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6 Ways to Make Sure Your Journey Maps Improve Customer Experience 

Steve Offsey | Sep 9, 2016 1,225 views 1 Comment

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Like any insights-driven communication tool, a journey map is only as good as the change it drives. You may have already done the work to set up your journey mapping project for success. But, the creation of an insightful and visually compelling customer journey map is only the starting point to improve customer experience (CX). In other words, a map alone is not enough to ensure you get to your destination.

Journey maps communicate key information about your customers’ interactions with your business in a succinct and visually compelling format. Journey maps are proving to be a useful tool for identifying and prioritizing customer experience improvement opportunities across touchpoints and channels.

Driving change across touchpoints and channels requires collaboration among the leaders who actually own, and can drive change, at each of the key touchpoints and channels. This is a new approach to driving change in many organizations, and therefore change management is typically a key factor in making your journey map ‘stick.’



Here are 6 tips for how you can make your journey map stick within your organization after you build the map. All of these tips support CX-driven change toward a more customer-centric organization.

1. Involve the key stakeholders who will want to improve customer experience

Your key stakeholders include those who own, and can drive change, at each touchpoint in the customer experience. Ideally, you involved your key stakeholders during the planning and creation phases of your journey map initiative. If you did, then hopefully you have established, or at least have begun to establish, a collaborative, customer experience decision-making framework across organization silos.

If you haven’t involved your stakeholders, you need to get moving now! The first step is to share your journey map and related insights with them. I recommend sharing the map with all your key stakeholders in one meeting, so that each stakeholder can gain insight into the thoughts about how the journey map findings impact the other stakeholders’ area of responsibility.

A primary goal is to create a collaborative coalition of decision makers across the key customer experience touchpoints. You not only want your stakeholders to gain understanding and empathy for your customers, but to also develop empathy for their peers throughout the organization. It’s critical that these stakeholders gain insight on each area of responsibility that impacts the customer experience journey.

2. Conduct a prioritization workshop with your key stakeholders

Your journey map should identify the key touchpoints in the customer’s journey. It should communicate whether or not your customers are having positive or negative experiences at each touchpoint, and the relative importance of each touchpoint in the overall customer journey.

Journey maps often identify the most important touchpoints in a journey, which are sometimes referred to as Moments of Truth, or something similar. These are the most critical moments in the customer experience relative to brand loyalty. If customer expectations are not met at these moments, you are likely to lose, or at least create gaps in, your customer’s brand loyalty. These are also typically moments where exceeding customer expectations can significantly drive brand loyalty.

The primary goal of a prioritization workshop is to identify, in rank order, which pain points in the journey to invest in. Similarly, you may want to identify the overall level of investment (positive or negative) needed in each key touchpoint.

A prioritization workshop is essential in order to fully leverage the insights provided by a well-constructed journey map. The journey map is designed to not only help your organization understand your customer’s journey, but to ultimately help you identify and prioritize customer experience improvement opportunities across that journey. A prioritization workshop will bridge the gap between the journey insights and the action needed to drive change based on those insights.

A prioritization workshop will help improve customer experience

Hold a prioritization workshop with stakeholders to identify the most important touchpoints in the customer journey.

Involve key stakeholders from across the different journey touchpoints in the prioritization workshop. You need the leaders who are responsible for actually making changes to improve customer experience. This often means that leaders across organization silos will be asked to collaboratively prioritize CX investments, perhaps through creating a CX center of excellence. This may be a new, and possibly uncomfortable, way of decision making in your organization.

Many organizations have adopted the practice of initially focusing on “quick wins.” These are changes that can be executed in a relatively short amount of time to immediately improve customer experience—often with no or little additional funding. Quick wins can be a good place to start with a group of leaders from across organization silos, since the stakes aren’t usually very high.

Quick wins can usually be identified across most, if not all, organizational silos, so everyone can “pitch in” and eventually have a CX success story to be proud of. These success stories will also build momentum for your journey mapping, or broader CX, initiatives.

3. Create a governance board that will improve customer experience

A governance board helps to ensure that action plans based on a customer journey map are executed and outcomes are measured. Ultimately, the governance board functions as the engine of a CX change management initiative. Your journey map serves as the key CX change management tool.

The governance board needs to include CX leaders from across organizational silos. These are the leaders who are responsible for designing and operationalizing the customer experiences for various customer touchpoints. The board also needs to include representation from the CX team leading the journey map initiative and other CX teams involved in strategy and CX change management, as well as representatives from teams that collect CX performance metrics.

The role of the governance board is to:

  • Ensure that action plans and strategic roadmaps have been created.
  • Drive customer improvement projects based on those action plans and strategic roadmaps.
  • Implement a customer experience measurement program that evaluates your customer’s experience at the important touchpoints in their journey. These measures are used to monitor the status of these touchpoints and ultimately, to assess the impact of customer experience improvement projects.
  • Communicate the value of the work and report on progress within and across their respective organizations.
  • Communicate the value of the work and the outcomes to executive leadership.

To build an effective governance team:

  • Be clear about the board’s purpose and your expectations for member involvement.
  • Keep the group a manageable size.
  • Meet regularly, but with a frequency that is reasonable for busy leaders.
  • Establish a collaborative tone.
  • Keep it simple, especially at first. Build momentum by starting with small wins.
  • Measure the impact of the work.

