Customer Journey Mapping: The Way Forward

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Customer Strategy
Customer Experience
The customer journey today follows a winding path across devices, channels, and between the physical and digital realms, making the job of customer experience leaders tough. Following a customer's path is one thing. Predicting it is yet another.

The customer journey today follows a winding path across devices, channels, and between the physical and digital realms, making the job of customer experience leaders tough. Following a customer's path is one thing. Predicting it is yet another. Consequently, it's no surprise that the need to more accurately predict, prepare, and respond to customers' journeys has drummed up interest from technology vendors and consultants who are increasingly offering services and solutions to assist companies with their journey mapping efforts. Thinkjar recently reported survey data that revealed that 72 percent of customers said that journey mapping missed their needs.

In today's feature, "Mind the Gap: Avoid these Customer Journey Mapping Mistakes," Judith Aquino offers insights into how companies are missing the mark on their journey mapping efforts and then speaks to industry experts who offer guidance on how to set up journey mapping that achieves customer experience excellence.

She cites Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which fine-tuned its approach to improving its customer focus by looking at the customer journey through data analysis. The firm even divided its digital team into journey managers who look after an entire journey, and also armed them with the right training and resources early on.

During the process, RBS noticed that while many people were applying for a loan on a mobile device, they were dropping off before completing the application. A closer look revealed that information about the application process wasn't mobile optimized, giving customers a bad experience.

RBS shows that even companies with a long history of serving customers can miss the mark on delivering an optimal customer experience across all of its channels.

Foot Locker is another brand worth mentioning for its customer journey mapping efforts. John Wompey, vice president of operations at Foot Locker, a 1to1 Media Customer Champion, and his team implemented a journey mapping program called Customer First initiative, which resides at the heart of Foot Locker's customer-centric culture. The program's goal it to help the company understand how customers experience the brand and how to design interactions around each point that cultivates closer customer relationships. This roadmap highlights touchpoints throughout the customer lifecycle that are critical to both relationship-building and sales. By using customer feedback to identify associate behaviors that could improve experience, Wompey and his team were then able to create coaching programs that educate employees about what's truly most important to the customer.

Seafood franchise Wahoo's Fish Taco also knew it needed a strategy for understanding and meeting its customers' preferences. Given that many of its customers interact with the company using their mobile devices, mobile engagement is extremely important. Using a three-part algorithm the company tracks customers' interests across a personal level, merchant level, and social circle level. This enables the franchise to understand customers on multiple angles and target actions based on various factors like age, demographics, interests, and transactional history.

Just as no two customer journeys are the same, no two journey mapping approaches are either. Start by mapping their behavioral stages and bring in additional data as you go. Then, your customer experience approaches will come into focus.

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EXPERT OPINION