HCD Foundations and Frameworks

3. The Big CX Shift: From Touch Points to Journeys

3.1 On Journey Mapping

Journey mapping is the first activity that delivers a tangible asset towards adoption customer centricity and improving customer experience (CX). Journey mapping is the activity used to create a visual journey map of the customer’s end-to-end interactions towards a goal. It captures the task, outcome, channels, and emotions at each step within a stage or phase. It can be used broadly, to capture the high level interactions and funnel down to the journey within a specific channel or user experience of the product itself. If you decide to go to a conference about customer experience, you’ll likely see several presentations from a variety of product and service companies who started their transformations with a journey mapping exercise. 

From customer retention, dissatisfaction, stagnated growth, innovation ruts, or supply chain issues, journey maps can help locate the root of the problem. However, conducting journey mapping exercise alone does not implement “CX.” That’s not possible. Imagine your family mapping out a chaotic morning routine with sticky notes, showing goals and emotions…then walking away feeling good that now they know the TV in the morning was a problem. What of it?  After understanding the journey of the customer, it must be accompanied by leadership buy-in, change management, and employee engagement to break silos and solve problems one by one. 

In the article, “The Truth about Customer Experience,” by the Harvard Business Review, the authors write, “In our research and consulting on customer journeys, we’ve found that organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction.” The same article reviews the explicit need to move away from measuring the metrics of success around touch points, which can lead organizations astray. Meaning, a series of very good touch points (call center, website, mobile app, and service centers) developed in silos, without a managed journey, will throw off the organization’s grasp of customer’s reality. Imagine, a sales person with a high enrollment rate who does not know what happens enrollment can’t help but to feel confused at the declining forecast of the insurance organization!

As an executive within an organization, you may not directly sit and participate (although highly encouraged to.) However, the team, without executive buy-in will quickly run into barriers and bring forward silos that are difficult to break through. It is nearly impossible in most organizations to be able to conduct a successful journey map without a strong executive sponsor to help facilitate introductions, align resources, and be enthusiastic supporters. Those who are curious, energetic, and engaged make the best champions for journey mapping.

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