We know our customers, so why create customer-centric journey maps?

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A colleague once asked me why we work with our clients to create customer journey maps when, in this individual’s opinion, most business owners already know who their customers are and how they interact with the business.
 
I agree most companies learn everything they can through analysis of customer behaviours. Yet, in our experience, they sometimes overlook the constraints of their own internal processes, as well as the requirements of certain stakeholders, such as staff and suppliers. Journey disconnects (when something doesn’t work as expected) create frustration and which may lead to a relationship breakdown …
 
This is why you should map journeys and take action from the learnings to perfect each interaction and experience. Knowing your own processes inside and out and how they impact stakeholders not only improves satisfaction levels, it can make for a more productive and efficient operation.   
 

Customer journey mapping: where do I start?

A customer journey is the sum of all experiences a customer has when interacting with your brand. It’s a big job to track every step!
 
We’ve been involved in projects where the desired process, as described by senior management, was not in line with what was being delivered on the ground. In some instances, this was due to an absence of knowledge and training at the coalface; in others, the prescribed process just didn’t fit the context or the environment in which products or services were being delivered.  
 
The sooner we gain insight into why things happen a particular way, the sooner we can start to enhance and simplify or add new features to the customer journey.
 
The first step is to understand the status quo. Begin by breaking your audience down into distinct and manageable groups – some companies use personas, others use demographics or market segments. Then prioritise these audience groups according to business goals, and workshop with internal teams to map out their version of the current customer journey.

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Shadowing team members to see if what they do matches what they say may be necessary to complete this step. However, this process will allow the business to gain perspective of those who have to deliver the experience on the ground and identify areas of strength or weakness.
 
Next, test this internal view with customers by asking questions, such as:

Is the described process accurate?
Does it reflect actual experience?
Where are the gaps?
What’s working and what’s not working?
What does the ideal experience look like?

With this information, you can redraw what the journey should look like from the customer perspective.

Matching up multiple viewpoints

Now that you have a handle on internal and external viewpoints, you’re in a position to assess how much of the ideal experience the business can currently deliver. Look for quick wins and areas where small modifications could add significant value. For more substantial changes, identify where additional resource or capability is required and create a roadmap for delivering these.
 
At this point, you can develop new draft journeys, model new features or processes and test how they might impact your customer journey.
 
There are a number of approaches to help you test new journey features. We favour Collaboration Lab workshops. These enable modelling of a new journey and testing with relevant stakeholder groups.
 
As each iteration of new features and changes are rolled out, we revisit and update the customer journey to ensure it’s a change for good in terms of the entire end-to-end process.
 
Lastly, it is essential to measure the effectiveness of your journey’s by assigning relevant and measurable KPIs (e.g. net promoter score, sales uplift, ROI, reduced waiting times) and to track improvements over time.
 

What benefits should I expect to realise?

1. Business owners gain a concise model and description of how their business interacts with key stakeholders.

2. Customers experience improvements they value – interactions are consistent, easier, and faster.
 
3. Staff have a clear understanding of customer expectations and are better equipped to manage/deliver on these expectations.
 
4. Interactions and interfaces with other stakeholders, such as suppliers, are more effective and efficient.
 

Solnet can help you along the way

Do you have questions about your internal processes? Do you want help mapping your customer journeys so you can carry on with business as usual? Get in touch with Rob Brough, Digital Experience Consultant, to discuss how we might help.