Journey mapping is a great way to truly understand just how hard it is to be your customer. An effective journey map shows you what it’s like to stand in your customers’ shoes, seeing their pain points and moments of truth from their perspectives.
Done right, it’s a game changer. We recently surveyed over 100 customer experience and marketing leaders about the current state of journey mapping. As one happy practitioner stated, “We used it to reengineer the new client onboarding process. It was extremely helpful in keeping the team focused on the customer – our persona Betty – as we designed the new process.”
Unfortunately, not everybody felt this way. In fact, of the in-house practitioners who had results, only half rated their projects as successful! The primary reason? A lack of action. As an unhappy practitioner shared, “It documented what happens in the current state but didn’t result in action taken or being leveraged for other uses.”
We asked participants the secret to getting the most out of journey mapping, and both in-house practitioners and consultants agreed: To be successful, you need a broad cross-functional team.
Which makes sense. It’s very hard to drive action if you don’t represent the overall journey, and all the employees who touch it.
Here’s the bad news: While customer service and support are integral to almost any customer journey, one-third of the time you’re not being included. That’s what practitioners told us – while the customer experience department is represented 78% of the time, customer service is involved in only 67% of journey mapping initiatives.
At least you’re not HR. They’re only invited 7% of the time.
This is a major issue, because any improvements to the journey will obviously impact customer service. And if you’re not a part of the team, you don’t have a vote on what’s done.
Some other interesting findings from our survey:
The second-most critical factor in journey mapping success is to involve customers. That may seem obvious – how do you do customer journey mapping without a customer? But there’s an unfortunate school of thought that you can use customer-facing employees to substitute for customers. As one of our clients told me, “I attended a ‘Customer journey mapping workshop’ once. It was just a bunch of us corporate people in a room, and I couldn’t stop thinking ‘Where are our customers? How do you create a customer journey map if they aren’t part of the process?’”
One survey participant who rated the success of her journey map a 2 out of 5 told us, “It was done inside out due to timing and costs and was really a process map versus a journey map. It helped some, but not nearly to the degree talking to customers outside the company would have.” Not surprisingly, her recommendation to others considering journey mapping was, “Find a very small specific journey to map if you don’t have the backing and resources for a big change. Always include external primary research for inputs.”
While it’s certainly cheaper and easier to involve employees rather than customers, it’s a very bad idea. Employees – even customer-focused ones – have biases. Even more critically, they only see a portion of your customer base, and typically only a small piece of the customer’s journey. I once led a customer service journey mapping workshop with employees, and a participant started by saying, “Of course, the journey begins when they call us…”
To the contrary, the journey begins long before the first phone call. That’s just where you have visibility. What you don’t see is your customer’s frustrating attempts to search your website, or how they type their problems into Google to see if somebody else can help them.
The third-most important factor in a successful journey mapping initiative is selecting the right journey to map. This may surprise you, but it’s actually a very critical question. Go too broad, and you may not have enough data to fix the problem. But go too narrow and your impact will be limited.
In our survey, 60% of in-house practitioners mapped the end-to-end journey, with another 54% mapping the setup/onboarding journey. Just over one-third mapped the customer support journey.
Takeaways: Journey mapping is becoming much more popular as a fundamental methodology to understand how your customers view their experience. Unfortunately, one-third of the time the support and service teams aren’t included. It’s easy to find yourself outside of the conversations. Customer service is often housed in a different location from marketing and customer experience, so it takes extra effort to engage yourself in their activities. So take the time to meet regularly with your peers to understand what they’re doing to better understand the customer journey.
Next, ensure that customers are involved in your journey mapping. Internal maps are subject to tremendous bias, as the thinking that caused the customer friction is unlikely to solve it. Involve your customers in your mapping initiative to ensure that you’re really solving their problems.
Lastly, spend the time to ensure you’re mapping the right journey.
Only by following these best practices can you ensure that you’re really building the change that will inspire customer loyalty.