We’re continuing our series of journey mapping resources with a reading list of top customer journey mapping books. These should help you plot a course through one of the most enlightening and valuable aspects of customer experience. In each case we’ve pulled out the best customer journey mapping quotes too.

We’ve poured over the latest volumes and classic texts alike – across customer experience, service design and business strategy. Here are the best books about customer journey mapping we’ve found.

Good Services: How to Design Services That Work, by Lou Downe

This is an astonishingly good book that just happens to have direct applicability to journey mapping. At its core is the injunction to deconstruct how your service is put together so that it can best meet users’ needs.

Downe points out that these services can be composed of very many components. Ultimately, the experience of journeying through each of these components needs to be as smooth as possible and – crucially – aligned to what the customer wants to get out of it.

“The only person who gets to decide what the service is, is the person who has the goal they need to achieve – and that’s your user. It’s your job to orchestrate all of the pieces of this service in as seamless a journey as possible.”

Downe’s collection of 15 service design principles serve as a helpful framework (e.g. no. 8: require the minimum possible steps to complete) for qualifying whether you are on the right track to designing an optimum customer experience.

Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

The concept of ‘blue ocean strategy’ speaks to the opportunity for companies to redefine their customer value. They do this by creating uncontested market space and making their competition irrelevant. A significant aspect relates to understanding and optimizing the customer experience by inspecting the constituent parts of the journey.

“What is the context in which your product or service is used? What happens before, during and after? Can you identify the pain points? How can you eliminate these pain points?”

It’s a topic both authors have returned to, noting caution about the perils of ‘outsourcing’ this process. In their follow-up book (Blue Ocean Shift, 2019), Kim and Mauborgne warn that there is no substitute for discovering insights firsthand: “Asking the marketing department to walk through the buyer experience cycle or provide research reports to fill in the blanks will not work. We cannot emphasize enough the danger of allowing a team to outsource their eyes and ears, even to their subordinates.”

This is Service Design Doing (Using Research and Customer Journey Maps to Create Success Services), by Stickdorn, Hormess, Lawrence and Schneider

This book is perhaps the most practical we’ve seen in that you can use it to apply detailed steps around the journey mapping process. The book has also spawned a website www.thisisservicedesigndoing.com which is a good starting point to understanding the principles and contains a number of free worksheet resources.

The book is very good at explaining how all journey maps are – like any map – on a spectrum from ‘high-level’ to incredibly detailed. Also, that only by conducting appropriate research (e.g. garnering customer feedback) can more detailed and accurate mapping be completed.

“Sometimes, it makes sense to start with an assumption-based journey map to get an idea of how to structure the research process: who to ask what, when, and where. However, mind the risk of confirmation bias. If you start with assumption-based journey maps, constantly challenge your assumptions. Over time, assumption-based journey maps should develop into research-based ones with a solid foundation on research data.”

The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences, by Matt Watkinson

Matt Watkinson’s “The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences” provides a series of definitions against which great customer experiences can be tested. Numbers 5 and 6 are “Great customer experiences are effortless” and “Great customer experiences are stress-free”. Both strike at the heart of how customers seek to minimise friction in their dealings with companies.

“The people who can remove sources of stress are in the businesses that create the products and services we use. The main reason why so many products and services are stressful to use is simply because they were never designed to be stress free.”

A consistent theme in Watkinson’s books (he also authored “The Grid”) is his scepticism about proving simple causal links between customer experience metrics and business outcomes like revenue and profitability. He encourages CX professionals to map out customer journeys so that errors, delays and points of friction can be reduced or removed; prioritizing these focused efforts over less precise objectives like “making customers happy”.

Other recommended reading

There are lots more books to consult beyond the four we’ve profiled in detail here. Be sure to take a read through the following:

Finding Gold Dust: How to Create Exceptional Customer Experiences, by Gavin Scott

A great new book release packed with up-to-date examples.

The Journey to WOW: The Path to Outstanding Customer Experience and Loyalty, by Shaun Belding

Told as a fictional story, but with inescapable truths about addressing CX shortcomings.

The Design Thinking Playbook, by Lewrick, Link and Leifer

Lots of practical, worksheet style tips and actionable steps.

Sooner or later, customer feedback will be an essential ingredient to add to your customer journey mapping efforts. So why not start your free trial of Customer Thermometer today?