How do you prevent your Customer Journey Map from becoming irrelevant within two months?
It all comes down to the difference between how the amateurs use customer journey maps and how the pros do it!
As we all know, customer journey maps play a vital role in designing services that make a positive impact on people and business.
A lot of customer journey maps look great on the wall, but quickly lose their value. Eventually, most of them become irrelevant within two months. They disappear somewhere in a PowerPoint presentation or in a desk drawer.
So, how do we prevent this from happening so the way a lot of customer journey maps are created?
Many map creators seem to give an overview of the current or existing situation and, while they might be thinking about the future, mostly just document the existing situation.
Although the actual customer journey might not change, the problem is that a lot of things around it do change, especially when you add things like ideas, opportunities, existing KPIs, metric to your map. If you don’t update a map that contains these things, you’ll end up with an overview that gets outdated really quickly—and when something gets outdated, it becomes irrelevant.
The problem is that you spent a lot of time and energy and resources creating this map! When it becomes irrelevant in a short period of time, people will start to question if it was worth the investment, because they are not getting the full value out of your work. And that’s a big problem.
The next time you argue for research on mapping the journey, you might run into some big difficulties convincing people that this is a good idea. So, we need to fix this!
I want to explain the problem with customer journey mapping using an analogy.
Let’s imagine you’re the CFO of a company. Your main goal is to run a healthy business, which means making sure you have a positive cash flow. In order to achieve this goal, you have a lot of tools that help to make you day-to-day decisions, for example, and Excel sheet with the daily sales numbers versus the expenses. This gives you an indication if you’re doing the right things.
Based on that Excel sheet, you’re able to make day-to-day decisions as well as plan for the future, because you will start to think about activities that should influence either the expenses or the number of sales.
Now, it would be completely insane to spend three months building this Excel sheet, filling it with numbers, printing it, hanging up on the wall and then not looking at it or not updating it for a year.
In order to actually be useful, you would update your Excel sheet at least every month, every week (I would say even every day, in order to see if what you’re doing is positively impacting your goals). The Excel sheet is just a convenient way to represent data in order to make better decisions.
Let’s go back to customer journey mapping.
Imagine that you’re the Chief Experience Officer and your goal is to run a customer-centric business.
The first thing you need to do is ensure your customer journey map is fed with relevant and existing day-to-day data.
A way to make sure that your customer journey map is not outdated is to do user research as a continuous activity, rather than a one-off project. Another way is to invite other departments to provide you with data relevant for the customer journey map. This can be Net Promoter Scores or even be sales numbers.
But, you need a process in place which makes sure that our customer journey map is constantly fed with up-to-date data.
The second: Make sure to embed the customer journey map in a process where you extract insights from the map and make decisions based on that.
Also, you might use the map to come up with new plans and review if the actions that you’ve taken in the last period have actually had a positive impact on the things you wanted to improve in the customer journey.
Whether you do this quarterly, monthly, or maybe even in a daily stand-up meeting, that’s totally up to you.
Most importantly—your customer journey map has to be part of the decision making process.
If it’s not, it becomes just a way to document the customer journey and will lose its value quickly.
Now, I’ll admit, embedding customer journey maps in a decision making process is a big challenge. But, I believe that is the only way to actually get long term benefits and make sure that you’re on the right path to becoming a customer-centric organization.
I’m really curious, what are the challenges the do you have in regards to customer journey mapping? Leave a comment down below.