Cast Your Vote: Should Customer Journey Mapping Be a Project or An Ongoing Discipline?

Earlier this week, my colleague and I were discussing the idea of a customer journey map being a living, breathing thing.  This progressed into a debate about whether or not journey mapping should be looked at as a project or as an ongoing discipline, like CRM, for example.

We concluded that it most certainly should not be a “one and done” type thing, and I’ll share my thoughts for why we think it should be ongoing.  But first, we want to open this up for discussion.  What do you think?  Should companies approach customer journey mapping as a one-time project or as an ongoing discipline?  Please cast your vote in our quick poll on our  facebook page and leave a comment below to share your opinion.

There are two primary reasons why we think journey mapping should be an ongoing discipline:

1) Business Isn’t Static, so Maps Shouldn’t Be Either.  We work in an ever-changing ecosystem.  Customer segmentation changes, channels come and go, new products are introduced, acquisitions occur.  Attempting to map the customer journey in a one-off fashion is like an artist attempting to paint a still portrait of a subject that is perpetually moving — it doesn’t work well.  By the time you’re done with the initial map, changes in the business could have already occurred, making parts of the map irrelevant.  This may be a bit extreme, but it’s not too much of a stretch.  If a company doesn’t have a method and plan in place for keeping the map up to date with real-time business data, it will be more difficult to get a clear and ongoing understanding of the overall customer experience and how performance in specific areas adds or detratcs from value.

2) Time, Money & Metrics.  The process of mapping takes time.  Depending on which method you use to design a map, it can take A LOT of time and be quite complex.  If a company invests the time and resources  into mapping and goes through the effort of collecting all the quantitative and qualitative business and customer data required to create a good map, why wouldn’t it want to build upon that foundational work and continue adding to the map as new data comes available and business changes occur?

And, if a business doesn’t continuously rate or score itself in terms of touchpoint performance and map its progress towards eliminating painpoints and improving customer experience, how then can it consistently measure improvement over time?  To not map in an ongoing fashion to me seems like a waste of time, money and effort.

Advancing Mapping from Project to Discipline…

I believe that the businesses that approach mapping as a one-time project do so not because they don’t see the value of continuing it.  I think they don’t continue to evolve their maps because there historically hasn’t been an easy way to do so.  Unlike CRM, there hasn’t been a solid system available for mapping and managing customer experience.

Visio, PowerPoint and Excel, for example, are common tools used to create journey maps.  But, they aren’t built for the purpose of understanding and managing customer experience.  They do a great job of visually dipcting the process flows that occur in a customer journey, but they lack the capability to store and successfully communicate the deep levels of data that companies need and want to derive from their journey mapping efforts.

We believe we’ve come up with a system that the market’s been lacking.  We aim to change the way that companies look at customer experience management by providing a new way to map, manage, analyze and present their customer experience and touchpoint data.  We invite you to check it out today.

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