An Effective Customer Journey Map is a Crucial Part of Managing the Customer Experience

Customer Journey Mapping

Map the Experience Your Customers Have
Map the Experience Your Customers Have

This concept is nothing new… yet so many company leaders have not done it… or – at least- have not done it effectively. Leaders tend to get overwhelmed with the process, and no wonder. Many folks, myself included, used to map out every single touchpoint the customer encounters and then map out all of the operational logistics necessary behind the scenes and while these looked impressive, they would impress you straight into a world of overwhelm and analysis paralysis… and these wonderful maps and hours of efforts would get shelved never to be seen or heard from again.

Let me simplify things for you…..

  • What Journey Mapping ISN’T…
    • Not a process map
    • Not or training manual
    • Not what you hope customers experience
    • Not the time to map out every single touchpoint and the stuff behind the scenes to make the magic happen for the customer
    • Not silo driven
    • Not company focused on driving profits or sales
  • What Journey Mapping IS…
    • A story of what the CUSTOMER experiences
    • A map what happens to them or what they have to do shown in a timeline
    • Outside in approach
    • A chance to see what could be frustrating to the customer
    • A chance to identify Pivotal Moments that feed into the feeling of the overall experience
    • A chance to see what currently IS and see if you can add value to the customer
    • Serves as a Talking Point Map for customer conversations and focus groups.
    • This gets into the emotions you evoke along the way

HOW to craft an effective Journey Map…

Select a neutral facilitator from either within the company or hire an outside resource. The facilitator must remain neutral from the company perspective and be focused on the experiences of current customers.

Select which Journey to map. I suggest starting with the most frequently occurring experience among your customers – OR – the one receiving the most negative feedback.

Be clear on the outcome of mapping. Understand that this will serve as a timeline of the experience your current customers are having when they work with your company. What happens to them, what do they see, who do they see, what information is given, what do they need to do, etc from start to finish? Imagine describing to someone what they need to do in order to get from Point A to Z without bringing in any of the behind the scenes information relevant to company processes.

I typically guide clients through a hybrid of stages, the main theme of touchpoints in stages, then, when necessary, deep dive into specific points to flesh out the details.

Think of a personal relationship timeline – You see someone you are interested in dating, you have the dating phase, then there is the serious dating phase, then the engagement and wedding, the honeymoon phase, real life phase, then deciding after a certain period of time if you will continue to stay in the marriage or go your separate ways if it is not fulfilling to either party.

Use this to symbolize the stages of your customer journey – prospecting, the purchase, onboarding, utilization and service upkeep, return or not.

Within each stage, list a bird’s eye view of the things that the customer needs during that stage and what they experience. Don’t go too deep at this point. Right now it is really a solid skeleton that gives a good outline or black and white picture of what customers experience when working with you.

From here, gather feedback or look at the feedback that has been given by customers. Where in the journey do you need to pay attention? Where in the journey are things happening the way they should? Where in the journey are there problems varying between regions, customers, sales reps, etc?

Now is when you take a deeper dive into the specific touchpoints to map them out. Understand what the customer expects and is looking for, then go back and decide from a leadership and operational perspective what needs to change to deliver that consistently over time.

Once you feel confident with the first map, then begin to map other customer journeys, employee journeys, and vendor journeys.

Over time this map provides a guide on how to build service into your processes and allows you to build in accountability along the way to ensure consistency.

To listen to the podcast covering Customer Journey, click here.

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