The fall of the Juicero

In early 2016, Juicero introduced the world to its $400 juicing machine of the future. Large venture capital firms invested over $120 million into the startup, confident in the future success of the company. However, shortly after going to market, Bloomberg released an article and video demonstrating how one could squeeze the juice out of the pre-packaged Juicero pouches with his or her bare hands, making its expensive juicing machines obsolete. By September 2017, Juicero closed its doors for good.

How did Juicero fail to understand their customers pain points, needs, wants, and desires?

The short answer:

They failed to effectively map out their customer journey and goals, and ultimately designed a pointless product and a dismal customer experience.

Had they done so, they might have been able to identify the problems with their customer journey and product offering as a whole.

In their 2017 State of Digital Transformation Report, Altimeter found that “only (35% of companies) have actively mapped the customer journey to find problems and figure out what they need to do next (down from 54% in 2016).”

So what are the implications of this?

Ultimately, this means that project roadmaps are developed and investments in “customer experience” (CX) are made without a true understanding of the customer (and his or her needs) that a business aims to serve. Half-baked products, irrelevant services, and poor customer experiences all emerge as a result of customer oversights. Millions of dollars are wasted every year on product or service “improvements” that deliver lackluster experiences and ultimately little-to-no value to the target customer.

The upside?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

By taking the time to understand your customers, mapping out the customer journey, and identifying their needs and pain points, you can put your business on the path for success and create exemplary customer experiences for those you serve. Positive customer experiences drive consumer behavior and ultimately consumer purchasing decisions, and journey mapping can help you avoid the pitfalls of poor customer experiences.

Before you jump into the mapping process, it is best to determine what type of journey map you want to create.

There are three primary types of journey maps:

  1. Current State (“What Is”): The “What Is” journey map details the current customer journey as it is today. It is used to iterate or drive incremental improvements by highlighting current pain points.
  2. Future State (“What If”): The “What If” journey map details the future customer journey you hope to implement in your business. It is used to rapidly iterate potential customer journeys and highlight what your customers will do, think, or feel when they interact with your business. “What If” journey maps are a great tool for analyzing and determining how to best communicate your greater company vision.
  3. Ideal State (“What Could Be”): The “What Could Be” journey map looks at the customer journey with a wider lens and forces the mapper to think about what the customer journey could be like in an ideal world. This map is used to drive major changes and innovation in your business.

It is important to note that you can craft and utilize these journey maps independently or in conjunction with one another. For example, you can initially create a “What Is” journey map to highlight existing pain points within your customer journey. You can take these findings and create a “What If” journey map that helps you devise new methodologies, processes, products, or services for remedying those pain points in the near future, and ultimately create innovative new experiences for your customers.

In addition to the “What Is,” “What If,” and “What Could Be” journey maps, there are two other add-ons that you can layer on top any map to create a more comprehensive understanding of your customer journey:

Journey Map Add ons

System/Service Map: System or Service Maps add a layer of complexity to your journey map and factor in the key people, processes, policies, and technologies that help deliver the experience. If a System or Service Map is used in conjunction with a “What Is” journey map, it can help identify the root cause of the primary pain points. If used in conjunction with a “What If” journey map, it can help identify the system or systems that need to be in place in order to effectively support and carry out the intended experience.

Day-in-the-Life Map: A Day-in-the-Life Map is useful for articulating how a customer thinks, acts, feels, and interacts with your business in a given day. This type of journey map factors in external activities that have nothing to do with your business, forcing you to think about factors that may play into the perception of your experience that are out of your control. A Day-in-the-Life map helps drive innovation by addressing unmet needs, needs that are unmet both by your business and other businesses.

Journey maps are great tools for thinking critically about the unmet needs of customers and should be used to generate hypotheses about how your business can address those needs and pain points in the future. While journey maps may not provide your business with a concrete action plan for success, they can provide you with a solid foundation for your design process and help you better understand the customers you serve.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, where we will explain how to create your own customer journey map.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.