I am often asked about what tools I use to facilitate a customer strategy in an organisation. And one of my greatest tools is the Customer Journey Map. A Customer Journey Map is one of the greatest tools organisations can use to communicate valuable customer insights and identify opportunities for growth by delivering a superior customer service across the business. But how many organisations are doing them correctly and are they really driving customer priorities.
The new “Good Different” Aldi commercial with the female customer riding and performing tricks on the Aldi trolley is a great acknowledgment of one of the biggest pain points with the food retailer – having to pay for trolleys and return them to get your coin back. The very thought of having to find a coin is enough to turn me from the door and head across the way for my local Woolworths or Coles, but clearly not the others that have voted Aldi as the top retailer three years in a row (Aldi claim). Turning the pain point into a clear message communicating the joy your get from your experience at Aldi (overall) despite the one drawback that customers don’t like. So trying to change the emotional response to a negative experience – will it improve the customer experience – I’d like to know. Clearly the feedback was strong enough for Aldi to address it and try to alter customer perceptions. (Not that I need a commercial to get me trying tricks on my Woolworths, Coles or IGA trolleys – correct I have no loyalty).
A change in emotional motivators of members, a platform nuisance, a break down in a sales funnel process aligning to the customer journey, drop in adoption rates of a technology product, a change in consumer behaviour of a product, the pain point of a huge segment – are all opportunities found by organisations conducting customer journey maps. The opportunities are endless in designing and delivering a superior customer experience, in driving innovative products, in engaging a workforce.
Done correctly, Customer Journey Maps (CJMs) are a great tool to align organisational departments around the customer. They challenge organisations to walk in the path of their customers, to define key personas within segments and to leave the company BS behind. They are instrumental in identifying opportunities for business growth.
However, many customer journey maps are full of assumptions instead of clearly articulated customer insights gathered from actual customers. Customer insights are critical to designing and implementing a successful customer experience programs.
Organisations are quick to jump into identifying touch-points throughout the organisation without deliberately and carefully breaking the customer journey down by key phases (determined by the customers needs and key objective). When customer journey maps focus on individual interactions rather than on a customer’s entire journey, they often fail to provide a complete picture of a customer’s experience with the company (to the detriment of the whole organisation).
Customer Journey Maps are not a set and forget. Like your marketing and business plans they should be reviewed on an annual basis, updated with customer insights and continually shared throughout the organisation.
So what are some key CX governance rules around developing our Customer Journey Map? Working across industries in facilitating customer centric strategies in organisations, 6peas has identified the following strategies to gain the most out of your Customer Journey Maps.
- Organisational Alignment – not unlike the key pillar of developing a customer centric organisation, it is critical that organisations gain involvement and agreement across all silos within the organisation to the key priority the Customer. As an example, at team meetings a discussion is usually held with each department outlining their key priorities, actions and projects and then link it to delivering customer value. At 6peas, we strive to have the discussion around the Customer Journey and the impacts of the group and across departments around the customer’s key objectives within the identified phase of the customer journey ie for online students looking at the enrolment process for students which involves billing, sales, IT, marketing, and legal. Challenges in this stage include removing the organisational jargon and view points,arguments over terminology or definitions, conflicting KPIs, and lack of buy-in.
Customer Insights – importantly and rather obviously, it is critical that actual customer insights drive the information within the customer journey map. Too many CJMs have been created with assumptions from across the organisation, instead of actually mining data across the organisation – help desks, surveys, social media, CRMs,complaints, IT platforms, and sales. One of the outcomes from the CJM is often the necessity for further research to fill gaps in customer insights and to validate insights captured. In this case driving paths for listening to customer feedback is critical. One of the greatest outcomes of the Customer Journey Map is that we are able to identify the large number of insights that are being gathered across the organisation. Often the biggest challenge is to be able to gain actionable insights from the data that has been collected.
Customer Journey Measurement – Within each customer journey, key performance indicators need to be identified to measure the impact of activities and drive continuous improvements. Ensuring that conversations are being held around customer losses, customer acquisition,net promotor score benchmarks, lifetime value of customers are important indicators within customer strategy. However, at each phase of the customer journey there may be additional metrics to consider in relation to delivering value for customers. There will be performance indicators around priority touch points. These measurements should hold teams accountable to experience stages instead of silo efforts.Depending on the experience you want the customer to have you will have different KPIs but overall you want the overall organisational goal to be about delivering a great customer experience and increasing the loyalty benchmark.
Customer Journey Engagement – communicating a simple roadmap, identifying stages, touch points and customer priorities by stage. Sharing insights and improvements with the entire organisation is critical. Sharing insights across the organisation and capturing it in ways that allow customers to have a personalised experience. It’s important to have leaders in the organisation provide constant communication on the actions being taken and why. Equally important is that the journey maps are updated and customer insights are continually being shared with employees and how their individual actions supported the overall customer goals.
Turning Customer Journeys into Actions – Using the insights from customer journey maps, strategic business priorities will start to be formalised. Identifying lifetime value of customers and understanding the greatest opportunities, costs of implementation and potential growth will allow priorities to drive greater performance. Successful leaders advocate prioritising five to seven priorities at a time. Importantly, it is not necessary that you wait until everything is perfect before you start taking action even if you have to record it in rudimentary systems to begin. What is important is empowering your front line and linked the great results to their individual actions so everyone shares the rewards of delivering great customer service.
Master the strategic initiatives to achieving best practice when creating your customer journey map. Done correctly this is one of the most important tools an organisation can utilise to communicate customer insights, gain strategic alignment throughout the organisation, create key strategic initiatives that will drive growth.
6peas is a marketing and engagement consultancy specialising in customer strategy. We partner with organisations to identify their next big growth strategy – their customers. 6peas works with organisations to create “sharable experiences” with customers, employees and partners to deliver a superior customer service and outperform competitors. 6peas works with c-suite, middle management and boards to design a customer centric framework around 6 key pillars – leadership, customer, brand, employees, culture, and governance.
Carolyn Grant is the founder and managing director of 6peas marketing and engagement. With a passion for delighting customers and business improvement, Carolyn has found the way to facilitate change with Australian businesses. Carolyn has a broad range of industry experience in Health, Retail, E-commerce, Utilities, Banking and Finance, Professional Services and Education and Training.