Organizations have various tools for mapping processes, systems, and experiences. However, many of these tools focus on the internal business, neglecting the customer perspective. Customer experience (CX) mapping tools are valuable resources for organizations striving for customer centricity (or in Forrester terms, customer obsession) and aligning business outcomes with customer outcomes.

The foundation of CX mapping tools are customer journey maps. While not new, there are common misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding them, which prevent organizations from reaping their full value.

Stakeholders Conflate “Journeys” With Other Concepts, And It’s A Problem

Stakeholders often confuse “journeys” with other concepts like customer lifecycle, process maps, or workflows. Forrester defines a customer journey as “a customer’s path and perceptions as they pursue a goal.” Two important aspects of this definition: First, they provide a customer perspective; second, they focus on a specific goal-oriented scenario, not every possible scenario. Unfortunately, many companies setting out to capture the customer perspective through journey maps end up creating process maps that document an inside-out business perspective. To be effective, CX teams must establish a common understanding across the organization regarding different customer experience mapping tools and their usage.

Customer Journeys Can Uncover Unidentified Business Opportunities

Excluding the customer perspective from business activities can lead to misconceptions that hamper success and degrade customer experiences. Injecting the customer perspective often reveals blind spots. For example, a pharmaceutical company believed that physicians ordered products because sales representatives had superior scientific knowledge. However, qualitative research with physicians revealed that they gave more time to reps who prioritized their needs. CX teams have the opportunity to encourage and assist teams across the organization to effectively incorporate the customer perspective into their working practices and mapping tools.

Connect Customer And Business Perspectives To Drive Success

Connecting customer-focused mapping tools with commonly used business-focused mapping tools helps to visualize customer impact alongside business impact. Tools like service blueprints and CX ecosystem maps connect both business and customer perspectives. They map internal business dependencies, such as employee actions, supporting processes, and systems, against the customer journey. By visualizing the interdependencies between customer journeys and these internal aspects of the organization, CX teams can better manage and coordinate activities to improve customer experiences. These maps also help identify and avoid potentially negative consequences to customer experiences resulting from changes to internal operations, processes, or systems.

Ultimately, as organizations move toward customer centricity, mapping tools that can combine or connect customer and business perspectives will be more valuable.

To further understand what customer journeys truly are (and aren’t), you can check out What Journeys Really Are: Customers’ Paths And Perceptions As They Pursue A Goal.

For definitions of commonly used mapping tools, you can visit Journey Map and Process Maps and Service Blueprints Oh My!