Journey mapping – paired with a few concepts – provides the narrative you need to communicate, make decisions and take appropriate action.

Across the business sectors we serve, clients are asking us how they can adapt to the digital world and differentiate their business. They seek to build more digital capabilities, create more digital offerings, and become “digital first” organizations to create competitive advantage and achieve their business goals.

To create this competitive edge, digitally savvy companies understand where to be when their customers need and expect service. B2B and B2C customers are demanding a digital customer experience that affords easy maneuvering across an omni-channel and platform environment.

Journey mapping is a great place to start if you already know where your critical experience problems are across your business.

Journey Mapping is a Tool, not a Strategy

Journey mapping is a powerful tool. It guides decision-making and understanding, empathy of the customer experience within each touch point, and context as the customer forms relationships with your business.

Leaders and stakeholders use journey maps to tell the story of a customer over a period of time by highlighting the moments that matter and moments of truth as well as gaps in service where a customer’s experience is unmet or underserved.

Journey mapping draws attention to the pain points. This allows business leaders to identify key areas to focus investment and resources. It helps them decide whether to make improvements or begin innovating when markets shift, threats emerge or interests arise. Leaders may choose to try something different that creates new revenue for your business.

Journey mapping also illustrates organizational silos formed in the business value chain. When a company is siloed, information is not shared – and customer experience breakdowns and barriers are revealed. This can make the digital or omni-channel experience for your customers feel more fragmented, confusing and painful.

Their frustration can be detrimental to your business. Why? Because frustrated customers are more likely to take their business to your competitors, which puts revenue at risk and weakens your bottom line. Journey mapping can reveal those key insights that matter most to you.

Design Thinking and Journey Mapping

Design thinkers target end-to-end experiences, customer goals, or other known high-value problem areas for the business.

For example, consider different types of customers interacting with a bank’s mortgage division. A journey map visualizes all the steps, and the hoops and hurdles someone must clear to reach their goal – from intent to discovery, through funding the loan.

If a bank consumer starts their journey on a phone, then desires to complete the application at a branch because they need reassurance they are making the right financial choices, a journey map will illustrate each moment that matters and where friction occurs.

Friction might be due to silos – for example, if the mortgage application process started on a mobile device, but doesn’t appear on the loan officer’s system during the customer meeting at the branch office. This might force the potential customer to recreate the application or abandon the application process to return later. All of which creates risk for the bank’s potential revenue.

Journey Mapping is People First

With all of this in mind, the most important benefit point is that journey mapping fosters the critical people-first “mind shift” that companies are quickly realizing as a key to their overall growth.

Because this fundamental shift must begin with leadership, this tool is a fantastic mechanism to help companies visualize quick win opportunities, guide strategy building, and grow ROI and Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV).

A journey map, paired with a few concepts (screens, customer interactions, etc.) provides the narrative you need to communicate, make decisions and take appropriate action.

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About the Author

Nikki Ramirez is a Customer Experience Strategist on our Customer Experience & Design (CXD) team. Based in St. Louis, Nikki has a diverse set of capabilities in customer journey mapping, design thinking, experience design, strategy, innovation and organizational change management.

Her background and professional experience is around helping businesses transform and innovate the service and product experiences they are delivering to customers and employees. This includes defining and developing long-term, human-centered strategies and roadmaps using design thinking and service design methods.