Customer Persona and Journey Map for better customer experience

“Customer personas” and persona in “User-centered Design”.


“Persona” is one of the familiar terms in marketing, and in marketing we used to refer it as “buyer persona” and it is used a lot in market segmentation. It also be used in user-centered design which is defined as “fictional characters that represent the different user types who might use a site, brand or product in a similar way[1]. The term “persona” is an imaginary model used for design and development process. Persona in Service Design has much to do with user experience designing.

The importance of experience is it tells the stories of people who use or are affected by the services. Service design works in the context of people – who are clients, customers, users, patients, consumers. When the service meets or exceeds user’s expectations, it produces positive experiences and vice versa.

Service design – in one side – is about making people feel happy. For example, travelers visiting Japan might enjoy very good care from sellers in a shoe shop. In the other side, service design contributes to the effectiveness of a service by positive economic results, successful operation or beneficial policy outcomes.


There is not a unique set for type of customer persona. Service designers might define their customer persona depend on the type of service they create. And because people are so different many factors (psychographic, geographic, demographic or behavioral, etc.), therefore there are many ways to category customer personas.

Before launching a product, a media market, a social campaign, etc. The first step usually starts with identifying customer. In marketing, customer personas are considered as customer segmentation. There are also many types of customer segmentation depend on the definition of different patterns. In “purchasing behavior” pattern, we can group 5 types of customer based on their buying behaviors. The 5 types as below:

customer types



Photo: Types of buying customers.

Customer personas are different on the type of service is provided. Customers in a same service are served differently by many differences as factors I already mention above. For example, in Japan, the sellers in a shoe shops approach the customers in a much welcoming manner, she even bends her back to greet customers. In SALE season for shopping, customers in the western and in Asia might have different preferences of how they want to be served.

Korea shop

Photo: a shop a Seoul – Korea, photo from author’s Facebook page.

In Korea, sale season has the similar offers as the European has such as 50% price reduced, or buy 1 get 2 products. In the shopping centers here during the sale season, we find only the printed banners on the glass wall showing the offer from the shops. But in Korea, often visitors will find the promotion girls or boys who stand in front the entrance of the shop, on their hands holding a sign of offer, and by very good manner, they invite visitors enter the shop. This type of getting attention from customer can rarely be found here, as I experienced myself.

 journey map for better leaning experience

Photo: Journey map in E-learning.

The journey map in E-learning helps to see the learning experience from learners ‘perspective, therefore they see the how the learners interact with the materials and how effective it helps the learners. It also determine the use of technology application whether it functions good or not. The service experience here is the interaction of relationship between the learners and the service providers. This reflects the loyalty of users with the service they are using.


There is much to talk about the design in iOS – the operating system of mobiles and related devices by Apple. For the system of iOS 8. I am not a crazy fan of smart phones and technology advancement, yet every time they launch a drive system. It provides the user better interaction between application and the device. For example, the camera has new functions of taking a photo with time set. And the smart grouping helps users find the photo they want by time, location or album. The Messenger app now acts the function of sending “voice message”. For me these new functions are quite helpful even everytime I update the system, I have to adapt to new changes. But otherwise we do not feel much boring from looking at the same functions all the time.

I am taking the course of Business Intelligence in campus. The course requires students to buy the EPR program sim (costs around 30 euros) that will accompanies with the course’s program.  The link is sent to my email requires the registration and payment. However, it failed as many times as I tried to fill in the information to proceed the payment. It gave me a really bad feeling of the system performance and therefore the experience is not much positive.

In order to draw an accurate journey map, designers might need a lot of research and planning. As many types of research available such as interview, survey or observation. The researchers have to consider the factors that matter the most in the type of service they provide.

I find that services are more diversified and varied in multi-culture and populated areas where people have more options of everything such as shopping choices, eating out or having entertainment. Bigger cities has more to do with the wants and needs of huge amount of people.


Journey map and customer experience

One of the service tools is journey map – a graphic visualization that identifies customer’s experience as a journey from a beginning to an end. The journey here can be considered as the service experienced by customers. A complex service with many different steps is the one indeed needs a journey map.

Let’s take an example in E-learning and how a journey map can be applied. As we all know, e-learning is very popular nowadays and it is diverse in form of content, materials, interaction offers and technical usages. So the journey-map role is to help the designers understand these elements and how they work together. From that they create a user learning experience in the most effective way.





Book: Polaine, Lovine &Reason (2013). Service design – from insights to application. Chapter 7: Prototyping Service Experience. P 131-132.


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