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Customer journey mapping 101: part 1

26th Nov 2018
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In this three part series, we deep dive into Customer Journey Maps (CJM) - a super useful tool for understanding your customers' biggest problems and how to solve them. In today's article, you will learn the basics of what a CJM is and how you can use it.

The key to creating business value is to develop a compelling customer value proposition that delivers real value. Truly understanding the needs and preferences of customers, as well as their behaviour along the customer journey, is essential to you achieving a successful business strategy.

The term ‘customer experience’ is commonly associated with how customers interact with a business and its services on a transactional level, at each interaction or touch point. In response, many organisations structure each department’s responsibilities towards specific interactions with customers, and accountability falls to them for any issues that arise. It seems a sensible approach, and a growing number of companies are working hard to keep customers happy in this way, with each department striving to provide a quality product alongside excellent sales and post sale customer service. 

The challenge with this method is that it’s disjointed. The customer’s experience, when divided up across departments and individual touch-points, misses the bigger, overall picture: the customer’s end-to-end journey and experience as a whole with your organisation.

By taking their customer’s viewpoint and walking with them through their journey, businesses can begin to understand and empathise with what their customers truly value and learn how to best unlock this value (and improve their service) in future. 

What is a Customer Journey Map?

Have you ever tried to list the range of services your organisation offers? Do you ever struggle to articulate exactly what it offers? Does your organisation talk a lot about ‘putting customers first’, or ‘keeping them at the heart of your service delivery’ but you’re not sure what this means? 

What do these ‘throw away’ phrases mean to a real customer interacting with your organisation across multiple touch-points?

Say hello to your new pal, Customer Journey Maps! Or CJM's for short…

Optus Customer Journey Map

Simply put, a Customer Journey Map tells the story of your customer’s experience from their first interaction with the organisation through to the end. 

Kerry Bodine, author of 'Outside-In' says that “Journey maps are diagrams that visualise the actions, thoughts, and feelings of a person or group over time.”
The secret ingredient to creating outstanding experiences for your customers is to understand their perspective. Only then do you have the information to design an improved experience they will truly value.

A customer journey map helps identify areas of friction, creates empathy, and really does keep customers at the heart of every interaction during their journey with you. 

What makes a customer journey map highly valuable is its process. Creating one requires you to perform detailed customer research that leads to compelling customer-centric stories that can be visualised along the journey.

Check out our quick guide to Customer Journey Mapping 

What is the value of a Customer Journey Map and why should I have one?

These days the voice of the customer should be the loudest one in any business. The impression you make on each and every customer is of enormous importance.

The true value of customer journey maps lies in their ability to invoke empathy. They bring real human experiences to light, those that organisations often overlook, whether the experiences of internal staff or external customers. They are also a great tool to provide a clear view of the organisation’s overarching customer strategy.   

Customer journeys can be long, stretching across multiple channels and touch-points, and span over days, weeks, even months. Interactions could include your customer on-boarding process, problem resolution in the contact centre, how customer enquiries are handled and how quickly calls are answered. 

In our nine years of experience, we have found the main pitfall for organisations is their failure to understand the full context of their customers’ experience. The flow-on effects of a disjointed end-to-end experience can be dramatic: the reality could be hundreds of calls to the contact centre, increased customer churn, loss of sales, falling staff morale and employee Net Promotor Score (NPS). 

At the other end of the spectrum, we have found companies who have nailed the art of customer understanding and prioritising the things they value. These organisations reap the benefits of increased customer satisfaction via positive NPS, increasing sales, reductions in attrition and reduced service costs. They also have happier staff, who feel they are having an impact, changing customer’s lives for the better instead of just being a cog in the wheel. 

CJM's have the power to:

  • Shift company perspective - CJM’s help you understand your organisation’s internal happenings and its external impact. You’ll refocus from inside-out to outside-in. 
  • Break down silos - CJMs make collaboration and communication within internal business units inevitable. This leads to better alignment of customer goals and helps create a united plan of attack to work towards them. 
  • Assign ownership - A lack of accountability along touch-points creates inconsistencies in service, ultimately diminishing the customer’s experience. CJMs assign tasks to the right staff and keep everyone in the organisation working towards the same target (happier customers!). 
  • Target customers - A CJM is essentially a heat-map of where customers are receiving good quality attention. Once you understand how and why, you can use this information to discover newer ways to appeal to a wider audience or customer base.
  • Help understand the numbers - CJMs help to uncover the why (qualitative) behind the what (quantitative data) for specific metrics. For example: What has caused the drop in mobile app downloads? 

Next week we will cover the anatomy of a Customer Journey Map and it's importance. (Read part two here.) 

In the mean time if you have any questions about Customer Journey Mapping or would like to find out how you can get one for your organisation, email [email protected] to receive more detailed information and pricing.

To see the original article and more articles on service design, visit the Proto blog.

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