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Understanding the Customer Journey Ecosystem, Part 2: Mapping

By February 16, 2021 No Comments
February 16, 2021

For most companies, customer journey management involves a collection of siloed tools and processes that demand extensive resources and provide very little actionable insight, if any.

Enterprises tend to use a variety of different vendors, databases, and processes to try and understand customer journeys.

What they often lack is a single, unified view of a customer’s journey. Enterprises struggle to show how managing journeys can impact overall business objectives across channels.

Customer journey tools could include:

  • Analytics
  • Mapping
  • Orchestration
  • Actionable dashboard

Each of these tools can provide tremendous value when used in conjunction with the others, especially when they are enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Used alone or in isolation from other tools, their value is more limited.

By bringing these capabilities together into one centralized view of the customer journey, you create huge efficiencies of scale, reduce work, and achieve better ROI while enabling true journey intelligence.

First, we need to understand the customer journey ecosystem.

MAPPING

Journey mapping is the process of understanding the path your customers go through to accomplish a task and creating a visual representation of the desired path that you want your customers to experience.

Mapping should:

  • Incorporate customer needs, perceptions, actions, and touchpoints throughout their journey to accomplish a task.
  • Illuminate all possible customer journeys.
    Identify what journeys a company wants their customers to take and what journeys they actually take.
  • Identify previously unknown journeys.
  • Measure traffic for journeys taken.
  • Categorize and organize journeys.

Mapping a journey helps an enterprise create experiences from the customer’s point of view, while also aligning the company around the priority of improving those experiences.

Definition

Customer journey map: a diagram (or several diagrams) that depict the stages customers go through when interacting with a company, from buying products online to accessing customer service on the phone to airing grievances on social media. (source: Tech Target)

Advantages

Mapping allows us to represent the path we want our customers to take. Just embarking on the exercise of creating the maps often turns up efficiencies, improvements, and adjustments that have positive ROI.

Additionally, mapping helps rally all business units around a customer-centric perspective. Maps can be created with very little data, just by deciding what we want customers to do.

Limitations

While the ability to do mapping without a lot of data is an advantage, it’s also a disadvantage. When we do mapping based on instinct rather than observation, it’s just guesswork.

There is often a gap between what we intend for customers to do and what they actually do. We may intend for a customer to accomplish a task purely through self-service on digital channels, without realizing the friction that is causing them to abandon the website or mobile for costlier channels.

Maps can be made much more powerful when used in concert with analytics. Overlaying actual customer data onto the journey map allows companies to identify the reality of the journeys that customers are experiencing versus the preferred path. Without analytics, mapping exercises are just creative exercises.

When used in isolation, journey maps provide a fraction of their potential impact.