Successful customer journey mapping projects don’t just happen by accident. They require careful planning and cross-functional collaboration and management.
Many companies make decisions within functional or organizational silos. But customers’ experiences typically aren’t confined to these silos. Customers usually interact with organizations across touchpoints that are influenced by a variety of corporate functions, products and/or services.
Journey maps provide a lens that creates a shared understanding of your customers’ experience. They help make customer experience-driven business decisions across organizational silos. As a result, journey maps can introduce new insights that your organization is not accustomed to using to drive decision making.
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Making customer experience driven decisions across silos requires cultural and operational alignment—two attributes of organizations with a high level of CX maturity. Here are the 5 steps accomplished teams use to set the stage for journey mapping success:
1. Define clear goals for your customer journey mapping project
One of the key reasons journey mapping programs fail or under-perform is a lack of a clear purpose for creating the journey map. Journey mapping goals can be strategic or tactical and triggered by different insights or objectives. But vague goals—even well intentioned ones—won’t set you up for success.
To start your journey mapping initiative on the road to success, articulate a clear goal or set of objectives. But don’t get stuck here, because you can always refine your goal as your planning evolves and you engage your key stakeholders.
Here are some tips to help you define clear goals before you begin your customer journey mapping project:
- Identify key gaps in customer knowledge
- Be clear about what you want to learn
- Articulate how journey mapping will help to improve your customers’ lives
- Connect your customers’ objectives with internal business goals, i.e. define how they will drive value for your business
- Use language that will motivate and inspire your stakeholders
It’s helpful to start with what you already know about your customer’s journey and their experiences within their journey. This will help you identify the gaps in your knowledge. For example, perhaps your organization has done a great job of collecting customer experience insights at key touchpoints, but you don’t have any insights on how their experiences across the touchpoints are influencing their relationship with your brand.
Once you’ve assessed what you know and don’t know, what you need to learn next will become clearer. Frame what you want to learn with a clear statement on how these insights will help make decisions that will impact your customer’s lives and drive value for your business.
Keep your stakeholders in mind as you craft a concise statement to capture your project’s purpose. Select language that stakeholders will find motivating and inspiring. This approach will create clarity and focus for your initiative—and hopefully provide a strong call to action for your key stakeholders. Who are your stakeholders? Glad you asked!
2. Identify and engage core stakeholders and partners
Even with a crystal clear purpose, customer journey mapping projects can’t be successful without first identifying and engaging a core set of key stakeholders and partners, and then aligning them on the purpose of the map.
Since journey maps visualize your customer’s journey across multiple touchpoints, engage stakeholders within your organization who influence, make decisions about, and execute on those decisions for each of those touchpoints. Anticipate that your core stakeholders and partners will have roles that span organizational silos and functional areas.
Your core stakeholders should include those in strategic, tactical and operational roles who can:
- Help you build the map—and validate it too
- Champion and support your initiative
- Act on or support the desired actions that emerge from the journey map
For example, your stakeholders might include:
- Strategy professionals who generate and communicate insights about the customer experience; these may be found in groups with names that include CX, UX, analytics, marketing, and strategy
- Customer/user researchers
- Customer/user experience designers
- Sales and customer support professionals who interact directly with customers at various touchpoints in their journey
- Line of business and product leaders who advocate for and enable customer experience driven culture and decision making within your organization
- Heads of functional groups whose teams will need to act on insights produced by the journey mapping project
- Project and/or program managers
3. Educate stakeholders on the essentials of journey mapping
Your stakeholders will likely have varying levels of knowledge and understanding of journey mapping and customer experience methodologies. So, your next step should be to educate them. Make sure your stakeholders have a clear, unified understanding of what a journey map is, how you create a journey map, and how journey maps can be used to transform your business.
If you or your organization already has a successful journey mapping initiative under your belt, use that success story to educate your stakeholders. If you don’t and the concept of a journey map is new to your organization, you might look to an outside expert to help educate your team.
One all too common approach to avoid is to focus too heavily on the visual approach to journey mapping, i.e. what journey maps look like. The vast variety of journey mapping examples that are available on the web can be overwhelming. Some are visually pleasing and some are not. More importantly, some are effective instruments of change and some are not, however their effectiveness may not be readily apparent. Instead of visual appearance, focus your stakeholders on:
- Understanding the definition of a ‘customer journey’
- How a customer-centric journey is different from other tools such as process flows or service maps
- The essential components of a journey map
- How journey maps can transform your organization, and improve decision making internally
- An overview of the process for creating journey maps
- An overview of the skills and resources needed to create a journey map
4. Create alignment with your stakeholders
Your stakeholders will typically have different perspectives and priorities based on their role in the organization. Use this phase to understand your stakeholders’ unique perspectives and get everyone aligned around a common goal or set of goals for the journey mapping initiative.
Anticipate challenges if cross-functional decision-making about how and where to invest in an improved customer experience is unfamiliar to your organization. For example, identify what your stakeholders see as potential barriers or challenges to creating the journey map and activating on the insights.
Don’t underestimate the role change management can play in the success of your journey mapping initiative. Establishing a strong cross-functional collaboration process at the beginning of your initiative will help set the stage for the more challenging post-journey mapping action planning phase.
To ensure success, implement an explicit process for understanding your stakeholders’ perspectives and priorities for the journey mapping initiative. Conduct “stakeholder interviews,” or run a workshop to uncover key stakeholders’ perspectives and create alignment. Your process should include:
- How often you will meet
- Specific roles and responsibilities
- Communication and project status protocols
Don’t skip this step! The time you spend up front aligning your key stakeholders around a clear purpose and creating a sense of urgency and ownership in the mapping process can be tedious and time-consuming. But, it is necessary to set the stage for successful implementation of the resulting insights.
5. Create a sense of urgency and ownership
The final step to setting the stage for a successful journey mapping initiative is to create a sense of urgency and ownership.
All of the processes and approaches I’ve recommended in the previous steps are designed to support the creation of urgency and ownership. But this component of journey mapping planning is so important that it deserves its own explicit step.
The more your stakeholders—both your core stakeholders and your broader stakeholder group—feel a sense of urgency and ownership, the more likely your journey map initiative will be successful. They will be more invested in the outcome, in championing the initiative within the broader organization, and acting on the journey mapping insights. So, if you are leading a customer journey mapping project, strive to create and maintain a sense of urgency and ownership amongst your stakeholders!
Some tips for creating a sense of urgency and ownership amongst core stakeholders include:
- Choose language to articulate the purpose of the journey mapping that will inspire your stakeholders
- Help them see how the journey map will help them solve problems that are important to them, your customers, and your business as a whole
- Give them roles where they can clearly contribute to the outcome
- Don’t ask for more of their time than is absolutely necessary
- Keep them informed
- Ensure a collaborative process that allows for different perspectives
- Make sure you line up resources with the right skills to get the job done!
Now It’s Your Turn to Make Your Customer Journey Mapping Project a Success
Use the planning process outlined in this article to successfully plan your customer journey mapping project. Defining clear objectives, identifying and engaging your core stakeholders, and building a sense of urgency and ownership will create the focus, alignment, and cross-functional support you need to build a journey map that will lead to meaningful actions, rather than simply gathering dust.
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How to Set Up Your Customer Journey Mapping Project for Success originally appeared on the TandemSeven blog.