Your guide to customer journey mapping

CX Network

Customer experience specialist, customer engagement strategy, cx analytics, cx success, customer data, customer data and analytics, customer journey mapping, customer data,

Customer journey mapping

Shockingly, only 13% of businesses currently have the ability to orchestrate customer journeys at scale, according to recent research from Forrester Consulting. Many in the research forecast a spike in spend on customer journey analytics to increase customer loyalty.

What is customer journey mapping?

Labelled as both an art and a science, customer journey mapping is defined by Salesforce as ‘a visual representation of every experience your customers have with you.'

Denisa Spinkova, VP Executive Services Development at Menzies Aviation explains: “It helps to tell the story of a customer’s experience (CX) with your brand from original engagement and into hopefully a long-term relationship.”

Why customer journey map?

Journey mapping is the foundation to good CX as it deepens a business’ understanding on customer needs, painpoints and the best touch points to apply certain technologies, such as self service systems or where to draw the threshold for human vs automated interaction.  

With market growth and the increase of competitors that comes with it, companies need to be agile and have solid visibility on why customers interact with them. This means not allowing a customer journey map to lie in a desk drawer to gather dust but refreshing the map the business can be aligned with reality. In a previous interview Ben Fairbank the Head of Customer Experience at Grab mentioned: “Knowing the end to end journey is imperative and this allows you to provide an unparalleled service and experience.”

Benefits of customer journey mapping

Better journey design: These maps help build a single-view of the customer  while identifying moments of truth and points of friction in the user journey. This visibility provides the evidence to kill inefficient processes, rules, policies that don't make sense. It also provides the transparency on those make or break moments that need more attention so they can be influenced for the better.

Research from CX Network and Oracle Creating tomorrow’s customer experience today – looking at where CX leaders across key industries in Australia and New Zealand are taking  customer experience – uncovered that the most critical customer journey moments for building and retaining loyalty are finding answers to basic questions quickly and resolving customer service.

Interestingly, resolving customer service (non-technical) issues was labelled as the touchpoint in most need of improvement by the research participants.

Many customers who have an issue at a touch point will not make an effort to contact you, which places a real impetus on the brand to identify the points of friction and fix them. Organisations need to measure interactions at touch points and collect feedback from the customers if an issue is suspected so the root cause can be located and eliminated. By removing friction the customer’s risk of churning can be reduced.

Targeted approach to CX projects If every touch point is mapped and has quantitative data associated with it, this allows businesses to measure positive or negative impacts at certain points in the user journey.  This customer journey analytics can direct the prioritise tasks within the customer experience strategy and validate which points will be of the most return and most value.

Predictive customer experience Trailblazers shaping the direction of the industry will master the ability to connect various touch points in a customer’s journey using data. Even taking this a step further to use the customer journey analytics to predict future touch points using knowledge on behavioural patterns. Some systems with integrated machine learning can provide customer experience specialists with advice on the best next action.

Employee experience can be mapped to drive customer journeys  When striving to obtain a customer centric focus to decision making and build empathy for clients, journey maps are good tools to demonstrate to executives and business stakeholders the impact process changes will have on customers. 

In her CX Network podcast, Suzy Nixon discussed her learnings as Senior Customer Strategist at Bupa where she utilized human-centered design methodology to enhance services and products. She built a customer centric culture in Bupa by unravelling the innate bias that was driving employees to misinterpret what customers actually wanted. They created a customer expo –an immersive space in the Bupa office where employees could experience things their customers were going through.

We developed an escape room, we developed virtual reality, we created some day in the life activities where people were actually in wheel chairs and navigating around an office.

"The idea is to demonstrate to employees these are things that actual customers go throughThese are the hoops we make them jump through."

How to create an effective customer journey map

In order to lay the groundwork required for a customer journey map gather quantitative data at key interaction points, this will also allow you to sanity check future initiatives. This will expose, by department, where the business is delighting customers and where it is failing.

Oliver Kipp, Chief Customer Officer at MaritzCX says: “The customer journey map starts by identifying the key moments a customer has with the company prior, during and after the purchase of a product or service – be it online or offline. The review should include customer’s desired outcomes, emotional needs and possible pain points. First, by reviewing what the company perceives and second, in comparison how customers and prospects see it. For the internal perspective, it is important to get all internal stakeholders and in particular, frontline employees view as well – not just the perspectives of the department running the CX programme.”

It is important to invite a broad mix of stakeholders to the table. If all of members are too senior they may be completely disconnected from work happening on the ground with customers, which may skew how representative the map is. However, if the map is due to radically transform how the company works, C-level or senior stakeholders will be crucial to gaining buy-in for this customer experience strategy.

Customer experience specialist Oliver Kipp continues: “Additionally, the process of including all stakeholders embeds customer journey mapping within the cultural framework of the organisation. As stakeholders help build the journey, hear different perspectives from their peers and eventually see the customer’s perspective of the journey, they are more likely to understand and accept the final product. Finally, it is very insightful at the end of the process to highlight the differences in what the customer sees as critical moments and evaluation points in the journey compared to company stakeholders.

“The final phase in the customer journey mapping process is to leverage the new findings and design a better present and future experience.”

Where to start

When looking to action your findings you will need to responsibly assess the opportunities and risks at hand. Prioritise considering areas that are top NPS influencers and therefore likely to provide the biggest return in a customer experience strategy.

Many advise on ‘starting small’ with these customer centric projects, the journey mapping data should be able to flag the quick-wins for you. After reaping some of the rewards from customer journey mapping you may decide to embark on a more substantial strategic effort. Communicate these projects to all the relevant stakeholders to they can capitalise on these opportunities in their own day-to-day work, perhaps via dashboard systems.