Yesterday I co-hosted a journey mapping webinar with our partner J.D.Power. We got a ton of great questions from the attendees, but didn’t have time to answer them all on the call. But good news: I’ve answered them all here! You’ll find them grouped them into four categories: general questions, how to get started, types of journey maps, and our journey mapping process.
Do you ever teach a company to develop these skills internally?
Absolutely! We believe that you can’t outsource a great customer experience. That’s why our entire approach to journey mapping is geared towards helping your employees develop the skills they need to continue your organization’s efforts. We also hold open enrollment and single-company training courses.
How have you been able to overcome the silo mindset to get the full value out of the journey mapping exercises?
Customers’ goals and tasks don’t fit neatly into one bucket in your org chart, but span multiple departments and channels—so customer journeys are inherently cross-functional. The work required to understand the current-state journey and create seamless journeys in the future requires the involvement of people from multiple silos. Most of our clients look for “friendlies” in other departments, channels, or lines of business who are interested in getting involved and will evangelize what they’ve learned within their parts of the organization. As a result, we’ve seen that journey mapping quite naturally improves cross-silo communication and collaboration.
You mentioned a regression analysis that showed that journeys are better predictors than individual touchpoints of customer satisfaction and likelihood to recommend. How was that calculated?
That data came from McKinsey. You can find more information about their research my blog post entitled Why You Need To Measure Journeys—Not Just Touchpoints. You can also look at the original report from McKinsey, but it honestly doesn’t offer any additional detail.
Customer journey mapping tends to be very expensive. Any suggestions or best practices around a journey mapping “light”?
Part of the reason that we hold workshops with customers is that we’ve found it to be the most time- and cost-effective to (in)validate your internal hypotheses. Some companies try to minimize the time or cost of their journey mapping efforts by skipping this step entirely and moving forward with decisions and change initiatives based solely on their internal assumptions. Learn more about why we highly discourage this approach in my post entitled Hypothesis Journey Maps: Necessary AND Dangerous.
How To Get Started
In which phase of an initiative or transformational program should you start mapping customer journeys?
At the very start! Over the years, I’ve had multiple prospective clients get excited about improving their customer experience—and then postpone their journey mapping initiatives because they first need to “prioritize defining the business requirements” or because they’re about to “embark on a major org change.” This approach always leaves me scratching my head. While these types of initiatives may make leaders feel as if they’re moving the company forward, the lack of customer input puts their decisions and change management efforts at high risk. You can read more about my view on this in my blog post entitled, Which Comes First: Big Business Decisions OR Customer Experience?
Based on your banking work, which line of business would be the easiest to start with to help introduce journey mapping? Related: How would you recommend starting journey mapping for a municipal government?
There’s no single “best” place to start. My advice for anyone in any industry is to select a journey that’s:
- Important to your customers—and that you know is causing headaches for them.
- Important to your organization—and has the potential for you to demonstrate meaningful business results that the organization will actually care about.
- Is rooted in one or more departments in which you can find a champion for project—someone who will be directly involved and will help you evangelize the effort.
Would it be wise to start our journey mapping efforts department by department?
Actually, I’d suggest directly the opposite. Choose a journey that’s complex enough to span multiple departments, functions, channels, or lines of business. Many (most?) customer goals or tasks span multiple silos, and it’s the process and communication gaps between these silos that cause trouble for customers.
What would you say are common pitfalls when doing the journey mapping process?
Here are a few of the common pitfalls we’ve found:
- Assuming customers won’t want to come to your journey mapping workshop. Every single client we’ve worked with—both B2C and B22—has had a panic moment when they fear no one will show up for the research. But I promise: Your customers will feel honored that you’re taking the time to listen to them.
- Using internal language on your journey maps. Using words like “awareness” or “onboarding” on your journey maps reinforces the internal point of view and makes it harder to empathize with customers.
- Listing possible solutions on your journey maps. It’s tempting to want to solve customers’ pain points right away. But when you include possible solutions on your map, you’re indicating to others in your organization that the problem has been solved and there’s really nothing left for them to do. Your maps will have a much longer shelf life—and be more broadly adopted—if you leave the door open for others to suggest their own solutions.
Other end of the spectrum: What have you found to be best practices across the board, regardless of industry?
Here are two of the best practices we’ve found:
- Co-create your maps with your fellow (cross-functional) colleagues. Including people from across your organization creates the spark of customer-centric cultural change—and increases the likelihood that your journey mapping efforts will actually result in improved customer experiences.
- Co-create with your customers. You absolutely should not move forward with customer experience improvement efforts unless you’ve heard directly from customers about what their pain points are, what they need, and what they expect as they’re doing business with you.
Type of Journey Maps
How is a current-state hypothesis journey map different from a current-state process map?
