A couple of months ago I took part in my first Customer Journey mapping session as the company I work for is working on reinventing itself and the way we look at customer experience from an outside in perspective. Our goal is to delight our customers with easy to use digital tools with our focus being on the agents that sell our products. We want to make it easy and pleasant for our customers to do business with us and thereby reduce the overall customer effort and improve our net promoter score. For our first journey mapping session we focused on the processes that encompass the pre-sales processes, writing an application, and up through approval, issuance, and delivery of the product to the end customer.
When we think about our agents that sell our products there are many points of view to consider which is why it is important to implement the use of Personas.
What is a persona?
According to BABoK V3.0, a persona is defined as a fictional character or archetype that exemplifies the way a typical user interacts with a product.
With the help of personas, we were able to identify the different points of view of our agents and come up with an optimal customer journey.
For example, we had one persona, Adam, who is an agent who has been in the business for 35 years and has been selling our products consistently. He isn’t technology savvy and only uses tools such as email and websites out of necessity.
Example of the Persona created in Visio:
When we walked the path of the application process with his persona, we identified what his expectations were, what emotions he might have, opportunities to exceed expectations and key takeaways to consider as we identify the ideal customer journey.
Another persona that of someone who had a different point of view when it came to technology. Audrey is someone who is new to the insurance industry and prefers doing business electronically. We considered her expectations, emotions, and opportunities as we went through the journey as her persona.
Using personas enabled us to highlight the major differences in expectations and led us to plan for the blending of traditional customer service elements that our company is known for along with an easy to use digital experience platform that will be necessary to move our business to the future.
So, based on my personal experience, here are some useful steps which BAs can follow while creating personas:
Perform research on users to understand the target audience’s behaviors and motivations – it is important to understand how people are currently using the system
Review the user research data, find patterns and group similar people together into types of users
List the behavioral variables of the types of users, then find a set of people that fall into an array of variables, this grouping will be the basis of each persona
Document the persona with the following information:
Goals and needs
A quote or saying that captures the personality of the persona
Creating a template for personas is ideal so that you can be sure to include all relevant information as each persona is developed. There are various tools available for use and your needs may increase overtime. As a beginner I am using Visio and Word to document personas, but overtime could expand into specialized persona and/or journey mapping software.
Personas could be powerful tools during brainstorming and other types of requirements elicitation sessions to help guide conversations and reiterate system touchpoints with the subject matter experts and stakeholders.
I foresee using personas on a regular basis and look forward to working with my team members to continue to develop personas as well as come up with a persona library so that our Business Analyst and other team members can reuse this information which will hopefully bring consistency to our project and initiatives across the enterprise.
Jessica Siegert is a Business Relationship Manager for an insurance company in West Des Moines, Iowa, she has been in the insurance industry for 20 years working in various roles from Customer Service Representative to Project Manager, and has experience working on IT projects of all sizes. When not working she enjoys traveling with her husband, friends, and family.