Understanding customer experience is critical for brands. But Customer Experience Management programs can lack insight, so the question becomes "what next?" It's fine to identify the issues but what should a progressive brand do to maintain a strong relationship with its customers?
Customer journey mapping offers ways of taking customer experience measurement to the next level. At the most basic level, mapping the customer journey is a way of visualizing and understanding a customer's relationship with a brand, but can be expanded to do much more. Journey mapping is evolving from a fairly simplistic
way of viewing processes to an effective way to understand and anticipate customer needs. The most important part, however, is creating a differentiated experience for your most valued customers.
There are many ways to adopt customer journey mapping; some work better than others. But there are some best practices to be aware of, and strategies to bear in mind before undertaking a journey mapping initiative.
What are the key success factors of a journey mapping initiative?
INNOVATE, DON'T STAGNATE:
An insightful journey mapping initiative is prescriptive rather
than reactive. Another way to think about this is: a customer journey map should lead the way to innovation, rather than put a bandage on a broken process. Journey mapping is a way of understanding what your customer is experiencing so that a brand can take the next step to innovate new ways for your customer to experience your brand. It is more than addressing complaints.
One pitfall that brands sometimes fall into is process mapping instead of customer journey mapping. This means that a journey map is more than just listing out the operational processes currently used, and measuring adherence to them. Careful and insightful journey exploration means evaluating whether the processes currently used are the best for the customer.
THE HEART RULES THE MIND...
When analyzing customer journeys, it is important to look at the emotional experience of the customer. Are there any points in the journey where customers felt unhappy or uncertain? Perhaps that's a point where changes to the journey could be made. Sometimes addressing even a small change in the process can make a big difference to a customer's emotional connection to a brand.
Customer journey mapping works best when done from the perspective of the customer, or through their eyes. Each "moment of truth" – or potential for a customer to come closer to your brand or move toward a competitor – should be understood in detail.
NOT ALL CUSTOMERS ARE CREATED EQUAL
Not all customers have the same needs or expectations, so how can one solution fit them all? A brand will likely have higher and lower-value customers, as well as those with more resource-intensive needs than others. It is important to evaluate the different customer groups, not only to deliver the appropriate service but also to prioritize the most valuable customers to the business. Understanding high-value customers can deliver a much better ROI.
Customer journey mapping can unlock insights into how customers use information. This, in turn, can encourage more transactions and/or higher usage. Sometimes the channel influences the message, almost taking a cue from Marshall McLuhan ("The medium is the message.") An effective journey mapping program can be used by customer experience professionals to learn how multiple points of interaction can influence customer behavior and perception.
DON'T JUST THINK ABOUT IT...
Do it! We know that for a lot of brands, their current CEM or data analytics aren't making a huge difference in their ability to deliver superior customer experiences.1 Your CEM program should make actionable recommendations rather than delivering a score (no matter how nice the dashboard looks.)