Understanding customer journey mapping is a critical step for businesses as they move increasingly toward omnichannel (see our recent white paper for more on that trend). Yet many customer engagement professionals remain foggy in terms of what exactly the customer journey is and, just as importantly, how to best leverage it for customer engagement optimization.
What Is Customer Journey Mapping?
Part of the confusion stems from the fact that there are several popular definitions of customer journey mapping. Siddharth Gaikwad, practice head of digital experience at Dell digital business services, told Knowledge@Wharton that it's "the definitive first step in the process of converting a current 'as-is' state to a future state that promises an enhanced customer experience."
Gaiwad added that customer journey mapping incorporates the "customer's expectations, experiences and reflections" across every touchpoint with a company.
The more precise your customer journey mapping, the more effective your customer engagement optimization efforts will be. The Salesforce UK blog emphasized this point, noting that understanding the customer journey equates to knowing when to expect customer interactions at every potential touchpoint. This in turn empowers companies to deliver a seamless experience to customers across channels.
Customer Journey Mapping Missteps
Those are the benefits, but they aren't guaranteed. In many instances, companies make mistakes with their customer journey mapping efforts which can significantly undermine these advantages.
For example, it's important for businesses to focus on analytics and metrics throughout the entirety of the customer journey. It's not enough to be aware of how your customers are engaging with your business - you need to measure how these interactions deliver relative to their expectations and, as the Salesforce UK blog noted, your brand promise. Customer journey analytics (also known as customer engagement analytics) will prove essential in this capacity.
Another common mistake in this area is to focus too heavily on understanding the here and now without also looking ahead to the future. Matt Kresch, writing for Microsoft's Dynamics Community, emphasized that this is a major mistake for customer engagement broadly. He asserted that customer support expectations and preferences change over time, and companies need to recognize and keep pace with these developments.
In terms of customer journey mapping, this process should be not just descriptive, but also prescriptive - businesses can use this tool to determine their customer engagement goals for the future, as well as better understand interactions as they happen today.
Collectively, these two points highlight the simple but underappreciated fact that customer journey mapping cannot be effectively pursued without a complementary focus on customer engagement analytics. Together, these resources can go a long way to position companies for success in an increasingly omnichannel world.
How does your company approach customer journey mapping?