Journey maps are an excellent tool to better understand your customers and develop alignment about the current state of your customer experience. Creating a visual representation of all of the interactions your customers have with you, how they feel about them, and their key decision points, will likely surface many opportunities for refinement.
Companies with better customer experiences are also typically more profitable and enjoy greater loyalty. In fact, 65 percent of buyers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising. By 2020, customer experience is projected to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. If you haven’t been prioritizing customer experience, it may be time to begin. For those who have already completed a customer journey map, iIt can be overwhelming to consider what needs to be done next, but maintaining focus pays off.
How to Operationalize Customer Journey Maps
If you’ve recently completed a customer journey map, congratulations! Now it’s time to operationalize your approach to get the most value out of your effort. Here are five critical things to do next.
1. Validate Your Assumptions
Google / Econsultancy found that marketing leaders are 1.5x more likely than others to say they have a clear view of their customers’ journeys across channels and devices. Ideally, customer data informed every stage of your journey mapping exercise.
If that wasn’t the case, make sure you validate your map by re-reviewing data from diverse sources. Identify trends and customer behaviors gleaned from performance marketing analytics, primary research, spend and loyalty data, and common interactions with customer service.
Ensuring that your journey map is rooted in data will allow you to truly understand and optimize your journeys, and give you greater credibility as you introduce it to other teams.
2. Focus on Meaningful Friction
Large-scale change, such as launching a full web redesign, takes time. Start small by focusing on the moments that have the most impact on customers. Some pain points are challenging but not deal breakers, while other issues will actively drive customers away.
Identify the difference by analyzing your map and customer data, and focus your immediate fixes on what is likely to have the most positive impact on customers (and their conversions). Web drop-off points, cart abandonment, and challenging service interactions are examples of pain points that are directly impacting both the bottom line, and creating unnecessary frustration for customers.
3. Share Widely
The hard work of developing a customer journey map often gets buried in large, complicated diagrams or detailed slide decks. To prevent this from happening, do the work of surfacing the most important insights and presenting them to teams that interact with customers.
Sharing your map widely will further position you and your team as the central point for customer understanding; knowledge that everyone in a company needs, from sales to IT to operations. Schedule time with these teams to share your findings and get feedback. This will create opportunities to collaborate and empower everyone to make better decisions on behalf of customers.
4. Diversify and Iterate
The starting point for developing journey maps is generally to focus on the largest subset of customers, or one strategically chosen group. This is the right approach for tackling a complex task. Once you’ve defined a journey mapping process and had success, it’s time to think about other opportunity segments.
Designing experiences for a “typical” customer may hide opportunities for engagement and optimization for groups that are smaller, but still strategic, or less understood overall. Defining the needs, and personas, that represent those segments will empower you to think about how their journeys differ and create optimization opportunities that may not have been revealed before.
5. Revisit It Regularly
A customer journey map is a foundational anchor for marketing activity, but shouldn’t be static. To fully operationalize using your maps to empower better decision making, it’s critical to revisit them.
Setting a review schedule, and assigning owners of this process, will ensure that you regularly assess whether they’re still accurate, and track success in problem-solving. Update the data that informed the map and review it as a team.
If this all sounds like a lot of work, it is. But the benefit of defining, visualizing, revisiting and talking about customer experience across your organization is the best way to create an agile, data-driven approach that truly puts the customer at the center of your strategy.
Need to dust off your customer journey maps? Or create them for the first time? Let’s talk!