Understanding the Big Picture: How Mapping the Customer Journey Leads to Better Customer Experience Returns
New studies are showing that the entire end-to-end customer journey is becoming essential to creating long-lasting loyalty with consumers. In order to understand this overall journey, however, companies need to create journey maps, or:
Examples of typical journeys that customers make with a company include a claims processing journey in the insurance industry, or a plan contract renewal journey in the telecom industry. These types of journeys are mapped by breaking down the various channels; touch points and moments of truth (moments when customers are at risk of abandoning their transaction or developing a strong opinion of the company). Then, the maps highlight areas in need of improvement, such as long phone wait times, poorly structured websites or complaint resolution times. Journey mapping works because it helps to identify both specific and more general problems across the entire customer relationship with the brand. This journey information is critical to program success because it ensures money and resources are allocated to the appropriate areas, while also giving organisations a deeper understanding of what customers really need from them over the long haul.
A study by McKinsey found that “in most industries, the three journeys that matter most to customers account for more than 25 percent of total customer satisfaction. Indeed, across industries, performance on journeys is substantially more strongly correlated with customer satisfaction than performance on touchpoints—and performance on journeys is significantly more strongly correlated with business outcomes such as revenue, churn, and repeat purchase. In other words, delivering a distinctive journey experience makes it more likely that customers repeat a purchase, spend more, recommend to their friends, and stay with your company.”2
This year, journey mapping has become a big area for resource investment for CX teams. Creating personalised experiences and tighter emotional bonds sounds easy in theory, but it requires thorough research and effort by all people and parts of the organisation. For some companies, it is easier to simply focus on “what we can fix now,” such as individual touchpoint problems, but this isn’t a long-term strategy to make serious gains. It’s akin to plugging a hole rather than fixing the entire ship. There are short-term benefits, but there aren’t long-term brand improvements or culture shifts—all attributes that are common among today’s strongest, cutting-edge companies.
Luckily, today, many customer experience technology providers are innovating with the times by providing clients with more options for journey mapping. Rather than simply mapping out their program in the beginning (which has been a common practice for many years), they give continuous support and assessment as the program evolves, ensuring better overall services, experiences and understanding of what customers actually care about day-to-day, month-to-month, and (if brands are doing their mapping correctly) year-to-year. Taking advantage of these technology services will be essential for those who want to get ahead of the CX curve in the coming years.
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 Forrester Research Inc.,”Mapping the Customer Journey, Four Approaches to Customer Journey Mapping: When and How to Use Them,” Nov 2015.
 McKinsey & Company, “From Touchpoints to Journeys: Seeing the World as Customers Do,” March 2016.