Customer Journey Mapping—Not Just Wall Art
Recently, I presented a webinar on how customer journey mapping can drive optimal business processes that impress customers and, ultimately, drive your organization! You can view the webinar here. I’ll share a few highlights.
One thing we can count on to affect our organizations is “change,” particularly when it comes to customers. It’s been said that we are in the Age of the Customer, and that has changed the game for organizations. The smart organizations are embracing this new age and looking at themselves from the customer’s perspective.
And the really smart organizations are teaching themselves how to be agile and change as customer expectations change.
Being easy to do business with is the new battleground. Customers are now less likely to struggle through poor experiences. So, for organizations it means that they must take more aggressive measures to transition experiences from good to great. Companies are increasingly getting to know their customers better and walking in their shoes when it comes to interactions with the company.
One of the best methods of understanding and meeting customer expectations is through customer journey mapping—an infographic that describes the journey of a customer group by capturing and representing different touch points, sentiments and insights.
When I talk with other customer experience professionals, there is often more focus placed on which methodology to use in building the map rather than what will actually be accomplished by the exercise. So, while there are many methodologies for creating the actual journey map, the following tips will help manage the larger process of understanding—and improving—the customer journey.
- Engage stakeholders with a well-defined strategy. To gain support for the journey mapping project and launching projects to improve the journey, it’s helpful to clearly define and communicate the business value to all levels of cross-functional areas. You will get the attention of leaders when you discuss the research about how customer experience leaders outperform customer experience laggards in the stock market. Then, look at organizational priorities and goals to see which ones align to the benefits of customer journey mapping. For example, perhaps there is already a goal to identify a seamless experience across the business. Journey mapping can help to identify where silos are making it difficult for the customer to do business with your organization. Mapping the customer journey helps you identify which business processes create satisfaction—or dissatisfaction—in specific interactions. From there you can use the customer perspective to easily prioritize which business process investments will result in that seamless experience.
- Look at the big picture. Customer journey mapping is most effective when it is done from the beginning of a customer’s relationship with an organization and through each and every interaction until renewal, repurchase or, even, termination. Seeing the entire journey will identify ways to improve customer satisfaction much more effectively than mapping each major lifecycle state independently. Equally important is to map other factors that impact the customer, including competitive forces, regulations and the economy.
- Focus on impact. With so many organizations focusing on improving their customer experience, it takes bold and aggressive measures to break free from the pack and elevate experience from good to great! Existing customer journeys are ripe with opportunities to find and fix problems. Limiting the projects to fixing the problems that have the biggest business impact will be the best starting point. Questions to ask to determine priorities include: Does the project align with corporate initiatives? …solve a problem that is a key driver for customer satisfaction? …create a new program that is a business differentiator? …support the brand promise? …span multiple silos? …identify a significant gap in products or services? Answering these questions will provide a clear priority list for action!
Customer journey maps are widely used by customer experience professionals, but most journey maps remain underutilized because practitioners focus on the process rather than the outcome. When this happens, the journey map becomes wall art instead of a dynamic document that drives change. Seasoned customer experience professionals use journey maps for challenging the organization to make meaningful, cross-functional change that propels business success.