Several years ago, I worked with an organization that tried to do everything at warp speed, including building its customer journey map. As result of moving too quickly, the organization failed to educate and prepare its staff for the project. This created a rift inside each department, which slowed the process down and caused the mapping process to take three times longer than it should have.
In many organizations, customer interactions or touchpoints are typically the most challenging to illustrate because they are difficult to measure in terms of effectiveness and return on investment. The most important place to start when building a map is to gauge how much your business could improve simply by communicating with your existing customer base on a consistent and regular basis. Successful execution of a customer journey mapping project will create a clear line of sight to larger goals and strategies for the organization.
The first steps in the mapping process are the most crucial to obtaining the relevant and probative information you need to create a map that covers all departments and the products and/or services your organization offers. If you cannot clearly define these interactions, identify competitive differentiators or keep customers engaged, you become an easy target.
Here are five steps to building a successful customer journey map:
- Get executives to believe that a detailed customer journey map would be good for the organization overall: This can be a major obstacle in the entire process because it’s difficult when the entire organization is not on board with the project. The best approach is to define a person or team that will own the mapping process internally. The individual or team should receive full support from management, and have access to all research and analytical data. This helps showcase to all employees the value that each interaction can have on the organization and encourages all employees to invest time and energy into the mapping endeavor.
- Use a common language to describe touchpoints: Create touchpoints using company jargon and language; speaking in a language everyone understands prevents the map from being disjointed from the business. Using common language also helps to create buy-in.
- Define key metrics to assist in defining your customer touchpoints: Segment your customers/customer types as they usually experience different journeys. The result will be a master journey map with multiple sub-journeys. It’s critical that key performance metrics be set up front.
- Examine the current communications behaviors across your entire organization: This step is essential to understanding the customer experience within all levels of your organization. You may discover that some of your employees are communicating with customers when a touchpoint/interaction is not necessary and, therefore, costing the organization time and money. You may also discover a lack of consistency between departments in how your message is delivered to your customers. Failing to take the time to analyze your current processes and behaviors will most assuredly negatively affect your ability to understand your customer’s experience.
- Prepare a strategic timeline before mapping customer touchpoints, considering both emotion and needs: By mapping out all the various channels of communication available, you can identify gaps or overlaps. Align your touchpoints to engage your customers. When your map is ready, you can start understanding the interactions, frequency, content, and audiences that drive your creative strategy.
As with most strategies, you will need to give your team enough time to collaborate and produce measurable results. By following these steps in your initial mapping process, you will not only optimize the touchpoints, but also the behaviors, consistency, efficiency, and customer experience.