Customer journey mapping has become the de facto method for designing customer experience (CX) strategies. A study by Salesforce.com reported that 86 percent of senior-level marketers say that its absolutely critical or very important to create a cohesive customer journey. If customer journey maps are so critical, why did a separate study conducted by Esteban Kolsky, customer strategist and founder of ThinkJar, find that only 34 percent of companies have created customer journey maps? Perhaps because the same study found that only two percent of companies actually report success with journey maps!
One reason the success rates may be low is because customer journey maps teach us to design, and subsequently mange and measure, customer experience through touch points rather than the actual journey. A touch point is any encounter where customers and business engage to exchange information, provide service, or handle transactions. Examples include placing a call into customer service, visiting a brick and mortar location, or downloading material off a website (see Figure 1).
Strategizing and measuring customer experience by touch point creates a slippery slope because it can cause a misleading and siloed view of the customers experience. It can also cause conflict between channels, wherein one channel/department is the primary owner of CX, even though other channels/departments are contributors. Having a partner such as TCS to guide an organization through customer journey mapping can greatly increase the chances for success.
The reality is that CX is the overall result of how well an organization is able to meet customers expectations, which are foundationally defined by the customers needs. And customer needs arent encapsulated into individual touch points they are defined by a journey. In a study TCS conducted on channel preference for banking and financial services, it was clear that CX is centered around journeys all of which correlate to a specific need (see Figure 2).
For this reason, organizations should strategize, build and measure customer experience around the customer journey, which is defined as the path customers take to solve a particular problem or need, as illustrated in Figure 3 below.
Attributes of a customer journey include:
- An end-to-end experience for the customer, which is supported by end-to-end business processes
- Occurs across channels
- Includes multiple touch points
- Requires systems of engagement and systems of record
- Involves employees from cross-functional units
Once we establish that customer journeys are a process, we can start to see another reason why traditional mapping approaches arent achieving the success rates we may expect. Specifically, customer journeys are enabled through technologies and business processes -some manual and some automated. CRM platforms, such as Salesforce, play a critical role in this enablement. In fact, a study by Forrester Research found that two thirds of companies use CRM platform as the foundation for customer engagement because of its many inherent benefits (see Figure 4 below). However, as a consequence, creating journey maps without consideration of the technology and business processes required to fulfill them creates a significant risk in terms of the organizations ability to deliver on customer expectations.
To mitigate this risk, organizations would benefit from overlaying customer journey maps with business process maps and include all front, middle, and back office systems required to deliver the experience to the customer. By combining the customer journey with the business processes, teams will be able to:
- Identify automation opportunities for those processes that dont provide direct value to the customer
- Ideate improvements to processes that require significant and non-value adding effort for both employees and customers
- Work from a prioritized list of processes improvements that will have the greatest impact on customer and employee experience
- List technologies and capabilities needed to deliver the future state customer journey
- Visualize the customer journey and business process along the same timeline, which may reveal process opportunities/gaps
Finally, remember that marketing journeys and customer journeys are not the same. Marketing journeys are Boolean expressions that provide a framework for sensing and responding to customers based on an action or inaction. Examples of marketing journeys include:
- IF Customer= Abandons a Shopping Cart
- THEN treat Customer= Send Email Reminder of Cart Items
- IF Customer= Posts a compliment about company Social Media
- THEN treat Customer=Send a thank you email with a discount code
- IF Customer= Calls Customer Service re: a Technical Support Issue
- THEN treat Customer= Do not send any marketing material for 10 business days
To learn more about creating a single view of the customer journey and supporting business processes, and how those maps can be enabled through the Salesforce platform, please complete this form to schedule a meeting with one of our CX team members at Dreamforce 2016.