Customer Journey Mapping – Doing It Right, Part II

Posted On January 2, 2014
By Michael Starr

Customer Journey Mapping (or Customer Experience Mapping) has become the fad du jour of the customer experience world. Companies around the world are mapping their customers’ journeys either on their own or with the help of consulting firms like Strativity Group. While journey maps, when used properly, are an excellent tool in helping organizations determine where to focus their efforts to improve the experience they deliver to their customers, too often the maps simply end up as wall decorations for organizations that fail to change in a meaningful way the experience they deliver. Two issues frequently arise that limit the effectiveness of journey mapping efforts:

  • Organizations fail to prioritize the different touch points in the customer journey map
  • Organizations fail to understand the employee view of the journey in addition to the customer view

Failure to Prioritize the Journey Map

Mapping the customer journey in and of itself does not tell a company where to focus its limited resources to get the great improvement. While it is necessary for a company to map the journey for the company to figure out where to focus its investments of time, people and money, it is insufficient. Companies also need to prioritize the various steps in the journey. To do this, companies need to understand from a customer’s perspective which steps in the journey are most important and where customers are experiencing the greatest pain. Only when companies are armed with this information can they decide where to prioritize their efforts. Strativity once helped a credit card provider to map and prioritize its journey. During the prioritization effort, the credit card provider learned that satisfaction with its web site was lower than satisfaction with its call center. At first glance, this might suggest that the company should have focused its efforts on improving its web site. However, the company also learned that customers placed a much higher priority on the call center than they did on the web site. As a result, the gap between the importance of and satisfaction with the call center touch point was greater than that for the web site. This coupled with the fact that customers viewed the call center to be more important, helped the client realize that it needed to focus on improving its call center operations before it focused on improving its web site.

Failure to Understand both the Employee and Customer View of the Journey

Often clients wonder why we strongly emphasize the need to understand the journey from both the employee and customer perspective. However, when they see the benefits of doing so, they have an “aha” moment that helps them transform the experience they deliver. Employees want to deliver a good, if not great, experience to customers. Virtually all employees work extremely hard to improve the experience that customers receive. The challenge is that employees often confuse their pain points with the pain points that customers experience. We once worked with a business-to-business client whose employees thought that Invoicing was far and away the second biggest pain point experienced by customers. The company, as a result, was investing significant resources to improve the invoicing process. Customers agreed that invoicing was an opportunity but rated it seventh in opportunity. Six other opportunities were rated higher in importance. In fact, customers rated Issue Resolution as the single biggest paint point an opportunity in the journey. However, because the company and its employees did not realize how important the Issue Resolution touch point was to customers and how low their satisfaction was with this touch point, the company had failed to invest any resources in improving this touch point. Armed with the knowledge that customers and employees had different perspectives on the relative opportunity each touch point provided, the company was able to:

  • Invest resources to improve the Issue Resolution touch point
  • Educate employees on the critical role Issue Resolution played in the overall customer experience

Journey mapping can be a useful part of the process to understand and improve the experience companies deliver to customers. However, its use depends on whether companies take the next step and understand both from a customer and employee perspective the importance of and pain experienced at each of the touch points in the journey. Only in this way will companies be able to decide where to invest its resources to maximize the benefit both to the customer and the company.

Customer Journey Mapping – Doing It Right, Part III

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