Don’t forget these key steps if you want to develop useful and usable customer journey maps

There is much more to a customer journey map than a pretty picture depicting a  series of actions. Useful ones are time consuming, resource intense and expensive to create, but they are pivotal to creating customer centricity across an organisation and its marketing or business strategy.

If you want a good customer journey map that is useable and insightful, here are some things to remember:

1. Be clear about your goals: It matters to understand, first and foremost, the business requirements. What is the problem you are trying to solve with the map and who are the key audiences of interest will shape what journeys you choose to map out. That’s why we always start with a business requirements meeting.

2. Clearly defined target audiences and journeys: Clearly defining the audience segments, and the journeys of interest, means maps become specific, rather than generic. Generally, the audiences are clearly aligned to the business requirements generated in step 1.  Generic, high-level maps tend to lack insight or depth. They are important in some cases, but they offer broad brushstrokes rather than insightful elements that can be used to shape strategy and content plans down the line. Don’t skip this step.

3. Start with the assumptive journey:Assumptive journeys are more than just a business’s best guess at what the customer journey looks like. They are a powerful opportunity to harness the internal knowledge that sits within the organisation, create alignment across stakeholders and bring different parts of the business together behind the project. They kick start the project, and bring energy to it. Later on, when they have to implement outcomes, there is already a sense of ownership.

4. Create assumptive maps that are customer centric rather than business or touch point focused: Actively put yourself in your customers shoes when you are creating your maps. Look at the world through their eyes, rather than through the interactions your company has with them. Think customer first. What problem are customers solving where the product is part of the solution, rather than how does the customer interact with the brand.

5. Don’t skip the validation stage: Research with customers is expensive. Clients are often tempted to skip this stage, arguing that they already know what there is to know. I’ve yet to meet a client for which this is true. Everyone we know learns something insightful from the research phase, that makes them more in tune with who their customers are, and what they need. For us, validation is not just about data, it’s about deep discovery and insight. Wherever feasible, we strongly recommend engaging with our research capabilities in this space. When budgets are tight, there are ways in which voice of the customer activities can drive the right insights. We offer training, tools and templates to help our clients meet with and extract insight from their customers, and use the assets they have to gain clarity.

6. Socialise the outputs: Customer journey maps are visual artefacts around which entire organisations can gather. They provide shared language and understanding about the customer, and where and how the business needs to interact with them. Getting buy in of the final outputs is key, and ensuring the visualised outputs are easily accessible and used across the business is when they have their best value.

7. Make them actionable: Use the journeys to develop a range of marketing and business activity that will drive the business outcomes you’re looking for, with the confidence that the solutions and activities are based on deep customer insights and will link with customer behaviours directly.

Want to see how we’ve helped clients drive customer centricity through their businesses? Contact us today.