The Biggest Reason that Journey Mapping Efforts Fall Short of Expectations


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There are many articles from experts in the field of Journey mapping that tout the 5 things that go wrong in journey mapping or the 4 things you must do to be successful. In general, I can’t disagree with anything that they say. While there is no lack of sage advice, there remains a large portion of companies that are less than satisfied with the results of their journey mapping efforts.

For good reason, many buyers of journey mapping services fear that the results will sit on a shelf or not be seen as delivering an ROI. In some ways that is the paradox of Journey Mapping today. Chief Customer Officers, CX and Insights leaders see a clear need for Journey Mapping, but they also understand that success to this point has been inconsistent.

So, what’s missing?

Too often companies treat journey mapping efforts as a project or an initiative rather than a foundation for their business strategy.

If you are responsible for undertaking a journey mapping effort you should be asking the following questions before you get started:

• Does management expect that the results will be used to drive core business strategy?

• Does the organization expect that change management efforts will be undertaken to address opportunities identified?

• Is the CFO engaged in the effort to validate opportunities, support investment decisions and monitor ROI on these investments?

• Is there a governance structure that has been set up to focus on journey management and optimization? A team that is relying on these results to drive its core mission?

Some folks reading this may feel that getting that having these questions answered in the affirmative is a heavy lift or an unreasonable ask. Are we aiming to be customer centric or not?

Journey Mapping done well is a compendium of customer challenges, frustrations, unmet needs and desires. For the customer centric organization, the very best opportunities to increase retention, grow share of wallet, increase attractiveness to new customers, improve reputation and streamline operations are contained within an effective journey mapping effort. One might argue that a new product or service offering may not be addressed by a journey mapping effort. Perhaps, if the new offering is far enough afield of current offerings, but in most cases, even a new product can be informed and guided by what is learned about the customer journey.

So, maybe it is a heavy lift, but without that kind of commitment, can your journey mapping exercise be more than an initiative that has it’s day and is then forgotten? Will anyone change what they do?

For those reading this post, if you disagree, please challenge these assumptions and offer up some other input or source of intelligence that provides a stronger input to customer centered growth, retention and margin improvement strategies.

Going back to what I mentioned at the start of this discussion, a successful journey mapping result will also address some of the common pitfalls that many experts often raise which include:

• Assess the customer journey from the customer’s perspective, not your company’s perspective. It’s their journey, not yours.

• Consider uniqueness of the journey for various customer segments. There is not just one journey, but many. Determine the use cases that create the most uniqueness in the journey.

• Get qualitative, day in the life input from consumers to help to identify issues, challenges, unmet needs and emotions that consumers feel as part of the journey, as well as the reaction/impact of these experiences.

• Conduct quantitative consumer research to understand and quantify impact of various moments of truth, pain points and opportunities, so opportunities can be compared on relative value potential and difficulty of implementation.

• Be prepared to update the journey map on a regular basis as improvements/changes are made by your company, as well as competitors, and the needs of consumers evolve. Expectations are evolving at a rapid pace based on the introduction and adoption of new technologies and applications.

According to recent research by Gartner and others, more than 90% of companies say they are differentiating on the customer experience. The companies that succeed in differentiation put the customer at the center of nearly every decision they make. Journey mapping is the rudder that can drive success with these efforts, if only it is recognized for what it is and can be.

In my next posts, I will dive into some of the other strategies that can be used to advance the success of journey mapping efforts.

Michael Allenson
Michael is Founder of CXDriven. Formerly he was Principal CX Transformation Consultant at MaritzCX where he led a global team that consulted with clients on how to better leverage their customer experience management programs to drive business success. A frequent writer and presenter, Michael is passionate about helping companies leverage customer intelligence to take action that creates lasting customer relationships and sustainable improvements in growth and profitability. Over a 20+ year career, he has consulted with numerous Fortune 500 companies and their leadership teams on how to uncover superior insights and turn them into action. Prior to his role at MaritzCX, Michael was a Senior Consultant for Maritz Research, Technomic, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants and Leo J. Shapiro and Associates.


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