How To Effectively Implement Customer Journey Maps
Journey mapping is a core discipline and competency of leading organizations. No longer considered a marketing or customer success initiative, leaders are realizing that everyone benefits from understanding journey maps and how they can be acted upon. And by "everyone" I mean everyone – from Finance to R&D/Engineering to Facilities. Directly or indirectly, every job contributes to measurably delivering a consistent, valued customer experience.
While the concept of sharing journey maps and coaching employees on how to operationalize them in their jobs is widely agreed upon, implementation typically meets with resistance. Common objections include:
Today In: Leadership
At the root of each of the above points is a fear of change. For managers who have not been formally trained in change management, effectively positioning and connecting the dots for each employee on how this can benefit them is daunting. It’s easier to just keep the knowledge within a siloed team and focus on aligning the processes that team owns. The thought process is that as other teams see their success they will want to join in.
The ROI of journey mapping is realized when all employees understand how to align their activities to customer expectations. Employees are quick to see how embracing small, incremental changes can lead to higher job satisfaction and performance for them as well as company. They just want to have a vote and voice in the implementation process. Ironically, this is what customers want when participating in journey mapping and co-creation workshops.
From my experience there are three best practices to successfully operationalize journey maps .
1. Develop internal audience-specific versions of the journey map(s).
Different people consume information differently; one size doesn’t fit all. By tailoring how the maps are presented for each audience type, it makes the information more accessible and consumable.
Develop a hierarchy of journey map documents demonstrating varying levels of detail and add graphics appropriate for each audience group. Executives want a one page, high level graphical map that shows key moments of truth, decision tollgates, and high value generating touchpoints. Managers want more detail and employees need even greater detail. Both audiences will benefit from graphically depicted journeys that are contextually relevant to their roles.
Have fun with the graphics and don’t forget to develop versions to share with distributors, partners and key suppliers.
2. Socialize journey maps through multiple channels.
Journey maps, done correctly using ‘outside-in’ methods, are a gold-mine of information that touches every corner of a company in measurable ways. There are over 30 uses for the data coming out of journey maps. Figuring out the best way to socialize a customer journey map can be overwhelming – the trick is to do it informally in bite-size, interactive chunks.
Last year, I attended a meeting where the client insisted that all employees attend a PowerPoint presentation of the post-purchase journey maps. The content was powerful but the presentation resulted in the sales team falling asleep (literally) and engineers heads down on their smartphones. The result was no one was particularly gun-ho to step up and embrace new ways of engaging customers. In fact, few people actually remembered what the meeting was about. The data was correct, the presentation was dead boring; people tuned out.
My recommendation is to kick off the operationalization of journey maps with an all-company meeting led by the CEO, thirty minutes max. Having the CEO introduce the initiative speaks volumes to its importance to the company. Even more powerful is to have a customer co-present; that will get everyone to sit up and pay attention.
That introductory session should be followed by three actions:
3. Define a phased roll-out plan.
Despite today’s common belief that everyone will jump at the chance to change, it makes everyone uneasy. Human nature fears uncertainty and we spend inordinate amounts of time imagining all sorts of dire consequences, most of which are unfounded. It’s our natural resistance to change that requires operationalizing a journey with a plan.
Begin by developing a phased, cross-organization change plan by prioritizing key interaction points and moments of truth that are driving customer dissatisfaction. Look for journey steps where company engagement is counter to what customers said they expected. Also look for points that trigger complaints, high customer stress or frustration, and/or negative word of mouth.
Develop a high level plan and milestones that are signed off by executive leadership. Structure the plan in sprints with target metrics before socializing with functional leadership. Based on my experience, I strongly recommend a bi-weekly steering committee of functional leaders and the executive sponsor(s) to reviews progress, issues and new customer behavior and feedback. Consistent visible and vocal executive sponsorship, preferably by the CEO, is a critical success factor.
Keep the whole company engaged by sharing implementation progress and give teams time to share lessons learned – good and bad - as part of monthly/quarterly all-company meetings. Celebrate successes no matter how small. Public recognition is one of the most powerful motivators. Recognize a team that has changed a process and the measurable improvement in customer engagement. That will motivate others to take the initiative and step up.
Don’t be afraid to include a handful of strategic customers in during this transformation. Their involvement adds gravitas and keeps everyone focused on target. This is a community effort; make it one with all the trappings.
As president of New Business Strategies, a cross-organizational customer alignment and transformation consulting and training firm, we serve high tech, discrete manufacturing, Fintech and education clients to realize measurable growth, revenue and customer preference. www.newbizs.com I speak about the issues at the cross roads of customer alignment / technology / strategy and write for Forbes, MarTech Advisors, CMSWire, and HuffingtonPost.
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