The Art of Customer Journey Mapping

I’ve been fortunate to be involved in the creation of many customer journey maps during my career, and have learned some tricks along the way.

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So, what tips can I share on the art of customer journey mapping?

1. Keep it simple. It’s quite daunting for any organization to sit down and try to draw up their first customer journey with no previous experience. In parallel with that is a need for openness and honesty. If you are going to benefit from the process, then you must be prepared to look at both the good and the bad of the existing customer experience. 

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Having people on the team that have been through the process before will get you to your goal much quicker.

3. Consider the three E’s. How engaged are our customers? How effective are our moments that matter interactions? And finally, how efficient is our journey for the customer to meet their objective?

4. Remove unneeded steps. Identify existing and potential pain points and build on successful interactions that are delivering true customer experience and business value. 

5. Halt channel friction. One of the most common outcomes I see from customer journey mapping exercises is channel friction. Contention across moments that matter will cause pain points for customers and is the cause of many poor customer experiences. A good customer journey should be seamless across all channels and deliver a consistent message. Given the explosion of channels and the differing preferences of customer groups across these channels it is critical to avoid friction at all costs.

6. Balance is key. Is the journey weighted too much to one step or section of the journey? Does it appear that we are trying to force a customer, or rush them, to a decision? Getting the balance right in the journey so that your customers define the experience as ‘quick and efficient’ rather than ‘rushed or forced’ is a key measure in the effectiveness of the journey map once deployed.

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Follow these steps and you’ll have a successful customer journey mapping project like a German healthcare retailer I recently worked with. We began by looking at the moments that mattered in the journey and how the customers were currently responding to them. Considerations included how and where offers and promotions were placed on web pages, in mobile apps and how the journey could be seamlessly integrated across devices and channels.

The organization in question was using a crazy eights approach to identify new customer experiences and needed to narrow down tens of ideas to two or three really core concepts. By combining the customer experience idea with real world evidence (supported in this case by data captured from the product search information on the customer facing website) the organization was able to identify a whole new customer persona that they had not realized existed in their customer base.

The team then took the new audience persona (digital first buyers looking for a range of products that they had difficulty finding on the website or in store) and were able to visualize the stages of the journey this audience would take, refine the persona demographic description, define the best channels to make the journey frictionless and remove the pain points by making the product ranges being sought much more accessible to this persona. Consideration was given to messaging content, taking on board the sentiment and emotion seen within the comments and the evidence of the search data, and the new journey map was activated within the organization’s multi country European base.

The outcome was a multimillion euro increase in revenue and a significant increase in customer engagement from the newly identified persona.

Now that is what I call a result!

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