A healthcare customer journey map may be completed, but its work is never really done. Like your healthcare customer personas themselves, journey maps are living documents you should refer back to over time.
Don’t just stick a completed journey map on a shelf somewhere and let it get stale.
Used properly, journey maps boost internal alignment. They serve as rallying cries on where your organization is headed — and where it needs to go. Follow this guide and use your customer journey maps to prioritize opportunities while keeping everyone on the same page.
What Your Customer Journey Maps Provide
Let’s quickly recap what your customer journey maps actually give you to work with. You and your team populated your customer journey map with content relating to:
- Stages and touchpoints of the customer journey
- Customer actions throughout this journey
- Emotions those customers encounter, and questions they might ask
- Pain points customers encounter along the way
This is a great starting point, but diving right in and solving every issue or pursue every opportunity identified tends to leave stones unturned and great ideas overlooked. Following a process, brainstorming and generating solutions, then testing the solutions you decide on helps to ensure your end results align with your project’s long-term vision and business goals.
Using Your Customer Journey Maps Moving Forward
Just as you’ve defined the right problems to address as part of the design thinking process, you must also decide on the most appropriate solutions to those problems. The best UX solutions are properly framed, carefully prioritized, and both desirable and feasible for your users and your business itself.
Follow this process and utilize your journey map to discover those solutions.
1. Frame the Opportunities Found in Your Journey Maps
Once a journey map is completed, transform the problems or pain points identified into opportunities. Bring in appropriate subject matter experts (SMEs) at this stage. Let your SMEs lead the entire project team through their processes. Then, the project team can use the subject matter experts’ input, as well as the journey map itself, to create “How Might We” (HMW) statements.
An HMW statement reframes a problem or pain point into an actionable opportunity. When developing your HMW statements, keep pertinent business key performance indicators (KPIs) in mind. For example, your subject matter expert might share that they’re receiving a lot of calls into customer support about finding in network providers. A resulting HMW statement could be: How might we make it easier to find in-network providers? These KPIs round out the HMW statements, ensuring they encompass business goals while also addressing user needs and pain points.
After establishing the HMW statements, further narrow them down with your team and collectively agree on one or two worth pursuing. Prioritizing this way is a major benefit of customer journey map utilization.
Narrowing Down “How Might We” Statements
Identifying your top HMWs and incorporating them into the relevant steps of your journey map paints a fuller picture of the user journey. It highlights which opportunities will have the largest user and business impact.
Narrow down your HMWs with:
- Affinity mapping – group similar HMW statements together and look for patterns and overlap. These clusters of ideas will reveal common areas of opportunity
- Dot voting – After your affinity map is complete, Dot Voting is a great tool to identify the top HMW questions to focus on. Give participants a number of dots to vote with, and let them stick the dots to those HMW statements they feel best align with user needs, business goals, and the overall trajectory of the product. Not only does this help to narrow your focus, but it allows everyone on your team to be a part of the decision making process.
Once you’ve incorporated your HMWs into your journey map, a decider —typically an executive in the organization — can vote on the top HMW statement to bring into the ideation phase of the design thinking process. This helps ensure stakeholder buy-in down the road, while also mapping opportunity back to business priorities and the bottom line.
2. Generate Solutions to Problems Found in Your Journey Maps
Defining the right problems to address is important, but generating the right solutions to those problems is where the rubber really meets the road. You want to get this right, and you need to follow a process to achieve that goal. Fortunately, we’ve written extensively about the ideation process.
Successful ideation is a cornerstone of the design thinking process. Many teams struggle with institutional thinking when struggling with internal issues. You’ve probably identified substantial problems and opportunities in your journey mapping. Such problems require big thinking and bold solutions.
Successfully generate solutions to problems and take advantage of the opportunities in your journey map by:
- Creating an Impact vs. Effort Chart – Once you’ve voted on the ideas you’ve generated, using the techniques detailed in our article on the ideation process, place them in an impact vs. effort chart. This helps to visualize how difficult they’ll be to accomplish, as well as how much of an impact they will have on the user experience and your business goals. This process can help you to develop a roadmap for the future.
- Leveraging Stakeholder Buy-In – It’s important to keep internal stakeholders in this process as much as possible. When they’re part of the ideation process and have a voice in creating and prioritizing solutions, their buy-in down the road is much more likely. Generating solutions with stakeholders is your best bet for smooth sailing into actually implementing those solutions.
3. Validate Those Solutions and Continually Revisit Customer Journey Maps
Once your team buys into a solution or opportunity identified in the customer journey map, it is time for validation. That means designing what your solution will look like. You might start with some basic wireframes, or go straight into full visual design while working through the UX flow if time is tight. Just note this is much more easily done if you have an established brand and style guide to work from.
Our article on the importance of prototyping for a successful healthcare digital project gets into the nitty gritty details of how prototyping informs the validation of the solutions you’ve decided on.
Key prototyping benefits include:
- Faster Internal Buy-In
- Clarity of Vision
- More Accurate Feedback
- Better Internal Understanding
- Overall Cost Savings
When prototyping, keep these high-level questions in mind:
- Who is this prototype for? A prototype designed for the CEO of a company may look different from a prototype designed for your development team. Don’t deviate from the vision of the product to get buy-in, but do include elements that will please your audience.
- Are you testing for usability? If so, you need a clear vision of what you want to learn. Which part of your prototype is most important for testing purposes? How high-fidelity of a prototype do you need in order to get accurate feedback from your audience? Make sure you’re delivering a prototype your test audience will respond to.
- Which Tools Will You Use? There are a lot of different tools that might be used to generate a prototype. We go into the specific tools in the article linked above, but keep in mind that basic prototypes are typically all that is required for healthcare digital projects.
A Note on Testing Your Selected Idea and Gathering Actionable Insights
Testing your solutions and prototypes can give you great insight into what’s working and where further work is needed. However, there are a number of prerequisites to complete before you can run any tests successfully.
- Recruit your test audience from within your target market and persona category.
- Make sure your prototype goes through the flow you want to test, and make it available digitally or in-person for whomever is testing it.
- Provide testers with a question list and script that creates a story for them to follow and invest in. Immerse testers in the customer journey to get better feedback.
Once you’ve completed your testing, you can use the insights uncovered to update your design and solve the potential problems that came up. Your next step is launching your product — just remember, this will always be an iterative process.
Revisit Your Journey Maps Regularly to Get the Most from the Work You’ve Put In
Your journey map needs to be updated, and should also be shared around your organization. This customer journey map doesn’t just illustrate your business’ current user experience. It helps those within your organization to empathize with users. Remember, empathy should be the first step in improving your healthcare customer experience.
Updating your journey maps allows you to show, rather than tell, how improvements made and measures taken affected both business goals and the overall user experience. Compare a current state journey map to a previous state version, and see how effective your solutions have actually been — and keep an eye peeled for future opportunities while you’re at it.
If you have any questions about creating your journey map, the research that goes into it, or what you can do with your finished product, don’t hesitate to get in touch.