Customer journey mapping – why?

Customer journey mapping has taken businesses by storm.

Given the onset of the 4th industrial revolution, with rapid change & evolving business and operating models, customer journey mapping is one of the latest management practices, which is a buzz today & making waves, as it is an effective, agile tool for customer experience management & improvement.

At its core, customer journey mapping,, emanates from is a very simple but impactful idea, of re-looking & strengthening various aspects of an organization (i.e. its operating structure, people practices, operations, product, processes & technology) to improve the end customer experience - by travelling with & mapping the quality of customer’s engagement with the organization, at all stages of the customer lifecycle & every customer contact channel.

 We are beginning to see glimpses of what the new age we are living in is bringing -.with accelerating mobile penetration, galloping internet/wireless speeds, internet on tap, flowing like water and becoming a necessity of everyday life,  technology blurring & merging with our real world, all contributing to the exploding e-commerce and mobile usage (with nearly everything that we did on a computer, now happening on a mobile device) - the digital tsunami & AI engines improving the experience on our hand phones – our “do everything devices”.

While technological change & innovation is driving most of these changes – the central theme running through all of this is continuous improvement in self-service, customer convenience & steadily improving end user/customer experience

The complexity & variables have therefore gone up for organizations, and the customer itself is far more demanding, impatient, etc - “the I want it now customer“. The customer has also become immensely powerful, can make or break businesses and is expecting a smooth, responsive experience in every engagement with the organisation.

the power equation in society, business has shifted in favor of the customer, user and citizen.

The customer/user were earlier passive, who just bought or consumed goods & services provided by the producers.

Producers and intermediaries decided what was good for the customers and sold their wares (albeit managing some competitive pressures), to relatively passive customers, users (who were certainly not so expressive and engaged as today).

So the classical organizations created & perfected during the earlier industrial ages, focused on producing well and then distributing, selling the same to the consumers – needs to change & is already changing.

Given all of the above, the classical siloed organizational functions of Marketing – sales – production – service are in the evolved organizations, now need to be are far more integrated with thecustomer!

 Organizations that are winning & surviving today are placing the customer, user - right in the center of their strategy, product development, technology & operations...- and systemically observing & mapping their journey(in great micro-detail) to draw learnings, iron out engagement or experience shortcomings & expectation breakages to systemically improve the customer experience.

Hence customer journey mapping needs to be done - as a strategic & operational imperative.

Some of the typical opportunities that emerge from customer journey mapping exercises include:

·         Organizational siloes need to be bridged/broken

·         Self-service channels need to be smoother.

·         Consistency of customer experience across channels needs to be strengthened.

·         No waiting times, queues – to be managed uniformly well across all channels & all stages of the customer lifecycle.

·         Customer chooses the channel of engagement, and may choose different channels for the same engagement & expects organisation to comply/adjust and provide a frictionless experience regardless.

·         The digital, social, website, and other brick & mortar fulfillment, service & customer/user engagement channels need to be integrated into one smooth, integrated machine.

·         Not just enhancement in technology, but improvements in org structure, operating processes, KPIs, people practices need to be strengthened

·         The process flows, KPIs, metrics & measures of each and every department need to evolve

Customer journey mapping & thereby improvement is a “team activity” – and not a “sales only”, or “service only” function; and for it to be done effectively every department of the organisation (no exceptions) as they all directly or indirectly do serve the customer/user, need to participate & contribute to the customer journey mapping exercise.

for it to be effective, customer journey mapping needs is done, only from the perspective of customer !

Our customer experience enhancement & customer journey mapping experts leverage a combination of reviews, workshops, mystery shopping, focus group discussions, and customer journey mapping technology tools, for the customer journey mapping exercise that we do for our client organizations. 

Organisations are increasingly competing on customer experience and are using customer journey mapping as a strategic & operational tool to improve end customer experience continuously. Read the HBR article too on competing –on-customer journeys to learn more on the subject.

if you are an ambitious organisation, consider joining this movement....