Top Three Reasons You Need To Invest in Journey Mapping Exercises

Suhasini Pashikanti | April 25, 2016

Yet another quarter rolls by with missed customer expectations. The results and numbers aren’t drastically low, but they aren’t where they should be either. IT tells you customer service isn’t where it should be, and customer service tells you there’s way too much technical noise. Your internal user experience designers and the creative agency you have been working with tell you “we really need to understand the customer journey end to end by going through a journey map exercise ” to create a perspective of their holistic experience. But you aren’t sold on whether this exercise will truly help you meet the business goals you are accountable to exceed.

Welcome to the situation we find a majority of our clients in day in and day out. We routinely answer the question, “what’s the business value of a journey map other than a fancy deliverable getting plastered around the office walls never to be looked upon again?”

Traditionally, we’ve seen our clients approach customer experience by grooming potential requirements and features. However, this is generally not a customer focused approach and is driven by internal stakeholders. A lack of true empathy of a customer’s perspective creates focus on tactical execution of features instead of strategic innovation.

Modern user experience paradigms have shifted in a way wherein it is important to truly understand and empathize with how customers move through your ecosystem.

“what’s the business value of a journey map other than a fancy deliverable getting plastered around the office walls never to be looked upon again?”

Personas vs Journey Maps

Personas act as an aggregate representation of your various customer segments. While these are very popular and valuable to gain empathy, personas generally present a display of static information without the true picture of how this persona interacts in the lifecycle of intersection with your brand.  Journey mapping provides the ability to holistically understand the every interaction, channel, touchpoint, action and emotion is key to help identify pain points and improve the experience. This creative exercise helps you meet your goals and truly enable positive customer behavioral change.

 

Here’s the top three reasons we encourage you to consider investing in a journey mapping exercise:

Reason #1:

Gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of your customer

You have to focus on your customers first. But have you really undertaken the effort to learn and understand the needs of your customers? By mapping out the experience your customers go through each day, you will begin to unwrap the complex ecosystem in which your customers interface with your brand. By looking at the holistic experience through the eyes of your customer, you begin to see their pain points and frustrations with your product or service. More importantly, a deep understanding of your customers allows you to identify innovative ideas to solve current experience challenges which can be tied to key desired business outcomes.

Want to identify ways to increase cross-selling? Through a journey map exercise, you can understand what, when, where, why and how your customers purchase. By doing so, you can elegantly design an approach to recommend other products or services your customer may be interested in without seeming like an intrusion, but rather a welcome and desired recommendation.

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7S Pro Tip: Don’t forget; FOCUS on your customer is key here. Delivering positive user experience is not a single person’s task; it needs to be the mindset of the entire organization.

 

Reason #2:

Journey maps expose your dirty laundry; i.e. opportunities for improved operational efficiency and service effectiveness

When you step back to look at the holistic journey map, and notice all the hoops your customer has to jump through – it first makes you think “Do we really make them do this” and then you ask, “WHY are we doing this to our customers?”

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In several of the journey map exercises we have run with our clients, the exercise helps to identify root causes of experience gaps . More often than not, internal systems, processes and people ARE the issue, not the “customer error.” In this way, journey maps help businesses to identify issues such as mismanaged resources, content gaps, process bottlenecks, and legacy technology issues. For example, something simple like a process change or content changes have a bigger impact on customer experience than investing in massive expensive technology investments.

7S Pro Tip: Don’t get us wrong here – sometimes expensive technology investments turn out to be the right path to move towards. But these are not the silver bullets all the time. Journey maps help identify the low-hanging fruit to incrementally improve customer experience as well as the strategic investments you might have to consider – such as adding a new channel to consolidate multiple others.

 

Reason #3:

Internal organizational alignment and a shared vision

If you feel you are constantly playing the Game of Thrones internally and dealing with multiple stakeholders each with many perspectives, you are not alone. We find that within an organization, each business unit or department has their own perspective on how to improve customer experience – but often, that perspective is with an internal focus.

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Through a journey map exercise, all internal stakeholders are encouraged to view the experience through the customer’s perspective. This helps to remove barriers and silos and positively encourages a collaborative exercise. With everyone truly focused on designing for the best possible customer experience, journey map exercises help to facilitate internal alignment and consensus to truly create a shared vision for the future. All opportunities identified are through the lens of the customer. Each department may then develop a detailed view on how to address that opportunity, but everyone’s eye is on the same prize.

7S Pro Tip: Creative exercises such as journey mapping help to foster a company culture which encourages cross-functional team collaboration and a shared ownership.

A journey map is no longer just a tool for your creative teams. It’s business impact can be felt when it is approached from a collaborative, cross-functional perspective, with all internal stakeholders focused on increasing value for your customers.

Through the journey map exercises we have conducted for our clients when creating online community experiences, 7Summits has found journey mapping to be a truly valuable activity full of great revelations. It helps us to identify strategic opportunities for our clients’ business, such as opportunities for increased revenue, better brand positioning and operational efficiency. But most of all, it’s helped us to constantly strive for the one key metric we are all chasing after: customer happiness and value.

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Join us on our journey of journey mapping. This is the first post in a series of posts we will be sharing about journey mapping. Stay tuned!

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