Customer Journey Mapping: How to Identify Breaks and Delays in Your Customer Journeys

Customer journey mapping is a key tool that will enable you to remove the breaks and delays that commonly blight customer journeys. However, the first question you must consider when examining how to identify those breaks and delays is – ‘what is your customer journey?’

The likelihood is that there is no simple answer to this question. Today, your customers will come to you through multiple channels, all with different needs and varying expectations.

While the ideal scenario for organisations would be to usher all customers down the low-cost digital self serve route, the reality is that some will inevitably require a more nurturing approach.

Regardless of whether your customers favour digital, traditional or hybrid channels, in the broadest possible terms all journeys share the same fundamental requirement. From the first point of contact, to the engagement process, right through to developing and maintaining a long-term relationship, it’s imperative that customer journeys are simple, easy and free of pain points.

The problem is that all too often, breaks and delays cause customers to become frustrated or even drop out of the process all together. So what should your organisation do?

Don’t run before you can walk. You may be tempted to dive head-first into trying to solve some of these issues. This enthusiasm is welcome, but in order to really benefit, it’s worth first ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of your current journey, your customers and their expectations, and how these all compare. In order to do this, you should create a customer journey map.

Why Customer Journey Mapping?

Journey mapping can help you see past the organisational silos and legacy systems that can prevent you from putting the customer at the heart of your journey.

By creating customer journey maps, you can highlight your customer’s journey through various touchpoints, their potential needs, and the emotions they might feel before, during and after their experience. Unlike customer personas or scenarios, they illuminate the flow of a customer journey, enabling you to pinpoint the significant moments when breaks and delays occur.

Journey mapping is an approach that has been proven to deliver results, both in terms of enhanced CX and on business objectives. 90% of companies that were using customer journey mapping said that their programmes were delivering a positive impact; increasing customer satisfaction, lowering churn, generating fewer customer complaints, and delivering higher Net Promoter Scores.

Step 1: Be Customer Centric

Journey maps that start from the perspective of a business will be fundamentally shaped by business systems, processes and people, with the customer secondary to these demands. But this is a mistake if the purpose of the exercise is to understand the gaps affecting the customer
journey.

To create a journey that works for your customer, your customer must be placed at the heart of it. You should identify their broad goals and priorities, which you can do by gathering relevant user research, including qualitative and quantitative findings. Accessible sources of this information might include interviews, surveys, complaints logs, web analytics.

At this stage it is also worth considering your buyer personas, since the expectations your distinct types of customer may have will differ according to many variables, for example how digitally savvy they are or whether they see human interaction as a positive or a negative.

As a starting point, it is usually best to pick a persona. If your journey map attempts to encompass all types of customer, this might mean you fail to understand any.

This is your chance to understand your customer’s mindset.
This phase is vital in adopting a customer-centric approach.

Step 2: Consider Channels and Touchpoints

Once you have identified who your customer is, and what their preferences are, the next step is to consider the stages they might pass through at various points in their journey.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask a series of questions, such as ‘how might I first interact with this company?’ or ‘what might I do if I encountered a problem?’, to generate a complete list of customer touchpoints.

Ensure that you are focusing on multiple, rather than single, touchpoints and how they relate to each other. A narrow focus on one specific touchpoint will only provide you with an in-depth understanding of that particular interaction rather than the whole customer journey.

Once you have identified all the various potential touchpoints, assign channels to them (including future channels you think your organisation might develop). For example, if ‘paying a bill’ is one of the touchpoints on a given customer journey, this could be conducted over telephony, via an app or on your website, so assign the appropriate channels to each touchpoint.

You should also take advantage of the analytics and data available to you. With the right tools, for example, it’s possible to generate behavioural flow reports from your website, so you can produce a visualisation of how a customer moves from one page to the next on their journey.

Consider your customer’s journey and understand the points they pass through.
Identify any gaps between channels and touchpoints.

Step 3: Consider your Customer’s Perspective

Whilst recognising the importance of being customer-centric is key at a strategic level, this alone isn’t enough to truly impact your customer experience. This focus should permeate all levels of an organisation, right down to the day-to-day service delivery, for you to see tangible benefits. One way of ensuring a customer-centric approach throughout the business, is by creating an empathy chart.

An empathy chart represents the ‘sensory quadrant’, i.e. what the customer is ‘thinking’, ‘seeing’, ‘doing’ and ‘feeling’. In a similar way to establishing a customer’s broad goals and priorities, you should look at specific points in the journey in order to understand what your customer is experiencing and what impact that is having on them.

Integrating this empathy chart into your customer journey map will enable you to better meet your customers’ specific needs.

