Who is in the Driver’s Seat of Your Customer Experience Journey?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Have you ever noticed that the first time you travel to someplace the journey seems longer than any of the subsequent trips using the same route?   Well, you are not alone.  Several studies have shown that the “return trip effect” is real. These same studies offer varying reasons why first-time journeys to our destinations take longer. Some of those reasons include expectations and route familiarity.

In my case, I am typically so focused on getting to the new destination; I miss the reasons why the journey took so long in the first place. Many times a change in direction is required because you took a wrong turn when trying to reach your destination. How many times have you heard “recalculating route” while trying to get to your destination?  Further complicating the journey are the intricate highway and road designs that can be confusing even for the most sophisticated GPS systems.

Similarly, customer journey mapping is a road trip that takes longer the first time around.  It is a complex maze of different routes that has a starting point (current process), a map - indicating the end-to-end customer journey, and the knowledge of what happens to the client along the route. The value of understanding what happens to the client along the way cannot be understated. It is critical to understand the client’s journey and then design a route that creates a great experience for them, and that supports your company’s mission. 

One study predicted that 60% of large organizations will have in-house customer journey mapping capabilities by 2018.  So what is Customer Journey Mapping and why is it so hard to implement?  One definition states “A customer journey map is a diagram or several diagrams, that depict the stages that customers go through in interacting with a company, from buying products online, to accessing customer services on the phone, to airing grievances on social media.”

Designing a great experience for a client as they travel through the many touchpoints within your company is difficult for many reasons, including; understanding client expectations, your familiarity with the route, and where a client begins the journey.  Knowing where each client’s journey begins is important to creating a customized and effective journey. The word journey signifies movement; mapping the movement makes the journey personal and moves the customer through a more authentic experience. 

The driver’s experience (customer) should always be at the core of customer journey mapping.  Journey mapping should be used with other tools and strategies to make the ride experience seamless and to gain more traction when the roads are wet, slick, and bumpy.  

Jim Kalbach in his book, “Mapping Experiences,” states that there are some comprehensive things to consider in the customer mapping experience which include:

1.    Frame the effort clearly up front.  Determine the point of view, scope, focus, and structure of the diagram, as well as how you intend to use it.

2.    Identify the various touchpoints in the system, as well as critically charged points, called moments of truth.

3.    Focus on creating value.  Use the diagram to improve and to innovate your offering and your business.

The customer-journey map is one of many tools used to understand the behavior of clients. Using this tool requires planning and design given the hundreds of different approaches that can be employed to help us understand the customer’s expectations.  A good journey map provides a better understanding of the route clients take and the experiences they have when doing business with us and helps to “drive” company growth.

Need to learn how to create relationships instead of transactions and design a great experience map for your customer’s journey.  Join us for the next Mini-MBA: Customer Centric Management program March 27-31, 2017.

See you on the road.

TAGS: Customer Journey Customer-Centric Management Executive Education GPS Mini-MBA Vickie Anderson