Are businesses designing customer experiences in the right way? Source: Shutterstock

Are businesses designing customer experiences in the right way? Source: Shutterstock

Can understanding the customer journey help create better experiences?

BUSINESSES are trying to create better experiences for customers, but do they understand what customers actually like and dislike about their interaction with the company in the first place?

Customer journey maps are a critical component of many organizations’ customer experience (CX) framework, however, research shows that a large number of organizations still face difficulty incorporating journey maps into their CX efforts.

When businesses create a customer journey map, they’re able to plot a desirable customer journey and map the existing customer journey.

Doing so allows them to identify gaps between their expectations and their perceptions of the experience delivered by a brand at steps along the journey.

The main goal of mapping the journey is to determine the challenges and opportunities the brand faces in improving its CX and improve satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

Here are three critical steps that businesses should follow if they want to meet the objectives of a customer journey, and establish the appropriate governance and oversight:

# 1 | Master the foundational elements first

The same attention paid to laying the groundwork for journey mapping initiatives should be given to the actual creation of the journey map itself.

Before building a journey map, CX leaders should consider the following:

Affirm leadership and key stakeholder support, build a cross-functional team composed of representatives from all departments who support the CX, assess data sources and needs, and know the audience for whom you are mapping the journey.

# 2 | Focus on the actionable and accurate

Determining and building successful customer journeys requires clear communication among the team and a strong understanding of the entire journey the customers take.

CX leaders should start by aligning team goals and expectations.

Next, the customer journey map should include the following criteria: It should be created from the customer’s perspective and reflect the customer’s entire journey — from evaluation, purchase, use through to loyalty, satisfaction and/or advocacy.

Lastly, CX teams should consider validating the data included in the journey to ensure it accurately reflects the experience, feelings, thoughts, and actions of the customers.

# 3 | Cultivate value from journey maps

When journey maps fail, research shows it typically happens following the design phase.

To get maximum value from customer journey maps, CX leaders must turn the insight derived from journey maps into action and experiences, ensure those journey maps are current, and develop a communications plan to reinforce progress toward realizing the customer’s desired journey.