What are the five key principles of successful customer journey mapping?

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The practice of customer journey mapping has become more widely acknowledged as a critical customer experience tool in recent years, as recognition grows of its ability to help organisations differentiate and stand out from the competition when used successfully.

The most successful organisations treat their maps as work-in-progress documents, they are never ‘finished’. Often forming a customer experience working group, comprising of champions from different areas of the business, to lead the process of change ensuring it ties back to the customers’ needs at each touchpoint of the end-to-end journey.

Silo thinking can be one of the biggest challenges a business faces. Talented employees with an array of skills can thrive as individuals but struggle at bringing their departmental strengths together to benefit the customer. Customer journey mapping is a way to combat this problem offering a simple, effective solution.

Traditionally, customer journey maps offer a visual representation of the ‘journey’ a customer undertakes during their interaction with a brand or service. After its inception, a map can find new life in the form of dashboards, wall charts and briefing packs but, initially, these maps begin life as a holistic list of key customer touchpoints, at each stage of the end-to-end journey.

There are a number of benefits to the customer journey mapping process:

  • It enables brands to walk in the customers’ shoes. By moving through the various touchpoints in the customer journey, the brand is afforded a first-person view of every interaction, from first contact through to final resolution. This practice flags-up the emotional highs and lows and highlights the ‘moments of truth’ that are most likely to lead to success or failure from the customer’s perspective.
  • A customer journey map can breathe life into these interactions – it can help employees to see customers as real people with real emotions, and thus guide them towards the most practical and tactful way of delivering the customers desired experience. As such, a greater sense of empathy is created, something which is essential for customer experience excellence, as demonstrated by The Six Pillar SystemTM.
  • A customer journey map can create a common language to unite isolated departments and individuals, and deliver a shared goal through its simplified overview of the customer experience. It can inspire ideas for improvement. When a brand has a visual impression of its own strengths and weaknesses, employees are able to come together and examine these touchpoints as a single unit, with a clear vision of how to turn a good experience into an exceptional one.

For a company to excel, it should agree on key principles for a customer journey map. Based on far-reaching customer experience research and design work across numerous industries, we have identified five key principles to making customer journey mapping a success:

  1. Customer journey mapping must be aligned to and be a central part of a business’ overall customer experience strategy.
  2. It is essential to have only one definition of customer journey mapping and how it is applied across an organisation.
  3. The best customer journey maps bring together the internal view with the customer view, to define the single truth of the current or ‘to be’ customer journey
  4. A successful customer journey map will become the key framework through which customer experience is continuously measured and managed throughout the business.
  5. As a result, it forms the basis of ongoing customer-focused improvements and business transformation.

Not adhering to these key principles of customer journey mapping gives rise to a number of challenges for a business. As such, there are three crucial elements businesses need to get right to ensure success. These are: cross business engagement, customer-centricity and looking at the end-to-end journey.

KPMG Nunwood’s recent whitepaper, Achieving Customer Journey Mapping Success delves into these aspects in further detail and offers advice for businesses looking to excel.    

Vicky Smith is head of qualitative research at KPMG Nunwood.

About Vicky Smith

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