Half of all journeys maps fail to drive change. Don’t be a statistic.

Customer journey maps are a customer experience (CX) leader’s best friend. Done well, a journey mapping initiative aligns your teams around a shared vision to an improved customer experience. Effective journey maps engage your entire company to align on your customers’ moments of truth, showcasing how to create more loyal customers.

Unfortunately, these initiatives fail far too often.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the voice of the industry, from our first annual Journey Mapping Best Practices Survey. We surveyed over one hundred journey mapping practitioners and vendors to discover the state of the art in journey mapping.

The results weren’t encouraging. For those practitioners who have had time to evaluate their success, half gave their journey mapping initiative a failing grade. The key reason? A failure to drive action.

But perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise. Any best-practice tool brings pretenders out of the woodwork, using a quick-and-dirty approach that fails to make a difference. Our respondents reported failed projects that never included customers, didn’t take time to engage key parts of the company, or were too broad or narrow to accomplish their goals.

A failed journey mapping initiative doesn’t just waste time and money. It can also spoil your best opportunity to drive customer-focused change.

We asked both vendors and practitioners for their keys to success and saw strong alignment between the two.

When asked to select what was most important for a successful journey mapping initiative, over 60% said it was important to involve broad, cross-functional teams.

I wrote about this last month. In an effort move quickly, it’s easy to collect a small team to charge ahead. Unfortunately, while this makes it easy to get started, it’s difficult to engage the teams you left out once the project is over. So, take the time to make sure you have the right people involved right from the start.

Once you have the right teams engaged, the next most important item is to involve customers in the journey mapping process. This seems like a no-brainer. But it’s disappointingly common to use customer-facing employees as a proxy for actual customers. Doing so almost ensures failure. The same thinking that caused your customer experience problems won’t solve them. Involve customers in the process to truly understand their moments of truth. The top journey mapping research methodologies were in-person interviews, in-person focus groups, and web-based surveys (see the white paper for more details).

The third-most important item for practitioners was selecting the right journey to map. This theme generated a ton of elaborations, with some recommending you start with the end-to-end journey, and others calling for a focus on a smaller, more-actionable sub-journey to drive change. Sixty percent of our practitioners mapped their end-to-end journey, which was the most common journey to map. This was followed by the setup/onboarding journey (54%).

What didn’t seem to matter?  Journey mapping software, for one. The most common software products were from Microsoft, especially PowerPoint and Visio. Only 14% of practitioners and 12% of vendors reported using mapping-specific tools. Probably as a result of using general-purpose software, few respondents gave top scores to their software tool.

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Customer journey mapping has the potential to drive customer-focused change. Unfortunately, too many organizations rush through the process, missing out on the opportunity to align the entire company around a full understanding of customer needs.

Don’t be a statistic. Use the best practices from your peers.

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