In our last post, we discussed the benefits of a structured approach to understanding and optimizing the Customer Journey. A thoughtfully created Customer Journey Map provides a comprehensive overview of critical touchpoints, enabling you to plan your Experience Management strategy to inspire loyalty and create brand advocates.
There is no single, perfect way to construct a Customer Journey Map, but there are some elements that must be present to ensure that it is useful. Keep in mind that the main purpose of the map is to reflect the customer’s view of their experience throughout their relationship with your business. By reflecting your business processes and their impact at each touchpoint, you can document opportunities and gain insights to improve service and deliver customer delight.
There are three categories of informational items that we consider during map making:
The central effort of map making is the documentation of each point of interaction a customer has with your business, brand, or products and services. Each touchpoint should be described in terms of media or communication channel, the customer and/or business context, and the motivations and intent of participants.
A few examples of touchpoints:
- a prospect views your brand on a search engine results page
- a prospect fills out an interest form on your website
- a representative calls a prospect
- a customer views a policy page on your support portal
- a representative sends an event announcement by SMS text
- a former customer posts a comment on your Facebook wall
Actions are the driving factors for “state change” that occur at each touchpoint. They can deliver value, impact satisfaction, and create emotional connection. When defining actions, note ownership and responsibilities as well as requirements and dependencies where important. Actions also have a qualitative dimension that should be documented. For example, note if a service touchpoint involves a general service agent, versus an assigned account representative. Details like this allow you to assess process efficiency and differences based on personalization.
The performance of the touchpoint should be evaluated in terms of expected and desired outcomes. This includes both the direct results, as well as any downstream implications. Impact can include physical states (e.g., collecting initial payment and issuing a key) as well as emotion-related states (e.g., customer is delighted with service or rates quality as poor).
An important consideration when evaluating Impact is magnitude. Touchpoints in which Impacts have great magnitude can become “Moments of Truth” when customers acquire or revise their opinion of your brand value. Accuracy requires that you honestly evaluate your impact, whether positive or negative.
Here are a few recommendations for your mapping exercise:
- Prepare your team - Before you begin, develop a project overview to share with your team. Recap your Experience Management objectives, the purpose of the Customer Journey Map, and the expectations for team participation. Emphasize the need for accuracy and truth.
- Flexibly explore the map space - When considering the initial map layout, don’t attempt to lock down a specific “view.” Though it’s common for Customer Journey maps to be two dimensional, the final map may be multidimensional, especially if you decide to use a software solution. Some maps have reference points to transition to more detailed journey areas, or to larger multi-journey views.
- Start simple - Avoid letting the complexity of your business processes dictate the map. A good starting point may be a linear, time-based approach that reflects stages in the customer lifecycle such as Awareness, Interest, Decision, Service, Termination, and Advocacy. This makes it easy for participants to get oriented and add information with a common framework. A large whiteboard and Post-it™ notes provide a great way for participants to view or add information.
- Be inclusive and iterate - Include as many people from the organization as possible, but not all at once. Repeat, refine and improve your view using as many internal experts as possible.
- Consider Customer Co-Design – Invite some of your customers to participate in map making and review. Your customers want to engage with providers who can make their life better and are interested in their input. Ultimately, the ability to consistently deliver exceptional service will benefit them.
- Play Around - The map is intended to uncover specific information related to individual touch points, but it may also uncover relationships between touchpoints. Play with the organization of your information. If maps are“re-visioned” by changing its organization such as grouping by business unit or communication channel, you are more likely to recognize problem points and opportunities.
- Finalize - Once you feel you have sufficiently developed your Customer Journey Map, create a preferred view (such as a matrix, diagram, flowchart, illustration, etc.) of the lifecycle and processes. This final structure can be a timeline, cycle, constellation, or storyboard. Validate your view with your team, and consider reviews with select customers.
Creating an initial Customer Journey Map that reflects the true nature of your business can be challenging. However, planning, executing, and tracking optimization will probably be even harder. Just like the mapping work, optimization will not happen in one fell swoop.
Clear opportunities recognized in the mapping process should be considered for an early optimization strategy. When the team recognizes and is aligned towards common goals, it is much easier to begin work and stay focused on producing the desired outcomes.
Another part of your overall Experience Management objective should be the adoption of an enterprise-wide feedback program. This will allow you to more easily execute Customer Journey maps, identify and gain alignment towards service goals, as well as improve the ability to recognize new revenue opportunities. However, that is a topic for a future blog post…