10 Kick-“As” Ways to Use Customer Experience Journey Maps Editor’s Pick!

Journey maps are the “As”-kicking tool of choice for customer experience experts. In fact, may of us use journey maps in a variety of purposeful ways. Once I began to note the many different applications for which I have used them, I was surprised at the list I had collected. So, for those of you who thought Journey Maps were dead, think again. (Wait, no one thought that, did they?) They Kick-As!

1) As high-level, outside-in, customer-experience communications
High-level journey maps serve as wonderful, at-a-glance communication devices. From executives (particularly the C-suite) to managers, the benefits of reviewing these high level illustrations can help everyone quickly understand what customers are experiencing. They can then make decisions about customer’s interactions and, more importantly, take action to remove roadblocks and fill service gaps.

2) As emotional measurement
Tracking the emotional component of the customer experience is actually what experience is about. So it stands to reason that journey maps should help everyone understand the emotional highs and lows, the delights as well as the frustrations that customers go through while using products and services.

3) As competitive analysis
Not mapping your competition’s customer experience journey is a missed opportunity. How else will you be able to say that your experience is better and differentiated? And, don’t stop there – map similar journeys of best-in-breed experiences. How do you know your customer’s expectations or disappointments if you don’t know what they are experiencing elsewhere?

4) As lifetime value
Don’t stop your maps at the point of acquisition and then jump to renewal. What about the in-between relationship? Your services, continued product use, breaks, maintenance, and customer support are all “proof points” of your brand. Be sure to not only capture these journeys, but take deep dives into the critical moments.

5) As innovation
Before starting any project, be sure to update and examine the affected journey closely, understanding what happens before, during, and after the current experience. Employ customer experience personas (emotional-based), and create poignant back stories that invoke empathic responses from your project team. Then, look for ways to innovate the entire journey on behalf of your customers, and improve their lives.

6) As silo busters
Customer experience journeys seldom start and end in a single department’s offering. They may even cross several departments that normally don’t collaborate. In order to provide a unified, end-to-end experience, everyone needs to work together. As a result, barriers will be broken down as cross-silo teams rolls-up their sleeves to ensure their mutual customer’s success.

7) As feedback collective
Touchpoints along the journey that are identified as important or critical can be used to collect transactional feedback. Surveys, interviews and other techniques can be employed to understand how well that particular point is performing for your customers.

8) As project planning
Reviewing journeys and feedback from your customers can identify and prioritize your next projects. All projects should be viewed as impacts to the overall customer experience. The journey map can help you fully understand that impact and resulting additional changes that may have to occur to other touchpoints as a result of your project.

9) As employee connection
By reviewing journey maps, employees can better understand their connection to the customer. They can visually see how their actions influence touchpoints and ultimately impact the journey and customer’s lives. Where previously many “back room” employees may have felt separated from customers, the journey map, particularly deep-dive maps, can really connect the dots for them.

10) As ROI illustrations
Many journey maps tend to track to internal processes. As such, there often is an opportunity to illustrate how improving a customer’s process results in streamlining an internal process. By using parallel swim-lanes, many have shown the internal impacts and return on investment (or innovation) calculations.

Hey, it was cool at 10 kick-as ways, but I just had to add a few more!

11) As vendor level-setting
Third-party vendors (those that offer a product or service for your customers, to be combined with yours), seldom understand how their products work into the journey your customers are experiencing. They have no method to fully appreciate how their product ultimately represents (and effects) your brand value. By providing journey maps that illustrate exactly where their product fits in, what your customers are experiencing and how they “feel” about their experience, can be extremely helpful in guiding system alterations on behalf of your customers.

12) As valued-added workshop for team bonding
What better way to help your project team bond than to hold a fun, arts and crafts workshop, allowing all to contribute to the journey map. Get your team into a room with a long table, a roll of butcher paper, crayons, highlighters, and lots of sticky notes. Have everyone identify touchpoints along their customer’s journey. Tape to the map items that customers see and experience along the way, such as letters, pdfs, forms, web screens, etc. Add your customer’s feedback to the interactions and allow all to respond with ideas. By the end, not only will you have an internal impression of what your customer experiences, you may have new direction for improvements. Plus, everyone will have had great fun in collaboratively putting it together on behalf of their customers!

Now it’s your turn. What different ways have you used Customer Experience Journey Maps?

Customer Experience Journeys Maps & More
Learn how to drive Customer Experience Strategies while growing your business and profitability, at the upcoming 4-day Customer Experience Certificate Program at Rutgers University. The 8 hands-on, interactive immersion sessions will prepare you for leading your organization to the next level. Learn more at “cx.Rutgers.edu“. Need help with your Customer Experience Effort? Contact Carol Buehrens at “carolbuehrens.com“.

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