5 tenets of customer journey mapping

With the rise of customer experience as a boardroom imperative, Australian companies have embraced the concept of “journey mapping” to experience both the pleasure and pain of what it’s like to be a customer.

Developing a journey map involves laying out the experience a customer has with a company across multiple interactions or touchpoints, all with the purpose of achieving a goal (e.g. buying a product). Journey maps come in many different forms, but often include a visual representation of the experience of the customer, along with their emotions at every step of their journey, any critical data available, and in some cases the internal processes that support the journey.

Here are 5 areas to focus on when undertaking journey mapping. 

What to include in the map

The first question to ask is what to include in the customer journey map. By definition, a journey map covers an end to end experience for a customer. However, trying to cover every touchpoint in the lifecycle from the time a customer first finds out about a company, through buying, onboarding, using a product or service, getting help, paying and renewing, can be an overwhelming exercise, and one that can mean the important details are missed. Instead, it’s often better to focus on key parts of the journey – “moments that matter” – and map out that in detail to understand the opportunities for improvement.

Moments that matter

“Moments that matter” are the critical points in the journey such as when:

  1. a)the customer is making a key decision
  2. b)the customer is making comparison to other products
  3. c)there are high emotional impacts
  4. d)it is the first time use of a product or service.

Identifying the correct moments that matter is very important, and the best way to do this is through direct interaction with customers as they use your product or service.

Understanding customer wants and needs

Customer journey maps are only as good as the information that goes into them. It’s not sufficient to run an internal stakeholders’ workshop and map out customers’ assumed emotions and priorities at each part of the journey, as too often these views are inputted by employees who think they know and understand their customers.

This approach is fraught with danger as often what employees think customers want and need is not at all the case. It’s therefore highly recommended to include a customer insights component in the journey mapping exercise. This can be done through market research, surveys, workshops or interviews to ensure the maps reflect the customers’ reality, not that of the inward-looking business.  

Current versus future state

Journey maps serve many purposes. They can be used to identify the “current” journey that customers experience with a company and its products or services, and any issues or improvements that can be made in that journey. They can also be used to map out a potential “future” journey that customers would experience if everything could be delivered seamlessly and perfectly to meet customers’ needs. Both views are beneficial, and in fact a hybrid approach is often best, mapping out the current situation, as well as a potential future state, and then identifying a program of work to close the gap between the two versions. 

Business improvement

There is little point in undertaking journey mapping if the results are just going to be shown on a pretty poster, or sit in someone’s drawer. Instead, journey mapping should be used a key driver of improvement activities across a business. The outputs of the journey maps, and particularly the improvements identified to move the customer experience from current to future state, should form the basis of a business improvement program. 
If businesses focus on the above items when undertaking customer journey mapping, they will be well on the way to driving better business and customer outcomes, and achieving success in the market.

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Last updated on: March 18, 2022