Customer journey mapping troubleshooter: How to tackle CJM’s most common obstacles

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From driving action from map findings, to engaging stakeholders, we solve the biggest customer journey mapping challenges. 

In the latest in our ongoing series where technology leaders tackle the challenges most commonly reported by adopters of their category of tools, Iain Banks, regional VP of international markets at TTEC, tackles the biggest roadblocks to journey mapping success.

1. “Our customer journey maps are produced by the marketing department, but they are almost never used to trigger strategic or tactical business-wide action. Where could we be going wrong?”

IB. There are three points to make here. Firstly, the output you have to get from customer journey mapping is creating a customer-focused mentality throughout the whole company. This is where organisations often make a mistake – they try to isolate a specific flaw in the journey and focus on that, dealing with and involving only one area of the business, when actually the whole purpose of CJM is to change your outlook as an organisation. That means you need to engage with all business units, not just marketing. So you need to look at operations, and human capital and executive leadership as well, to ensure that the full end-to-end customer journey, and every touchpoint, is engaged through the process.

The second point is that creating that customer-focused mentality means changing the culture. In the past, organisations were very technology-led - companies had these mighty technology platforms, and they would build their processes and customer journeys around, for instance, their CRM systems or customer databases. But now the customer is mightier than the technology platforms, and companies are realising they need to drive their processes around the customer instead.

However, because organisations have spent millions of pounds of these technological functions and databases, they have become very rigid and inflexible, and that legacy makes it very difficult for them to change their culture and their customer journeys. To create a customer-focused mentality they have to look at what is right for the customer, rather than what is right for the systems and processes they already have in place. So that’s the second reason why companies don’t always fully embrace customer journey mapping.

And the third point is that customer journey mapping can be painful. It forces you to look yourself in the mirror, and for it to be successful you have to admit that you’ve got it wrong and be prepared to make a change – because the reality is that the process you think is the customer journey will not be the real journey.

2. “We have created a customer journey map but we don’t have a process in place to take the map’s findings and use them to develop new ideas and create engaging experiences in key stages of the journey. How can we create a structured process?”

IB. Before you look at structure, you need to understand a day in the life of your customers. Journey maps visualise the actions, thoughts and emotions that customers experience in all the activities that they do on a daily basis, whether or not that includes the company. You’ve then got to consider what you want the future state to be, visualising what you believe will be the actions, thoughts and emotions your customers will want to experience for future interactions with your company.

So you look at where you are today, and where you want to be in the future and then the structure behind it is like creating a service blueprint outlining the factors responsible for delivering that experience, including people, processes and technologies, and the key milestones and deliverables. Don’t focus on too many areas – focus on the touchpoints that you know are going to drive the highest return for you and the organisation, and draft clear, achievable and measurable milestones that take you through that process.

Don’t focus on too many areas – focus on the touchpoints that you know are going to drive the highest return for you and the organisation, and draft clear, achievable and measurable milestones.

The other thing that is key is the cycle – the frequency that the organisation will meet. Some organisations put significant value in CJM and make it part of their DNA, and it is an ongoing daily process for them. Others want something more structured and will meet on a monthly basis to review, process by process, the ongoing customer lifecycle journey and look at the objectives and milestones that have been set. Every organisation will create a different structure – you just have to look at the current-to-future state and decide how is most appropriate for you to execute that service blueprint.

3. “We hold regular creative workshops to tackle the customer journey maps that generate lots of outputs, but the stakeholders involved in the workshops rarely seem to do much with them. How can we resolve this?”

IB. Outputs from the workshops should become your management business objectives (MBOs). Customer journey mapping is a cycle – it is not something that you just do, spend three days in a workshop and then think you’ve solved all your problems. It has to be part of your ongoing business DNA. And therefore it has to be part of your executives’ objectives – even what they are bonused on.

So the workshops are great, and the outputs are great, but the key to success is ensuring that those individuals are being managed by objectives after the workshop has concluded. MBOs are the only way that you can clearly define your service blueprint, clearly define a customer charter and clearly hold the relevant people accountable to ensure that they execute on those objectives.

4. “Our workshops to analyse the customer journey maps are generating lots of ideas to prototype, test, evaluate and refine, but we can’t address them all. How can we establish which ideas we should prioritise?”

IB. It’s not easy, because if you conduct customer journey mapping properly it tends to highlight a number of areas that require your immediate attention. So how do you prioritise them? In my experience, there are always some low hanging fruits that represent quick wins and require low investment, but have high return on investment – and by ROI I don’t mean financial ROI but the experience the customer has. You need to evaluate where you’re going to get the greatest return for the customer. Again, this isn’t an easy process, because when you have different stakeholders – whether it is marketing, operations, finance, the c-suite – they all have different priorities and their own focus and their own egos.

For 80% of organisations, customer journey mapping will reveal that the company’s processes have been designed without the customer in mind.

But the best way to solve this is to look at your organisation in the mirror and think ‘what do we need to do that is right by the customer’ – because that should always be the top priority. What is going to give the customer the greatest experience improvement?

5. “The outputs from our customer journey mapping require a more significant overhaul of the business than anticipated, and there is a reluctance to make the investment required. What can we do?”

IB. I can confidently say that for 80% of organisations, CJM reveals that the company’s processes have been designed without the customer in mind. And to get to the position where the customer is at the heart of everything, the legacy technology platforms that they have in place will need to change. This is why so many disruptive start-up organisations are so successful – because they are able to design everything around the customer without the burden of any legacy technology. So there is a real need for digital transformation in many cases.

Many of our customers talk about customer journey mapping and digital transformation and they look at the outputs from the mapping exercise and the costs associated with it they say they are unable to make that kind of investment. But this is why so many retail companies are dying – they cannot keep up with the likes of online retailers and they are not prepared to make the financial investment, and take a short-term hit to achieve a long-term goal. So you need to be going into customer journey mapping knowing that there is probably going to be an expense at the end of the process that you need to be prepared to invest in. And if you are not prepared to invest, then I would not even being to look at customer journey mapping.

About Neil Davey

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Neil Davey is the managing editor of MyCustomer. An experienced business journalist and editor, Neil has worked on a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites over the past 15 years, including Internet Works, CXO magazine and Business Management. He joined Sift Media in 2007.

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