Service Mapping: A Tool to Elevate the Client Experience

By Teri Yanovitch, T.A.Yanovitch, Inc.

June 15, 2021


Are you in search of a simple way to differentiate your nonprofit from others? At the same time, do you want to improve the experience that your clients have with your organization?

Most organizations look through their own lens when designing the process to deliver their product or service. A client-focused organization looks through the lens of the client for making their organizational processes friendly and easy to navigate. To help you identify areas for improvement, we like to use a tool that highlights opportunities the employee has to interact with the client and opportunities to build a strong relationship. It is not a one-time event but should be used on an ongoing basis by every area of the organization in order to continually keep improving processes.

All clients go through a series of actions to do business with you. By sequentially mapping out all the points of contact, then analyzing, and brainstorming how to raise the bar on the current level of service, you can create outstanding client experiences that can be delivered consistently.

The first step in a Service Map is to identify a process that you would like to improve in the client experience. Map out the process starting with the first point of contact for that client. It is easiest to use a flipchart and block out each touchpoint using the term “the client….” For example, if we were doing a Service Map on a “new volunteer arriving to work”, the first block might be “the client calls for their schedule and information.” The next point of contact with your organization then would be “the client enters the designated location.” The entire process could consist of only a few blocks or it might consist of 20 plus. My recommendation is if it consists of 15 steps or more, see if you can break it into two processes to analyze. It might become too overwhelming otherwise. The key is to keep this simple.

Once the employee workgroup has identified all the points of contact and even potential points of contact, the next step is to look at each component of the Service Map and ask the question, “What would mediocre service look like at this step?” The use of an outside facilitator can be valuable in assisting the employee workgroup to provide a different perspective instead of “this is the way we’ve always done this process.” By getting the group to identify mediocre service, they might start realizing that it is how they are currently delivering service. And while mediocre service is not necessarily bad service, it certainly will not give you the opportunity to build value with your clients for going beyond their expectations.

After describing mediocre service at each touchpoint, the next step is to describe excellent service at every point. Let all ideas be voiced and heard. While in the end, it may come down to only taking a selection of ideas, it’s better to set the stakes high and get as close to an ideal excellent client experience as you can. Otherwise, what you will see as the result is little more than the current status quo.

And lastly, the final step in Service Mapping is to review and remap the experience showing only the excellent descriptions for each touchpoint. This becomes the way the process is done from here on out. This is the way new hires are taught to do this process. It may become a best practice and shared throughout all other locations or parts of the organization for whenever this process is being performed. This is what creates consistency and a seamless WOW experience for your clients.

Does creating a Service Map or identifying opportunities to improve both the internal and external customer service in your organization still seem like a daunting task? We’re here to help! For a limited time, get a discount on a one-on-one coaching session with Teri to get you going in the right direction please email