Customer journey mapping is the key to understanding how your customers interact with your brand, their needs and aspirations and their pain points in order to create a seamless, consistent and enjoyable consumer experience.
Team Solvvy caught up with author, speaker and coach, Kerry Bodine to talk about journey mapping and the evolving role of self-service in creating unforgettable customer experiences. A subject matter expert in the CX space, Bodine runs her own customer experience consultancy. Prior to venturing out on her own, she was a Vice President and Principal Analyst for Customer Experience at Forrester Research.
A nature enthusiast, Bodine enjoys hiking in the hidden Eucalyptus forests in her hometown of San Francisco and draws inspiration for her work from the natural world. Interested in pursuing a career in designing wearable technology long before there were any commercial wearables to design, her path to journey mapping followed some rather interesting twists and turns.
Journey mapping is the process of understanding and documenting the experiences that a customer has with your business through visual storytelling. The methodology stems from the discipline of human-centered design, which helps organizations build solutions that are simple, useful, engaging and lasting.
Example of a Journey Map
Here are excerpts from an interview…
What are the key benefits of customer journey mapping?
Customer journey mapping allows organizations to understand the relative priority of pain points in the customer experience so that they can take measures to address those issues. And an improved customer experience leads to business outcomes like increased revenue and reduced cost to serve.
Today’s large organizations are aligned in silos around different functions, different product lines and different channels. All of these silos create disjointed experiences for customers as they attempt to complete their tasks and goals. Mapping the journey can help you understand the process and communication gaps that exist between silos so that you can further streamline the customer experience—with the added benefit of improving internal collaboration.
Can you share some best practices around journey mapping?
We encourage our clients to start out with hypothesis mapping, which brings people from across the organization together to expose the internal knowledge and assumptions they have about what customers’ experience. The next step is to validate—or, more to the points, invalidate— those assumptions with real customers.
It’s also important to understand that the objective of a journey mapping initiative is not to create a journey map itself, but to understand customers’ viewpoints, change the way your organization works to improve their experience and in turn enhance your business metrics. So it’s important to have a plan around what you want to do with the journey maps once you have them. Root cause analysis is an important step in this plan so that you understand the underlying causes of customer pain points before you begin to design a solution.
What are some of the key challenges that customers experience while interacting with a brand?
While every single customer experience is different, a common challenge that customers face while interacting with a brand is inconsistent information. Often times, information served across different channels or by different functions varies—and customer doesn’t know what to believe or expect.
Another big challenge is a lack of transparency into the way that products operate or services are delivered—the fine print, so to speak. Many businesses are inherently complex, and organizations often find it challenging to communicate in a way that’s clear and simple. It’s not impossible to do this, but it does take effort and the right mindset.
What should organizations do to address these pain points?
Fixing problems such as lack of consistency between channels or poor communication can be accomplished through a human-centered design process, such as those used by interaction designers and service designers. This typically involves broad ideation, developing inexpensive prototypes, testing those prototypes and quickly iterating to find that most useful and enjoyable experience for the customer.
This should never be a one-person exercise. When you identify a customer pain point, conduct root cause analysis with a cross-functional team. Making it a team sport helps people discover their and their team’s role, rather than feeling like someone’s pointing the finger at them. When you move on to designing solutions to those root causes, it’s best to do this collaboratively, as well, with cross-functional employees, partners and even your customers.
What’s your take on the evolving role of self-service and technology in the customer experience space?
As people try to pack more things into a day and get more out of their personal and professional lives, the role of technology to serve and assist them is growing in importance. People want the help they need to complete their tasks or accomplish their goals anytime, anywhere.
That’s why organizations need to support their customers wherever they are and across different channels, be it through intelligent self-service on their tablet while they’re riding the train to work or via text while they’re at a ball game. If organizations tried to support customers around the globe, at all times through a fully staffed human solution, it would incredibly inefficient and expensive—and quality of service would certainly vary. So the answer lies in effortless self-service. As consumer expectations for speed and convenience continue to increase, self-service technology will become more and more important.
What is the future of journey mapping in the self-service context?
I see journey mapping being used across the entire organization—not just by people with “customer experience” in their titles. As journey mapping uncovers peoples’ needs and expectations, it also uncovers potential areas where self-service might have the biggest impact for both the organization and customers. Journey mapping can help businesses gain a deep understanding of where self-service technology can be applied most effectively within the journey to improve the experience for customers.
Join Kerry Bodine and Mahesh Ram, founding CEO of Solvvy in an exclusive webinar on Feb 8, 2018 as they explore the best practices around the usage of journey maps and the evolving role of self-service.