Going beyond Customer Journey Mapping
Getting the most from Customer Journey Mapping
Without doubt Customer Journey Mapping is a valuable tool in documenting the key interactions between customers and the supplier but it will not drive essential internal customer focused behaviour or required change within the organisation all on its own. Enthusiasm for utilising and implementing Customer Journey Mapping has grown over recent years, but increasingly we are finding that companies who have conducted numerous exercises to document the customers’ interactions have not been able to drive change based around the outputs. We thought we’d examine why this may be the case by looking at problems with customer journey mapping, the barriers to success with customer journey mapping and the best ways of supporting customer journey mapping.
Too much theory and not enough fact
When Customer Journey Mapping is conducted as an internal workshop employees can tend to express their personal views rather than views that are backed up by hard facts. Without professional facilitation of this type of session it is too easy for an individual to “steam roll” the group into believing a personal view is a hard fact. It may be as a follow up to the workshop but every perceived customer experience does need to be supported by hard facts whether they be customer based, or data generated through internal processes. Without hard facts there is no solid foundation for the customer journey which may ultimately be a barrier to success with customer journey mapping.
Seen as a workshop exercise rather than a practical tool
We have on occasions come across customer journey mapping workshops where the attendees believe that it is a training exercise rather than a very practical and real attempt to document what the customer does and wants to experience when dealing with the company. This can be avoided by setting very clear expectations before the workshop, and will be further helped by setting pre workshop exercises so that employees can be prepared to think like a customer. This could include activities such as acting as a customer within your own organisation (try being a mystery shopper), or visiting competitors, and noting views on what was good and bad about the experience. By doing this employees understand the purpose of CJM, removing one of the problems with the successful implementing of customer journey mapping.
Internal view of the journey is not confirmed by customers
Although a very good starting point for drafting a Customer Journey Map is to gather the employees’ view of what that journey looks like and what the customer would want to experience, this has to be validated by customer input. Too frequently we talk to companies where there has been a purely “inside looking out” view which has not been ratified by the “outside looking in” view. The enthusiasm for designing and implementing customer journey mapping has generated ideas and actions, which in itself is excellent, but, without the customers’ view, may generate lots of activity, but not necessarily real customer experience improvements. Supporting customer journey mapping means looking at both points of view
Needing an overall framework
There are some cases where Customer Journey Mapping should never been seen as the solution. It is a valuable tool in mapping out the customers’ experience and provides a framework from which to highlight how the customers’ experience can be improved, but it is not a panacea for all customer experience challenges. In terms of being able to implement change to improve that experience we believe there have to be some other fundamental building blocks in place. For starters:
As has been said many times, any customer focused programme is always going to struggle for a successful implementation unless it has very clear and active support from senior leadership within the company. Perhaps their active participation within the development of the Customer Journey Map would be a great illustration to everyone on how important the customer is to the business’s success. Management supporting customer journey mapping is vital in implementing customer journey mapping.
In addition, the personal drive to deliver the customer experience, depending upon the size of the organisation, will probably need support and clarification from the development of a customer strategy, or the development of clear ethos within the company if an insurmountable barrier to success with customer journey mapping is not to emerge.
Policies and procedures: In order for any changes to take place effectively they need to be delivered consistently. Although the documenting and implementing of policies and procedures may be seen as potentially being restrictive to employees in terms of their empowerment, it does provide a clear framework in which to operate. One of the biggest problems with customer journey mapping happens when nothing is documented to ensure the successful implementation of customer journey mapping.
Recruitment and training: It is very often people that provide the most impactful experience for the customer, and therefore these employees represent the face of the organisation. Is this reflected in the company’s approach to recruitment? Are those people already within the organisation provided with the right training tools to ensure they are able to deliver the experience that the company has defined for its customers? If not, you have a barrier to success with customer journey mapping.
Effective communications: Is there clear internal communications on what employees are expected to do to deliver the experience, and is there a clear channel back from customer-facing employees on what they are hearing from customers? The journey may well need to be amended based upon that feedback: supporting customer journey mapping is a continual process not a one off decision.
Return on investment: Implementing change based upon customers can be a significant investment. Has the company identified an agreed approach to measuring the return they will get from this investment? If they haven’t, any initial enthusiasm may waver if the investment can’t be justified. And a lack of quantifiable success makes supporting customer journey mapping difficult and is a real barrier to its continued successful implementation.
Customer Journey Mapping is an excellent tool, but it needs to be considered within a complete customer focused framework if any organisation is to gain the maximum value from it.
If you would like to discuss any issues around the successful implementation of customer journey mapping, contact us today.