Journey Mapping the ESG Way

February 8, 2022

Marley Wagner

Category: Customer Retention, Customer Success as a Service, Customer Success Maturity, Customer Success Strategy, Customer Success Tools

Over the years, we’ve helped many of our clients build customer journey maps as part of our Customer Success as a Service® business model. We’ve developed a unique approach for collaboratively mapping the customer journey to create a finished product that CS teams can immediately put to work to improve the customer experience. I want to give you an inside look at what makes journey mapping the ESG way so special.

I don’t usually toot our own horn in these blog posts, but for this one, I’ll make an exception. Because we get asked about our customer journey mapping workshops a lot. For good reason. In developing our best-in-class methodologies, we’ve learned a bit about what it takes to make customer journey maps successful. We’ve also learned the pitfalls of lousy customer journey maps and – critically – what makes the difference.

The purpose of a customer journey map is to build a shared, company-wide vision of what an ideal customer journey should be. A great one will help drive consistent customer experiences and contribute to your Customer Success organization’s ability to predict customer needs, optimize CS delivery, and improve customer satisfaction and retention. But the path from understanding that your organization will benefit from this exercise to implementation and adoption isn’t as straightforward as it might seem.

Are you focused on output or results?

Imagine being an executive leader who understands the value of a good customer journey map. Imagine that you’ve dedicated a bunch of resources to building out current and future state maps. You’ve even invested in technologies dedicated to making customer journey mapping more manageable and straightforward for everyone on your team. You’ve put in the work. Your team has gone ahead and built a shiny new customer journey map.


Now, imagine that shiny new customer journey map just sitting in a file somewhere and never, ever getting used. Not only is it never adopted, it never even makes it into the hands of other teams who could benefit from it. Nobody but your team sees it, and while it is certainly a lovely customer journey map, it doesn’t lead to any meaningful change.

What went wrong?

One of the biggest mistakes we’ve seen businesses make when building their own customer journey maps is that they are too focused on the output itself. A journey map is only as good as its ability to drive actionable results. If nobody’s going to use it, you might as well have saved yourself the trouble of creating it in the first place. Gartner agrees, stating, “Customer journey maps only bring value when they’re used to inform business priorities.”

So, how do you remedy this situation?

When we do journey mapping exercises with our clients (or perform them internally for ourselves, like our team did recently), we don’t focus on the output. We believe the value of building an optimized customer journey map doesn’t lie in the document you have at the end of the process but in the process of creating it itself.

Everybody, get on board!

Producing a journey map the ESG way begins by establishing a cross-functional team with representation from every department in your business that touches on the customer journey. That’s right, I said every department, silos be gone!

Customer Success is but one piece of the customer experience pie. If the purpose of this exercise is to build a shared, company-wide vision of the ideal customer journey, you need input from other departments who also affect the customer experience. That means Marketing, Sales, Product, and Support – and perhaps others depending on the structure of your teams. Anyone who plays a role in the customer journey should have a say in the journey map!

Again, some very smart people at Gartner concur. “All functions that touch the customer journey should participate in customer journey mapping. Broad involvement breaks down silos, and different perspectives improve map accuracy. Different functions often have distinct priorities, so make sure to set expectations, align around common goals, and define the role each participant will play.”

When you include other teams, they are more likely to feel a shared sense of ownership over the final product. However, buy-in from other departments isn’t the primary benefit of including them in the process. That’s part of it. The real magic of cross-team collaboration happens in the discussions and the debates you have with your colleagues over the best approach to enhancing your customers’ experience.

This is exactly the process I mentioned earlier. When ESG does a customer journey workshop, we focus on facilitating these conversations to uncover the true needs of your customers. With the right people involved, these deliberations crack open the absolute best engagement strategy to strive for across your entire business.