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  • November 26, 2019
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Required Reading: Journey Mapping Must Bring Customer-Focused Change

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In their new book, How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer? Using Journey Mapping to Drive Customer-Focused Change, co-authors Jim Tincher and Nicole Newton of Heart of the Customer note that 65 percent of customer journey mapping projects fail to drive change. They’re looking to change that with this book, which includes many critical best practices needed for success. CRM editor Leonard Klie spoke with Tincher to uncover some of those best practices.

CRM: What is a journey map, and what information should it contain?

Tincher: A journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s interactions with your company. While style and components can vary from map to map, the essential elements to include are your customers’ emotions as they go through the journey and the critical moments of truth they experience along the way. These are the interactions that have a disproportionate impact on customers’ perceptions of the journey and therefore present the ripest opportunities to earn customers’ loyalty and allocate resources most effectively.

How should companies go about getting that information and then assembling it into a usable “map”?

It’s not a customer journey map without customer input. The most common way to garner that is through individual customer interviews, but other qualitative methods can be used. Surveys and analytics can enrich the data, but fundamentally it’s based on what customers share with you personally. The map takes shape from there, telling the unique story of your customers. It can be simple or elaborate, but no two maps will ever be the same.

Is it better to prepare journey maps for each individual customer or can they be done en masse for larger segmented audience groups?

Determining the “right” customer typically depends on the business need or problem you are trying to address through journey mapping. We’ve worked with organizations mapping a single (very big) customer, and others mapping their entire customer base, such as all insurance advisers, all patients, or even a specific set of customers gained through an acquisition. The better choice is the one based on what changes you want to realize once the mapping is complete.

One of your main assertions is that journey mapping can open up new avenues of growth. How does it do that?

The most successful companies grow by retaining and satisfying loyal customers. Journey mapping reveals the causes of customer churn and engages your entire organization in attacking those customer-facing problems. Since those problems are also often cost drivers, addressing them yields additional savings. Another benefit is that customer interviews frequently identify parallel areas of opportunities that companies can serve once they solidify their core offerings.

What are some of the biggest mistakes companies make when journey mapping?

The biggest mistake is starting with their eyes on the wrong prize. Our research shows that approximately two-thirds of the time, companies fail to use their journey mapping to drive action. Too often, companies focus solely on creating a journey map rather than using the journey mapping process to drive effective top-to-bottom change. Every step of the way, a successful journey mapping initiative stays focused on solving a problem, not producing a graphic.

The most common problems we’ve found are that something is broken (identified through customer churn or bad survey feedback), a need to better understand the customer landscape (new customer types or acquired customers), or a need to inform an initiative (digital transformation or new sales approaches). No matter how many maps they make, companies that don’t stay focused on those end goals aren’t going to see results.

How should companies use customer journey maps as catalysts for change?

To drive change with journey mapping, first and foremost, you need to involve a broad, cross-functional team. When everyone is invested and engaged in the process from the start, they better understand the role they play in improving the experience for customers.

Journey mapping also brings customers to life for employees. In most B2B companies, 90 percent of employees have never met a customer in person. Connecting employees to customers drives more change than any report ever could.

And when you pair journey mapping with change management, you ensure that your entire organization understands customer needs and can focus on delivering against them.

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