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Pitfalls to Avoid in Customer Journey Mapping

by | Feb 26, 2021 | Customer Experience

Its about the journey, not the destination. We don’t know who said it, but they said it right and its as true for the journey of your customers as it is for your life.

Within the confines of corporate definitions, we get entangled in terminologies, process and data, data, & more data. Don’t get us wrong, we are all about the data, but not without context. Here is our belief:

ContactPoint 360 - Data Belief

What happens with Customer Journey Maps

If you think of your customer’s journey as a map, you tend to visualize their interaction with your physical or digital space as well-directed, rigid structure. On a map you visualize key places or ‘touch-points’, between a journey marked by dotted lines. Usually, you focus on identifying these ‘touch-points’. You may have to go a step ahead and plan the experience at these points on your map.

But here is the issue – you forget to influence the journey. You miss out on recognizing that your customer’s interaction with your brand is dynamic, and it changes between point A and B. If you are not influencing them across the dotted line, you lose them along the way.

A simple way to begin addressing this problem is by using the power of words within your team. Talk about orchestrating the customer journey, instead of mapping it.

Orchestrating the Customer Experience

Its about the customer’s goals, not brand goals: Lincoln Murphy, a customer success growth expert, details five flaws in a journey map and addresses the key issue well. He says that a business’ objective is to help customers achieve their goals. When mapping out a journey, do not focus on the goal you want your customers to achieve. Instead, focus on actions that are appropriate to achieve the customer’s goals.

Be selective with information, and frugal with layers

Contrary to popular belief, a 360-degree view of the customer is not useful. Not all data points on a customer are useful. As Thomas Wieberneit explains, only data that fits or provides context is valuable. The article succinctly describes four things you need to know, to develop the context:

  • Your customer’s position/situation in the journey.
  • Their objective, and the job they want to achieve at that moment.
  • Your situation & ability to support their journey.
  • Your objective – providing the customer with the best possible solution at the time, and through to the final destination.

Creating customer journeys with layers of data make them complex and hard to implement. ‘Keep it simple’ with well defined action points for rapid progress.

Reduce cognitive load on customers

Customers are inundated with choices. An overflow of information does not, unfortunately, inform them, it confuses them. For the sake of efficiency and survival, out brains are tuned to making quick decisions. We look for the best results, with minimum efforts.

In your customer experience plan, do not forget to include two things:

  • The points at which a customer will perform actions.
  • The points at which a customer will make decisions.

Identifying these moments will help you provide the right information, at the right time to help the customer make decisions favorable to their goal, and your objective.

Recognize the motivations, influences, and challenges

A man is about to get married in 4 weeks. He would ideally like to lose 50 pounds to photograph well. A google search ensues for crash diets.

  • Upcoming wedding – The Trigger
  • Short timespan – The Challenge
  • Desire to look good – The Motivation
  • Sleek Wedding outfits for plus-size men – The well-timed ad
  • Product/brand reviews by influencers – Validation & authenticity
  • …and so on and so forth

It is important to pin down the point when a customer’s journey is triggered, the instances at which they’ll need to make decisions and moments of micro-actions that go towards the end goal. Brands that understand these well, are able to recognize and influence the customer’s journey.

One Size Does Not Fit All That Well

Segmenting customers is essential to understanding them. Customer personas help you understand the points stated above. They assist you to understand that different people will behave differently and have varied goals. To be a part of their journey, you will have to customize an experience for each segment. However, if you are short on time and financial capital, you can start small. The first point, after organizational buy-in, is to understand the customer. Empathy maps could be an alternative to customer personas, to start the process.

Map the current state, along with the future state

A lot of teams will only map the future state or ideal customer journeys instead of charting the current customer journeys. Mapping the current along with the future state will help you influence customer journeys in the moment, and also recognize gaps to inform future business strategies.

Break down silos for deep, enriching and consistent experiences

Internal diversity is essential to cater to a diverse audience. The process of orchestrating customer experiences is not isolated to one department in your company. A senior level buy-in is essential, followed by a cross-functional team. Gartner provides valuable guidance on creating relevant journey maps. Some of the key points they highlight are:

  • Getting a buy-in from senior leaders to create and use a journey maps.
  • Cross-functional teams to break down silos.
  • Identifying gaps in data.
  • Validating journey maps with experiences of real customers.
  • Periodically updating maps to be current and relevant.

Additionally, involving cross-functional teams to create a customer journey map can help in:

  • Identifying opportunities to improve processes within departments.
  • Getting varied perspective on how different people may interact with the brand.

Recent research indicated marketing, customer service and sales as top three departments that should be involved in creating & orchestrating customer journeys.

ContactPoint 360 - Team Integration

Own your brand promise

The best way to build brand reputation is to own a word in the customer’s mind. Owning a reputation is not isolated to the purchase journey of a customer. The same value must reflect in the company’s culture, employee behaviour within & outside the organization, post-sales customer service, brand messaging and corporate actions.

The process to understand and influence the interaction of each customer is a daunting task. It involves elaborate research, planning and implementation. You may also start documenting the perceived journey using pre-existing templates. HubSpot’s article provides some beginner level templates for B2B, e-commerce, and retail brands.

As long as you avoid the pitfalls, these are good starting points for any business to understand and improve their customer’s experience. As businesses scale, expand their services and products, the customer journeys become complicated. Collaborating with the right CX partners can, at that point, assist in building brand loyalists and increasing revenue.

At ContactPoint 360, we’ve been at the front-line of interacting with customers across different industries. Our stellar CX associates are your brand’s loyalists. They spend hours listening to your customer. AI and speech analytics technology enables us to capture all that data and process it to get an understanding of a brand’s audience. While we use this data to train our agents, it is one of the areas from where we gain a deep understanding of the real customer journeys. We use this knowledge, and our experience to create effective customer journey maps. Know more about it here.

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