5 steps for successful customer journey mapping

Creating efficient customer journeys is a basic requirement for sales success. Getting it right for more customers, more of the time can transform conversion and customer retention; doubling online sales for one company and increasing sales across all channels by 15% for another major UK Financial Services Client.

Read on, or download the article here A five-step programme for successful customer journey mapping

There are few things more powerful for building lasting loyalty than creating distinct customer experiences that reflect a brand’s promise.

However few companies have a clear plan about how to:

  • Understand (map) the journeys their customers make
  • Quantify the realistic benefit from improving the journey
  • Nor how to go about systematically improving performance

If these are issues that you haven’t yet cracked then read on.  This article focuses on how you can map, quantify and improve the journeys your customers make. How to quantify the way people move from enquiry to purchase, how they move between channels and, most importantly, where they drop out of the sales funnel.

This guide focuses on the quantitative aspects.  The qualitative aspects, what you could describe as Customer Experience Mapping I will touch on in a later articles including my experience of its pros, and limitations.

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The Customer Journey Mapping process


5 step programme for customer journey mapping and transformation

A 5-step process for customer journey mapping and transformation

Set-up

Customer journeys cut across functions with significant implications for project set-up. Of course a senior sponsor is required but they also need the informed board support, without this the project is likely to fall at the first step; gaining full access to MI and co-opting managers from across the business into a cross-functional team.

It is also vital to create a shared understanding of the process ahead, the time scales, time costs and benefits.

Until the ‘Design’ stage relatively little time is required from the cross functional team; perhaps 2 – 3 days each, per months. However once into the first ‘Act & embed’ phase time costs rise sharply, thus a commitment to the concept of Customer Journey Mapping at board level is necessary if the project is to have a realistic chance of making the change programme shortlist.

Map

A customer journey map

A typical customer journey map

This is the collation, distillation and calibration of the knowledge and MI within a business, which is often scattered, is rarely connected and frequently collected using different base measures (sales volume Vs profit for example). This process can take up to 12 weeks.

Suring this phase discuss any holes in available customer journey data and to spec a customer journey dashboard to enable ongoing monitoring.

Size the prize


Once a map has been built the opportunity cost of drop out hot-spots can be quantified and the reasons for drop off explored through work-shops and, ideally, qualitative research. Recording the authentic customer voice can be extremely important, it gives staff insight into what the customer journey feels like and can galvanise sustained commitment to change across the business.

The maps or flow diagrams show the volumes of people moving between touch points and channels, vitally they also show how many people drop out of each stage of the sales funnel. This visual representation of how people with interact with the company is an extremely powerful tool for helping operations, marketing and finance colleagues align their efforts, overcoming traditional functional divides.

Design

The challenge now is to get the group to take increasing ownership of improving the customer journey. Presenting straw man solutions that tackle the different types of change (changes to communications, process or IT etc) and evaluating as a group the impact and the difficulty of the change is an effective approach. As is get the team working in small groups to generate ideas and to begin to build a consensus around which areas should be priorities for change. 

Act & Embed

The programme now needs to be incorporated into the business’s existing change management process. Board support for the strategic direction should have been secured at the outset so that now, armed with Customer Journey maps and hot-spots, performance targets can be set and responsibility allocated.

Of course a single project that follows these steps can create a significant business improvement. For an Insurance Client a comprehensive series of simple and longer term changes were agreed which were able to deliver 15% more revenue from the same sales funnel. For another Client a simple change to the interplay between the online and call centre journeys doubled online sales.

This approach also forces a company to make a leap toward reshaping itself around its customers.  By introducing a customer journey dashboard and a review and improve cycle this approach can quickly become engrained.

To discuss your customer journey challenges and opportunities contact me.

Related content: customer journey mapping presentation