Journey Mapping Effectiveness Comes from Leadership and Frequency

Frequency

In the recent research report by MyCustomer in association with Quadient, Customer Journey Mapping Research Report 2018, results validate what we practitioners have known for years: leadership buy-in absolutely matters and it should never be a one-and-done effort.

It is really great to see more and more companies realizing the benefits of customer journey mapping (CJM). Since I started mapping in 2000, clients have always seen immediate benefit from the exercise. However, back when it was a huge poster with sticky notes and red lines noting messy data flows (which we lovingly called spaghetti), it was difficult to do the exercise more than once. Thus it became a find-and-fix exercise, vs. a strategic tool to inform planning, process improvement, and targeted customer communication.

These days, tools are everywhere, and CJM has grown in strategic importance. Often we hear from clients who have a champion sitting in Marketing or Customer Success, who have drawn something out in their best PowerPoint skills. They struggle with the limitations of a 2D environment, however, and find it hard to truly express what the customer experiences at different stages along the relationship lifecycle.

Companies are often quite complex, with differentiated divisions, business units, organizational structures and product or service offerings. It can be understandably overwhelming to think in terms of one customer journey.

The MyCustomer/Quadient research reveals a few key success criteria that we want to highlight:

Leadership buy-in absolutely matters

In response to the question, Who has ownership of customer journey mapping within your organization, 35% of lucky companies had a head of Customer Experience to lead the effort. In the absence of a CX leadership position, other respondents listed the CMO (10%), the CEO (8%) and the Customer Insight/Business Intelligence team (6%).

What is most interesting though is the next part of the analysis, which cross-references journey mapping ownership with stated impact in improved customer experience. According to the research “the most positive impact was felt when a CEO, COO or multiple stakeholders had ownership of the program.” In the cases where there was a CX leader in place, positive impact was also evident, likely due to the C-level commitment to the program justifying the creation of a CX leadership role.

Frequency also matters

When it comes to how often companies conduct journey mapping, the top three responses are annually (29%), monthly (26%) and every six months (23%), respectively.

Again, the real aha comes from a cross-reference with stated impact of improved customer experience. From the report: ‘Those who conduct journey mapping more regularly are more likely to report the impact as very positive. 56% of respondents who conducted customer journey mapping every month reported that the impact was ‘extremely positive’, this compares to 37% for those who conduct it every six months, 22% for those who conduct it annually, 28% every other year and 33% for those who conduct it every 2+ years. This would seem to suggest that organizations are most satisfied with the results if customer journey mapping is conducted very frequently.”

You may ask, who has the time to do this monthly?! It doesn’t have to be as onerous as it sounds. Once the initial baseline map or maps are created, the monthly effort is just a matter of following up on pain points, moments of truth, and initiatives that have begun as a result of the maps’ findings and recommendations. Aligning these updates with customer experience metrics allows journey management teams to continuously tweak maps to reflect the new reality. New pain points might arise as well, which would be reflected in updated maps so as to spur new initiatives for improvement.

Overcoming barriers

The final insight to come from this report is that there are still plenty of barriers to adding journey mapping to companies’ toolboxes. “Over half of respondents (54%) say that a lack of understanding and
awareness of the benefits is a barrier to customer journey mapping, suggesting that while the discipline has been in play for many years, there are still a significant proportion of organizations and leaders that are not very familiar with it. Arguably related to this is the fact that a quarter (25%) noted that they are lacking senior buy-in to deliver a program.”

There is real proof that CJM works – but the right combination of leadership and staff support needs to be in place in order to garner positive impact. Thankfully this report is one of several that can serve as a handy reference for those journey mapping champions who want to convince their leadership that it’s worth doing.

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