Customer Journey Maps: A Lot More Than Buzz Words

SPLICE Software on March 24, 2016

In today’s environment, features and price can quickly be matched by competitors. As a result, customer experience (CX) is becoming the primary driver of differentiation and ultimately high performance. It is no longer a choice to put the customer at the center of your business. It is necessary for survival. Knowing what your customers want and need, and then delivering it to them, is the critical lifeline that will carry your organization into the future.

Although most companies understand this imperative, it can be very difficult to know where and how to begin improving the CX. Commonly, managers understand the importance of the CX but have more pressing tactical issues – quarterly sales numbers need to be hit, an IT project is delayed and it’s “all hands on deck”, or staff shortages keep noses to the grindstone. Strategy around the CX suffers and, at best, “better sameness” results.

Customer journey maps are one way to bring different teams together to provide an outstanding CX. These maps are the skeletal support for building out your CX strategy. Customer journey maps are used to show the stages of your customers’ lifecycle. They help you better understand how your customers interact with you at every stage of your relationship. This knowledge will serve as the guide for you to prioritize your corporate efforts, identify areas for improvement and allocate your corporate investments accordingly.

Fully developed customer journey maps need to be supported by significant qualitative and quantitative data that is overlaid on the basic skeletal structure. This requires deep investigation into what is working and what isn’t.

Feel like throwing your hands up before you begin? Don’t.

Constructing a preliminary customer journey map that shows the process, corporate touchpoints, and behavioural stages your customer goes through to accomplish their goal, can be easily done without the expenditure of considerable time or resources. All you will need is a whiteboard or sheet of paper and a cross-functional group of experts.

Where should you get your cross-functional group of experts? Its not difficult because they are already on your payroll. Your front-line, customer facing employees already know your customers’ needs, preferences, and pain. All you need to do is bring them together, kick management out of the room, and let them talk freely. You’d be surprised what you will learn. You can then move forward with validating your map.

Beginning a customer journey map gets you moving and then let the laws of inertia take over. Once in motion, customer journey mapping is a fun and engaging activity that allows you to reach consensus on what will need to be done.

To get you started, I’m providing my Journey Map Template to all who register for my upcoming webinar, Customer Experience Beyond Surveys. Register here to watch live or receive a recording of it. Just for registering you’ll also get a brand new whitepaper on the subject, along with an offer for a free Employee Net Promoter Score® Survey pilot campaign.

Any questions? You can reach me on LinkedIn or Twitter @JoanPepper.

Joan Pepper, Founder of JG Pepper Consulting, Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) and Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)