Customer Experience Journeys: Map for Actionability


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Customer Experience Improvement ModelAction — making a significant positive difference — is the point of anything we do in business. And that positive difference must translate to cash sooner or later. How actionable are your customer journey maps?

One of the appeals of journey maps is they look sexy. And a picture paints a thousand words. Yet I’ve noticed that many customer journey maps aren’t really designed to get full mileage from them. How can you get your whole organization engaged in making a significant positive difference to customers, and subsequently to cash?

In this 3-part series, we’re looking at 3 keys to getting it right: focus on the customers’ experience journey, map for actionability, and apply insights everywhere. This post takes on the second key:

Map for Actionability: In addition to sketching the customer experience as comprehensively and attractively as possible, make space for the “so what”, to spur action across your company.

DO THIS: Focus mapping workshop participants and map readers’ attention on what they should do as a result of these insights.

  1. Show a separate map for each expectation set: in your analysis of customers’ responses, look for patterns that indicate separate ranges of acceptable performance. Good sources for finding these patterns include the nature of initiating situations and answers to “why do you care about that” (consequences).
  2. Accelerate participants’ and readers’ attention toward “how do these insights change the way we should look at all of our existing efforts, processes, policies, business models, messages, handoffs, and mindsets?” What does the research imply that we should fix, prevent, create, or further research (internally/externally) for actionability?
    • Make sure a broad cross-section of job roles is among these participants and readers, especially those who have a lot of business savvy and wherewithal to influence collaboration and change.
    • Send a pre-workshop packet to participants to acquaint them with overall findings from your research so they’ll be able to dedicate at least 60% of their energy during the workshop to “now what”.
    • Create workshop exercises that challenge your organizations’ contentedness with the status quo, nurture empathy for the customer’s lot, drive root cause analysis (e.g. “5 why’s”), motivate action planning and follow-through, and set the stage for closed-loop communication with customers.
    • Piloting your methodology with a single business line or product is a great idea; it allows you to learn what works in a smaller environment. Be sure to plant seeds with the other business lines to accelerate company-wide involvement, as customer experience is “not an island” and everyone has a ripple effect on it.
  3. Use icons and color-coding as shorthand to save space in conveying the customer experience, in order to make space for the “so what”.
  4. Over time, super-impose other business intelligence on the map, such as quantification of the problem/consequences to all parties, customer ratings from other voice-of-the-customer sources, etc.

NOT THAT: Resist the temptation to favor form over function (i.e. excitement/prettiness versus ways to improve your business). Keep in mind that customer journey mapping is simply one of many types of voice-of-the-customer, and as such, action motivated and implemented by it is what really matters to customers and business results.

  1. Mixing a variety of initiating situations or expectation sets in a single map dilutes insights that could lead to customer experience differentiation.
  2. Showing a laundry-list of touch-point mechanisms takes a lot of valuable space and is not actionable.
  3. Vague “calls to action” in the map, such as “customer advocacy” or “easy to use” need to be more specific, quantified when possible, and prescriptive to drive action. Otherwise, the actions taken could be mis-directed, or non-existent, preventing the company — and customers — from deriving a return on the customer journey mapping investment.

Customer journey maps are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. They are one of many alternatives you can select to understand your customers’ world. The purpose of understanding your customers’ world is to become their preferred source toward achieving the capabilities they’re seeking. That’s what creates a revenue machine with strong profit growth. Remember that popular practice does not necessarily imply best practice. A sensible approach to customer experience journey mapping — and all other voice-of-the-customer and customer experience intelligence methods — is what’s needed for sustained customer experience ROI.

Contact the author, Lynn Hunsaker, to find out how to customize these practices to your situation.

  1. Customer Journey Mapping is part of VoC, Customer Insight & Understanding, which is one of the six domains in the body of knowledge advocated by the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). (ClearAction offers a CCXP Exam Prep Course.)
  2. The concept of “Do This, Not That” is borrowed from the popular book “Eat This, Not That“, where the weaknesses of common practices and myths are brought to light and sensible replacements are recommended. (For assistance with CX journey mapping methodology or actionability, see

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Lynn Hunsaker

Lynn Hunsaker is 1 of 5 CustomerThink Hall of Fame authors. She built CX maturity via customer experience, strategic planning, quality, and marketing roles at Applied Materials and Sonoco. She was a CXPA board member and SVAMA president, taught 25 college courses, and authored 6 CXM studies and many CXM handbooks and courses. Her specialties are B2B, silos, customer-centric business and marketing, engaging C-Suite and non-customer-facing groups in CX, leading indicators, ROI, maturity. CX leaders in 50+ countries benefit from her self-paced e-consulting: Masterminds, Value Exchange, and more.


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