The commercial landscape has been irreversibly changed. First by phone lines, and then the internet, email, apps. People have developed an expectation to have anything everywhere and whenever they want. You’re probably already familiar with ‘digital transformation’ even if you don’t know what it means.
Despite its name the focus of digital transformation is not on technology but on customer experience. Consumers are more often than ever expecting a wealth of information at their fingertips to make informed decisions; purchases on their terms. Technology has not only changed how they shop, but also how they find products, interact with organisations and even how they are advertised to. Digital transformation is broadly about keeping up with technology for the customer’s sake. It’s been dubbed a “matter of survival”, so where do you begin the quest for survival?
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology.” – Steve Jobs
This remains true in the case of digital transformation. Before you make any change to your business it is paramount to understand how this would benefit the customer. Customer Experience mapping allows you to see clearly what it is like to deal with your organisation and where room for improvement can be made. By tracking the journey, this will let you see how the product or service is eventually delivered to a customer, so that you can ensure the experience is unrivalled. A clear and concise list of digital needs can be devised from the journey map, and this is going to prevent overspending or underspending on the right digital tools & services to meet your requirements.
The human brain can process visual imagery 60,000x faster than plain text, so take advantage!
A customer journey map is a visual tool. Convincing co-workers, board members and everybody else to get on board with digital transformation can be difficult. However, a strong visual is much easier to share than a lengthy document which inevitably nobody will read. Transformation is not a temporary process, it’s a change in the way that employees work. It’s a good idea to get everybody on board with changes, and a customer journey map will help them understand the ‘why?’ of the changes in their workplace.
One of the key concepts of customer journey mapping is defining customer ‘personas’. A persona is a fictional character that represents a key segment of users. Each is based on real data and has their very own journey map, including their thought processes, positive and negative experiences. Personas are a clear and memorable visualisation of the customer base that will allow you to identify touchpoints, pitfalls and reactions. They represent the real, tangible experience of your customer and will allow you to understand and optimise their contact with your organisation.
The domino effect
Any small changes that are made in your business could influence the customer experience. Maybe you have a new process, system or third party that has been introduced. The changes that these could make may not all be immediately obvious, you might find pitfalls developing around these new additions i.e. system limitations, external factors or even staff training. The customer journey map illustrates the direct effect of each click-through, phone conversation or possible problem so that you can anticipate and prepare for possible interruptions or bottlenecks within your digital services.
You might also find as a larger company, that the customer journey is managed through a variety of different departments. Often there is very little cross-departmental communication in the office and this can be a disaster for a customer. Everybody is familiar with the pain of calling customer service and being transferred a whole handful of times. Hold music doesn’t get any better, but your customer experience can. The journey map will show all possible touchpoints between customer and employee across all company departments. It may then be part of your digital strategy to link certain departmental resources or employees together to streamline the customer experience.
In a nutshell
Journey mapping is about gaining visibility and control of the channels through which a customer interacts with your business. As technology evolves there will undoubtedly be more channels and points of contact developed, and with this will come a greater demand for digital strategies that can keep up. Every new channel will bring new customers, touchpoints and pitfalls. But the customer journey map will make sure you are prepared to adapt.
Above everything else, have the customer always at the front of your mind when considering a change, (however small) within your organisation.