A Systematic Literature Review On Service Description Methods

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Customer journeys are identified as a preferred means among service designers to summarize customer research (Segelström and Holmlid, 2009), and are seen as valuable for communication and for strengthening stakeholder empathy with customers (Segelström, 2013).

Customer journey approaches are also used for the management and design of public sector services (Parker and Heapy, 2006; HM Government, 2007), and for service innovation in consumer markets (Edelman and Singer, 2015).

Specifically, it contributes an overview of how the term customer journey is used in the literature, as well as existing customer journey approaches.

For this purpose, the paper presents a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed research papers from journals and conferences concerning customer journeys in the period 1991-2012. Section 2 presents a background on customer journeys and related approaches followed by the research questions (Section 3), the review method (Section 4), and the key findings (Section 5).

Some see touchpoints as the key building block of customer journeys (Meroni and Sangiorgi, 2011; Stickdorn and Schneider, 2010), others disregard touchpoints in their discussion of customer journeys and rather address events (Crosier and Handford, 2012) or service encounters (Tax , 2013).

Some consider customer journeys as a tool for reporting and visualizing user research (e.g.Within the field of design, Parker and Heapy’s (2006) pamphlet , 2010; Kimbell, 2011; Manschot and Visser, 2011).This pamphlet presents journeys as a lens for “seeing services as people do” (p. Parker and Heapy forcefully argue for the usefulness of this perspective, based on practical examples and interviews from case organizations within the private and public sectors.It is described as the repeated interactions between a service provider and the customer (Meroni and Sangiorgi, 2011), as an “engaging story” about the user’s interaction with a service (Stickdorn and Schneider, 2010), or as a walk “in the customer’s shoes” (Holmlid and Evenson, 2008).The customer journey perspective is key to the design processes of recognized service design agencies (Kimbell, 2011), is critical for involving customers in strategy work and business model development (Norton and Pine, 2013), and has also made its way into acknowledged books on service design (Miettinen and Koivisto, 2009; Polaine , 2013; Stickdorn and Schneider, 2010).While the term customer journey is widely used, and customer journey approaches are commonly applied, there does not seem to be a common understanding of what customer journeys are and how different customer journey approaches may support service management and design.This is, for example, seen in the lack of a common customer journey terminology and reference literature.Driven by the current interest in customer journeys, various customer journey approaches have emerged.We understand customer journey approaches to be methods and practices where the service process is analyzed, modeled, managed, or (re)designed applying a customer journey perspective.Searches in Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Knowledge, ACM Digital Library, and Science Direct identified 45 papers for the analysis.The papers were analyzed with respect to customer journey terminology and approaches, the relation to customer experience, the referenced background, and the use of visualizations.

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