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How to make a customer journey map work for every business

Written by Steve Walden, CX Senior Consultant at Retail Reply

With organisations facing increased challenges and uncertainty from the seemingly unending pandemic, ensuring customers can continue to access services with ease is vital.  This means IT and digital leaders must ensure they have the customer at the heart of any build.

Otherwise, you risk failure especially when it is estimated that one third of any technology build is impacted by customer experience.

To help ensure you can achieve this objective and not leave your customer experience activities to chance follow our 8 Stages of Effective Customer Journey Mapping methodology (ref: xxxxx).

Here are a few highlights:

Align your stakeholders

Before a company can begin journey mapping, leaders must ensure that the programme aligns with the objectives of executive stakeholders. For instance, gauge their understanding of the process, the technology that’s in place, the governance structure and what KPIs need to be influenced.  Do they, for instance, have a clear understanding of what customer experience means and the data that needs to be collected?

Once IT leaders have these answers, they can get started on the real work of understanding the data.

Audit and obtain customer data

Without customer data, there is the risk of creating an inside-out map, that just confirms existing biases. Therefore, before companies get into mapping, conduct an audit on what insights (both qualitative and quantitative) already exist in the business and identify where there may be gaps.  For instance, someone in the business may have already completed a journey map which can act as a useful base for future work.

The more informed a company can be, the better it will be able to produce a map that accurately reflects the ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ state of the customer experience.

This is also the stage to involve cross-functional stakeholders such as suppliers, especially those in technology and digital architecture as well as customers. The earlier stakeholders can feedback, the earlier an organisation will be able to take these into consideration.

Align stakeholders around the map

Once insights have been collated and consolidated, an interim set of customer journey maps should be produced that turn these insights into key findings.

These interim maps should be put in front of stakeholders so that they can ‘see’ the customer journey from the customer’s perspective and how a lack of joined up thinking between departments can impact it. This should be done through a workshop with a cross-functional group of stakeholders to discuss findings and validate or amend the maps.

These stakeholders should come from a diverse set of departments that work across the customer journey as well as senior executives and technology architects.

This is a crucial step to make sure all stakeholders are aligned so companies can avoid mistakes such as one made by a loyalty points company. The company enabled customers to book a flight using loyalty points, but the flight map was 3 clicks away from the home page even though most customers were only using the site for this function. The reason was a disconnect between marketing and IT.

Remember customer journey mapping is a profoundly co-creative process creating a link between insight led design and build.

A single system of record for your customer journeys

Once all approvals have been met, it is time to produce final customer journey maps on macro, mid and micro levels.

  1. Macro level maps represent those used for brand communication.
  2. Mid-level maps represent those that show the business case for change and the interlinkages between ‘the experience the customer has’ and the IT build.
  3. Micro level maps link detailed maps to a repository of customer insight from which they are derived. Such a repository of customer journey maps and insight can also be shared with stakeholders from across the business to ensure a consistent single system of record.

With the final maps created, companies must then produce a list of prioritised ideas using a cross-functional workshop of executive level stakeholders and technology architects. This workshop will prioritise the ideas for change, finalise the journey map and develop a customer centric architecture plan ready and capable of delivering a generational roadmap.

Ongoing governance

Once completed, customer journey maps should be maintained with data visualisation software. This is to prevent the efforts of establishing them from being wasted and customer insights from being ignored.  There also needs to be a tight integration between the maps produced; ongoing voice of the customer and digital data feeds and how this is analytically processed.

Customers are at the heart of any corporate strategy but after the last few years of trying to keep afloat, many organisations have forgotten this. Now is the time for companies to implement these actions and find a technology partner who can guide them through the customer journey mapping process.