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Customer journey, Customer journey mapping, customer-centric, customer-first

…is quite often what we hear from clients after time spent on-site supporting them to map their customer journeys. But why is this? Surely if the business knows the journeys their customers take with them, why would they need any external support to map their own customer journeys?  

Whilst 71% of businesses run customer journey mapping (CJM) activities internally, often in the form of stakeholder workshops, over a third of organisations say that they don’t have the relevant skills and expertise in house.  Here’s how and why getting external support can help get the job done:

Achievable scope

Once a business has committed to CJM, we find the temptation is to map every touchpoint/ interaction that the organisation currently has with its customers – be they prospects/ existing customers/ lapsed.  However, ‘biting off more than you can chew’ can be one of the first hurdles.  Having a clear definition of what a customer journey is – and applying this to the experience that you deliver – is critical in defining an appropriate and manageable scope.

Customer perspective

Within the four walls of an organisation’s head office, the ‘default’ starting point for CJM activities is often the point at which the customer first touches the brand in question, with the conversation quickly turning to contact channels – and then to business silos,  operations and the current proposition (and products, pricing strategy, etc.).  Ultimately, the output becomes an inside-out view of the current experience – more process/ sales funnel than customer journey.  A key part of our role is to bring everything back to the customer perspective, ensuring that the business is viewing itself through the customer lens – and starting by understanding the customer’s own starting point (in terms of goal/ intention and mindset).

Right people

Two of the most common questions we’re asked by our clients are 1) ‘Who should I invite to our customer journey mapping workshops (key areas/ roles to be represented)?’ and 2) ‘How many people should take part in mapping our journeys?’  There’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer to these questions – and this must be grounded in a sound understanding of the business and its journeys.  We invest time getting to know each business and bring in our experience to shape the optimum journey mapping team.

Structured approach

When it comes to the actual mapping itself, a structured approach is key in ensuring that:

  • The focus remains on the customer and their view of the experience
  • The conversation stays on track – and the journey actually gets mapped!
  • All key elements of the journey are clearly captured/ recorded – and the raw output of the workshop can be easily translated into a more permanent representation of the experience
  • The approach can be rolled out/ replicated – meaning journeys are mapped consistently across different business areas/ divisions

Independent facilitation

There is often a lot to get through – so individuals leading CJM workshops need to be trained in the art of facilitation. If your facilitators are also independent, this can be hugely beneficial in terms of managing stakeholders and their expectations – setting the scene for CJM activities, managing ‘political’ discussions, ensuring different voices are heard (e.g. across different levels of seniority), and playing devil’s advocate as and when it is needed.

What next?

Last, but by no means least, hanging your journey map up on the office wall doesn’t mean ‘job done.’  Documenting the internal (assumptive) view is often only the first step – after this often follows a number of key activities, with which we are well placed to support (drawing on experience of what has worked well within other client organisations):

  • Customer validation – i.e. research with customers to validate/ challenge business perceptions
  • Creation of a single view of the experience – aligning the business and customer perspectives and understanding any gaps/ differences
  • Connecting existing insight and data around the journey framework – furthering understanding and supporting prioritisation
  • Journey optimisation/ re-design, e.g. improving the experience at identified ‘pain points’
  • Wider strategic discussions – e.g. focused on how the businesses segments its customers/ measures customer experience, etc.

Have you started to map your journeys internally but with limited success?  Are you struggling to map your customer journeys in house?  Not sure where to start?  Get in touch – we’d love to chat about where you’re at and how we can help…