For example, if a stage of the journey is identified as a ‘moment of truth’, i.e. a point that has a disproportionate impact on the customer’s experience as a whole, you can allocate appropriate resources to ensure the customer is satisfied and does not drop out of the process.

Your customer’s emotions and requirements should be at the heart of your journey map.
Illustrating them in this way will enable you to best identify the most important needs.

Step 4: Identify the Opportunity and Include
Key Performance Indicators

A successful CX strategy should not only enhance your customers’ experience, but also deliver measurable value to your organisation in terms of revenue or profitability.

One of the benefits of mapping your customer journey is that you can identify business opportunities, based on your customers’ perceptions of your company.

Using the correct measurements will help you assess your CX on both a touchpoint level and overall experience.

For example, you might want to include measurements on the average purchase size to assess how your strategy is impacting the up-selling of products, drop off rates at each stage to examine where customers are having difficulties, or conversion rates to see how the whole journey is working for customers.

Equally CX metrics, like Customer Effort Score or NPS, could also be included. The measures you record and include will enable you to determine the strength of your customer experience strategy both now and in the future, as well encourage stakeholders to make value-driven decisions based on a customer experience model.

Finally, you should note who is responsible for each stage or touchpoint in the customer journey. This could be on an individual level, as well as specifying teams or departments. At some stages in the customer journey, responsibility for particular touchpoints are shared or transferred between teams or individuals.

It is important to clearly establish how these transfers of responsibility should occur, as this will highlight which teams might benefit from closer collaboration and ensure there are no gaps in the journey that cause frustration for the customer.

Here’s your chance to identify the business benefits of your
CX programme and assign responsibility.

Step 5: Using Your Map

Before finalising your map, review and ensure the following:

It’s easy to read.

The best customer journey should work as a quick reference point, as well as providing a more in-depth analysis of a journey. You should take advantage of online tools that can digitise your map, enabling you to update it as and when your journey evolves.

It will be widely distributed.

From the boardroom right through to the front line, the vision for a transformed customer experience should be shared throughout the entire company.

However, it’s not enough to simply create and share the map if it’s not being used to drive action and decision making. Wherever possible, you should use it as a tool to compare your current and best possible performance, as well as a driver to reduce or eliminate the breaks and delays in your customer journeys.

Start small.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. When you first put your map to work, start by solving the problems that can be fixed the most easily and not necessarily those that will have the biggest impact on your customer journey. Transforming CX is an ongoing process and by generating smaller initial short-term wins, you’ll create a momentum that will set your CX strategy on the path towards being self-sustaining.

Who Should You Involve in Your Customer Journey Mapping?

So, you’ve looked at the steps and identified the breaks in your current customer journey and have agreed upon the changes that you’re going to make.

The next stage is to establish who needs to be onboard (and what their responsibilities are) in those important first few Customer Journey Workshops. Of course, it depends on the specific journey, but is likely to include an assortment of some, or all, of the people from the below departments:

Technology

The tech team may want to discuss hosting-related or security related issues or concerns, for example: can the customer journey work with the site’s existing functionality; are the tech touchpoints hosted on public cloud, private cloud, etc. Typical attendees would be from IT Security or IT Architecture.

Brand

The brand team is responsible for ensuring the design, including logos and text font, is all on-brand. They will want to ensure that all journey content aligns with the company’s brand guidelines and digital presence.

Compliance

The compliance team will want to make sure that all aspects of the customer journey are compliant and all boxes are ticked. For example: are you legally obliged to follow certain processes? Are all risks (terms and conditions) clear (in both wording and presentation), as it pertains to internal and external regulation?

Product Owners

This person will be responsible for ensuring that everyone has a clear understanding of the existing journey and, from a business perspective, that the new journey will work alongside other product journeys already in place. They are typically product owners for the particular journey under consideration.

Project Sponsor

Whilst the project sponsor is unlikely to be involved throughout the entire duration of the process, they’re the person who drives the project on behalf of your organisation. Typically, they will be the senior business owner for the area being considered e.g. Current Accounts, or Savings.

Procurement

The person responsible for the purchase of this project. Typically, when Vizolution are working with clients to map out their customer journeys, their Procurement team are present for the first or second engagement to get a better understanding of the upcoming delivery process.

In order to close the gaps that blight customer journeys, it’s imperative that organisations look to adopt the customer’s perspective. The exercise of journey mapping will help you build the foundational understanding and strategic insight necessary to begin an outside-in approach towards customer service.

Through journey mapping, you can build a framework focused on maximising the value of customer experience transformation programmes and deliver measurable results, both in terms of increased revenue and customer satisfaction.

With CX the new differentiator between rivals, inaction is no longer an option!

The content of this blog was taken from our eBook “The Ultimate Guide to CX Management in 2020”, click here to download the full eBook.


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