Let’s face it, for the past few years, understanding customer journeys has become more and more like squaring the circle for many companies, often disarmed in order to address the complexity or hyper volatility of the subject, or to define the limits. How to ignore or underestimate the impacts linked to the phenomena of hyper fragmentation and unpredictability of the customer journey?
In this era marked by the generalization of omnichannel and the experience economy, we can only note the propensity of customers to use a multiplicity of channels, applications and points of contact in order to interact with brands, distributors and increasingly marketplaces. To this must be added social networks, instant messaging tools, chatbots, forums, cashback sites, dropshipping … Not to mention the reinvention of physical commerce under the impetus of phygital.
These subjects are far from unknown and we have already discussed them extensively. However, while it is important to master the customer experience, the latter does not follow the same pattern as the customer journey as such. Where experience offers a global vision through a holistic approach that feeds on interactions and feelings at each point of contact, the customer journey has much more vocation to address a more targeted problem and to act for example on a Well-known customer “irritant” or a dysfunctional process.
All the more reason to be interested.
Why map the customer journey?
The mapping of the customer journey provides a visual illustration of the processes, needs and perceptions of customers throughout their interactions and their relationship with a company.
It allows to structure interactions, processes, decisions in an environment often atomized or in silos. We often know the starting point, the intermediate stages but the positive outcome of the journey and the creation of common value for the customer as well as for the brand have yet to be determined or invented depending on the possibilities. Some iterations can produce long-term results quickly and other iterations sometimes face an impasse or the need to reallocate resources and investments in a meaningful way.
Mapping the customer journey allows you to optimize your resources to work more efficiently. We know what customers’ expectations are, when and how to meet them. Now that hyper-personalization has become the norm, mastering your career also allows you to master your marketing, organizational and commercial levers thanks in particular to good use of data.
The customer journey allows you to:
- Better understand lived experiences : to identify problems and opportunities for the client;
- Re-design these experiences : to rethink existing processes and create the conditions for transformation;
- Implement these experiences: to make an omnichannel journey concrete ;
- Communicate on experiences : to formalize, train, share and capitalize on this knowledge at the level of the company and the teams concerned.
However, because it is anything but linear, most companies find it complicated, even discouraging, to embark on this type of approach. In the past, the customer journey relied heavily on the intuition of a single service – often marketing, who did not always know the end customer or user well.
If things are moving slowly, and marketing now tends to avoid too much isolation, the reality is that the customer journey still depends on different services. It is the classic elevator syndrome that prevents efficient communication and makes this analytical work difficult. Since each department, service or business unit has part of the truth, it can take a lot of effort to put it together and provoke heated debates internally.
And it is precisely to avoid these bogged down phenomena in too partisan or erroneous interpretations that this mapping can reveal its usefulness. The information will be shared between departments and used wisely by all the key players on the route. Enough to work in better collaboration to create useful synergies for the benefit of all.
How to map a customer journey?
We need to identify the interactions that can be initiated by the client or the company (inbound or outbound contact). Each step is associated with an interaction channel (website, social networks, email, telephone, sms, chat, etc.) to form a point of contact.
For each point of contact, you must know:
- What customers think and feel;
- What they need most;
- What is their main objective (why are they there?);
- How they interact or have interacted at each point of contact.
You should know that there is not a single typical route, but dozens of routes. Wanting to list them exhaustively is then illusory. Because what matters, beyond better understanding the decision-making levers, is above all to use the data to optimize this journey, limit friction points and irritants.
Successfully embarking on this process relies on the need to clearly define the problem (s) associated with the persona and the career paths and to carry out working hypotheses before embarking on the often euphoric approach that of ideation.
What methodology should be adopted to map the customer journey?
First step: define your environment
This involves working on personas, brand territory, positioning of the company, taking into account major technological trends (mobility, approach cross-device, etc.) and societal (use of social networks, importance of the environmental impact, etc.).
This is the stage where we try to build an overall vision that goes beyond the simple framework of the company.
Step two: assess
The goal is to define its moment of truth: what attitudes are sought, what behaviors can impact the customer journey? What will be the goal of the customer journey? Do we want to gain more profitability? Streamline internal processes? Differentiate yourself from the competition?
A customer journey that delivers the expected value is above all a journey subject to the sanction of “reality check”: technological realism, effective desirability for the consumer and financial viability. This technological realism is, of course, one of our specialties and two fundamental trends should be noted: the phenomenon of “platformization” of technological means, and openness and interoperability with external ecosystems
Third step: explore
It is necessary to clarify the needs and objectives of clients. What are the emotions felt? Why ? How to transform a transaction or an interaction into a positive experience? This could include redesigning a customer portal, a new billing system, or faster processing of support requests.
Fourth step: propose
You have to imagine the desired transformation and build the structure of the course with work focused on CX Design. This involves thinking about the challenges of innovation that can accompany the customer experience, such as customer support, complementary services, personalized content, etc.
Step five: design a new experience
You just have to validate the feasibility of your new customer journey. This work is based on hypotheses that you will be able to confirm or deny as new interactions are deployed with the important contact points.
Mapping the customer journey is an interesting exercise for more than one reason. It allows you to audit and analyze the flow of physical and / or digital interactions and the existing customer experience in order to identify the points of friction likely to generate frustration. It is an exercise that requires a transversal vision and that can lead to more collaboration and internal innovation.
Finally, it is also a business-oriented tool whose objective consists in controlling or reducing the “cost of service” or commercial costs in order to improve the operating margin of the company without degrading the perceived quality of the customer experience.
If you liked this article, we invite you to discover our resources to build your customer journey.