Experience

How to Leverage Journey Mapping to Improve the Cardholder Experience

By: Erika George, Product Designer, UX Product Research and Design, PSCU

Knowing where to start to improve your financial institution’s products or services can be difficult. Sometimes, the issues seem so layered that it can be challenging to see the path to progress, much less communicate it within your organization. However, journey mapping is a thoughtful approach you can take to develop insightful plans of action to improve your cardholders’ experience.

Journey mapping is an effective starting point when you need to identify areas of opportunity from the cardholder’s perspective. Its purpose is to identify the tasks, thoughts and feelings of your cardholders when they engage with a particular process or tool. Done successfully, journey mapping reveals pain points and process disparities, as well as areas of opportunity to deliver a better experience for your cardholders, while providing a visualization of the cardholder’s experience that can be used to share their story and encourage change.

Getting Started with Journey Mapping
First, identify the process or task and goals for the exercise. Then define the beginning and endpoint for your cardholder journey. Next, define the milestones to evaluate in the process.

Example: Digital Credit Application Process
Goals

  • Consistent communications for new credit account applicants
  • Unify the online and mobile experience
  • Better understand application abandonment

Start and End Points

  • Beginning the application process
  • Card received

Milestones

  • Application
  • Review
  • Fulfillment
  • Receipt

Once the framework for your journey is in place, determine your target persona. Personas are characters that create empathy and represent the different types of people who use your product or service. Consider factors like demographics, assets, goals, motivations, schedule and environment to narrow down who to choose. Sometimes, you may find that there’s more than one persona to take through the journey. This is completely normal and can be insightful to how different personas react and what holistic considerations should be made for the future state.

Gather Information and Experts
To prepare for the exercise, gather as many informative resources as possible to help navigate the journey. This can come in many forms like qualitative feedback from cardholders, internal reports, contact center inquiries, surveys and subject matter experts. If possible, assemble a small team of experts to assist with the exercise.

Analyze and Share the Cardholder’s Story
Once all resources are in place, walk the persona through the journey while identifying:

  • Where are expectations not being met?
  • Where are expectations being exceeded?
  • What are the touchpoints the persona has with the product or service? Are they all necessary?
  • Where is there friction?
  • Where is there delight?

Discuss what the persona is thinking, feeling and doing for each milestone, and document your findings.

Evaluate cardholder pain points and brainstorm the potential solutions. To help prioritize the solutions, organize them from easy to difficult to bring attention to things that can be improved quickly. If multiple personas were used, compare their journeys to identify solutions that will consider all of their needs. You can then use the journey map as a visual aid to help tell the cardholder’s story and explain areas of opportunity, which can help to rally support for a course of action.

If you’re interested in the concept of journey mapping, but don’t have time for the heavy lifting, enlisting a consultant can help. PSCU’s UX Product Research and Design team offers consultative services for journey mapping, creating personas and much more to help your organization better understand your cardholders.

Erika George is a UX researcher at PSCU. She pursues the story to understand the needs from the user’s perspective. As a Neilson Norman graduate, she enjoys seeking out the opportunity in issues to create better products through more thoughtful experiences.