CX Journey Mapping Best Practices
Customers expect consistent service no matter what interaction or touchpoint they are experiencing. SQM Voice of the Customer (VoC) research shows only 5% of organizations provide world class Customer Experience (CX) and a whopping 42% of customers do not have a One Contact Resolution (OCR) experience when using a contact channel touchpoint to resolve an inquiry or problem. For those non-OCR customers, this results in a huge decrease in customer satisfaction, referrals, and retention. Providing world class CX and creating a consistent CX across all the interactions and touchpoints is a challenge for the majority of organizations. Most executives are aware of the importance of understanding the entire CX for purchasing and using the organization’s products and/or services. However, the emergence of self-service digital contact channels and simultaneous channel usage has heightened the importance of understanding CX in today’s connected customer world. To better understand and improve the entire CX for purchasing and using an organization’s products and/or services in today’s connected world, many executives are turning to CX journey mapping. CX journey mapping best practices focus on the entire end-to-end journey across all the interactions and touchpoints from the customer’s perspective.
CX Listening Posts
The essence of CX journey mapping is to walk in the customer’s shoes as they interact with an organization when using different touchpoints. A best practice for using CX journey mapping to understand CX and customer expectations is to use multiple CX listening posts. CX listening posts are based on conducting VoC survey research and in-depth interviews with customers to understand what they experience for each interaction and touchpoint key Moments of Truth (MoT) and, most importantly, to discover CX improvement opportunities to redesign CX. As shown in the below figure, CX journey mapping best practices use three overlapping listening posts (i.e., interaction perception surveys, touchpoint transaction surveys, and CX journey mapping face-to-face interviews) to have a comprehensive understanding of CX. Perception-based surveys are used to conduct an online or phone survey to understand interaction lifecycle CX. Transaction-based surveys are used to conduct an online or phone survey to understand touchpoint CX. A best practice is to conduct interaction perception surveys and touchpoint transaction surveys prior to conducting CX journey mapping interviews. The CX journey mapping interview is a face-to-face interview which focuses on the interactions and touchpoints a customer experienced.
For CX journey mapping interviews, the minimum sample size is 10 customers, per persona. A persona (e.g., retirees, business people, students) is a group of individuals who are likely to behave in a similar manner from the organization’s point of view. It is common practice for an organization to conduct over 50 in-depth interviews on an annual basis. An effective interviewer should be able to conduct three to five in-depth interviews on a daily basis. The interaction perception survey should have a sample size of at least 400 customers, and the focus of the survey should be on the interaction lifecycle stages (e.g., brand awareness, purchasing, onboarding, servicing, renewing). Having a large customer survey sample size assists in accurately understanding customer needs and CX ratings for the interaction lifecycle stages. It is also helpful to conduct touchpoint transaction surveys. The sample size for each touchpoint should be at least 400 customer surveys. The call center and web self-service are high-frequency touchpoints, and therefore, they are the most useful to survey. Transaction surveys should be conducted within one business day of using a touchpoint. The shortfall in interaction perception and touchpoint transaction surveys is that they are not as in-depth of an interview process for providing detailed CX feedback compared to journey mapping interviews. However, perception and transaction surveys provide a statistically accurate CX measurement. By conducting VoC survey research prior to conducting CX journey mapping interviews, the interviewer has more CX background knowledge for conducting an effective CX journey mapping interview. The bottom line is that the combination of using perception and transaction survey listening posts (e.g., which can provide a large sample size) and the in-depth interview listening post (e.g., which can provide detailed feedback) provides comprehensive and integrated insights for understanding CX.
CX Journey Mapping Template
The below figure shows a common CX journey mapping template being used. The CX journey map is created based on a skilled interviewer asking a customer about their interaction lifecycle stages and touchpoint MoT experiences when they used the organization’s products and/or services. The horizontal axis shows an example of interactions a customer could have with an organization based on their lifecycle stage (e.g., brand awareness, purchasing, onboarding, servicing, renewing). By evaluating lifecycle stages, you gain an understanding of the entire end-to-end CX. For each interaction stage, it is imperative that the organization understands the CX needs, as well as the CX ratings. For each interaction, a customer uses a touchpoint. The vertical axis shows examples of touchpoints (e.g., call center, website, face-to-face). For each touchpoint used in the CX journey, the customer provides MoT experience feedback, emotion experience, and improvement suggestions. Based on customer interviews, the interaction and touchpoint CX are plotted on the journey map. All key MoT experience feedback is captured. MoT experiences that drive positive emotions, negative emotions, and improvement suggestions are identified.
