Ax Mandrews Design

Coffee Customer Journey Design



A Global Coffee Company

The Team

  • Myself, UX Design

  • Peter, Design Facilitator

  • Rachel, Sr Technical Product Manager, Marketing Technology

  • Lauren, Systems Analyst

  • 8-10 stakeholders from multiple departments at A Global Coffee Company


August 2019

My Deliverables

Persona and Journey Map design, creation and management of internal interactive prototype for review.


How Might We Improve the Perception and Implementation of a Customer Reward Incentives Program?


I was brought onboard A Global Coffee Company’s design team to examine the idea of how we might redesign their customer rewards and incentives program. As it is now, the process of redeeming an incentive is a source of frustration among both customers and employees, where it should be a straightforward and easy way for a new or returning customer to get a good deal on an item they want. There are many factors at play here, including many internal ones that a customer may never see or need to understand, but the end result is an inferior experience that will take an approach from many angles to properly recognize, define, and repair.


Defining Who We Are Designing For


The Incentives Team was tasked with finding important areas in which the process could be improved, which at the base level required identifying at least one persona and defining their ideal journey through the customer experience, as well as the journeys that might be occurring often enough to create a negative perception of this rewards program and thus the Global Coffee Company as a whole. The team consensus was that a retail customer persona should be the first created, because at the core the incentives program is for those customers and if it doesn’t work well for them first, the company will not benefit. Future personas to be created include retail employees (baristas, store managers) as well as corporate employees (marketing team, customer aquisitions, the incentives program itself) but the focus for this first round was to come up with an atypical customer type in order to see where some of the program’s shortcomings might be highlighted.


Thus, Savvy Sam was born. Using the collection of sticky notes the team produced in defining who Sam was, I was able to create a complete one-page persona encompassing all those attributes while taking a somewhat less “data-oriented” approach to the persona design itself. One reason I took this approach is to make sure the design team knew their input was being heard, as they had a very big-picture task ahead of them and focusing on such a small portion of that task was giving some team members a difficult time maintaining that focus. Often personas are created as a list of characteristics or traits defining a certain segment a company would like to draw attention to, whereas Savvy Sam is a first-person narrative using these traits to tell a personal story, giving an extra degree of human relatability that the Incentives Team really connected with. Having Savvy Sam’s persona complete allowed us to then begin the process of defining their journeys through the customer experience.




During the day-long design session that the team participated in, we were able to collect a large number of touchpoints that Savvy Sam would experience during their interactions with A Global Coffee Company. I amassed these touchpoints into a journey map-like structure with phases decided on during that first session, as well as separating each phase roughly into swimlanes of what Savvy Sam might be Thinking, Feeling, or Doing at those times. I felt this step of digitizing the notes we had made should come sooner rather than later so there wasn’t much work I had to put into this before stepping right into a prototyping tool. From here, the idea was to have a large selection of touchpoints available for whatever journeys we would decide Savvy Sam could take, be they positive or negative.

Using a selection of touchpoints from this list/grid, I quickly drew up an example journey of what I heard during our design sessions; Savvy Sam was not necessarily a fan or detractor of A Global Coffee Company, but there were many specific touchpoints that were pointing to the idea that the retail experience (or attempt to redeem a specific incentive reward) was always the low point of Sam’s interactions. And so, the first journey I ended up mocking up in an prototype for the team was not a positive one, and ends with Savvy Sam not happy after their experience at A Global Coffee Company.


This first set of deliverables ended up being a great concept to show parts of the team in advance of our review sessions. From here I was able to get some good feedback on the direction both of the visual design itself, and the journey information that might be most useful to deliver to internal stakeholders at A Global Coffee Company who weren’t involved in the design sessions.




The first few iterations of the design I had in mind were explorations of how I might display the visuals for these touchpoints and journey mapping. I introduced a lot of color, which I later toned down, but the reasoning for this was mainly to differentiate journey map phases to the team members who didn’t have a lot of experience viewing this kind of data, so it was easier to separate and identify individual pieces. I added an interaction for the prototype users to be able to separate the items at a glance into the Thinking, Feeling, and Doing swimlanes I had defined in the previous step.

There is also some exploration of color representing Savvy Sam’s emotional reaction to each touchpoint; in the main view neutral and positive interactions appear yellow and green on the map, and negative interactions appear orange to red. When this list is separated into Thinking, Feeling, and Doing swimlanes, the color changes to represent stages of each phase of the journey, and so becomes more of a purple-to-red spectrum.

At this point in the design, the Senior Technical Product Manager wanted to make sure they could present a Happy Path to their own stakeholders down the road as well, so we made it a point to focus on that Happy Path journey next. In addition to creating a new journey from the bank of touchpoints we had, I also would put some more effort into toning down the strength of the color tones so more focus would be on the data itself, while still remaining visually engaging.


Final Product


The final version of the prototype and deliverables we brought to our review session with the design team at A Global Coffee Company looked something like this:

Savvy Sam now had 2 journeys defined, a Happy Path and an Alternate Path, and team members with access to this interactive prototype could use it to compare those paths in order to gain better understanding of how we might make Savvy Sam’s experience with A Global Coffee Company a positive one. A short clickthrough of the interactive prototype is in the video below.

From here, the options are seemingly limitless. The design team for the incentives program is invigorated on what is possible to glean from one working session, and the road ahead on this particular project seems clear and exciting. As far as how this might affect A Global Coffee Company itself, in addition to any positive result from this incentives program design work, the possibility for company-wide change is real and vast if each department could take such a lean, design-thinking approach to their products.