Earlier this week we were joined by Iain Noakes, chief customer journey officer at The Economist and an invited group of senior customer experience and marketing peers to discuss the challenges and opportunities of customer journey mapping.
Every company needs its own maps
Maps help us navigate complex systems – whether that’s an unfamiliar subway or the operational structures of a large organisation. Creating a customer journey map visualises the customer experience and allows the opportunities for improvement to be easily communicated across the business.
The Economist has been a publishing powerhouse for over 170 years and continues to be hugely successful. To grow sustainably they are interested in how to unite multiple strands of customer research and data into a unified model that supports improved customer acquisition and retention.
Today’s customer journey is complex
Working with Brilliant Noise, Iain and his team gathered together the data already inside the organisation and developed a map which highlights the touchpoints for all customer journeys. Far from being a one dimensional diagram, the resulting map is the surface layer of a deep understanding of customer behaviours and needs and business metrics. Each touchpoint links to a database of hypotheses for improvements to customer experience – which will be continually prioritised based on new data.
A map of an organisation combined with a map of the customer’s experience is a highly effective way of bringing organisations to a common understanding of their customers, and the things they need to do to better serve them. This understanding leads to loyalty, advocacy and sales.
Improving customer journeys
Every brand has a different customer journey and must create a map unique to the needs of their customer. Marketing and customer experience teams must lead the design of the customer journey, not just follow existing behaviours or troubleshoot the issue currently front of mind.
Think about the customer journey as a product in its own right – something that can be designed, managed and owned. Iain’s role at The Economist is one of a new senior leadership strand – those responsible for the entire customer journey – not just a small part. Collaborating around the customer journey can be a challenge. But breaking down silos and working across teams to create a seamless experience is essential.
The benefits of customer journey mapping
- Drive growth
Understanding the experience of your customers is an integral part of being a customer-first business. The value at each touchpoint can be measured and improved and the insights can deliver value and growth across the whole customer journey and lifecycle.
- Improve operational efficiency and help prioritise initiatives
The ability to connect customer touchpoints with internal systems and teams is invaluable. It identifies operational gaps, and areas where you can create efficiencies and helps prioritise initiatives and drive operational improvements.
- Encourage collaboration and inform cultural change
Journey maps establish the customer as the organising principle. This brings teams together to improve the customer experience and facilitates new connected ways of working.
- Improve communications
A comprehensive journey map highlights opportunities to improve marcomms at all stages of the customer journey. Ensuring that communications reach the right customer, at the right time, in the right place is a competitive advantage.
- Provide the framework for future investment
An effective customer journey map will provide the framework and data to inform smart decision making and build the business case for future investment.
- Inform a long-term, continuous improvement programme
Far from a one-off exercise, journey mapping informs long-term, sustainable improvement programmes.
To talk to us about your customer experience challenges get in touch.