“Touchpoints matter, but it’s the full journey that really counts”
Alex Rawson, Ewan Duncan & Conor Jones “The Truth about Customer Experience”, Harvard Business Review
Digital technologies such as analytics, social networks, cloud computing and IoT are forcing companies to reevaluate and ultimately transform the way they work. While certain remain suspicious of the powerful new data collection and analytics tools available by continuously evolving new software, they have realized that when used correctly they can reap enormous awards. To quote Brian Solis from the Altimeter Group digital transformation is “The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers at every touchpoint of the customer experience lifecycle.”
One of the key tools of digital transformation is customer journey mapping. Up until now many companies failed to pay enough attention to the customer’s beginning to end experience on the way to purchase –products and/or services- and after. According to Siddharth Gaikwad, practice head of digital experience, at NTT DATA “it is the definitive first step in the process of converting a current ‘as-is’ state to a future state that promises an enhanced customer experience”. Indeed, startups such as is Uber, Spotify and Airbnb realized this early enough and have been leveraging new technologies to disrupt their industries while making life easier for their customers.
When used correctly, the new digital tools offer companies the opportunity to turn the flow of data into actionable knowledge. Once they understand the needs of their customers, employees, partners and stakeholders and the digital possibilities in their industry they can tailor a digital strategy and roadmap with beneficial results. This map will identify the various pain points of the customer journey and if the right questions are raised and answered, there will be a shift from the traditional siloed marketing approach to a cross-functional one where the result will be a journey orientation.
It is all about combining storytelling with card sorting in order to convert the findings into insights. In this context, storytelling is the art of overlaying context perspective and imagery around a user’s journey. Meanwhile, card sorting provides the technique for identifying the mental models and patterns followed. The two together are key to illustrating the “to be” future state. This is not as simple as it sounds since unless the maps are dynamic and they include relevant context they can be misleading. Customer journey mapping requires design, domain and facilitation skills. It necessitates that consumers are clearly defined; a precise persona based on the customer’s demographic and psychographic profile has to be created. Following this, the persona’s journey has to be mapped across a specific task so as to provide valuable insights that will be converted into touchpoints. The journey has to be created from the perspective of the customer needs; we are experiencing a shift from thinking from inside-out, to outside-in. During this process the series of connected maps covering each phase of the customer lifecycle will give the company complete control over its capability to offer the customer a product or service corresponding to his needs. In other words it will offer the possibility of understanding and evaluating how the interaction with the brand makes the customer feel.
In a nutshell, customer journey mapping is the illustrated representation of a customer’s expectations, experiences and reactions as it unfolds over time across numerous scopes, angles and episodes and allows the people at all levels of the company to actively manage the journey with live feedback from the field. It is all about storytelling and building the plot so as to reach the desired closing. And at the end of the day we all have a story to tell …At Publisto we have a long tradition in storytelling and are currently working to create the perfect tool for companies to build their customer journeys.