Journey maps help paint a picture of what your customers experience when they interact with you – their user journey with your brand, their touchpoints, their channel preferences and their pain points.
Perceptive Research’s Agi Marx states that even the most rudimentary journey mapping exercise should help a business establish the following:
- Who your customers are.
- What your customers want.
- Where your customers may have been just before interacting with you.
- What your customers are likely to do straight after interacting with you.
- What will make them happy about their interaction.
Undoubtedly, this is useful insight. However, the true value of customer journey mapping lies in developing a process that encourages gathering this type of insight and more, on an ongoing basis.
“The creation of the map is really only an interim deliverable along the process,” says Bruce Temkin, managing partner at Temkin Group and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. “It is really what you do with it, and how you use it, that is important.”
Forrester’s 2016 report, Use Customer Journey Mapping To Make Your Culture Customer-Obsessed states that, in order for journey mapping to become engrained in an organisation’s culture, employees across the business need to be shown evidence that the maps work as “problem-solving tools for daily use”.
Jane Linton, business development director at Ness Digital Engineering, adds that, “the biggest mistake of all is to only complete a customer journey map as part of a strategic exercise”; that maps are intended to be used throughout the year, not “stored on the company servers or in the cloud until revision the next year”.
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“Much like personas,” she says, “a customer journey map should be part of the day-to-day focus on the customer needs, solving their problems and making the customer experience the best it could possibly be through your product or service, no matter where they are on their journey.”
And in order to satisfy this need, Forrester’s report states that a series of fairly extensive steps must be considered, many of which we’ve touched upon in previous chapters of our customer journey mapping guide:
- Experiment and invest in using a range of journey mapping approaches – beyond the post-it notes on a whiteboard approach.
- Adopt tools that make journey maps dynamic, collaborative, and customisable – considering how they might be impactful across your business.
- Consider creating journey-map-based dashboards – in a similar vein as the previous point, having a dashboard can help stakeholders establish how customers’ journeys perform, and how “changes to one touchpoint affect other touchpoints”.
- Use journey maps as an input for prioritisation models – this is where having clearly defined ownership of journey mapping can help, as owners are able to define and prioritise goals for fellow employees and stakeholders based on insight the maps glean.
- Provide training to stakeholders on how to use journey maps to deliver the intended experience.
- Add journey mapping skills and responsibilities to employees’ competency models.
- Create new roles to professionalise journey mapping – such as journey managers and customer officers.
- Integrate journey maps into your hiring and onboarding process.
- Adopt the right journey mapping mindset – Getting the business, from board level down, to understand that journey mapping “needs to be part of a larger CX improvement process, a team effort, and an iterative process”.
- Assess the quality of the journey maps on a regular basis.
- Link your efforts with impact on business metrics.
- Mix and match the maps with other tools and techniques – stakeholders should be considering how they use journey maps in “conjunction with Lean Six Sigma, agile methodologies, value mapping, design thinking, ideation, decision models, and road map development”.
As the second half of this lists highlights, a large part of being geared up to act on insight is integrating journey mapping into various different areas of the business, but also, establishing the presentation method best suited to the employees in those different areas.
“Any insights need to be backed up by qualitative evidence, and any recommendations need to be treated, prioritised and presented as business cases, where the expected impact and required effort are clearly weighed against each other, for business owners to be able to make decisions,” says Joris Beets, director of service design at EY-Seren.
“Every department and level of involvement and seniority needs their own approach. The same information can be distilled in many ways from the target journey designs or detailed service blueprints, and it’s important that this is carefully tailored to the audience. For instance, staff that are dealing with customers will need detailed guides and training, "behind the scenes" staff will need operating procedures and job descriptions to be embedded, which you can do via service prototyping for instance, or enacting parts of the service.
“For board-level decision-makers who will never read a detailed journey map, you might need to visualise the target journeys in, say, a 1 minute video plus some key figures showing investment and return.”
Such an all-encompassing approach to customer journeys can help shed new light not only on your customers but, crucially, on how customer-centric your organisation is as a whole.
Bruce Temkin states that a holistic approach to customer journeys should help your business identify its moments of truth; establishing a baseline of experience and hypothesising future experiences. Customer journey maps, he says, are then typically used in three ways:
“One is for making improvements where things are broken. Oftentimes it’ll identify broken parts of the experience,” he explains. “The second area is it identifies places where there’s ‘white space’, meaning there are places to innovate and create a future experience that is quite different.”
“And the third area is around internal education and training. There’s a lot of value in not only being able to make changes based on what you have learned in the journey mapping but also to use it as a training tool for people in the organisation to understand what the customer goes through.”
Subsequently, Temkin proposes the following to-do list after a customer journey map has been built:
- Share learnings across the organisation.“Communication, whether you’re a shopping centre or a global retailer, is key,” notes Bill McCarthy, CEO of EMEA, at ShopperTrak. Ensure that you are sharing data internally so that everyone from the board room to the shop floor has a grasp on performance, as well as areas that need improvement.”
- Adjust Voice of the Customer listening posts to prioritise moments of truth.
- Define metrics and track performance for moments of truth. “When changes are made, it’s important to capture and share customer reaction to the changes in order to recognise contribution, refine the implementation and sustain momentum,” advises Andy Green, director of The Customer Framework.
- Prioritise and act upon opportunities for fixing problems. “Share the design with each function and engage them to identify what is stopping them delivering the desired experience,” recommends Andy Green. “This turns the thinking into behaviours and attitudes that staff and suppliers understand and can act on. Those things within their direct control, they can adopt and own immediately. Things requiring broader organisation support for the basis for the transformation plan.”
- Prioritise and act upon opportunities to wow customers. Temkin emphasises that a map can identify opportunities for innovation. “By looking at a business traveller’s entire journey through customer journey mapping, a travel firm might find that at one stage he likes to coordinate his travel with colleagues. This might be an area that the company didn’t even have any capabilities around before because it didn’t see these interactions in its touchpoint maps, as they had nothing to do with the travel firm. So this stage where the traveler is collaborating and coordinating might be an area that the travel company can innovate on its offering and really make itself more valuable to that audience. So a CJM can be used to innovate and create entirely new experiences.”
- Establish teams to design and roll out future-state experiences.
- Embed learnings about customers in training and communications. Temkin explains: “Some companies actually find that training is the most important use for CJM. It can be used to train new hires, and teach existing hires that the work that they’re doing isn’t about just their internal siloes, but is really about helping customers go through this journey. And the better they understand this journey the more likely they are to be able to do things that will help the customer and improve customer experience.”
- Do CJMs for other customers and other areas of the business. “Create a variety of personas,” says Linton. “This is essential to understand how different segments of your customer base might need different channels or different messaging to others - which is key when looking at the millennial generation against Baby Boomers, for example!”
- Repeat CJM every 18-24 months or when something changes. “Keep it up to date to reflect constantly changing technologies, consumer behaviour and business proposition,” recommends Dea Kacorri, senior user experience consultant at Realise.
About Chris Ward
Chris is Editor of MyCustomer. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News. He joined MyCustomer in 2014.