Process maps typically show internal processes—what various parts of your organization do to accomplish something. The current state hypothesis map shows what your organization assumes customers are doing, thinking, and feeling as they try to accomplish a goal. I’ve never seen a process map that includes emotions. 😉
Do the day-In-the-life journey maps include customer interactions with other products/companies? Or just with our company?
Yes! That’s that main difference between a current-state map and a day-in-the-life map. Current-state maps primarily include customer interactions with your organization, although we also include other touchpoints (like a Google search or a conversation with a family member) if they’re relevant to the goal the customer is trying to achieve. In contrast, a day-in-the-life map tracks what customers are doing (in some relevant context) regardless of whether they’re interacting with your organization. For example, a large medical equipment manufacturer mapped the daily activities of radiologists as they went about their work.
Can you explain a little more about how day-In-the-life maps help organizations to innovate?
By looking at customers’ pain points in their daily lives, you’re able to identify areas where you’re not currently offering a solution—but potentially could be. These unserved pain points are ripe for the development of a new, revenue-generating product or service.
Our Journey Mapping Process
When you have millions of customers, how do you determine who would be best to bring into a journey mapping workshop with 20 – 25 customers?
Start with you existing customer segmentation. Is there a customer profile that represents a large percentage of your customers? Or perhaps there’s a profile that represents a smaller, but more profitable group? Or a group, like millennials, that may not be your largest or most profitable customer group today, but may be tomorrow? Define the characteristics that define they key segments, and then recruit customers for your workshop who fit that description.
How do you suggest finding the 20% of the journeys that make up 80% of the value?
You want to identify the journeys that are most closely aligned with your business objectives. Here are some examples of business objectives and related:
- Grow your customer base: Learning about and buying your offering
- Increase customer loyalty: Onboarding (customers’ first impression of your brand after purchasing) and/or ongoing use and maintenance of your offering
- Reduce the cost to serve: Any journey that contributes significantly to your contact center volume, like resolving a billing issue
It sounds like your research includes lots of in-person 1:1s, or perhaps dyads/triads. Can it be done via chat room or bulletin board focus groups in the initial (discovery) phase?
Yes. We typically do 1:1 phone interviews and then recruit customers to participate in groups of 3 or 4 during our customer workshops. We find that these individual and small group settings allow us to most effectively listen to each customer’s stories and ask relevant follow-up questions. But if you’re not able to do that for any reason and have access to a chat room type service, then you could potentially do the research that way. My main concern with that approach is your customers’ tolerance/willingness for typing in the amount of detail that we’re typically gathering when customers talk to us during our interviews and workshop.
Do you recommend doing a current and future state journey map exercise together?
Yes! In our customer (in)validation workshops, we typically have customers map out their recent experiences and then ask them to tell us what their idea experience would look like. However, when they map their future journeys, they’ll often ask for things that the organization simply can’t (or just isn’t prepared to) implement. So our primary goal with this future state mapping exercise is to understand why they’re asking for something—what’s the underlying need or expectation? Then we use this information to better inform our current-state journey maps. When we’re ready to create actual future-state journey maps, we do this as an internal cross-functional exercise based on everything we’ve learned about what customers want and need AND what the company can/will actually do.
How do you typically validate the customer workshop findings with quantitative data?
One way to do this is by looking at your existing data. For example, financial data about customers’ shopping habits or operational data from your contact center may be able to confirm (or dispute) a finding uncovered in the customer workshop. But our primary way to validate the workshop findings is to send a survey out to a statistically significant number of target customers.
Is there a template that you typically go to—or does it depend on the topic being mapped?
All of our journey maps are based on a template that includes a definition of the customer persona who’s going through that particular journey, the main phases of the journey, the steps the customers takes during each phase, a description of what the customer needs or expects at each step, what channel the customer is using at each step, the journey line (up is good, down is bad), supporting quotes from our research, and supporting quantitative data points. Of course, we modify all of these details based on the specific journey we’re mapping.
Is there any special software your company uses for journey mapping?
Nope. We typically create our journey maps in Adobe Illustrator. But we also have a PowerPoint template that we use if our clients want to be able to create or update the maps themselves. You can download that template here. (It’s FREE!) There are journey mapping software tools out there, but we prefer Illustrator and PowerPoint for their flexibility in helping us visualize a compelling story.
In agile world, many business needs are changing rapidly. So, how frequently we should revisit these journeys to remain relevant?
Think about updating your journey maps like you think about going to the dentist. You go to the dentist every six months (I hope!) for a cleaning. Similarly, you should check your journey maps every six months to see if anything has changed. But you also go to the dentist if you experience a trigger event, like a toothache or chipped tooth. Your business also has trigger events for you to re-examine your journey maps. Internal triggers might include a change in corporate strategy or opening a new contact center. External triggers might include the introduction of a new technology (like the iPad), a stock market crash, or any other event that might change people’s expectations and behavior.
Wow, you read this far? You’re a superstar!