Why Customer Journey Mapping is Critical for Business Growth

11th April 2018

Customer journey mapping goes beyond the traditional sales cycle: awareness, purchase, review. It digs deeper into what the customer is experiencing at every step of the journey, which departments are involved during each of the customer interactions and how all of this impacts the overall customer experience and revenue generated. While it may seem a tedious task to undertake, as it’s a process that seems largely logical, what it does provide is a clear overview of exactly what is happening in the organisation. 

When wanting to implement change or drive growth, having this information is critical, as it details on a micro-level how well the organisation is actually functioning. It is critical for decision making because it highlights the business operations from several different perspectives and provides an as-is situational analysis of the business. 

The Customer 

With customer experience becoming increasingly important in terms of driving revenues, it’s useful to understand touchpoints in the customer journey. A touchpoint is considered any event where the customer interacts with a company. And it’s a sum of these touchpoints that create the customer journey map. 

A touchpoint could be when a customer first sees a product on social media and clicks through to a website link. It could be an advert they see on TV or a purchase made in-store or online. It may also include some technical aspects such as installation or repairs or post-purchase administration such as a phone call to the accounts department. Each one of these touchpoints influences the customer experience and their overall view of the brand. Which is why it is so important that each of these interactions is positive. 

The Employee 

Highlighting customer touchpoints in terms of employees creates a greater awareness of the role they have to play in the customer experience. Where failures occur, it identifies skills or knowledge gaps that need to be remedied. Where there have been positive experiences, these can be used as building blocks for improving the customer experience further, creating opportunities for innovation. The information from customer journey mapping can be used to empower employees so that they take ownership of their part in the customer journey. 

The Decision Maker 

Studies show that profitability and productivity improve when the customer experience is driven by top decision-makers in an organisation. Today businesses complete in two key areas: maximising value in the customer journey – both for the customer and the business, and being agile and able to respond quickly to changes in the marketplace. 

The customer journey map provides the necessary information to achieve both of these things by looking at systems, technology, skills, processes, and market position. It’s against this backdrop that options for change can be reviewed because decision-makers then have established data which brings them up to speed on the current situation. 

More importantly, the customer journey map highlights interdependencies for everyday business activities, which provides critical information for strategic decision making. If you’re looking at system automation, implementing self-service channels or outsourcing, being able to evaluate options against what you already have helps facilitate better decision making. Then once change has been implemented, there is a baseline against which progress or growth can be measured. 

Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping 

While there are several key benefits to mapping, two key areas stand out in terms of operational efficiency and competitiveness: 

Plugging the gaps 

One of the biggest challenges for businesses is to create consistency in the customer experience. Typically the experience of the customer is fragmented. As an example, what often happens in the hospitality industry is that customers may research information on a website, but when they come to check-in, they might be told it doesn’t apply. They’re given the excuse “Oh the website hasn’t been updated.” But in a day and age where most customers do their research online, is this kind of excuse really acceptable? 

A customer journey mapping exercise can help identify such gaps and work to fill them, highlighting that even the small tasks matter and make an impact on the perception of the brand. The information on customer engagement can be shared throughout the different departments, eliminating areas of overlap and encouraging better collaboration.  Processes can be streamlined, making them more efficient and even shortening the sales cycle. 

Becoming more agile 

Strategically having a map of all the elements of a business allows it to adapt more quickly to change, because, at a glance, it can review where it’s at. When new technology becomes available, implementation can be fast-tracked, because the system structure and flow will already have been established. In response to demand, customer engagement strategies can be targeted, providing greater levels of customisation or personalisation, which according to statistics is exactly what customers want. 

The ways customers can access and navigate your organisation is fundamental to delivering the outcomes that work for you and for them. Innovation in technology and the evolution of customer attitudes have changed the options and expectations here, meaning organisations need to continually appraise how accessible they are. 

Customer journey mapping is a technique we use to help our clients address this. Combining data and customer insight with relevant innovation opportunities, and a clear vision and strategy, our consulting teamwork with our clients to re-design customer journeys to deliver better outcomes. 

 This ‘outside-in’ technique is critical to ensuring that organisations are customer-centric. Our approach translates journeys into the changes that need to be delivered, be they business process, technology or policy change – such as developing self-service channels that are natural, easy and effective for customers. 

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