Marketing & CX Strategy

How to Create Meaningful Experiences with Customer Journey Maps

04 Jun 2019, Katie Morton

Creative brainstorm session with sticky notes

When organizations undergo external digital transformation, they also need to shift their mindset from statements of “we want” or “we think” to “our customers need.” Customer-first experiences stand out because they are built for the user – to order food delivery, a car ride, and a last minute Mother’s day gift with free 2-day shipping – intuitively, quickly, and with just a fingertip. Behind the scenes, digital transformation is based on knowing what customers want/need and removing roadblocks.

In order to get to become customer-first, many changes need to occur within an organization to redraw boundaries, requirements, and processes. Before any groundwork can be made, understanding your customer is paramount. According to Forrester, only 39% of CX pros are using customer journey maps to capture customer pain points, measure the right CX drivers, and align operational metrics with customer expectations.

Why Create Customer Journey Maps

The biggest mistake brands can make when creating a customer experience is not actually consulting the customer. It sounds obvious, but this is a piece that many companies overlook due to cost, assumptions that they  already know what customers need, fear that research won’t yield groundbreaking discoveries, or perceived burden of continuing feedback in an evergreen fashion. But all of these excuses are barriers to successful digital transformation as customer expectations evolve. The key to being competitive lies with simple customer service.

A customer journey map humanizes the customer voice via personas and supplemental customer interviews, applies it to the existing experience, and helps to develop a  future state that solves for current challenges and pain points. By breaking down journey sequences into actions, thoughts, and feelings, you can isolate the breaking points in the customer experience and generate solutions.

How to Make the Most of Customer Journey Maps

Remove Bias

To make the most of these maps, first make sure that they come  from sound research. This means removing bias from your customer sample, the methodology and questions you explore, and the environment in which you conduct the interview.

  • Customer Sample: Be sure to include a mix of customer types, meaning both promoters and detractors, key customers, and supporting customers
  • Interview Methodology: Questions should be consistent across interviews in order to draw accurate parallels and comparisons between experiences. During the interview, it’s important to follow the cues from the customer and avoid guiding a response.
  • Interview Environment: In-person interactions are best for assessing reactions, but even more essential for an accurate interview is to establish trust. Bringing in a third party to administer the interview can support this goal, as customers are more likely to speak openly and honestly with a neutral interviewer.
Get Cross-Functional Stakeholder Support

Support within the organization is a key component to both getting the right customer feedback and actualizing changes towards a  successful customer-first digital transformation. With our clients, we’ve seen most CX success when we collaborate with key players along the way – from recruiting customers to analyzing results to identifying pain points/opportunities together in a working session. Be sure to include more than just the Marketing department, making space for perspectives from IT, Product Owners, and Sales too! Showing why a  customer journey mapping exercise is important for the organization, modeling the essential mindset to rethink existing barriers or methodologies, and emphasizing internal partners’ roles in that process, you can manage collaborative expectations and investment in the future being built.

Implement New Customer Journeys

Once you’ve architected a future customer journey, operationalizing the implementation of opportunities can seem daunting. We find that working together with clients to prioritize new customer experience  features (both offline and online) builds consensus and provides direction for future digital transformation work to be done. Isolating ‘quick fixes’ can be done by weighing the level of operational and technical effort against how important a feature is to the customer. Implementing these low-effort, high-impact features before more complicated endeavors helps to get stronger buy-in for digital transformation from both customers and internal stakeholders, paving the way for greater success over time.

Who Should Own Customer Journey Mapping?

If you’re interested in mapping out the journey of your customers, you might wonder “who needs to be involved to get this done?” While a collaborative cross-functional team is best to support improving the customer experience , you should designate one person or team who is in charge of seeing this through and governing the total process. The customer experience is not just related to the website, but the entire brand experience. A true customer experience needs to be consistent along every touch point – digitally and in person. In the same manner, any team can spearhead digital transformation, but it requires continual commitment and dedication to guide the process over time.

Customer journey mapping is one of our CX Strategy services. Contact us to start developing meaningful journey maps.