“Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.” While this wise quote may have come from the unlikely lips of Drake (award-winning hip-hop artist for the uninitiated), it couldn’t more accurately describe the importance of Customer Success (CS). In fact, it’s also a solid place to start answering the question of what is customer journey mapping.
If only we encountered more companies who embrace a similar mindset when it comes to knowing how customers experience their products and services. We would see impressive strides in customer engagement and customer retention.
However, so many businesses rely on reactive measures —when the actual goal should be identifying customer journey mapping tools and proactively defining what success looks like to customers at each stage of the customer lifecycle.
Put the “pro” in proactive
We can’t entirely blame teams within those companies though. There are times when you have to play the proverbial hand your dealt — from limited resources to tight budgets — but it is possible to overcome the stumbling blocks forcing them to rely on reactive data.
That said, it is possible to still go through the step-by-step exercise of understanding what your customer experiences at every turn.
But why? Because we said so! Actually, it’s a fair question. The simple answer is to create a blueprint for success to reap the following benefits:
- Acquire appropriate data to establish high-water marks
- Harness the power to constantly assess incoming data
- Justification to systematically and strategically advance your company
- Discipline to avoid random micro changes with minimal impact
- Freedom to flex resources to capitalize on opportunities and course correct
Overcoming stumbling blocks
The path to developing a customer journey map is littered with obstacles. Diving into a lifecycle exploration requires vision and drive. Just a few to watch out for along the way include information overload, analysis paralysis, and imbalance between planning and action.
Prioritizing your strategy is key, and journey maps help organizations enhance customer experience improvements.Answering some fundamental questions can clarify your prioritization process quickly:
- Which improvements have the biggest impact?
- Which improvements have the highest degree of complexity with the shortest/longest time to accomplish?
- What are the biggest obstacles to improve a process point?
- Where is the lifecycle performance weakest/strongest?
- Where are the gaps between what customers say and their behaviors?
Typically, when organizations take the time to ask tough questions, the results can be game changing. The areas of improvement often fall in two key buckets (1) lack of organizational alignment and (2) not ready or willing to face the brutal truth.
The customer journey map blueprint in four steps
Moving from reactive customer support to proactive customer experience isn’t easy.So take a candid assessment and follow a blueprint for getting started.
1. Promote organizational alignment:
Build a cross-functional team, with representatives from the groups that own sales/marketing, support, policies, operations, product development and other services that drive what the customer sees and experiences.
2. Confront the truth:
Uncover and activate the insights that haven’t been identified. Gather external research that’s relevant to your market. Interview customers, analyze data from your systems, and gather analytics on web traffic, and more.
3. Move from reactive to proactive:
Changing your core customer philosophy from reactive to proactive is the biggest obstacle your company will face. It’s also the one that bears the most fruit.
4. Put your company on the map:
The customer journey mapping process will spotlight organizational gaps, help you figure out where you need help and reveal growth and retention strategies you could never have discovered any other way. Gartner predicts that by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their enterprise relationships without human interaction. It’s time and resource intensive and corners just can’t be cut. But it’s the best way to put your company on the map.
Ready to embark on the customer-mapping journey? Download our white paper, Putting Your Customers (and Your Company) on the Map, to take a more in-depth look at what’s required to put your customer on the map and your company on the road to a better destination.