Journeys are customers’ lived realities. Journeys are not a business process or a marketing funnel. Each one belongs to the customer and must be viewed from the customer’s perspective. A customer may be on multiple journeys, at different levels, and for different purposes and tasks.

Simply creating journey maps is not enough; customer experience (CX) professionals must use journey maps as a change management tool to guide employees to deliver customer-centric experiences across products and channels. But how? After a LinkedIn live event on customer journey mapping, we received questions from the audience about each of the three change management phases of journey mapping.

The Seven Steps Of Highly Effective Journey Mapping

Phase One: Frame The Journey Mapping Effort

To frame the effort, assemble a core stakeholder group that will take responsibility based on your knowledge of what drives the experience. Then create a sense of urgency by communicating the vision to inspire action, choosing language that will fuel cross-silo collaboration. Participants asked:

  • Should we start with a high-level journey like a customer lifecycle journey and only then define the smaller journeys that are part of it? A customer lifecycle is a high-level, end-to-end overview of the phases that a customer passes through during an ongoing relationship with a company. It helps marketers understand which phase customers are in (e.g., research, buy, use), target communications, and determine the best way to engage. Customer journey maps focus on a discrete series of interactions between a customer and the brand. Customer lifecycle maps lack some key features of customer journey maps: 1) a focus on a single customer or persona and 2) a specific, goal-oriented scenario in which the customer engages — which can cross multiple phases of the customer lifecycle. Make sure your journey mapping efforts start with a customer goal, not a company process. Your customer’s goal is not renewing a contract; your customer renews a contract because continued access to your products and services helps her meet a need.
  • How do I pick the right journey to get started with? Opportunistically mapping a journey based on customers’ well-known pain points or stakeholders’ enthusiasm is a tried-and-true strategy for quickly getting started with journey mapping. However, these aren’t the only considerations that CX pros should take into account when selecting journeys to map. Start by assessing the business and customer impact of each journey. Conduct this assessment using criteria like frequency of interaction, benchmarking, journey cost, number of complaints, and revenue potential. Use qualitative and quantitative data. Prove value and ensure gains from your effort by starting with journeys that have stakeholder buy-in, drive business metrics, and are feasible to change.
  • For which customers should we map? There is no one right reason to pick a persona; it depends on your business objectives and goals. Those could include the persona’s strategic importance (because of the size of the customer base or current profitability); the difficulty of meeting their needs (there is a high bar or the current experience is missing the mark); or differences in their behaviors, attitudes, or goals. You can map the same journey for multiple personas (or multiple journeys for the same persona).

Phase Two: Create The Journey Map

Set the map’s scope, scale, and follow-up actions, making sure you have the right personas, journeys, and resources to start mapping. Set expectations, building empathy for the customer and tailoring the content of journeys for discrete purposes. CX pros can validate journey mapping hypotheses — while boosting buy-in — by reaching out to customers, partners, and employees. Participants asked:

  • What does a journey map look like? At a minimum, all customer journey maps must include three essential pieces of information: 1) the steps or actions that customers take to achieve their goal; 2) all touchpoints that they encounter along the way; and 3) the thoughts, feelings, and questions that they have at each step. Including a persona, or specific information on the customer going through the journey, keeps the customer and her goals top of mind. CX pros may also include content that’s appropriate to the business objective and desired outcomes, such as research data, performance metrics, and opportunities for improvement. The format and content of a journey map are a function of its intended audience and use. For example, will it be used to drive project planning and prioritization, to get executive buy-in, to train employees, or will it be used as a guide for implementing CX improvements?
  • A customer journey is about individual perception. What role does this play in CX? Besides interviews, how can we capture insights? The customer’s perception is your reality. Conducting research before and during the mapping process can remove customer misunderstandings, identify gaps in understanding, and make the map a tool that immerses users in the customer’s view, rather than validating existing views. Qualitative research like interviews get at the why behind trends and behaviors, and verbatims help employees understand the experience from the customer’s perspective. Incorporate other tools into your research toolkit to go beyond what customers say. For example, use direct observation to uncover unexpected behaviors and gaps between what customers say and what they do or conduct diary studies to understand customer behaviors over time. Quantify, assess, and validate customer behaviors and insights using surveys, analyses of digital interactions, or sentiment analyses. Get the most out of research by sharing actionable insights with employees.

Phase Three: Ensure Gains From Journey Mapping

To ensure gains, score opportunities that have emerged from journey mapping workshops cross-functionally and demonstrate results fast by linking to familiar metrics. To consolidate improvements, make some ambitious bets, use maps as the dashboard of the future, and get results by assigning long-term owners of journeys.

  • When we compare customer journey mapping in B2C versus B2B, how does measurement differ? Larger ecosystems can increase complexity within B2B journeys, but the process for developing a journey measurement framework is similar for B2B and B2C journeys. Choose your measurement approach based on the availability of connected data. If you do not have much connected data, pick your journeys using a top-down approach, combining journey mapping research with surveys triggered at the end of the journey. If you have enough connected data, combine the top-down approach with bottom-up, data-led discovery. Once you’ve determined which journeys you will start with, identify the journey anatomy or the path a customer takes to accomplish the goal and who or what the customer interacts with. Then, define end-of-journey metrics that measure success and in-journey signals that predict end-of-journey success, and determine how to calculate your journey performance scores.
  • How do you measure or improve the CX as you go? How do you link results to what you have changed? Establishing a journey measurement framework before you get started and carefully defining the moments to measure will help you link results to what you change. Focus on three to five moments that ensure your journey creates positive memories: For example, pick a pain point to eliminate, a high point to keep, a low point that you decide to tolerate but want to monitor so it doesn’t get worse, and the last step of the journey. Once you decide which moments to measure, identify expectations for each and locate dependencies. Create a journey performance dashboard by distilling a journey map down to its essential steps. Measure before you make changes so that you have a baseline against which you can track progress. Drive action by building accountability for selecting and acting on measurement insights.

To learn more and ensure that your customer journey maps have you set up for success, download our latest complimentary guide on this topic, How To Use Journey Maps To Kick-Start A Customer Experience Transformation, here (available in French and English), or contact us to talk to one of our analysts.