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TheyDo's guide to many-to-many relationships

TheyDo's guide to many-to-many relationships

Linking everything together in a beautiful system to manage the customer experience and the business in one place.

This guide defines the different types of relationships between entities and journeys including examples so you can learn to build them yourself. 

After reading this, you will be able to conceptually understand:

Connecting data across journeys

What sets TheyDo apart from mapping solutions or whiteboards is its ability to link different parts of a business together across journeys. Knowing how to set up your taxonomy and hierarchy can take some practice, but by learning the core concept behind journey management, you will be able to recreate the entire customer experience in its full complexity in a single system.

The real magic of TheyDo is using entities in a variety of ways to connect the dots. For example existing Solutions (like a pricing page) can belong to journeys, while new solutions are linked to an opportunity that needs to be addressed. 

The 4 building blocks for journey management

Journey management is about connecting the dots. Traditionally speaking journeys used to be these long and big posters on the wall that were only useful the moment of presentation. Today, journey-centric organizations prioritize opportunities across teams, to align who’s working on what.

To make the best decisions, you want your business priorities (like initiatives, or PI planning) to be in line with the biggest opportunities in your customer journeys. This is why a good journey management system is made of 4 key components. Personas, Journeys (and steps), Opportunities and Solutions. 

This is a live recording of Webinar 004 ‘Organising Journey Teams’, which is part of series of 5 webinars that wants to challenge CX professionals to take their customer centricity to the next level. In this webinar, you get a first hand feel of how companies like KLM, KPN & Guidion cooperate across different journeys and roles to ensure a seamless customer experience.

  • Personas – the need-based profiling of a group of customers who share the same mindset. If identified right, you will see that people change persona, but personas are a great way to define why people behave they way they do. More on personas here.
  • Journeys and steps – Journey steps are like the ultimate container for every data point that is relevant from the customer and business perspective. Everyone can follow the story of a journey step-by-step customer journey. But not everyone can read what data on a dashboard means. Journeys are living documents that make it easy to collaborate, but more importantly allow everyone to work with the same insights, data and priorities across the company. 
  • Opportunities – borrowed from the ‘Problem Statement’ in the double diamond workflow (link) the opportunity is nothing more than a customer problem redefined as an opportunity for the business. When defined right (for instance using the How Might We method) they are solution agnostic. But when they are linked to journey steps that hold insights and provide context, you can easily see the impact of different opportunities across journeys using TheyDo.

The idea of a structured approach to opportunity definition is a fundamental shift in most organizations.

Solutions – coming in two flavors: existing solutions (i.e. features, communication, services and processes) we have in place to realize the customer experience, and new solutions (i.e. Epics, features or future campaigns) we want to ship to improve the customer experience or deliver business impact.

Because every organization has a different language and way of working, each of them has their own taxonomy (read more here) and hierarchy. But however you want to structure the entities, a great journey management covering the entire organization can be build from these 4 simple building blocks to connect the dots. 

Simple relationships (one-to-one)

In a single journey, an opportunity can belong to multiple steps. For example in the journey ‘As a consumer I want to buy a new mobile phone’ it can be that the information they can find is so overwhelming that there is an information overload. The problem for the customer (too much information) is an opportunity for the business (a telco looking to offer clear and simple information). While this opportunity might be rising from the step when the customer is actually comparing alternatives, it might also be the case when selecting a plan.

Smart relationships (one-to-many) 

In reality, a problem with the customer and her first invoice might turn into an opportunity that cuts across the onboarding journey, and the billing journey. In that case you don’t want to define the same opportunity twice. Instead, the opportunity is linked to one or multiple steps in both journeys – creating a powerful one-to-many relationship.

Opportunities relate to multiple journeys (many-to-many)

Building on the example above here, we see successful journey-centric organizations make their journeys small and manageable. In case of the customer experience of buying a mobile subscription, the discovery, comparison and purchase journeys might be split up into separate journeys. In that case, the problem/opportunity might be split up between journeys, but the solutions as well. Also, assuming the context is defined on a more granular level, there might be more opportunities around the same theme you want to capture. 

TheyDo let’s you create these relationships between personas, opportunities, journey steps and solutions across your entire customer experience. This not only allows you to view the opportunities in a specific journey, but also flip it around and look at all the different steps and journeys a opportunities and solutions are impacting.

Example: Opportunities → Solutions

Chances are an opportunity is best addressed with multiple solutions. Often these solutions entail setting up new experiments, designing new features and content or changing the way you handle data. 

Looking through the lens of a TelCo , in the journey ‘I want to buy a new mobile phone’ there is already a whole organization of features, information, services and contact moments to create a great customer experience finding a good deal. But in an ever changing world, journeys are managed like products and there’s always new opportunities for innovation and improvement. Implementing a new solution (like a feature to design your own subscription plan) is linked to the opportunity, but once it goes live it is part of the customer journey. 

In TheyDo, the relationships between Opportunities and solutions are bi-directional. Different solutions can be linked to one or more opportunities. Because TheyDo tracks opportunities across journeys, for every single opportunity the impact (amount of steps in all journeys) is easy to keep an eye on.

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