off a next phase a few months later to set up listening posts and reporting based on some key moments: setting up payments, dealing with annual paperwork, and closing out your mortgage.
Once those were automated, we returned to the original KPI, but this time with a longitudinal frame of reference. Working with analysts, we were able to understand frequency of key moments over a 5–7 year timeline, giving the organization it’s first view into long term customer behavior and sentiment, which answered questions like “how often might someone open a new account with us?” Using a journey framework put all this data into context.
The final key was looking at people’s behavior from the lens of a “happy path” — as in, when everything is going “right” and people are enabled to achieve goals that matter to them, what do people experience and do?
Using this, we could understand why behaviors were happening — and identify ways to enable more people to easily complete these steps.
Importantly, my team could create a story with a visual, which made the data legible and actionable for stakeholders. Now that they know that one in four customers go on to complete their KPI — and why — they have a baseline from which to measure success.
If I were to do this work again, I would dive from the sprint into the behavior data more quickly. I would keep working with people from teams across the organization, as that made getting things done relatively efficient. And I would absolutely continue creating shared ownership and understanding of the journey.