Companies that intentionally make an effort to be customer-centric are known to be more profitable.

One of the tools that businesses can use to improve customer-centricity are customer journey maps. In fact, observing, and acting upon the whole customer journey has more impact on customer loyalty than focusing on individual touchpoints.

Customer journeys are a representation of the end-to-end Customer Experience from the customer’s point of view. Mapping the customer journey can be a complex and daunting task, however, breaking it down into three key stages will help produce one that can put you on the path to profit.

Stage 1: Defining the purpose and approach

When deciding what to map, it is important to have a clear purpose in mind. Knowing this will help (a) decide upon what to include in the journey so that it is effective, and (b) keep you from trying to do too much (which is a common barrier to useful customer journey mapping).

Some of the different angles a customer journey can take:

• High-level end-to-end: Creates a summary of the whole experience, and allows readers to quickly grasp its essence

• Product or customer angle: Everyone experiences a journey differently, it’s useful to explore those differences

• Journey phase: Explores a particular part of the end-to-end experience in detail (e.g. the joining experience)

Stage 2: Mapping the current state

Set out in chronological order, it shows how all the elements of the current service and experience come together, what the highs and lows are, and what makes and breaks the experience. It shows where you are today and makes clear what needs addressing and where there are opportunities for improvement.

A good ‘as-is customer journey’ illustrates the full experience. It focuses on understanding the causes of the most significant customer irritations and flags things you might not previously have thought about.

Some examples of the different levels of detail an as-is customer journey must include:

• Over-arching journey phases, e.g. ‘joining’

• Short step names, e.g. ‘make payment’

• Experience descriptions of the factual details of what the customer currently experiences or does at each step without judging the quality e.g. ‘customers receive email’

More detail can be added to include:

• Curve of emotion: A graphical depiction of the emotional highs and lows across the journey

• Channels: An outline of what channels can be used for each step

• High points of the journey

• Issues and opportunities: Problems, pain points, and any other issues at each step, including internal/operational challenges which affect the experience

Stage 3: Designing the target customer journey

Once you understand the current experience, you can move into designing the target customer journey.
Whilst mapping the as-is journey requires skill and the ability to consider the current service from the customer’s perspective, designing an outstanding and distinct target experience requires a different methodology and mind-set.

You must be vision-led, customer-centred, delivery-focused and consider all the channels through which your customers interact. A beautifully designed CX will brilliantly and seamlessly choreograph all the touchpoints a customer has with your organisation in a way that creates tangible value for customers, the business and your brand.

This target journey map articulates what the future experience should look like, how it adds value for the customer and business alike. A good one is highly visual and practical, showing clearly how all the concepts work together and make the CX a lot more tangible for people to grasp.

It must include journey phases and steps from the as-is journey, but fine-tuned for what you’re trying to achieve in the new journey. So, it would also incorporate the target experience narrative (details of the customer’s experience for each step) and a list of the key service concepts and features at each stage.

Keep in mind

An effective customer journey map is a living document, and is ultimately owned by the customer journey manager or product managers.

Having a customer journey map alone does not make a business customer-centric. As with any tool that we use, it’s what we do with it that makes a difference: be it to align the senior stakeholders, unifying the business together around the customer or identifying areas of priority, there is an opportunity for a detailed customer journey map that’s utilised in the right way to transform the business.

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