7 Secrets of Successful Customer Journey Mapping

Last week we shared our tips for customer journey mapping workshops. Now we’re onto the actual process of journey mapping itself.

Customer journey mapping gets written about a lot. And we have seen our fair share of beautifully crafted maps adorning office walls. I know I don’t need to say this, but a customer journey map is only useful by the action it creates. Creating this action requires viewing the customer journey from two perspectives. Firstly, from the outside. Which is how the customer sees the experience. And from the inside. Which is how the company delivers the experience.

These are some of our main learnings from the journey mapping work we do with our clients:

From the outside  

How the customer sees their experience

1.  Define your target customers

It’s vital to ask, “Who are we designing the journey for?” This simple question can be surprisingly difficult to answer. It is really important to get super clear about who your target customer is. And also to be sure about why they are the target customer. A great example is the recent Nike campaign. Nike targeted urban people living in 12 global cities. The output in this case is an advertising campaign. But the targeting could easily be applied to the whole customer experience. One approach from Design Thinking is to look for the extremes in your customers, understand how they experience your organisation, create personas and design solutions. The thinking here is that designing for the mass creates mediocracy, whilst design for the extremes inspires new thinking.

2.  Find out how the customer experiences the journey

To see the journey through your customers’ eyes you need to know what they actually experience. Where are the moments that cause stress? Where are the delight moments? What’s your customers’ motivational state?

Our CX Lab research includes finding out the customers’ Tripping Points. Tripping Points™ are moments when the experienced reality is at odds with the customer’s expectation. For example, I stayed in a so called boutique hotel last weekend. Their beautiful website and funky confirmation emails gave me high expectations. But the entire stay was full of moments where reality fell short of my expectations. For example, here’s how breakfast is described on the hotel website:

“For breakfast, we bring a sumptuous ‘grab-and-go’ bag up to your room… Eat it there, or take it with you… Dorset Cereals granola (with flaxseed and berry coulis), ice-cold milk, fresh OJ, a selection of fruit, nicely-warmed croissants, a yoghurt pot, and proper barista-quality tea or coffee”.

Sounds great. Breakfast in bed! The reality was different. It arrived late. I was hungry. I opened the bag, full of anticipation. Inside was this sad half empty pot of yoghurt. There was one banana. Plus a boring little generic pastry wrapped in plastic. OJ was a bottle of Tropicana orange juice (other orange juice brands are available). The coffee was lukewarm. I felt let down. That’s a Tripping Point™.  The experience failed to meet expectation.

This level of insight is difficult to achieve through the typical NPS survey. Customers often don’t report or even remember these small disappointments. But the issues still add up to the customer’s experience and future preferences. Ethnography and monitoring biometrics are the most reliable methods to understand the actual customer journey. These are the methods we use in our CX Lab Tests to discover the Tripping Points™.

CX Lab customer experience consultancy - breakfast story

3.  Get clear on what the customer remembers about the journey

The remembering self plays an important role in our decision to repeat an experience. We need to find out what the customer remembers of their experience. This data allows us to understand what is likely to drive loyalty and advocacy. And once we identify what turns customers into fans, we can decide where to create value for customers. This information gives us the magic sauce to decide where to make the experience truly memorable.

4.  Use your data to understand customer behaviour

Most companies now have the data to understand their customers’ actions. Whether that be their behaviour on your website, their purchasing patterns, call logs or social interactions. The secret is to take all this data and crunch it in order to understand what customers do. There’s often a difference between what customers say they do and what they actually do. Analysing the data enables us to discover patterns and opportunities.

In summary, there are three different aspects:

  • The customer’s actual experience
  • Their memory of their experience
  • Their actual behaviour

Combining research on all three provides depth and clarity. This insight enables you to prioritise what needs fixing. It also guides you in creating value and making you stand apart from your competitors. The end result is that you can design the optimal customer journey for your target customers.

From the inside 

How the organisation currently delivers the customer experience

5.  Map how you believe the customer journey currently happens

It’s always a breakthrough moment when we ask clients to map how they believe the customer journey currently happens. They chart the highs and lows. Then we show them the customers’ view of their journey. Highlighting the differences in perception uncovers ways to improve. It also leads to insight about the internal teams who own different parts of the customer journey. Once this debate starts up, it paves the way for improved internal alignment.

6.  Find out what actually happens during the employee-customer interaction.

We shouldn’t forget that your employees have an experience at the same time as customers. For example, we recently completed a project for a major mobile telecoms company. During the project we mapped both the customer experience and the employee experience. We observed employees liaising with customers through the journey. We used biometric and ethnographic methods to do this observation. The findings provided a powerful stimulus for improving the customer and employee experience.

7.  What gets in the way internally?  

It’s important identify the issues that get in the way of delivering the customer journey. This means finding the internal Tripping points™. These barriers to service excellence are often issues like:

  • Internal processes
  • Technology
  • The physical workplace itself
  • Management structures
  • How people collaborate and communicate
  • Leaders’ behaviour (do managers and employees know that delighting customers is a priority?)

Our 7 tips have one thing in common.  It is the action that you create and not the map itself that matters most.