CX Tools of the Trade Part 3: Customer Journey Mapping

Sandra Mathis

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know this is the third part in the CX Tools of the Trade series. It also happens to be the last. We’ll be going out with a bang, covering the well-known and much-loved customer journey map. While it is probably one of the best and most frequently used tools in the customer experience toolkit, it can also be one of the most misused.

Simply put, a customer journey map is a way to deconstruct a customer’s experience with a company’s products or services— presented as a series of steps and themes.

In its most basic form, a journey map is a big table that includes:

  • The phases, or the big steps the customer goes through from the time they recognize they have a need for a product or service, through the time they decide to continue or discontinue use your product or service.
  • The customer persona name and image, along with the GOAL for the entire journey or for each phase.
  • The actions or touch points customers and employees go through within each phase.
  • The type, or where, the interactions happen— in-person, via phone, on the website, or through another sales channel, for each touch point or phase.
  • Moments of truth, which are the points that delight, disappoint, or cause confusion for your customers.

Executed correctly, a customer journey map is a powerful tool that can be used in a multitude of ways and over the entire course of your customer experience roadmap.

Often, an organization will map the customer’s journey against the steps a customer goes through but skip mapping that same journey from the employee and team experience. Many organizations also skip confirming what they unpack with their actual customers. A successfully executed journey is multi-layered, taking in and validating all touch points and experiences so the organization can clearly see the impact of the total customer experience from all angles and at any point in the journey.

With all of this in mind, here are a few tips to make your customer journey map more valuable to the organization.

1. MAKE IT MULTIDIMENSIONAL

Take into account what you think customers go through, but also take time to confirm it. Pull out your existing customer data and research to provide insight and context. What are customers telling you happens when they interact with you? Incorporate both the good and the bad parts of their interaction in your map.

Pull out your empathy maps and customer personas to inform your customer journey map. If you don’t have either, go create one or both before moving forward. They are absolutely necessary for keeping you honest about the needs and expectations of your customer.

Finally, your customer journey map should be outside in focused, as much as it is inside out. If the customer’s part of the journey is what is happening in front, the map should also scope out what’s going on in the background from the organization’s processes—the employee’s perspective, along with which teams and tasks occur at each step of the journey.

2. PREPARE TO ADD METRICS

As a fan of not doing too much (or too little), I don’t believe in collecting data that isn’t actionable or isn’t being used. Teams should take time to understand what and where in the organization customer feedback is being collected. Identify what metrics are being collected for measurement and determine how this feedback will be acted upon.

Plot these existing metrics across the journey. Ideally, feedback will be collected for each key moment of truth in the customer’s journey. It is also a good practice to evaluate if the right questions are being asked for the phase or touch point. In some rare cases, you may find the wrong questions are being asked, or can’t be leveraged to improve the customer’s experience. More frequently, you’ll find the feedback isn’t being collected at all, and should be.

If you add metrics to your customer journey map, be sure they are the right ones and are regularly tracked.

While the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a standard metric for measuring the relationship or the journey in total, it’s not necessarily the right metric for the phases of a journey. Metrics give the journey map added value as a way to easily illustrate how core metrics, such as customer satisfaction or customer effort, changes over time and across the journey. Take time to determine if you are using the right metric(s), such as call time or the number of calls received for a customer care center. And be sure that as your metrics are updated with the organization, they are updated on your map as well.

3. DOUBLE CHECK

Remember to pause to double check the journey. Are customers accurately represented? A great way to make sure your journey map is accurate is to validate it with your customers via qualitative research.

However, if that is not possible, and quick and easy method is to share the core journey with some of your customer “friendlies” to get their input and confirm if it reflects their experience with your organization. If your map was built with a small internal audience or without some functional team representation, take some time to share the map with your customers to ensure their experiences and customer interactions are accurate as well.

Remember, customer journey mapping is never a “one and done” activity. As new ways of doing business occur, silos are broken down, or new processes are implemented, ensure those changes are reflected on the map. Just as your business or brand strategy should be revisited and amended, the same holds true for your journey map— it is your living, breathing customer interaction story.


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