A recent Forrester Research report discusses a customer journey mapping phenomena that Strativity Group has also experienced in recent years. Many companies show interest, jump on the bandwagon and create a map detailing the complexities of their customers’ journey. Then what? According the Forrester report, in most cases, little to nothing happens next.
How is it that great intentions of customer experience professionals oftentimes dwindle to little action or impact? Is there something wrong with the customer journey mapping methodology? Was the final map not detailed enough? Did we miss something? These factors might have made a small impact, but the real reason for the little impact has to do with the intention.
When working with clients the most common reaction to a customer journey mapping workshop is “I knew it was bad, but I did not know it was that bad!” After completing over 150 customer experience transformation projects worldwide, we now tell new clients, “Let me save you money, it is that bad. Now what are you going to do about it?”
Customer journey maps are a tool. Like any tool, they cannot create your customer experience strategy nor transform your customers’ experience for you. Journey maps are designed to assist you, not replace you. Just as a bicycle cannot transport you from point A to point B without you pushing the pedals, a customer journey map cannot transport you from point A to point B without your input.
So how do you do it right?
- Clearly define your objectives. If the end goal is improving your customer experience, obtain commitment and a budget to do so. If management refuses to commit, you know your customer journey mapping is nothing more than a fishing expedition.
- Cross-functional alignment. Understand that if your current customer journey is too complex, it may be a reflection of the conflicting agendas of your different siloed departments. Make sure each department is committing to a unified goal. Aligned goals produced aligned performance.
- Clarify ownership. From the start, you need to know who will own what part of the outcome. Ownership should not be arranged afterwards. Each department must assign empowered managers to own the required changes and outcomes.
- Prioritize. Not every “broken” touch point is critical to customers. In fact, some are not important at all and customers are still satisfied without those interactions being great. Every organization has limited resources, so make sure to prioritize the proposed improvements to your customer experience so that the actions you take have impactful results.
- Monetize. It is about making money. Nothing in your organization can happen until it is first financially justified. Make sure all your recommendations are aligned with the company’s financial goals. Not every idea is worth pursuing and not every improvement will be something the customer is willing to pay for.
- Co-Create. Work with your customers to map the journey and validate it. Customers will know better than you about their emotions and aspirations. Ask them both what drives them and what drives them crazy. Speak to them early and get them involved.
- Understand the holistic customer journey. Customers do not engage in company’s touch points only. They go outside of your control ecosystem. Map and understand the complete customer journey ecosystem including social media friends and family. Just because the touch point is not owned by you, does not mean it does not make an impact.
- Think cultural change. Think about your customer journey mapping workshop in the context of engaging the organization to change. It is an excellent tool to get everyone involved and challenge them to think like a customer. Factor cultural change into your design from the beginning.
- Stop the overwhelming effect. Creating a detailed map that lists every form you have ever sent your customers or designing a map with every process that ever existed in your company listed in five point font will not get your CEO to buy in. It will most likely have the opposite effect. Customer experience will be perceived as too large to tackle and will be therefore abandoned.
- Get the right help. When customer experience started becoming popular, many traditional providers such as marketing, consulting and brand agencies added journey mapping to their list of services. After all, they have graphic designers on staff, so why not? If you’re looking for a graphical depiction of your journey, I am sure they will do just fine. If you are seeking to create a customer experience transformation utilizing the customer journey map as a tool, you have to speak to experts who understand not just the customer journey but also the organization’s transformation journey.
Customer journey mapping is the tip of the iceberg of customer centric transformation. Done right, it will be a cornerstone of a great positive change that will improve the customer experience and employee engagement. Done poorly, it will be the “program du jour” that will be abandoned as quickly as it was created.
Today’s customer does not settle for lip service experiences. It is time to transform customer journey mapping into a catalyst to align and rally the organization into a customer-centric organization. Customer journey mapping; let’s do it right.
About Lior Arussy
Lior Arussy is the founder and president of Strativity Group and has had the privilege of assisting over 150 organizations in their customer-centric transformation. Arussy is the author of several books on customer experience, employee engagement and experience innovation. His latest book, Exceptionalize It! is available on Amazon.
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