Once you're committed to understanding your customers' buying process and using that information to make changes, you'll want to create a customer journey map. There are five key steps in the customer journey mapping process:
Step 1: Identify the Specific Customer Journey
Decide which specific customer journey will be mapped. This may be a journey for one particular customer segment or for one of your organization’s products or services. In this step of the process, you can engage people in the organization, together with relevant customers if possible, to draw up an initial map by talking through the steps and stages involved for customers in achieving their objectives. This must be done from the viewpoint of the customer rather than based on what the organization is trying to achieve.
Step 2: Identify the Journey Steps
Capture the major journey steps—not every element of the process, just the key points associated with customer interactions. It may be useful to write them on Post-it Notes, then arrange the major journey steps in chronological order, discussing and challenging the recorded order frequently to ensure you have the sequence correct.
Keep it simple. Ideally, map no more than approximately six journey steps. If your customer journey is longer, break it down into a series of shorter journeys, each with its own map. Be clear about the start and end points, linking any series of shorter journeys together clearly where necessary. Be sure to record the service channels that people use at each step as well.
Step 3: Identify the Touch Points
Each step on a customer journey can include one or more touch points, and these should be recorded. Include the interactions that are important for the customer, not forgetting that some may not involve human contact. For example, a customer may have a physical interaction simply by entering a building, or a remote interaction can take place by receiving an e-mail.
Step 4: Record Peoples’ Actions, Feelings, Thoughts, and Reactions
For each step of the journey, while taking the customer’s viewpoint, write down what they do and how they think and feel. Write this in the everyday language that customers use, using actual comments from customers where possible. Also note positive and negative emotional outcomes experienced by staff. Use a range of words to record what people’s emotions are and how strongly they are felt. Using emotive words helps to bring the mapping to life.
Step 5: Moments of Truth
Finally, discuss and review the whole customer journey and identify the moments of truth—the touch points that are agreed to be the most critical in forming the customer’s views about the journey and the organization. They are the key points in the journey where customers may pause and evaluate the experience, or make a crucial decision. Encourage your team to be discriminating, avoiding the temptation to label every touch point as a moment of truth.
One of the biggest challenges facing companies when they want to become customer focused is that their own organization is based around functional silos. This is not only noticeable to customers as they are passed from function to function looking for service, but also to companies themselves, either when they look to improve customer experience or to implement change based around customer feedback. A customer wants to experience an organization that provides a single, seamless journey from initial inquiry right through to post-sales support. Customer journey mapping is a good approach to overcoming these barriers.
Customer journey mapping contributes to continuous improvement in an organization. However skilled and customer-aware your customer-facing people are, and however well designed and efficient your processes, if customers’ experiences are poor, then your organization’s customer relationships will suffer. Customer journey mapping enables an organization to focus on removing barriers for customers and allows you to improve service delivery to become a predictable (and positive!) service provider.
What are your thoughts on the customer journey mapping process? Is it something you have done or will do? Share your experience in the comments.