How is CJML different?

Generally speaking, journey maps are diagrams or visualizations that represent the customer’s steps or touchpoints chronologically along a horizontal axis. A quick Google search can yield thousands of different formats. The journey maps typically have three factors in common:

  1. All journey maps have a clear customer (or end-user) perspective
  2. All journey maps have a time dimension along the horizontal axis
  3. All journey consists of steps often called touchpoint: These are the key interactions or events within the customer journey.

However, this is where the different journey approaches start to diverge. First of all, definitions are often missing. The level of detail and abstraction in the touchpoints can vary significantly, from specific events like receiving an email to broader phases of a life cycle, such as airport check-in. While the horizontal axis always represents time, the vertical axis is flexible and can depict anything from communication channels, to emotions, opportunities, or a combination of these. In particular, it’s often challenging to determine who the end-user actually is. Is it a persona? Is it a real end-user (and if so, who exactly)? Could it be a hypothetical journey, like a best-practice or a “sunny day scenario”? Or is an “average user”? Alternatively, is it simply an idealized vision of how the analyst hope it would be? These questions become particularly intriguing when emotions are incorporated into the diagram. Who “owns” this experience?

CJML is a different approach to customer journey methodology which allows for a more detailed and precise modelling of customer journeys. Through its distinction of planned and actual journeys, it allows comparison of individual journeys against how the journey was planned to be.

The table below captures some important aspects of journeys and compares the traditional approach to the CJML approach.

Traditional journey appraoch CJML approach
Customer’s perspective End-user’s perspective (including customer)
Process steps are called touchpoints Process steps are called touchpoints
Often a blurred line between “theory” (to-be) and “reality” (as-is) Clear separation between “theory” and “reality”
Flexible granularity of process steps and abstraction Atomic touchpoints and abstraction through journey phase
Often unclear whose feelings and experiences are shown Experience is seen as an individual, subjective phenomenon that may vary over time.