The implications of new channels for Customer Journey Mapping


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Publication of the article “Customer journey mapping vs process design: Do you know the difference?” prompted very relevant questions about how the principles apply to new channels like social and mobile? This topic will be the subject of a follow-up article in our next newsletter. In the meantime, here are the headlines…

If we think about each of the 4 stages of Customer Journey Mapping, the impact of new channels becomes more obvious.

Customer Journey Mapping Ecosystem

At the highest level – Do additional journeys need to be identified and mapped in order to address customers through Social or Mobile channels? In most cases, no. There may be the odd example where a new channel creates a fresh overall need amongst customers that requires an additional journey to be defined. For example, the need to be recognised as an expert that could prompt a journey for contributors to peer-to-peer help facilities. However, the number of customers and their ‘worth’ would need careful consideration before the organisation embarks on creating a new journey.

Do new channels affect the key steps in existing Journeys? Also not common, although a more likely effect than requiring completely new Journeys. Sticking with the peer-to-peer help example, if something didn’t do what was expected when the customer got it home, the journey step used to be “call the helpline”. With new channels an additional step of “ask other customers” may emerge. Practically, most organisations will find that re-defining an existing step to reflect the way new channels may have changed the way customers do things is better than introducing a new step.

New channels can also condense the purchase (or service) cycle, bringing together previously distinctly separate journey steps so they occur simultaneously. Care is needed when deciding if the steps are still present, albeit happening simultaneously, or if they really have collapsed. For example, where previously “information gathering” and “purchase” may have been distinct steps, they may now appear to be simultaneous. However, if a customer is toggling between different e-commerce sites, eventually buying from one, it can be argued that they are still mentally going through the same steps. If, on the other hand, they only go to one site, find what they want and buy without doing any other form of research, the 2 steps have truly combined.

Where new channels DO have a much more significant effect on Journey Mapping are the last 2 stages. Customer expectations will often be influenced as a result of the opportunities new channels present – particularly in the areas of speed and the breadth & depth of information. Hence, attitudes and mindset as they enter a Journey step and what they want and expect as an outcome have probably evolved.

For example, a step “Choosing where to stay” has probably always been present in a Journey to book a holiday. Customers have always wanted to know what others thought of a property, questioned brochure descriptions and pictures and wanted more information than was provided, but recognised these desires were largely unrealistic. New channels have empowered them and raised their expectations.

In the last stage of Journey Mapping, organisations need to pay particular attention to how the new channels might have introduced new things that could go wrong for the customer. The evolving attitudes, expectations and concerns of customers can impact the degree to which each Journey Step presents an opportunity for the organisation to delight or dismay the customer. For example – in the past, an airline calling passengers to advise them of a delay would be an opportunity to delight; in today’s information enabled, mobile age, at best customers would probably be unimpressed, at worst, not doing it could be a real disappointment.

Finally, translating the Customer Journey into a customer experience design for each touch point has become much more complex with each new channel. Not only because of the increased touch points organisations have to think about, but also because of the way customers move seamlessly across and between them. Prioritisation has become one of the most important considerations in Journey Mapping. Does it impact enough value (not just customers, but also their influence) and is it important enough?

New channels mean Customer Journey Mapping has become less about what we can do and more about what we should do!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Andy Green
Andy Green is a Director of The Customer Framework. Andy specialises in blending socially enabled customer management strategy with the practical design and delivery of implementation programmes which deliver real and sustainable financial benefit. He has led Customer Management programmes, as both a client and a consultant, in many industry sectors including travel & hospitality, telecoms, manufacturing, financial services, luxury, CPG, pharmaceuticals and retail.


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