There are many ways to create a CX journey map. The following is a high-level summary of the 10 essential steps we use for creating a CX journey map:
Step 1: Identify customer interactions (e.g., brand awareness through to renewing) lifecycle stages that a customer could potentially experience
Step 2: Identify touchpoints (e.g., marketing, social media, call center, IVR, email, face-to-face) that a customer could potentially experience
Step 3: Identify MoT (e.g., greeting a customer, resolving an issue) for each touchpoint that a customer could potentially experience
Step 4: Identify personas (e.g., retiree, business person, student) for whom you want insights about on their CX interactions with an organization’s touchpoints
Step 5: Understand customer needs and determine CX VoC ratings for each interaction and touchpoint, and mark your known pain points. This step is based on customer survey research
Step 6: Plot customer interaction and touchpoint experiences for each customer
Step 7: Determine interaction and touchpoint MoT and document for the key MoT that each customer experienced. This step is based on customer face-to-face interviews
Step 8: Determine customer’s emotional experience and document for each interaction and touchpoint MoT. This step is based on customer face-to-face interviews
Step 9: Determine customer improvement suggestions and document for each interaction and touchpoint MoT. This step is based on customer face-to-face interviews
Step 10: Use CX journey mapping insights as the foundation for developing an action plan for improving CX
Powerful Benefits of CX Journey Mapping
- Holistic view of CX – the main advantage of CX journey mapping is its focus on the customer’s entire journey (e.g., brand awareness through to renewing) when using an organization’s products and/or services. A focus on the entire customer journey versus a focus on only the individual touchpoint or interaction provides a holistic view of CX that can be very helpful in understanding and improving the customer’s experience.
- Understand CX better – the essence of the CX journey mapping process is that it allows you to walk in the customer’s shoes as they interact with your organization through their lifecycle stages. Put simply, CX journey mapping is an outside-in approach. Having a trained interviewer conduct in-depth interviews with customers who interact with an organization’s touchpoints provides a better understanding of the CX. The in-depth interview gives the organization valuable and detailed insights into customer interactions and touchpoint MoT experiences. VoC perception and transaction survey research and in-depth interviews are all used to understand CX better.
- Discover CX improvement opportunities – an effective CX journey map provides insights on customer expectations at every significant interaction using a touchpoint, how well the organization is doing at meeting those expectations, customer emotion experience, and, most importantly, what the opportunities are for improving CX for an interaction when using a touchpoint. Again, the CX journey mapping process is an outside-in approach. The outside-in approach allows the organization to use CX feedback and apply it to its people, process, and technology practices.
- Visual CX journey map – an infographic portrayal of CX is an extremely helpful approach for conveying current and future CX to all stakeholders. CX journey maps can be presented using journey mapping software, PowerPoint presentations, a condensed one-page handout, or any other manner that is appropriate for your organization. It is important to remember that when the CX journey map is easily understood by the stakeholders, then they are typically more willing to buy into developing and implementing solutions for improving CX.
- Foundation for developing an action plan – the CX journey map insights are the foundation for developing an action plan. In other words, the information garnered from the CX journey map is not an action plan in and of itself. The action plan needs to be based on the CX journey map insights that show the interaction and touchpoint MoT which have CX dissatisfaction and/or negative CX emotions. Based on identifying the CX dissatisfaction and/or negative CX emotions, an organization can develop an action plan for implementing solutions for eliminating or reducing the touchpoint MoT that are driving those experiences.
Potential Pitfalls of CX Journey Mapping:
- CX focused on intangibles – if the improvement efforts are focused too much on intangibles (e.g., CSR showing empathy) versus tangibles (e.g., reducing repeat contact reasons for resolving the same inquiry or problem), then there is a good chance that overall CX will not improve. CX journey mapping has a bad reputation for focusing on areas that do not have a positive impact on improving CX.
- Limited CX feedback – most customers cannot remember every interaction and touchpoint they used with an organization. Each customer is different, so if the journey mapping process only sources feedback from a small number of customers, then this might not provide a representative sample of what most of your customers have experienced. If Csat survey research for interactions and touchpoints is not used to supplement CX journey mapping interviews, then the wrong areas may be selected for improvement or CX may not improve.
- Not actionable – if the CX journey map is oversimplified, then it can be difficult to identify improvement opportunities. Conversely, if the CX journey map has too much information, then it also can be difficult to explain and identify improvement opportunities. It is imperative that the CX journey map is helpful for identifying and explaining improvement opportunities because one of the main purposes is to use the CX journey map as the foundation for developing an action plan. It is necessary to focus on the CX improvement feedback as well as on the visual CX journey map. CX improvement opportunities require working collaboratively with other departments (e.g., IT, finance, marketing, HR, service) which can be very difficult because of the siloed nature of many departments.
If you are interested in learning more about the CX Journey Mapping Best Practices to improve Csat, increase customer referrals, and retention, please contact SQM.