Why Journey Mapping is Critical to Your Business
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
In a recent blog, Forrester senior analyst Jonathan Browne put out this not-so-gentle reminder to take a step back when it comes to journey mapping.
"Most of us would like to think that we’re more customer-centric than that individual," he wrote. "However, unless we check the self-centered tendencies of our organizations, we run the risk of being every bit as difficult to deal with — expecting customers to adapt to our language, practices, and policies. That won’t cut it anymore because customers have plenty of options. Companies that want to thrive today had better understand how to meet or exceed their customers’ expectations throughout their journeys."
Indeed, with the embracement of social media and mobile, new channels have become integrated into customer journeys, requiring their own journey maps. In cases where products have a customer following that offer peer-to-peer help, a new product purchase journey for the social customer may include "feedback from community," or elimination of "call hotline" replaced by "chat with helpdesk," and so on.
The social customer has also come to expect a higher level of speed, efficiency and accessibility to brands yet also wants the flexibility to interact across both the new and traditional channels.
With that in mind, here is a five-point refresher course to snap some life back into those journey maps:
Customer’s Perspective: The best journey maps are always created based on ethnographic research, contextual interviews and, increasingly, analysis of social data. With the advent of social media, a dataset now exists upon which to conduct virtual ethnography; a process is much more accessible and cost-effective than ever before.
Easy for Everyone: We’ve all had the experience where we’ve been charged with "embedding" a process or measurement throughout the organization. Journey maps use the language of the customer mapped to interactions — a language that marketing, operations, senior management and the front line understand.
Blind to Politics: Properly executed and measured, your journey map and associated customer feedback will highlight the barriers and the enablers in the journey.
All Interactions: Journey maps are at their best when they are used to map all customer interactions across the journey. As such, they can help develop an understanding of common pain points and challenges across all the "moments of truth" in different experiences and across different customer personas.
No single customer journey: Nearly all explanations of the customer journey include stages described as variants of Awareness, Research, Evaluation, Decision and Purchase. Many add additional post-acquisition stages like Use, Support/Service and Long-term Commitment. If you are looking to drive long-term commitment to buy and advocate, you need to address the post-purchase experiences that heavily affect a customer’s willingness to repurchase and evangelize for your brand.
What are some common missteps when it comes to customer journey map approaches? How has social media altered the process of creating customer journey maps?