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Creating a Customer Journey Mapping Capability

6th Mar 2017
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For many businesses, applying Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) is a key part of executing their Customer Experience (CX) strategy – Gartner therefore predicts that, by 2018, 60% of large organisations will have their own in-house CJM capabilities.  But what are ‘CJM capabilities’? And what are the key ‘building blocks’ that organisations need to focus on to ensure that they are ‘capable’ when it comes to CJM?

As the famous saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ - building in-house CJM ‘capabilities’ takes brain power, time, and money. But beyond the obvious need for intellect and investment, what else is required to ensure that a business has the right ‘set up’ when it comes to CJM? 

In our experience, there are five key building blocks that businesses should initially focus on – easy way to remember, they all start with ‘T’ (the ‘5Ts’):

#1 Teams

Businesses should begin by focusing on bringing together the right people and building the right teams.  There are two types of teams in particular that businesses should consider: 

Centralised team:

At the heart of an organisation’s CX/ CJM capability is a centralised team – a team which needs to be comprised of experts who act as the advocates of CX and CJM, ‘championing’ the value that they add to the business, but critically, lead and oversee on CJM implementation across the business

Journey teams:

If it is to be successful, a business cannot view CX as a single department or CJM as a discipline practiced by just a few.  As such, building CJM capabilities is not just about the centralised team; rather it is about teams – a centralised team linked to cross-functional journey teams, with responsibility for managing and improving the customer experience across their clearly defined, ‘nominated’ journey.

#2 Toolkit

In our first blog, 'Winning with Customer Journey Mapping in 2017', we talked about the importance of CX design principles in driving consistency of the customer experience.  Just as it is important that customers have a consistent experience across all journeys and channels on the ‘front stage’, it is imperative that businesses have a consistent ‘back stage’ approach to defining, mapping, optimising, and managing their customer journeys. 

More specifically, businesses need to outline an end-to-end methodology, aligned to best practice, that demonstrates how the business approaches CJM.  The methodology should be rigid enough to ensure consistency, yet flexible enough to allow for nuances across journeys and customer groups/ types; according to The Aberdeen Group, only 36% of companies currently have such a process for mapping their customer journeys.

#3 Training

Training is also key to ensuring the adoption of a consistent approach – particularly if CJM is something of a ‘new’ concept for a business.  CJM training is an opportunity to bring the CJM toolkit to life – it should therefore be focused on the agreed end-to-end methodology and tailored to balance the need for consistency against what needs to be ‘believed and achieved’ by different ‘types’ of stakeholders and employees, for example –

‘Experts’ – the centralised team

‘Users’ – cross-functional journey teams

‘Champions’ – wider stakeholders, including Exec level

#4 Testing

Despite the efforts required to build ‘blocks’ 1-3 (teams, toolkit, and training), ensuring the end-to-end methodology is right for a business often requires a ‘proof of concept’ (PoC) or pilot study. In our experience, pilot studies are most successful where they: 

  • Have a clear and (relatively) narrow focus – i.e. one customer journey mapped from the perspective of a small number of customer segments/ personas 
  • Deliver clear, visual, and engaging outputs – e.g. customer journey maps and films…
  • Are tightly managed by the centralised team
  • ...But focus on highlighting the outcomes and impacts of the initiative (or potential outcomes and impacts) over and above the deliverables

#5 Technology

Last, but by no means least, is technology.  As a business strengthens its CJM capabilities (and therefore its CJM activity increases), the model must be scalable.  Technology has a key role to play in terms of:

  • Visualisation – creating CJM outputs, such as customer journey maps
  • Customer journey management – collating all sources of data and insight (including behavioural / transactional data and research data) throughout customer journeys, providing a ‘live’ feed which supports journey teams with on-going CX monitoring and measurement
  • Experimentation – enabling the business to test and refine new journeys/ solutions (‘A/B testing’) prior to launching them to customers/ the market
  • Implementation – supporting the business to optimise the customer journey at key touch-points and to deliver new customer experiences (e.g. UX - new digital platforms)

It’s about the right journey, not a ‘destination’ 

Returning to one of our original comments), building in-house CJM capabilities takes brain power, time, and money – and truly getting this right is both about businesses embarking on the right journey and understanding that building CJM capabilities doesn’t deliver you to a ‘destination’. It means building capabilities around the 5Ts (outlined in this article), and drawing on external expertise (as and when required) to do so, relating to customer insight, ongoing feedback and measurement, data analytics and operationalisation, to name a few.

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