Why customer journey mapping tools aren't addressing the biggest challenges

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Customer journey mapping software doesn't typically address the most common journey mapping problems. So how does the software need to change?

There are a ton of journey mapping tools out there. I’m most familiar with Touchpoint Dashboard, but I’ve had demos from many others. They all excel at certain components of journey mapping, but they don’t (and probably can’t) address some of the largest problems.

That’s because the biggest reasons journey maps fail have nothing to do with digital problems; they’re analog. The biggest problem in journey mapping is that it’s done in silos. Small teams are created to do journey mapping. Those small teams intimately learn the customer experience, but because they don’t control the critical touch points, the effort fails to drive change.

While software can help make it easier to communicate, it’s still too difficult. Either the software requires participants to login to a unique system they’ve never used before, or the user has to manually export a PDF to share, which severely reduces the software’s functionality.

To be clear, most journey maps (including ours) are shared via PDFs. That defeats the point of the software, which usually isn’t solely designed to create a graphic display of the customer’s journey. It’s designed to allow multiple teams to input the journey, agree on its implications, and to combine it with internal information that is updated on a regular basis.

This latter part is the most interesting to me. Journey mapping software’s greatest potential is to display the impact of customer experience improvements on the journey. If you can identify both soft (survey) metrics and hard measurements that translate to your customer’s journey, the software can show those metrics and measurements along with the journey map, then track changes over time.

In the map below, it would be phenomenal if the software could show the map, then track relevant survey results and business KPIs, such as the average application turnaround time and percentage of paper applications called out in the fourth phase.

Customer journey map

By pairing the visual journey map with the data, you could reinforce the map that employees are already familiar with and track progress over time.

Unfortunately, most software that can do this tracking have a proprietary visual format – typically involving grids and boxes – which isn’t actually very visual. There’s also still the requirement to go to a unique system, likely involving yet another password (plus lots of user licenses), which are all barriers to usage.

That’s why the journey mapping software of the future won’t be standalone systems like Touchpoint Dashboard or SuiteCX; they’ll be integrated into platforms such as Medallia’s. This will allow companies to integrate the journey map into the existing customer experience dashboards, increasing the functionality of both the maps and the dashboards. I did see a demo of Intouch Insight’s product CX platform, which allows you to build a view that shows your customer’s journey. This will eventually become the norm.

Software also doesn’t typically address the second most common journey mapping problem – that the map-making doesn’t involve customers. In fact, by making it easy to enter in whatever data you want, journey mapping software may inadvertently exacerbate this issue. The one exception I’ve seen is CX Workout, which integrates customers into your journey mapping. So far, I haven’t seen any others.

The current landscape of journey mapping tools is still immature and will certainly progress over time. That is, until they’re absorbed by the larger CX software products, which will greatly increase their functionality.

About Jim Tincher

Jim Tincher, Mapper-In-Chief, Heart of the Customer

Jim sees the world in a special way: through the eyes of customers.

With a lifelong passion for customer experience, Jim founded Heart of the Customer to help companies of all sizes increase customer engagement. Before launching the company, Jim led customer engagement initiatives at Best Buy, Gallup and UnitedHealth Group. In the process, he became an expert in using Voice of the Customer research to identify unmet needs, develop new products and improve customer service. His Heart of the Customer Journey Maps™ are a powerful tool designed with one simple goal: customer loyalty. Customers ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies use his processes to improve customer-focused results.

His fascination with customer experience led him to test himself by becoming a Certified Customer Experience Professional, only the second in the world to earn such a designation. He also has served as an adjunct instructor at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He is an active member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), serving as one of their CX Experts, providing advice to members worldwide.

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By Ghulam
22nd Nov 2018 10:13

Hi Jim - I recently worked with an organization that is trying to capture internal metrices to show them along teh customer journeys - what they call 'Dynamic Journey Maps'. For this purpose they are actually using process mapping and enterprise architecture tools like Mega and Software AG's ARIS for this purpose. I thought that was a very powerful combination because they would be building the complete service blueprint along with the customer journey and process KPIs all in one view. What's your thought on this? With regards - Ghulam

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By Marcko
22nd Nov 2018 15:42

Hi Jim, thanks for this article and I fully agree...

But we are using CJM tooling where you can integrate data insights and KPI dashboards with embedded code from a Tableau dashboard for instance. If you're interested we can set up an online demo.

Best regards, Marcko

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