Your customer journey map is a vital tool. Image courtesy of phanlop88 on freedigitalphotos.net
Your most important customer experience training tool, to help you improve service and experience for your valued clients.. what is it?
It’s your customer journey map.
So what is a customer journey map? In simple terms, it’s a way to walk in your customer’s shoes and chart his course as he interacts with your organization while trying to fulfill some need or complete some task. The map allows you to identify key moments of truth and analyze and prioritize improvement opportunities at each touchpoint.
A journey map is a tool that helps you understand. Without knowing what steps your customers currently take to complete some interaction or task, there’s no way for us to change it or to make improvements. Imagine trying to change something that we have no clue about, that we have no idea how it transpires today. That’s just silly. And yet, so many companies attempt to do that.
There is no right or wrong way to map, i.e., how it looks, but there are some basic components (what the customer is doing, thinking, and feeling) and some fundamental principles to adhere to, including: the map is created from the customer’s viewpoint, not yours; it’s created through collaborative efforts; it’s shared across departments throughout the organization; it doesn’t sit on a shelf when it’s completed, and it’s never really complete; it’s not linear, and it’s not static. The more information and data the map contains, the more actionable it becomes.
Why do you need a customer journey map? Why is it such an important customer experience training tool? Because, when shared or otherwise used properly, it helps the entire organization …
• be customer-focused and customer-centric;
• understand the customer and his interactions with your organization; • align around a common cause;
• speak a universal language (customer);
• break down silos;
• achieve a single view of the customer; and
• improve the customer experience.
Included in your journey map is the linkage between the customer interaction and the department with which the customer interacts. This helps employees in each department—customer-facing or back office—understand how they impact the experience.
For the employee, customer journey maps provide clarity in a variety of ways. Most importantly, the maps offer a clear line of sight to the customer.
Why is that important?
When employees have a clear line of sight, they …
• know how they contribute to the customer experience;
• know what it means to deliver a great customer experience; and
• have the tools and training—and are empowered—to do so.
How, then, is it used as a training tool?
The map provides so much great information about each touchpoint, each interaction, in order to facilitate training and coaching about the customer experience, including:
• who the customer is
• what the customer is doing
• what happens before the customer reaches an employee
• what happens after the customer finishes with an employee
• how the customer is feeling
• who the customer interacts with
• what the customer’s expectations are in the moment
• where things are breaking down
• where things are going well
• what’s most important to the customer
• if and how the employee contributes at each touchpoint
• what processes support each touchpoint or interaction
• which tools facilitate the interaction
It also allows employees to compare and visualize the actual experience to the ideal experience, i.e., reality versus what it should be or what it’s designed to be. The map provides a lot of information for coaching and training, really adding richness and detail that you wouldn’t get or employees wouldn’t see/realize otherwise. And because it’s a living, breathing document, it also provides a lot of opportunities for follow-up training to support the customer-focused culture.
In addition to training, journey maps are also useful orientation tools. I can’t think of a better way, during orientation, to show employees that the organization is committed to customers. What a great way to immediately let a new employee know where and how he contributes and how his contributions matter not only to the business but also to the customer. What an awesome tool to initiate an employee into a customer-focused and customer-centric culture, to help him see how departments work together, and to teach him about priorities for the business.
I believe this is a huge oversight on the part of many (OK, most) companies. Especially during orientation, I believe the customer—and the employee’s connection to the customer—are sadly overlooked.
Are you incorporating customer experience training into your new-hire orientation as well as into your ongoing employee training? And are you using a customer journey map to onboard or train your employees in order to reinforce your customer-centric culture? (You do have a customer-centric culture, right?) If not, what are you waiting for?