There are five common mistakes that businesses make when producing and acting on customer journey maps.
I’ve spent over 20 years working with many organisations to help them improve growth and profitability through differentiation, competitive advantage and sustainable customer loyalty. My goal has always been to transfer knowledge and build the internal skills so that people in these organisations will know why and how to do the right things for sustainable success. This has usually been done through consultancy advice and employee education through my Customer Loyalty Management Master Practitioner workshops and online programmes.
A key element of this education is how to go about producing effective customer journey maps. While doing this I have found there are five common mistakes that people make while building their skill in producing and acting on these maps. They are:
Not focusing on the right goal
The goal should not be to simply map the customer journey. It should be to learn in detail about the many experiences customers have when they interact with your organisation and through that to discover where loyalty is gained, or lost.
Also, to learn where experiences could be added or changed in ways that would build more loyalty.
Having the wrong perspective
Many Journey Maps are created from the wrong perspective. That is an ‘inside-out’ perspective, or ‘what do we do along the customer journey’. But this will never unearth the information you need to know. For success it is essential to adopt an ‘outside-in’ perspective. That is ‘what experiences do the customers have’. That’s why I prefer to call them 'customer experience journey maps' and not 'customer journey maps'.
They key is to build a detailed understand of all the experiences from the customers’ perspective. It also means that these maps will be meaningless and worthless until customers have been invited to scrutinise, modify and validate them.
I find that many customer experience journey maps are simply a ‘top line overview’ of a customer journey and do not go into sufficient detail. One of my customers used to describe this as a ‘general view of a coast line’ whereas what is needed, is an analysis and understanding of every grain of sand. That is neither quick not easy. It requires a determination and rigour that is rarely applied to this process. But without it, all that is likely to result is to identify a few areas where general improvements can be made that will have a short-term impact and be obvious and therefore easily copied by competitors.
But if the ‘granular’ approach is adopted, it generally results in many (often hundreds) of experience improvement opportunities being identified. And although many of them may be small, collectively they can combine to make a massive difference. And because there are so many of them, they will very hard for competitors to identify and copy. So they will create both differentiation and competitive advantage.
A lack of meaningful analysis
Remember the goal of this exercise is to find ways to build loyalty. Any analysis that’s done should therefore be focussed on that. Yet many projects seem to be focussed on improving experiences simply for the sake of doing so. However, there are many experiences that may be nice to have but which have little or no impact on customer loyalty. The right focus should be to improve or introduce those experiences that will be most likely to build loyalty.
A good way of doing this is through what I call importance/performance analysis. This means analysing every customer experience to understand relatively how important it is to the customer’s future loyalty and how your performance compares with the customer’s expectations and the performance of competitors. This type of analysis will clearly show where changes to experiences can be made that will build competitive advantage and create lasting customer loyalty.
Ineffective follow-up action
There’s little point in creating and analysing detailed customer experience journey maps if they aren’t quickly and effectively followed up with the appropriate actions to change customer experiences and build loyalty. Yet in many organisations this does not happen. This is most apparent in the bigger organisations where they have lengthy and laborious budget approval processes and numerous committees that need to ‘sign off’ on any changes to existing processes or procedures.
What is need is what Professor John Kotter of Harvard Business School calls a ‘sense of urgency’. The lack of urgency is proven to kill many good initiatives. So don’t do any customer experience journey mapping if you are not prepared to follow up with ‘urgent’ effective actions to make worthwhile changes.
Any one of these mistakes can scupper the effectiveness of a customer experience journey mapping project. So make sure you don’t allow them to impair any projects you undertake.
About Chris Daffy
Chris Daffy is one of the UK’s best-known customer service fanatics. He is a Companion of the Institute of Customer Service and founder of The Academy of Service Excellence. His experience and expertise has taken him all over the world as a consultant and conference speaker and enabled him to work with organisations as varied as Airbus, Air Products, AXA, BAE Systems, Brenntag, BT, DLA Piper, Dorchester Group, ING Group, JCB, Jewson, Microsoft, Pizza Express, Toyota, Watches of Switzerland and Xerox.