Albert Whitley, Director of Experience Design at The Hartford, led an interactive discussion on mapping the customer journey at the 2018 Customer Experience Leadership Forum: Creating Experiences for the Hyper-Connected Customer in New York on October 4. The interactive discussion, titled “Best Practices for Mapping the Customer Journey,” offered insights into what it takes to create journey maps that deliver meaningful results.
Organizations sometimes use journey maps to analyze all aspects of the customer journey. These maps enable organizations to understand how to effectively engage customers and foster long-lasting partnerships with them. Plus, journey maps often help organizations realize the full value of customer partnerships.
With journey maps, organizations can analyze “shared value,” according to Whitley. Discovering the shared value between an organization and its customers is pivotal, as it enables an organization to identify ways to improve its customer experiences.
“At the end of the day, we’re talking about shared value between both the customer and the business,” Whitley pointed out. “Shared value is a mutual exchange … and from a customer standpoint, we want to think about convenience and the ease of doing business.”
Journey maps also can help an organization analyze customer emotion.
Merely provide customers with products and services and assessing the bottom-line results associated with these offerings is insufficient. Instead, organizations must understand customer sentiment to find out why consumers may choose to interact with one brand over another.
However, analyzing customer sentiment is exceedingly difficult, regardless of the data collection and analysis tools available to an organization. But if an organization uses journey maps, it is well-equipped to understand the link between customer sentiment and revenue generation.
“It may be difficult to measure customer emotion, but we need to think about how we convert premium value around emotional activities to actually generate revenue for a company,” Whitley indicated.
Journey maps can help an organization realize the full value of customer data, too.
In some instances, organizations collect massive amounts of customer data from a wide range of sources. But not all of this data is created equal. And if an organization cannot obtain actionable insights from its customer data sets, it risks missing out on meaningful insights that could lead to revenue growth.
Thanks to journey mapping, an organization can obtain customer data and use it to understand how customers engage with a brand at each stage of the customer journey. A journey map may even help an organization discover ways to prevent customers from switching from one brand to another.
“Rich customer data is so important to your business, and if customers leave your business, you need to think about ways to win them back,” Whitley noted.
For organizations that want to boost their customer loyalty and retention levels, journey maps may prove to be exceedingly valuable as well.
A journey map helps an organization understand the stages a consumer takes to become a customer, along with the steps that he or she may take to switch to an organization’s rivals. As such, an organization can use a journey map to assess its customer relationships and identify and address customer issues before they escalate.
“Sometimes, a business will break up with a customer for whatever reason. And sometimes, a customer will break up with a business for whatever reason,” Whitley stated. “We have to think about all of the stages [in a business-customer relationship] to uncover what has happened between a business and a customer.”
As organizations search for innovative ways to improve their customer experiences, journey maps may deliver exceptional results. Journey maps allow organizations to eliminate the complexities commonly associated with evaluating customer experiences. Therefore, organizations can use journey maps to review and improve their customer experiences faster and more effectively than ever before.
“[Customer] experiences are becoming much more complex, and customers now have the ability to move quickly and go to another business at any point in time,” Whitley said.
Deploying journey maps may seem complicated, but using these maps can deliver immediate and long-term benefits for an organization and its customers.
Digital technologies now make it simple for organizations to integrate journey maps into their day-to-day operations. These technologies empower organizations to seamlessly collect and analyze a broad assortment of customer data. Also, digital technologies can help an organization gain unparalleled insights into customer sentiment and explore ways to consistently improve its customer experiences.
“Journey mapping helps us uncover [customers’] thoughts and feelings and document them so that we can figure out what’s happening in that moment that creates stickiness … and find ways to minimize friction,” Whitley noted.
Perhaps best of all, journey maps can help an organization find the best ways to match or exceed customer expectations. They may enable an organization to use customer experiences to differentiate itself from the competition – something that could help an organization drive ongoing revenue growth and customer satisfaction.
“Opportunities can be impacted by a pain point, but you can also pivot that pain point into a ‘wow’ moment,” Whitley pointed out.
Visit Argyle Executive Forum's Customer Experience Leadership Dinner: Customer Service 2020: Are you ready for the Next Era of Customer Service? in Philadelphia, PA on Feb 26, 2019