Hidden Ways Organizations Can Benefit from Customer Journey Mapping

Mercy Harper's picture

Customer journey maps aren’t just for sales and marketing anymore. These visual depictions of the end-to-end customer experience allow you to understand your customers’ behaviors, feelings, goals, and pain points. These days, that’s information everyone in the organization needs to know to stay competitive. Creative folks from different functions are using customer journey maps and applying their insights to innovate and improve. Two of the most exciting—and surprising—opportunities are in process and compliance.

Process teams use customer journey maps to identify improvement opportunities in and beyond the customer experience. Journey maps are great for streamlining customer interaction processes and closing capability and infrastructure gaps. They’re also an asset for developing processes related to product and service rollouts. By mapping the customer experience, you can see how, when, where, and to whom a new product should be offered. This can reduce time-to-market for new products and improve uptake.

Process teams also create journey maps from the perspective of internal customers (i.e., employees) to aid process improvement efforts. Journey mapping humanizes processes and helps identify additional insights that aren’t always captured by traditional process tools. Because journey maps focus on the perspective of the employee and include information about his or her goals and emotions, they can uncover hidden pain points. For example, a process may look great on paper, but a journey map can unveil why employees don’t execute it properly.

Compliance and risk teams use customer journey maps in a totally different way. Especially since the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), organizations big and small face serious consequences for improper handling of customer data. Customer journey mapping provides a way for compliance and risk teams to identify key touchpoints where privacy protection actions must occur.

Customer journey mapping can also unveil potential problems the organization must avoid. Risk teams use this information to reduce the organization’s exposure to complaints and lawsuits. Consider the famous lawsuit McDonald’s faced when a woman spilled a drive-thru coffee on her lap. Before the suit, it was McDonald’s corporate policy to serve piping-hot coffee (180 – 190 degrees Fahrenheit). Spills of the molten brew would be unlikely to cause significant harm in a counter service environment. But when the customer orders a coffee in the drive-thru, they’re apt to hold the boiling liquid between their legs where a spill can cause third-degree burns. Companies that think through the complete customer experience can get ahead of problems they might never imagine, like this one.

A customer journey map is a complete guide to the customer experience, and it’s a useful tool for a number of business purposes.

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APQC is conducting additional research around customer-focused methodologies like customer journey maps. Please take five minutes to share your thoughts and experience. All surveys must be completed by Friday, July 13th

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