Companies have woken up to the reality that customer experience (CX) is critical to their business. To help improve experiences that they offer, CX pros have been quick to adopt customer journey mapping — a methodology to deepen customer understanding, break down siloed behaviors, and inject customer thinking into the design process.

Journey mapping has a variety of benefits that stretch far beyond the tactical advantage it provides when CX professionals use it for improvement projects. CX leaders can leverage customer journey maps to:

  • Break down silos to address the end-to-end customer experience. Organisations benefit when they shift focus from individual touchpoints to journeys that cross touchpoints, silos, policies, and procedures. Journey mapping allows CX professionals to identify overlooked touchpoints, find previously unknown problems and their root causes, clarify roles, quantify the value of improving CX, and measure improvements to CX.
  • Drive organisation wide customer obsession. Journey maps can build empathy for customers by walking participants through how touchpoints influence customers’ attitudes and actions. Ongoing use enforces customer-centric thinking and encourages good CX behaviors. What’s more, future-state journey maps can help make the CX vision tangible for employees and partners.

Companies as diverse as The Economist, Lloyds Banking Group, and Shell are shifting their focus away from channels and touchpoints to journeys. As a result, the adoption of journey mapping and journey analytics — a more data-driven approach to understanding customer journeys — is at an all-time high for CX professionals.

But there is room for improvement. Companies struggle especially with a lack of a strategic approach to journeys. While there is nothing wrong with a tactical approach to journey mapping to find and fix broken experiences, using journey maps only for that is a miss. More strategically minded companies like Lloyds, E.ON, and Sage Software North America manage a portfolio of journeys with journey atlases — a framework for cataloging and assessing journeys — and prioritisation matrices to systematically rank and plan journey-related efforts.

To boost their chances of success, companies using journey mapping ensure that the stakeholders and executives who own the parts of the affected business have prioritised fixing it.

They take validation and journey measurement efforts seriously and consider conducting customer interviews and observational research prior to mapping every journey or map journeys in co-creation sessions that involve customers.

They also realise that understanding the customer’s journey is half the CX puzzle; the other half is understanding the role that your company — its employees, partners, processes, systems, policies, and more — play in making the experience possible.

Firms in industries on the front line of helping customers through the COVID-19 pandemic are using journey mapping software to co-create key employee, call center agent, and customer journeys.

With customers embracing never-seen-before behaviors and employees working remotely, journey mapping can help ensure firms have a holistic view of crisis journeys and avoid tone-deaf experiences. Journey mapping vendors like Mural make it easy to translate “Post-it on the wall” work to a digital whiteboard for journey mapping and helps with virtual brainstorming and prioritisation.

Other vendors like More Than Metrics are prioritising features that enable home workers to print journey maps on several A4 pages so they can continue to collaborate with dispersed journey teams from their home office.

Journey mapping isn’t something that you should put on hold until recovery – in these unusual times it’s more important than ever that you map and validate journeys with real customer insights to win, serve, and retain customers with emotionally attuned journeys.

 

Joanna de Quintanilha is Forrester VP and Principal Analyst.

Learn more about Forrester and join the webinar Virtual Customer Journey Mapping: Adapting To The New Reality.

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