4. Implement a customer experience measurement program based on your journey map priorities

One of the primary roles of the governance board is to ensure that customer experience measurement tools are in place, and that those measurements effectively evaluate key experience touchpoints.

First, identify the most important touchpoints in the journey. These are often Moments of Truth, where disappointing your customer by not meeting their expectations and needs, can significantly impact their feelings about your brand.

Second, evaluate your current CX metrics plan. Are you measuring the most important touchpoints? Do you have the right measurements in place for those touchpoints?

The right measurements will help you evaluate your customer’s experiences at these touchpoints as well as the impact those touchpoint experiences have on the business. If the customer’s experience changes, either positively or otherwise, you want to have a way to know it. And you want to understand what impact those experience changes are having on the business.

Make all experience metrics clear to improve CX

A journey map that features the emotional landscape of a customer journey, highlighting what customers feel at specific stages (click on image to enlarge).

These measurements will also help you assess the impact of customer experience improvement initiatives. You should be able to assess if the CX changes impacted your customer in the intended way and measure how the changes are impacting your business.

5. Share your journey map with everyone who is involved with designing and operationalizing the customer experience

Customer experience insights are empowering. They empower decisions makers at all levels in the organization with knowledge about their customers—what is important to them, what they are actually experiencing, and how it impacts them. Meaningful customer experience design cannot happen without these insights. Make sure everyone who is making customer experience design decisions in your organization understands your customer and their experience. The same holds for those who operationalize the customer experience.

Furthermore, employees at all levels of the organization appreciate understanding how and why their leaders have made decisions. Journey maps, and the activation plans that are created as a result of the prioritization workshop, are effective tools for sharing and aligning employees at all levels in the organization around CX-driven business decisions.

The more everyone in your organization is aligned around a shared customer experience model, the more likely it is that customer experience improvements that drive value will be made. Holistic journey maps are designed to model the customer experience in a way that entire organizations can align around.

6. Use your journey map and associated measurement scores in organization-wide decision-making

Imagine your journey map, along with the key touchpoint measurement scores, playing a key role in every customer experience decision-making meeting in your organization, including those involving your CEO!

The first step in inserting your journey map into everyday thinking and decision-making is to win the support of your leadership team. The previous tips outlined here should help you accomplish that goal.

You will gain leverage with your leaders if you systematically collect and report quantitative measurements of customer experience performance at key touchpoints in the customer journey. Executive management and their leaders typically leverage quantitative measurements in their ongoing review of company performance and decision-making. Consider creating a version of your journey map that actually includes these quantitative measurements directly in the map! Imagine again, your leaders starting his or her staff meetings with this tool in hand.

But also imagine the employees who are tasked with designing the customer experience at specific touchpoints, with a map in hand as they make experience strategy and design decisions. If your journey map is too high level to help them make design decisions, consider drilling down on a specific touchpoint or touchpoint scenario with an experience map. This is essentially the same as a journey map but focuses on the details of a particular touchpoint.

Most insights, even the most compelling, are often quickly forgotten among the pressures of making everyday decisions, especially if employees are not measured and evaluated on how well they leverage those insights. A lot of everyday decision-making in organizations is reactive.

Customer journey maps help organizations shift from being reactive to being more proactive about making decisions that impact the customer experience and drive growth. But that shift might meet some resistance in your organization. Here are a few tips to help you insert your journey map into everyday decisions:

  • Place large versions of the journey map along the walls in key workspaces, like a conference room that is often used by teams making CX decisions or in work areas. Some companies have successfully created customer experience immersion rooms. These rooms are dedicated CX education and decision making spaces that are used to help employees empathize with customers and to provide context for CX initiatives. Typically, they contain large versions of the journey map and other customer experience insights, like personas, customer videos, etc.
  • Digitize the journey map and related CX assets to allow easy access to view and share them with others.
  • Send out regular updates on the impact of customer experience changes initiated via your journey map.
  • One of the most impactful levers you can employ to catalyze CX driven change is to reward employees for leveraging CX tools like journey maps and personas to drive business value.

Much of the effort of driving customer-centered decision-making within organizations involves significant change management. Like other insights, it’s not enough to generate a journey map and share it with your key stakeholders.

You need to establish processes that will enable collaborative decision-making across organizational silos, support the creation of CX action plans and strategic roadmaps, drive the implementation of those action plans, and measure the impact of CX improvement projects. That’s how you’ll ensure that your journey map “sticks,” rather than wasting a lot of time and energy creating a map to nowhere.

“Prioritization Workshop” image licensed from shutterstock.com. Journey Map courtesy of TandemSeven, Inc.
6 Ways to Make Sure Your Journey Maps Improve Customer Experience originally appeared on the TandemSeven blog.

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One Response to 6 Ways to Make Sure Your Journey Maps Improve Customer Experience

  1. Rick Harris September 20, 2016 at 10:42 pm (7 comments) #

    A good practical guide to planning and implementing journey mapping within a (large) organisation- thanks Steve.

    I’d encourage small businesses though not to be put off by discussion here of governance boards, key stakeholders and measurement programmes – journey maps are for everyone, not just corporates!

    First and foremost, a commitment to finding and responding to what your customers think and feel is the foundation of improving customer experience. Without this insight, your journey map will just be what you think is important.

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