Customer Journey Mapping is a powerful tool to understand multi-channel customer experiences, to drive cross-functional change and to deliver increased profit. However many customer journey projects we see fail to deliver any sizable business benefit for a number of reasons including:
- Failure to set hard business metrics at the outset
- Failure to sufficiently scope your customer journey mapping project
- Failure to use the right type of customer journey map.
In this article we provide some information on each of these areas that we hope will help Agencies and their Clients to avoid some of these pitfalls and get the most out of the technique.
Set tangible business objectives
Many companies who approach us have laudable but soft objectives such as improved customer satisfaction, Net Promoter and Customer Effort Scores. However alone these objective are not enough to successfully compete for funding or resource, nor to see a project through difficult times. Customer Journey Mapping can directly and measurably deliver bottom line business value as well as these softer metrics. It can improve customer journeys to create happier customers and deliver quantified business value such as:
- Increasing conversion to sale
- Increasing order value
- Increasing lifetime value (retention, repeat orders)
- Reducing the cost to serve
Including specific, measurable and profit oriented targets like these give a mapping project focus that will help keep it on track and compete for resource.
One size does not fit all – the need to scope your project
Customer Journey Mapping encompasses a wide range of techniques. It can be the keystone of huge change project or a highly focused piece of work targeting a specific opportunity.
The key to success is to design your project for your circumstances and the issue you are trying to solve; one size definitely does not fit all. At the beginning of a Mapping project you won’t know exactly what issues need to be solved to achieve your objective; but you will have some ideas.
The most frequent cause of failure we see comes from not properly considering the scope of a mapping project. Here are three issues to will help you better scope your project.
1. Anticipate the issues you expect to tackle
Customer Journey Mapping can be designed to focus on a single function and process or to tackle organisation-wide, strategic issues.
Whilst Mapping is a discovery and planning tool it is worth, at the outset, identifying the area you expect to focus on. Project teams can easily become distracted by connected or wider issues. Indeed, as customers are the only group to experience the output of your entire organisation it is easy for project teams to be led into areas far beyond their original brief.
2. Be clear about the span of authority of the project
Match the ambition of your project to the authority vested in it.
If your project is going to tackle complex, cross-functional issues ensure you have secured the overt sponsorship of leaders across those functions and that there is a shared view of the project objectives.
3. Define the resources that are available to you
Every project must strive to deliver the best result within the available resources. As well as financial constraints thought needs to be given to other resources.
For example what existing insight and MI reports can be drawn on? Most companies are awash with analysis; making sure it is available for review will avoid duplication and will usually unearth new, relevant findings.
Customer Journey Mapping projects make demands on people’s time – and whilst CJC can provide a full project team if necessary, the maximum internal involvement is to be encouraged. Involvement helps build alignment, ownership of actions and ensures the experiences of front-line staff are captured. A changed Customer Journey must work for customers and the front-line staff responsible for consistently delivering it.
Four types of Customer Journey Map
Mapping the customer journey sounds intuitive, but there are very different types of map to achieve very different objectives. Profitably improving Customer Experience can require an understanding of broad-brush issues and context, or of the minute detail of daily interactions; and frequently both. Consequently Customer Journey Maps are equally diverse.
They can be captured in a simple spread sheet or brought to life in a brand emersion room. Maps can focus on emotions or processes, on a specific interaction or the entire customer lifecycle. They can deal with a specific persona or look at the entire customer base.
Finding the solution that will deliver the results you need requires a clear objective. Here are four different types of map to guide your thinking.
1. Customer Needs and Emotions Map
This is a powerful but high-level view of what customers want and their emotional needs during their journey. It captures physical and emotional needs.
These maps can be built with a combination of existing brand research, internal workshops and qualitative research. They answer important questions about why customers engage. If you are trying to develop branded experiences to increase customer lifetime value this technique will be an important weapon in your arsenal.
Realising tangible business benefit from Needs and Emotions Maps requires further work.
• Design specific examples of how the business could meet these customer needs in ways that are consistent with the business strategy and brand values
• Hone designs with front-line staff to ensure they can be consistently delivered
• Before testing validate designs with target customers to check for resonance
2. Behavioural Maps
Behavioural Maps focus on what customers actually do in their real world interactions with you. They reflect, and make sense of the messy, non-linear and organic nature of human behaviour.
They can focus on a single channel or investigate cross-channel behaviour. Behavioural Maps are particularly powerful when they include quantitative data; ‘how many customers do this or that’. This data helps build a business case for changes you consider making to your customer journey.
This highlights dropout hotspots signalling usability and communication issues. Behaviour Maps are particularly relevant if you are focused in increasing conversion and reducing the cost to serve.
3. Process Maps
Most Customer Journey maps are in fact Process Maps. They capture what the company currently needs to do to deliver its products and services.
Typically they are mechanistic, detailed, internally driven and aspirational – what the company hopes customers do and feel rather than what actually happens.
Viewed in isolation these maps can be misleading and dangerous, reinforcing rose tinted perceptions of service quality and missing measures like emotional engagement and relevance.
However if viewed alongside other types of map they can highlight the gaps between what customers want and do, and what the company intends and delivers. They can also highlight which systems and process need to be changed to enable a different Customer Experience.
4. Customer Journey Blueprint
This final type of map is informed by the other maps above and research insights. It presents a future vision of the customer journey that will deliver defined business objectives by better meeting customer needs.
A blueprint is aspirational but prioritised. It is most powerful when it delivers tangible business benefit and becomes embedded as ‘the way things are done around here’. Customer Service Strategy and proposition inform and are informed by a Customer Journey Blueprint.
A Blueprint cannot simply aim to give customers everything they desire, instead it must deliver relevant customer value and competitive advantage at a profit.
How Customer Journey Consultancy can help
Customer Experience change cannot be done to a company. Without a genuine sense of ownership staff are less likely to put in the effort required to make change work and stick.
Where possible we support staff helping them to adopt mapping as BAU. We help projects work at pace and build momentum by providing dedicated, focused resource at key moments of dependency. CJC brings experience of what works and what doesn’t, strategic excellence, technical expertise and access to a wide range of specialist resources. As external providers we also bring objectivity and perspective from industries as diverse as recruitment, retail, software-as-a-service, financial services and cosmetics.
The first four steps we generally take are these.
- Agree outline brief
Including area of focus, business objectives, available resources
CJC will normally spend time on site meeting with staff and reviewing existing work to understand the challenges and opportunities, the capability and capacity of all teams and involved roster Agencies. We also explore the readiness of the business to act and challenge the authority of the project to ensure we operate within bounds
Based on the brief and discovery CJC will produce a costed proposal. This will detail the scope of the project, set out timings and milestones, identify the stakeholders and the roles and responsibilities of all parties and, most importantly, detail the deliverables.
Where a business case is not in place we will produce one or detail how we will capture the necessary data to build it.
Following approval of the proposal work can begin