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Best practice in Customer Journey Mapping

Best practice in Customer Journey Mapping

All too often Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) is constrained to the customer’s online journey and even then may only be the journey from entering your website through to the point of sale. However, creating true business success from CJM can only be achieved by considering the customer’s entire journey and that means looking across six areas of impact:

  • Customer -> Emotional Need/Buying Process
  • Culture -> Cross-functional integration around customer-centricity
  • Content -> Communication that is critical to sustaining an intentional journey
  • Applications -> Enable the delivery of experience and content
  • Insights -> Assess the performance and refine
  • Data -> The backbone underlying the entire journey

success

If any one of these is missed there will be a significant impact on the success of the project:

Customer -> Emotional Need/Buying Process

confusion

The start point of any customer journey mapping exercise is the customer. Seems like this would be obvious, but this does not mean just testing the process and the connections as a customer would. It means understanding what the customer is thinking, feeling and doing. What do they need? What is driving them? Best practice in CJM therefore means that we need to consider the customers “narrative” all the way through the process. The customer’s narrative is the expression of what they are thinking, feeling or doing in their words. For example “I need to buy a new car in order to cater for my growing family”. To create the best journey possible it has to be driven by the customer’s narrative. Without the customer’s narrative the customer journey maps will be product and process focused which will lead to confusion for the customer.

Culture -> Cross-functional integration around customer-centricity

anxiety

The brand needs to live and breathe the customer. This means understanding their needs, wants and behaviours and is not constrained to a social demographic profile. This is your culture of the customer. It should cut across everything you do. It means that every function within your organisation plays a part in the customer’s journey. To create truly integrated maps then each function embrace a customer culture and understand the part that they play in the customers’ narrative.

Content -> Communication that is critical to sustaining an intentional journey

disorientation

Content is the glue that will help the customer navigate through the journey. It should reflect the customers’ narrative and be informing and entertaining whilst driving them towards the goal of the journey. Too often content is created from a content strategy that is little more than a subject area that the brand wants to discuss; often described as a content pillar. While the customer may like the content and engage with it, that does not mean they will do anything with you commercially because the content does not guide them forward on a journey.

Applications -> Enable the delivery of experience and content

frustration

Applications and tools are crucial to making sure that we can design, create and deliver the right experience and content at the right time to the right customer. There is not a one-size-fits-all for this. The applications that you will need will vary by your brand requirements but also there is simply not one platform that can do everything that you may require. You will require a stack of applications that can integrate throughout the customers’ journey. Key to getting this right is making sure that the customer’s experience is consistent across each of these applications and this means integrating the customer journey as part of the implementation of any application. If the applications cannot do this you will be frustrated with the experience you can deliver and your customer will be frustrated by the experience they receive.

Data -> The backbone underlying the entire journey

debacle

Core to any customer relationship improvement is data and today you would think that most brands have a lot of data, but that is not necessarily the case. The challenge is that as people we are constantly changing which means the data about us is also changing. For example, in the B2B space your job title is a vital piece of information but that is probably the most changeable data item that we have as individuals. The trick is to be able to capture, monitor and update the data that allows us as brands to understand what journey you are likely to be on and then personalise it for you. Clearly, data feeds insights but it is making sure that we understand it as a constantly changing mass and not as being finite at any point that is really important. Without the right approach to data everything else falls apart and your customer journey mapping project will become a debacle.

Insights -> Assess the performance and refine

aimless

Building your customer journey maps is driven by the Insight that you have about your customers and their behaviour. If you start from a position where there is not much insight available then the important thing to do is to test and learn to gather the insight as quickly as possible. You do this by creating a hypothesis as to who your customers are and what they want and then see what content is consumed/journeys taken based on this hypothesis. You can then start to adjust the journeys as you learn more. On the other hand you may be in the situation where you have enormous amounts of insight and it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. In this case it is about filtering the insight that you need to construct your maps.

Approach

To protect against these pitfalls you need an approach for implementing CJM that integrates all of this within one methodology. A dedicated project team is a must to drive through the change across multiple areas and this will involve bringing in external help. The case for doing this is that the external help will have specialised skills, a methodology for delivery, technology and systems to deliver and innovation that you might not otherwise find internally. At TIMI we have all of this and we are ready to help you get started on your Customer Journey Mapping. Get in touch here to discuss your project.