“With the journey map, I now have a powerful tool that helps visualize the visitor experience,” said Samir Bitar, Museum Director of the National Veteran’s Memorial and Museum, when I interviewed him in one of my most popular podcasts, How the Smithsonian Built Their Journey Map. Samir, who was director at the Smithsonian Institute at the time, showed us that journey mapping is an incredibly powerful tactic to unify an organization in terms of thinking through a customer-first lens.
So, let me ask – does your organization have a customer journey map? Is it used to understand your customers? Leaders who use the journey map to diagnose the experience and its impact on the growth or shrinkage of the customer asset are most successful because they connect the dots between the two in storytelling to the organization.
Journey Mapping Enables You to Focus and Prioritize Work
When working with the 5-competency framework, you should approach the journey mapping strategy by starting with competency 1 (manage your customers as assets): “As a result of the experience we delivered to our customers in the last month or quarter or year; here is the growth or loss of our customer asset.” And then continuing to competency 2 (align operations around experience): “Now we will traverse across the journey stages to discover where we helped or hindered customer asset growth.”
When leaders are consistent and united in how they use the journey framework, it enables them to focus on and prioritize the work of the organization, optimize investments, manage resources most effectively, and improve experiences that impact growth.
Most importantly, the customer journey provides the framework to diagnose and care about the “why?” What circumstances cause customers to stay, grow, depart, or diminish their relationship with the company?
Using the journey as a vehicle to learn about the customers’ lives builds an organizational caring to want to know the reasons behind their behavior – this goes way beyond a “survey score.” By simplifying the outcome of the experience as growth or loss of the customer asset, leaders become more interested in understanding and getting to the bottom of the reasons “why?”
Your Customer Journey Map = Your Business Decision BlueprintYour customer journey map should be used regularly to provide leaders with consistency in determining organizational needs and priorities necessary for customer-driven growth.
Over time, it should be accepted as a united business decision blueprint that can be understood and adapted throughout all levels of the organization.
Rigor in addressing employee needs and barriers by examining those issues can then be addressed by customer journey stage rather than silo by silo.
Unite Silos and Step Through the Lives of Customers
Many organizations say they focus on their customers’ experiences but few do the hard work to define the stages of the experiences from the customers’ point of view. In the absence of this, all of the operating areas do their own thing, driven by their internal tasks and agenda and scorecard. A lot of work is done, often in the name of the customer, but it doesn’t add up from the customers’ perspective to deliver a “one-company” experience. The big things don’t get systematically improved. We miss the opportunity for the differentiating moments.
Please don’t make journey mapping a shiny object that you take on because everyone else is doing it. For this work to be successful, it must connect to leadership language and accountability and communication. Otherwise, you’re executing an expensive tactic. Those who do so are often left with a lot of post-it notes, binders, and an unclear path on what to do with it all.
Done for the right reasons, and in a manageable way, having a customer journey (even a simple one) connects the silos in accountability to customer experiences, and embeds an aptitude for caring why customers stayed or left the business. It provides rigor to understand and step through the lives of customers and pick the places to focus that will have the most impact.
Done for the right reasons, and in a manageable way, having a customer journey connects the silos in accountability to customer experiences, and embeds an aptitude for caring why customers stayed or left the business. Click To Tweet
So to recap, when you use the customer journey map as a business decision blueprint, you’re able to do the following: assess customer loss and growth, think about the experience from the customer’s point of view, address needs of employees, hold leaders accountable, and connect silos to unite the organization with one vision.
Have you been using a customer journey as a decision-making tool within your organization? How has it benefitted you? Please share with me in the comments!