3 Rules for Customer Journey Mapping Success

By: Jim Tincher

This is a guest blog post by Jim Tincher, CCW Speaker & Influencer.

2/3 of Journey Maps Fail. Here’s How to Avoid Being One of Them.

Journey mapping is the process of creating a visual representation of your customers’ journey and using this to drive customer-focused change. And it’s hot. You can’t attend a conference without at least one speaker discussing how they used their journey mapping to rally the company and improve the customer experience.

Unfortunately, for every success story you hear, there are two failures who weren’t asked to speak at the conference.

That’s what we found when we surveyed customer experience (CX) practitioners a few years back. Only about 1/3 of participants rated their journey mapping as successful. The rest – nearly 2/3 – reported that their mapping wasn’t successful – typically because the company didn’t do anything with the results. No change happened.

That’s a shame, because journey mapping – when done right – is a powerful way to align your silos and drive change.

Those who were successful used a different approach; what we call the “Three Rules of Journey Mapping Success.” Those who were successful were far more likely to:

1. Attack a Big Problem

Journey mapping should never be the goal. Successful programs start journey mapping with an end in mind. The mapping is just a step towards that end.

One common goal is to fix something that’s broken. High call volume, low survey scores, or high customer attrition are all good methods to determine where a problem is, and journey mapping helps to align the company around the problem and the best way to solve it.

Another reason is to inform an existing initiative. Digital transformation is a common example. If you’re already building new digital tools, use journey mapping to show how customers are using digital tools today, to ensure you build it around their needs.

The last type of problem is that something has changed, and you need to scan the entire environment. Common examples include new leadership at your organization, an acquisition, or a focus on a specific type of customer. The journey mapping shows how customers engage today and highlight critical opportunities to improve the journey.

The reasons for doing the journey mapping may vary, but best-in-class programs all have an end in mind, typically including specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) they’re looking to drive. 

Once the company has identified their big problem and started the initiative, their next rule is to.. 

2. Use the Voice of the Customer to Drive Change. 

Poor programs seem to believe that Post-It Notes drive change. The best programs recognize that change requires a different approach. 

In business-to-business companies, 90% of employees have never met a customer in person. Rather than outsourcing customer immersion, the best programs have their employees join the vendor (if there is one) in the interviews so they can hear from customers first-hand. 

Visiting a customer in their office or home will drive more change than any report. This makes it critical to use mapping as an opportunity to have your employees hear from customers first-hand. Which ties into the third rule..

3. Involve the Entire Company. 

Customer experience is a team sport, so it’s important to involve the entire team. In fact, in our survey, the single most important factor in journey mapping was to “involve a broad cross-functional team.” 

That makes sense. If your problem is with your digital platform, and your digital team isn’t part of the process, it’s almost impossible to get them to change. Change management 101: Teams won’t own the solution if they don’t own the process.

Most of our customers have twenty to thirty members of the Journey Mapping Action Team and create a Sponsor Team with three to six senior leaders to oversee not just the journey mapping, but also the follow-up action.

These three rules: Attack a Big Problem, Use the Voice of the Customer to Drive Change, and Involve the Entire Company – separate successful programs from the rest.

I’ll be speaking on more on these best practices for customer journey mapping success at CCW Austin this September 16 -19 at the Hilton Austin!   Join me and get a free copy of my recent book How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer? Using Journey Mapping to Drive Customer-Focused Change  and learn even more about how you can how you can implement journey mapping strategies to your organization.

This is a guest blog post by Jim Tincher, CCW Speaker & Influencer.