I am convinced that this exercise will generate a nice piece of paperwork, and I was wondering what the starting point of their customer journey could be, knowing that experience is more than what a customer does after purchase. On the other hand it is interesting to make such a customer journey exercise, and to find out what finally will be the added value of it?
Based on the regular discussions I have with marketing managers, customer journey mapping seems to be very popular and insightful. However, I am still wondering on what they are doing with the result of this mapping. And, above all, are the efforts put in this exercise really beneficial?
What are the main benefits of customer journey mapping?
Customer journey mapping is a powerful methodology to develop an achievable plan to improve customer experience. I see three major benefits in undertaking this exercise:
1. Customer journey mapping helps you to better understand your customers.
Knowing and understanding the customers are the basics to start working on Customer Experience. Customer journey mapping puts business leaders and customers together so that together they start defining the journey from the customers’ point of view. During this exercise, the company will be able to identify the interaction moments and to get relevant insights about the customers’ needs and feelings. Fostering cooperation in this process has a positive influence on the customers. In these circumstances, customers see and feel that the company puts its clients in a central position. Customers feel that they are an important asset for the company, that they are listened to and that their input is taken seriously. They feel understood and the bond with the brand tends to be strengthened.
2. Customer journey mapping helps you to identify operational inefficiencies.
During the customer journey mapping process the company requires insights into how the internal processes could be optimised. Removing inefficiencies or activities that are time consuming or expensive to put in place, and yet failing to add meaning to the customer relationship, will not only improve customer experience, but also save money to the company.
3. Customer journey mapping helps the company to discover opportunities.
During conversations with customers, the company will be able to identify growth potential from the perspective of the customer. Customer provide insights about their ideas and needs. Smart companies will respond to these needs taking these insights into account.
During the customer journey mapping process the company has the ability to work on the optimisation of the customer experience because the company knows the attention points of its customers. A better customer experience will translate into more satisfied customers. In addition, these customers may be willing to pay a premium price for the product/service, they are more willing to forgive ‘hiccups’ in their journey, they turn out to be more loyal, and they will become ambassadors of your brand.
Does it mean that a customer journey is an end goal?
I have experienced very often that companies are putting a lot of effort in the customer journey mapping without closing the loop. To put in place a feedback-loop-system that asks for the customers’ feedback and satisfaction is a crucial element for both customers and the company.
In this context, the term ‘system’ refers to processes and governance models as technical support tools. Asking customers about their satisfaction is one element, but feeding it back to the organisation is even more important. Based on the outcome of the customer satisfaction questionnaire, the company needs to carefully analyse the results. In case of negative satisfaction, the appropriate actions must be taken by the company in order to understand the root cause, to generate an adequate solution and to make the client happy again.
It is obvious that customer journey mapping could generate a win-win situation for the customers as well as for the company. The ultimate goal of this methodology is not to end up with an attractive output document, or to spend a few hours together with colleagues and customers to talk about customer experience. In fact, it should end with clear directions about the next action points and a clear governance model that indicates who is responsible for what type of action.
The added-value of customer journey mappings will be derived from the follow-up actions. The journey map itself in that sense is merely a tool that guides you / facilitates the process.
I hope that the insurance company where my contact point is working for will use the customer journey mapping process to define an appropriate action plan so that they will benefit from the tremendous work they have done.