Customer journey maps are a critical component of many organizations' customer experience (CX) framework, however, almost one-third of organizations still face difficulty incorporating journey maps into their CX efforts, according to Gartner, Inc. That's because many lack governance and oversight, and that ultimately undermines even the best maps' ability to drive action.
Gartner defines customer journey mapping as a collaborative process of gathering qualitative and quantitative data to understand customers' desired journeys and identify gaps between their expectations and their perceptions of the experience delivered by a brand at steps along the journey. The main goal of journey mapping is to determine the challenges and opportunities a brand faces in improving its CX and improve satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.
"While CX leaders have long understood the value of customer journey maps and the impact they have on an organization's ability to exceed or meet customer expectations, many still struggle to utilize them effectively in their CX initiatives," said Jane-Anne Mennella, senior research director at Gartner.
"There are a number of reasons why this happens, from stakeholders who don't understand their role, to using incomplete or incorrect data sources," added Ms. Mennella. "Essentially, many fail because they don't incorporate the governance and oversight needed to realize the journey map's true ROI."
According to Gartner, the main objectives of a customer journey map should be to (a) identify specific CX problems and opportunities, and (b) gain alignment and consensus on how to address those problems and opportunities. To execute on this effectively, and establish the appropriate governance and oversight, CX teams should follow three key steps:
- Master the Foundational Elements First: The same attention paid to laying the groundwork for journey mapping initiatives should be given to the actual creation of the journey map itself. Before building a journey map, CX leaders should consider the following: affirm leadership and key stakeholder support, build a cross-functional team composed of representatives from all departments who support the CX, assess data sources and needs, and know the audience for whom you are mapping the journey.
- Focus on the Actionable and Accurate: Determining and building successful customer journeys requires clear communication among the team and a strong understanding of the entire journey the customers take. CX leaders should start with aligning team goals and expectations. Next, the customer journey map should include the following criteria: it should be created from the customer's perspective and reflect the customer's entire journey — from evaluation, purchase, use through to loyalty, satisfaction and/or advocacy. Lastly, CX teams should consider validating the data included in the journey to ensure it accurately reflects the experience, feelings, thoughts and actions of the customers.
- Cultivate Value from Journey Maps: When journey maps fail, research shows it typically happens following the design phase. To get maximum value from customer journey maps, CX leaders must turn the insight derived from journey maps into action and experiences, ensure those journey maps are current, and develop a communications plan to reinforce progress toward realizing the customer's desired journey.
Additional details on how CX leaders can find true ROI from their customer journey maps is available to Gartner for Marketers clients in the report "Create Actionable, Insight-Driven Journey Maps." More topics like this will be discussed at Gartner's Sales & Marketing Conference in Las Vegas, NV, October 9-11, 2018.
About the Gartner Sales & Marketing Conference
Sales and marketing leaders face unprecedented changes in customer expectations, technology and the talent needed to drive results. At the Gartner Sales & Marketing Conference 2018, taking place October 9-11 in Las Vegas, sales and marketing leaders will learn from the latest research, Gartner experts, and esteemed peers, to guide them through this time of change. Follow news and updates from the event on Twitter at #GartnerSMC.