Putting Your Journey Maps into Action

A question that comes up a lot is: How do I operationalize my journey maps? What’s next? What do I do now that I’ve created the map(s)?

I’m assuming that you’ve created what we call an assumptive map. An assumptive map is created by internal stakeholders, without customer input. It’s what stakeholders assume to be the steps customers go through to complete some task. This is a common starting point for maps.

The immediate next step for this type of map is to do some customer research. You’ll need to validate the map with your customers to make sure that the customer voice is heard and visualized as part of the mapping process. At this point, you’ll likely also uncover a desired future state, according to the customer.

Once you’ve got customer input – and not before – you’re ready to ask, “What do I do now?”

With the maps, you’ve identified where things are going well and where they aren’t. Coach and train employees on these areas. And set up surveys and other listening posts to get feedback on those key moments of truth, especially those areas where you need more data for a clearer understanding of what’s going well and what isn’t.

Probably the most important thing to do next is to socialize the maps. Help the entire organization – executives, frontline, back office – understand what the current customer experience is today. Share them with the personas attached to drive awareness and to bring the customer to life. Incorporate them into meetings, presentations, onboarding, and training. And talk about recommendations for changed as a result of the maps. Get the entire organization onboard and on the same page. Use the maps to provide a clear line of sight for employees to the customer experience, how their contributions matter and how they impact the customer experience, good or bad.

Those key moments of truth are the areas you’ll want to begin to focus on. What’s happening to break down the journey at those moments? What processes – both for the customer and behind the scenes – do you need to fix, update, or remove in order to simplify the journey and reduce customer effort and pain? You’ll have to prioritize based on what’s most important to your customers and, ultimately, to the business. And determine among those what is most doable, i.e., assess ROI of pain points and of modifications.

Once you’ve agreed on those areas to focus improvement efforts on, create a roadmap and make sure you have identified owners for each area. (You should have assigned owners during the mapping process; if not, do it now.) Who is responsible for that particular touchpoint or interaction? At this point, you may need to map micro-journeys to delve deeper into the steps customers take to complete the task: better understanding leads to a more effective transformation. And you’ll also likely create some process maps to get a better understanding of what’s supporting that experience from behind the scenes.

Some other tips…

As we know, customer experience improvement efforts take baby steps; you’ll need to build your business case and show some quick wins. Pick a task and design the future state based on what customers have told you. Begin your redesign efforts with some of the low-hanging fruit, especially that with the greatest impact, for both customers and the business. Be sure to establish metrics to track performance of – and against – improvements. Keep updating your maps to reflect the new/latest current state. And continue to validate with customers as changes are made.

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