Why Customer Journey Mapping is vital for improving CX

At the heart of the CX work we do at insight6 is Customer Journey Mapping.  It is the third step in our six-step customer experience management process.  In a nutshell, a customer journey map identifies each of the customer touchpoints, from brand awareness through to being a happy repeat customer.  Our approach focuses on understanding how customers feel at each point in the journey, in order to look at how the experience can be improved.

Customer Journey Mapping has an enormous impact on the engagement of the team, and it creates a customer focused mindset which results in a snowball effect in changing the culture within the organisation. Which is why we love it! We have worked with a number of sectors to create journey maps including car dealerships, law firms, accountants, major visitor attractions, event companies and restaurants.

Customer Journey Mapping is a critical step for success in achieving CX transformation for the following six reasons:

1.   A customer journey map creates a clear plan of action

For us, Customer Journey Mapping is about identifying clear actions that will transform
the experience your customers have with you.  This is not about creating pretty posters showing everyone that you have a customer journey map for your office wall; this is about action!  In every customer journey mapping workshop we have facilitated, we have witnessed immediate and clear action that has a profound impact on staff motivation, a greater focus on the customer and their needs and an increase in sales.

A recent example demonstrates this perfectly. One of our clients, a major UK tourist attraction has had incredible results following the customer journey mapping workshop. They saw an increase in the number of paid visits to additional areas of the attraction as well as an increase in other related revenue streams and will see incremental revenue in excess of £500k over a year. What is more interesting is that the key focus was on improving customer experience first and foremost and the side effect was all the financial metrics improved.

2.  Experience what it is like to look through the eyes of your customers

The first place we start in a customer journey mapping workshop is to identify the customer touchpoints starting from the moment a customer becomes aware that your business exists, perhaps searching for a coffee shop or solicitor on Google, to the moment that the customer receives an invoice, or exits your business.

Once the team are clear on the touchpoints, the brilliance of customer journey mapping starts.  Each member of the team can put themselves in the customer’s shoes and describe the experience at each of the touchpoints and how they might feel at each stage of the journey.  Compare this experience to what each team member is actually doing at each touchpoint, and the insights start to overflow.  The penny drops when team members see the gap between what they are doing and what the customer is experiencing.

Ian Kelsall, our CXD in Stoke, gave a great example about a team of accountants he worked with that kept customers waiting on the telephone whilst they went to find the relevant person that the customer wanted to talk to.  No-one in the team felt this standard practice of placing a customer on hold was an issue until Ian posed the question: "What do you think customers feel like during this time?”.

It then became apparent that no-one on the team had actually experienced being kept on hold.  The team then made a call into the office and simulated a normal call experience to discover the discomfort of being on hold.  The compelling need to change the customer’s experience was so great that the team of accountants created an action plan on how they could remove this negative part of the customer journey. Having the privilege of looking through the eyes of customers will never fail to bear rich pickings that you can use to improve customer experience.

“Every customer journey mapping session I have facilitated results in at least one person in the first 20 mins having a lightbulb moment.  Typically businesses make changes to make life better for themselves rather than the customer and when you observe the switch in the room to looking at how a customer might feel - it changes everything” - Graham Hill CXD, Bucks

3.  Create a shared understanding and vision of customer experience across the business

Most of us know the importance of involving the team in any obvious changes in an organisation.  When your entire team embraces and shares an attitude and belief system, incredible things start to happen.  Nothing illustrates this point better than the classic story of President John F. Kennedy’s visit to the NASA space centre in 1962, where Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, "Hi, I'm Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?"

"Well, Mr. President," the janitor responded, "I'm helping put a man on the moon."

Everyone has a role to play in customer experience, from the accounts clerk who sends out the invoices, to the cleaner who hoovers the floor.  Every single detail has an impact on how the customer feels about your business and this is what creates a great customer experience.

"The key to a successful mapping session is to ensure that everyone has the freedom to explore how the business works from a customer experience perspective.  Creating a space that is non-judgemental is a breeding ground for conversation that would not normally take place between colleagues and is a catalyst for change.”  - Graham Hill, CXD Bucks

4. Focus on the customer and how their differences impact on their needs

It is often the case that different customers have different needs.  Recognising that you may have different customer personas using your product or service is vital in the customer journey mapping session. A classic mistake in any business is to assume that a new customer has the same expectations as a regular customer.  They don’t!

Mac Eddy described a great example of using customer personas as part of a customer journey mapping workshop he facilitated.

“It was clear that there were two very different customers and we needed to differentiate the way the business behaved towards each one.  We named each of the customer personas a different name.  In this business James and Jane were instantly recognisable by the front-line team who described how they could identify their differences from their body language as soon as they arrived at the reception area. The team quickly realised in the workshop that treating James and Jane the same led to missed opportunities for the customers and the business and an equally uncomfortable experience for both.  The customer journey map highlighted a simple process that could be adopted that lead to a better experience for all and most importantly, the customer.”

5. You are solving problems by unlocking the causes

By identifying how the customer feels at each step of the customer journey, instead of from a business or personal perspective enables you to focus on the problem without getting defensive. This simple switch in perspective will allow you to uncover and understand what is causing the problem and finding a solution that will improve how the customer feels.

As Ian Kelsall described: “It is really quite simple, you identify a customer experience problem on the map, you figure out what is causing the problem and work with the team on how to fix it!  You effectively change the dynamics of what needs to be solved.”  

6. Independent facilitation keeps you challenged and inside the shoes of the customers 

Having an independent facilitator to coordinate and direct the team in a customer journey mapping workshop is vital for staying focused, not slipping back into the old habit of looking at problems from your perspective and keeping the energy in the room to explore and discover how your customers feel.

As Graham experienced, “We were working with a large group of NHS and private hospitals who were all employing lots of different processes to service the needs of their clients. My job was to facilitate the group to ensure that we uncovered and agreed best practice which at the end of the day enabled us to create a consistent approach for each step of the customer journey.  The team were able to focus on identifying and solving problems without worrying about sticking to the objectives or going off track as that was my job.”

Ian K described how “Having someone outside the business to ask those ‘stupid’ and obvious questions is gold dust in a customer journey mapping workshop. I am happy to oblige and be that person because the impact on a business of metaphorically ‘holding people’s feet over the flame’ in order to confront poor customer experience and solve it is exponential.”

This is why Ian so passionately believes that independent facilitation is key to getting the most out of Customer Journey Mapping.

If you would like to explore how Customer Journey Mapping can help your business
please contact us to arrange a CX audit call.

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