Tuesday, November 11, 2014

18 Reasons to Map Customer Journeys

Image courtesy of GrantVernon
Have you started journey mapping yet? Or are you still wondering why it's an important tool to have in your customer experience management toolbox?

I've written and talked about journey mapping so much this year, even suggesting back in January that we make it the year of the journey map. I think customer experience professionals have made huge inroads in that regard this year. I hear so many people talking about mapping and so many prospects and clients asking about it. Progress. And yet, there are still plenty of folks who don't understand how powerful the maps can be/are as a CX tool.

Throughout the year, I've written about different ways that maps can help you advance your CX strategy. I thought I'd compile them all here in one place.

Use journey maps to...
  1. get executive buy-in to focus on the customer experience
  2. get organizational buy-in for customer focus and customer centricity
  3. understand your customer and his interactions with your organization 
  4. build empathy for the customer and what he's going through as he interacts with your organization
  5. shift CX thinking from touchpoints to journeys
  6. shift CX thinking from inside-out to outside-in
  7. align the organization around a common cause
  8. provide a clear line of sight for employees to the target: customers
  9. help both frontline and back office employees understand how they impact the customer experience 
  10. influence talent requirements and hiring decisions
  11. train and coach employees about the customer experience
  12. onboard employees and indoctrinate them in the CX culture
  13. speak a universal language (customer)
  14. break down organizational silos
  15. get a single view of the customer 
  16. identify moments of truth and performance measurement opportunities
  17. design/improve the customer experience (foundation for CX strategy)
  18. identify and update/fix/kill inefficient touchpoints and processes, rules, policies that don't make sense
What am I missing? If you've mapped customer journeys, what other activities have you used your maps for? What other benefits have you witnessed as a result of mapping? How do you use the maps?

Remember, don't map for the sake of mapping. We're not just checking a box, to say that we created maps. They are not the endgame; they haven't been dubbed "the backbone of customer experience management efforts" for nothing. Journey maps are a valuable tool in your company's effort to improve the customer experience.

A closing thought... maps aren't just for the customer experience. Map the employee experience, the partner experience, and the experience of any other constituent with whom you interact, including your internal customers.

A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected. -Reif Larsen, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet


  1. Great list. Although in concept your list would include this, I would say that it can help identify touch points with non-human entities that you use in your experience such as payment machines, software, and other "things" that sometimes get ignored.

    1. Thanks, Adam... glad you enjoyed it. Good point.

  2. Hi Annette,
    I like your list and the more reasons that we can generate for map customer journeys the more likely they are to get done and done well. However, I also think we need to be careful of the language that we use (call me pedantic, if you like). So, when you say 'onboard employees and indoctrinate them in the CX culture' the word that stands out for me is 'indoctrinate'. Looking it up shows that it is defined as meaning: "teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically'. Do we want for our employees to accept a set of beliefs 'uncritically'?


    1. Adrian, I agree with you that the reasons will hopefully drive map adoption. I don't mind pedantic. :-) I guess I was going more for the purely "teach" definition of indoctrinate.

  3. Annette,

    A couple of conflicting thoughts

    - A picture tells a thousand words
    - The map is not the territory

    I guess the trick is to find the happy (and useful) medium


    1. Thanks, James. I like thought-provoking ideas...

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  5. Annette...that's a great list to map the customer journey.
    Here's one reason I think that is very important - to observe the balance of experience pre and post the sale. Most companies slack off once the sale is made. But that is exactly when a customer is most likely to tarnish the image of the company. So its important to make sure that the experience, if not getting better, is atleast kept on an even keel.

  6. Great article, Annette! I’m going to share this with many of my clients.

  7. Great post Annette! I do believe that delivering the best customer experience starts with each employee having the drive to understand and cater to the needs of different customers. So when it comes to customer support, an inside-out approach definitely needs to be in place.