Customer journey mapping helps you visualize your customers’ experiences from their point of view across all the points of interactions during their experience with your brand. Clarity into the customer journey and the specific moments-of-truth that occur during any engagement with your brand, can lead to improved customer satisfaction, higher value exchange and long-term stickiness. I think you’d agree that these are pretty good goals!
We aren’t talking Nirvana here but let’s just acknowledge that we all return to the brands that make the experience “feel good!” Many company’s use Voice of the Customer (VoC) studies as proxies for customer “feelings”. Although VoC studies can and do measure overall satisfaction or its lack the results are generally aggregate scores which can condense and obscure bi-modal issues at certain touchpoints that affect the desired experience that the brand is trying to engender. Customer journey mapping exposes those critical touchpoints where frustrations might occur thus allowing you to diagnose the specific moments that matter, clearly indicating what needs fixing.
It’s not a stretch to say that if “feeling good” is the desired state, then hearing that “this experience sucks!” is definitely a problem for brands and typically manifests in lower total customer value, smaller basket sizes or rampant attrition and churn.
So at a minimum there are at least three situations where customer journey mapping could help: flagging sales, decreased loyalty and an increase in attrition. Note that there are other reasons to use customer journey maps (CJM) such as new product commercialization or introduction or the rejuvenation of a product or service.
Let’s look at decreased loyalty as a problem that might be diagnosed through a CJM. For years the cable & broadband industry expected attrition and knowingly compensated for it by continuous acquisition. Loyalty was an anomaly, prized but unexpected. Customer satisfaction (VoC) was measured regularly and it was assumed that mid to high customer satisfaction ensured subscriber loyalty. Analysis often showed no correlation between the two, in fact, it wasn’t unusual to find mid to high customer satisfaction scores among premium customers who then attrited.
The problem was that customer satisfaction studies were too generic, as I mentioned earlier, lumping all facets of customer service into a single question or two. In reality there were many sides to customer service and one of the major drivers of dissatisfaction – installation scheduling – which usually was rated quite low -was lumped in with other drivers like representative knowledge or ability to answer all the questions – which was usually rated highly. The result was a medium and sometimes high level of customer satisfaction which provided no true measure of attrition and in fact skewed the attrition model when it was added as a component.
A customer journey map detailing a new installation or upgrade, for example, would undoubtedly have pinpointed some of the most egregious cable service frustrations: long wait times for installation and large service windows and/or unpredictable technician arrivals. It might have also shown that the high scores given, on average, for rep knowledge or comprehensiveness of answers might be frustration points when “knowledge” elements were broken apart. And the ability to question and map the feelings around the events would further indicate where those moments-of-truth lie and which would have impacted loyalty.
In general, the Customer Journey Mapping process is oriented towards problem identification and resolution and usually results in several distinct outcomes. For example, you will:
- Gain a comprehensive look at the customers’ journeys across all your touchpoints
- Identify the key pain points and “make or break” moments that affect use/ purchase/repurchase
- Understand the “why” behind behavioral analytics
- Identify and prioritize opportunities to get to the “feel good” customer experience more often
- Communicate and align the organization around a customer-centric model
- Model change management and set priorities
In summary, mostly CJMs are a guidebook towards becoming customer centric. They function as a compact visual representation of the customers experience with your brand – at a particular point on time. Used correctly and overlaid against your own perceptions, they are a good first step in taking corrective action about your flagging sales, loyalty deficits and customer attrition.
I’d like to know what you think! Leave a comment if you like