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The 9 Elements of Customer Journey Mapping Give You Real Power

image credit: Marina Putilova - Dreamstime

This item is part of the Special Issue - 2019-05 - Customer Care, click here for more

A recent survey by Dimension Data, a $7.4B global systems integrator, revealed an ‘uncomfortable’ truth: While 89% of organizations claim that customer experience (CX), underpinned by digital transformation, is critical to their survival and a top strategic priority, 51% of respondents are failing to act. This tension is particularly visible in the energy industry.

Driven by technological change, rising competition and the need to deploy more customer-centric communications, many power companies have recognized the need for a strategy to redefine how they can better serve and interact with their customers. Customer journey mapping (CJM) is a tool that has proven to be effective in reaching these goals.  Like physical mapping, customer journey maps aim to make sense of the world around us based on the information we know. As our knowledge of our customer’s experiences increases, our maps will get more accurate and more complicated.

At Quadient, we recently commissioned a survey to uncover the value to businesses using CJM. The results were that—despite CJM being a relatively new discipline—survey respondents reported almost universal success with it. The metrics are impressive:

  • The most commonly reported benefit of CJM was the increase in customer satisfaction cited by 71% of respondents, followed by 53% seeing an increase in Net Promoter Score (NPS), 48% experienced a drop in customer complaints, and 40% reported a reduction in customer churn
  • 85% of respondents using CJM reported positive to extremely positive results
  • 32% of the organizations surveyed have been using CJM for a year or less
  • 18% of CJM exercises have multiple contributors within an organization

CJM is useful for marketing and operations by providing a fact-based, documented look at how customers interact with their utilities providers and a better idea of customer expectations. They also can offer a clear view of what types and channels of communication customers prefer.

While CJM is key to knowing your customers and their needs, to be truly useful it needs to include the following nine elements:

          1.  Accurate, validated data

Journey maps are only useful when they reflect valid data and insights. The more detail you have, the more useful this information becomes. Your maps should trace the details of the customer relationship over every customer touchpoint from the moment a customer makes initial contact with your company or requests information, through establishing an account, regular transactions and even through the biggest challenges to your customer experience—power outages and blackouts. There will be more than one path, and many customers will engage with you in a variety of ways – over the telephone, correspondence, SMS messaging, face-to-face with field workers, etc.

          2.  Include external as well as qualitative data

When you capture data and information, you should go beyond the transactional information or data that comes through your IT systems or databases.  Listen to and observe your customers carefully, and include the insights you might gain from customers’ interactions and touchpoints with competitors and other organizations.

          3.  Combine the data in one flexible digital platform

CJM should aggregate the results of all of your information sources, across web, mobile, in-person, social marketing and sales. Being able to see and access all the data on one platform allows you to effectively coordinate your communication efforts across the organization.

          4.  Create a searchable view of individual journeys as they occur over time

While marketing demographics can be useful, more powerful is mapping the path of individual customers based on their unique journeys in real time over the lifecycle of their relationship with your organization. Journey maps should give you a picture of each journey within a broader context that includes a number of "personas," or representative customers, including their touchpoints and goals, feelings and sentiments, satisfaction, outcomes and insights. Comparing these personas against others can indicate when you need to take action to better serve them.

          5.  You may be surprised at successes and failures

You may be surprised at what actions or campaigns customers liked or disliked. In either case, it should help break down any assumptions you may have about the experience your organization is providing to your customers. In this way, CJM offers you a way to understand the source of complaints, or why non-customers prefer your competitors.

          6.  Core integration with other communication systems

While interesting on their own, journey maps are most valuable when they're integrated with other IT systems, such as your customer communications management (CCM) platform and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. All these tools should be digital to allow stakeholders across the organization to add and share all types of information, including documents or media.

          7.  Include all internal departments

Customer journey maps are most effective when all stakeholders across the organization are able to view them and fully understand their importance—as well as contribute to them. You'll find meaningful insights from different functions in your company, which your staff can apply to a range of communications, strategies, campaigns and operations.

          8.  Ensure customer privacy by building in security

CJM must respect privacy and be developed with the highest levels of security in mind, so customers can feel secure in what they share with your teams. The importance of this should not be underestimated.

          9.  Continuously evolve maps to design future strategies

CJM is not intended to be carried out with static illustrations, unchanging diagrams or a parade of sticky notes on the wall describing yesterday’s customer desires. They need to evolve and be constantly updated based on current customer experiences and needs. Ideally, they offer a power utility a way of planning, testing and implementing any changes in your customer experience strategy.

To support the shift toward decentralized power provisioning and customer-centricity, it is important that companies no longer delay efforts to build better customer experiences. Customer journey mapping is one very positive action energy companies can implement in order to build competitive advantages and enhance customer experience through their customer communications.

John Hoggard's picture

Thank John for the Post!

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