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Avoid the Journey Map Trap

The business rationale for developing a journey mapping practice is straightforward and easy to understand. What organization wouldn’t want to take the guesswork out of delivering great customer experience, every time, all the time? What organization wouldn’t want to remove points of friction with customers and prospects, engaging rather than frustrating them?

Perhaps less well understood is the reality that journey mapping doesn’t always deliver on its promises. In our research and consulting work, we see common pitfalls:

  1. Mapping the journey from the company’s perspective, rather than the customer’s.  A prospect is happy when he chooses the path, not when he’s forced to follow a journey that’s imposed on him.
  2. Putting journey mapping solely in the hands of marketing. Participants should include every role that impacts the journey being modeled – such front-line customer service at a hotel or service reps in a B2B call center.
  3. Creating a disjointed collection of journeys without a larger business context.  Individual journeys may be fine-tuned within themselves, but they don’t mesh into a holistic positive impression for the customer.

The first two pitfalls can be addressed by establishing good journey mapping practices at the outset, or by improving practices as the organization monitors results and builds journey mapping muscle.  The third, however, requires a more strategic solution.

Fielding a disjointed collection of journeys that end up disappointing the customer is a big pitfall that compromises the potential value of a journey mapping practice.  Let’s say you’re a B2B procurement specialist at a specialty chemical company. You’ve identified a new supplier of high-quality packaging materials. Your experience using the customer portal is positive, and the process of placing that order online is also positive. The order arrives, but the company shipped the wrong material. Sorting it out with customer service is a nightmare of delayed responses, multiple requests for the same documentation, and so on. Your overall impression of the company is tarnished by the bad journeys, even though the start of the relationship was promising.

The risks of dissatisfaction due to disjointed experiences can be avoided altogether by developing a journey strategy before a single sticky note goes up on a whiteboard.

At its simplest, a journey strategy is your company’s overarching plan for coordinating individual journeys so that they hang together, delivering holistic impact.  More specifically, here’s the definition from DCG’s report on creating great customer experiences with journey strategies:

The enterprise’s business plan to engage and delight customers by supporting all touchpoints that span discovery, sales, finance, support, and service, and by integrating the multiple devices, interaction channels, and application silos that support those customer touchpoints.

Creating map after map after map without that strategic plan may only lead to customer frustration – thereby exacerbating the very situation that you’re trying to address with journey mapping.

Our analysis of journey strategies makes the case for avoiding this journey map trap and shows you how to get started. We provide guidance on overcoming the challenges associated with bringing cross-functional teams together for effective journey mapping, and we discuss the critical role of incorporating relevant data into mapping, monitoring, and continuously improving.  This post on journey mapping in higher education reinforces the need to facilitate journeys that prospects themselves want to take. This report on journeys in retail banking takes a deeper dive into journey mapping in a segment of the financial services industry, while universalizing key concepts like knitting together high-value journeys into holistic customer experiences. It’s nearly impossible to realize that level of impact without first developing a journey strategy.

We’d welcome the opportunity to hear how you’re using journey strategies to drive stronger ROI in your journey mapping practices, or to discuss how a journey strategy can improve the results you’re seeing to date. Contact us to connect.


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