Service Blueprint vs. Journey Map: Differences & Use Cases

If you consider a customer journey map to be a movie, the service blueprint will be its perfect sequel. The journey map highlights the visceral experiences of the customers from their perspective. It usually has customer data and narratives that help understand their experiences over a specific span, including their actions, thoughts, and emotions. A journey map can be created to document an end-to-end customer experience. Customer interviews can be convenient when collecting customer insights, and this will help structure the customer journey map effectively.

On the other hand, a service blueprint visually represents how a company works and how the internal operations affect customer experience. It focuses on the various actions of cross-functional teams that produce specific customer experiences. It shines a light on the visible actions, under-the-hood actions, and processes tied to a specific customer experience.

While these templates have somewhat similar use cases, there are some big differences that distinguish them for organizations. In this article, we will highlight some of the main similarities and differences between a service blueprint and a customer journey map.

The main focus of a customer journey map is understanding the users’ experience. On the contrary, a service blueprint is like a visual document of how the organization builds that customer experience. Knowing this, let’s first explore the biggest differences in the structural elements of the templates. 

The Key Elements of a Service Blueprint

Customer Actions

Customer actions are what the customers do throughout a specific service experience. Customer actions can be their choices, activities, steps, and interactions with a specific product or service.

Visible (frontstage) Actions

These are human-to-human or human-to-computer interactions occurring in the view of your customers. These include greeting a customer, direct product interactions, sign-up flows, etc.

Under the Hood (backstage) Actions

Backstage actions are activities that are invisible to customers but make the service possible. These are the internal operations that directly relate to the customer experience but are never seen by the customer.

Process

Process refers to internal and additional activities that help the employees to make the service possible.

Lines

Lines bring clarity and direction to the different components in the service process interacting with each other. These also help the managers and employees to understand their roles and identify in the process the specific part which is the reason behind the customer dissatisfaction.

Evidence

These are props and processes coming in contact with the customers. These are store locations, company websites, the products/services themselves, etc. 

The Elements of a Customer Journey Map

Perspective

The point of view decides the right group of people to focus on based on the customer persona. Once you know your focus group, you can use existing relevant data or start your own research. This section is mainly focusing on the perspective of the customer and understanding what flow is being analyzed.

Scenario

The Scenario section is the foundation of the customer journey map. The experiences are mapped through purchase patterns/behavior, customer service, retail operations, etc. This is essentially the specific experience that is mapped within the larger perspective.

Scope

The scope is a clear guideline about what needs to be done and how it can be accomplished in the most effective way. It also clearly defines the starting and ending point of a specific customer experience.

Actions & Perspectives

Here the customer experience is related to the strategies, goals, metrics, and operations of an organization. Thus, these actions and perspectives help to capitalize on the opportunities. 

Structure

The structure of a customer journey map should be simple, and it must be made based on the purpose and its users. The structure of a customer journey map is traditionally either a storyboard model or multiple columns that track customer emotions through their journey.

Touchpoints and Channels

The map has the touchpoints and channels for a better understanding of the insights and actions. These will represent the actions, emotions, and feedback of the customer as they proceed through their journey. These touchpoints can be seen as opportunities for growth and innovation. You can use them to know the pain points of your customers and how your product or service can be the ideal solution.  

The Difference in the Usage of a Service Blueprint and a Customer Journey Map

If you want to understand the experience of your customers with your products or services, start working on a customer journey map. It will be a tangible map for your organization to understand how the customer feels along their journey with your product/service. 

Once you know the pain points of your customers or even the internal teams of your organization, you can create a service blueprint. It will offer an in-depth analysis of how your organization functions and delivers a specific customer experience. Thus, you will be able to understand how your organization’s internal processes affect the customer’s experience. 

A service blueprint is also useful when a company is bleeding a lot of money or time putting together the acts necessary for a delightful customer experience. This mapping tool will help to understand the pain and challenges of the internal actors and come up with suitable solutions.

In such cases, a service blueprint will give a clear picture of the complexity of your organization. It will also incorporate the underlying factors to understand how the future improvements (improved efficiency, reduced cost, etc.) will impact the overall customer experience. 

Comparing the Benefits of a Customer Journey Map and a Service Blueprint

A customer journey map helps various departments of the organization develop a complete understanding of the customer experience even. It helps create empathy with the customers’ emotions so that you can make their experience more mutually beneficial. Moreover, it helps to predict and influence customer behavior and offer an ideal customer experience. 

A service blueprint provides a clear understanding of the internal service process and the underlying resources. These resources can be visible or invisible to the customers, but they are essential to delivering a specific customer experience. Further, a service blueprint is necessary to identify the weaknesses in a particular process and make necessary changes in the existing process or develop a new process. 

A service blueprint also eliminates redundancy by optimizing and streamlining the actions related to the service. A customer journey map does not handle these internal relations. 

Conclusion

Journey mapping and service blueprint both are important when optimizing a customer experience. While they focus on slightly different things, they are both important if your organization is going to effectively optimize a customer experience and streamline internal processes. If you liked this article, make sure you read up on our other service blueprint materials, such as the advantages and best practices of implementing them.

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