Journeys are for Action, not Maps

In preparation for the upcoming Customer Contact Week, CCW shared their special report on journey mapping with me. Given our focus and expertise on journey mapping, I’m commonly asked to review these types of reports. Unlike most, however, CCW’s special report truly gets to the heart of the matter – journey mapping is not about creating a map; it’s about driving customer-focused change in your organization.

Most of these reports focus extensively on how to create a map, typically going into the author’s specialty. They’re sales pieces. Instead, CCW includes interviews from practitioners at Groupon, FlipKart and Urban Health Plan to give context for using journey maps to drive business. I really appreciate this because what matters most is how practitioners use journey maps in the real world. While I quibble a bit with CCW’s use of standard “customer journeys” (our experience is that each brand’s journeys differ); once you move beyond this section, the learning begins.

The report shows how journey mapping helps in nine specific areas, from discovering and removing pain points to viewing how customers switch channels. Most importantly, though, author Brian Cantor shows the main differences between journey maps that drive change and maps that are just pretty. Our research shows that 65% of journey maps fail to drive change. Brian discusses critical reasons why, and I’ve added my commentary:

Functional fragmentation. Our research agrees, showing that the most important best practice is a broad, cross-functional team.

No emphasis on sentiment. Journey maps need to show how your customers feel – those that fail to communicate exactly what customers are feeling are destined to be quickly forgotten.

Lack of storytelling. This is a big differentiator between maps. Great maps put the reader in the customer’s shoes, sharing her story as she interacts with your brands. Lousy journey maps are glorified Excel spreadsheets that simply list touchpoints.

Brian ends by showing what to do once your mapping is complete – something often forgotten in the excitement of creating the journey map. Our clients typically tell us that 75% or more of their effort comes after the mapping is complete, as they drive customer-focused change. Brian walks through some of these areas, such as “Unify the different customer-facing functions” and “Focus on dynamic context, not static segments.”

I highly recommend the report. You can download it here.

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