Customer Journey Management
How to transform your Customer Experience management with a renewed focus on the Customer Journey.
What is Customer Journey Management?
Customer Journey Management (CJM) is the ongoing practice of researching, measuring, optimizing, and orchestrating a customer journey through deep customer insight, a clear journey framework, and a standardized way of working.
Journey Management aligns teams around the customer and transforms its external-facing initiatives: from Marketing teams to Customer Success. Internally, this nudges companies to align across teams, distribute and monitor actions, and track progress against company goals. With Journey Management, cross-functional teams can answer positively to these three questions about the overall Customer Experience:
Is there alignment?
Is there action?
Is there progress?
In this article, you will:
Learn what Journey Management is
Understand how to improve the Customer Experience with Journey Management
Discover 3 smart methods for Journey Management that anyone can master
Define the path towards Journey Excellence
Know where you stand using our short Customer Journey Maturity Scan
Unlike CX Management of the past that emphasized optimizing the delivery of improvements based on past data, Journey Management places special emphasis on finding the right opportunities, in the right journey, for the right customer, employee, client, patient, user, or anyone you aim to serve with your product or service.
Journey Management reflects a customer-obsessed mindset from your team and directly targets opportunities in the customer journey. This means less effort is spent working on things that customers don’t really need, and valuable resources are allocated to profitable opportunities.
You’ll know your business is on the right track when you get that sense of pure excitement from your customers. They’ll tell you that your products and services fit their needs and expectations at every step of the relationship you build with them. But let’s face it, in most cases, it’s far from that.
Customer Journey Management is an extension of CX management and Agile product development. True customer excellence is based on how your product or service fits into your customer’s life, and the way you design your customer journeys will make that fit as seamless as possible.
Why you should build and optimize a Journey Management system
As a CX expert, you have a deep understanding of customer needs and business priorities. But unless you are able to proactively rally the rest of the organization around the customer journey, showing what to do next and why important stakeholders need to pay attention to customer pain points and needs, the journey does not factor into product development.
Despite both CX and agile product development having a strong focus on the customer, the latter often fails to include the customer in the feature-shipping workflow due to simple lack of organization.
When teams lack a system to provide an overview of all customer journeys, for every customer segment, important customer data falls through the cracks. The result is a steady stream of incomplete insights based solely on data dashboards, epics, and gut-based decisions. The impact of not including customer journeys in your workflow can be seen on the floor:
A worn-out team, divided into silos, irritated by the effort it takes to align with colleagues
No groundbreaking experiments; just more of the same iterative sprints that don’t move the needle.
Customer data sets are regularly presented in meetings, but they provide no true insights on customer behavior to enrich product use cases.
Customer feedback is lost in the depths of various software tools
There are no reliable metrics for measuring success along the customer journey, so it’s unclear where customers and prospects are making decisions.
This all may sound overstated, but most startup leaders have some personal contact with the “throw spaghetti at the wall and see if it sticks” methods described above. Every CX, Product, and Marketing leader is asked to back up their decisions with data, but oftentimes that data is incomplete, leading to business outcomes that don’t align with customer expectations and result in lost revenue.
If you aim to create widely-admired, personalized experiences that deliver strong ROI for your business, then the path towards success involves Customer Journey Management.
How Customer Journey mapping paves the way for great CX
Customer journey mapping, aka the means of visualizing a customer experience based on qualitative input from real customers, is evolving. Companies that strive to offer an omnichannel customer experience realize that a few post-its on a digital whiteboard might sketch out the initial idea of a journey, but lacks connection between elements, and any metrics to support the structure of the journey, and beyond that, your business goals.
How can you expect your organization to collaborate effectively across customer journeys when work revolves around email, chat, and a (digital) whiteboard?
Most customer data tools will not tell you why things are why they are. At best, data reveals what has happened and how large the event was. It shows you where customer engagement happened, and what the result was. It gives you hints of where to look for answers.
To create a delightful customer experience, knowing why people do what they do is just as important as understanding what they did.
If you are able to reveal every opportunity in the context of customer touchpoints, making business decisions is a hell of a lot easier.
As the omnichannel experience continues to grow more complex, teams who are responsible for delivering great customer experience solutions will be managing an ever-increasing number of customer journeys in real-time.
Does your team have a system for capturing the right opportunities at any stage of the customer journey?
The more you can show how everything is connected, the better everyone will be able to make customer-centric decisions leading to a more organized customer journey orchestration, a higher net promoter score (NPS), better customer support and a longer customer lifecycle.
How to achieve Journey Excellence
We’ve interviewed hundreds of CX managers at organizations around the world, and discovered that those who have are implementing customer journey management have diverse approaches. But they all have these three steps in common:
Gaining deep customer insights
Standardizing a Customer Journey Framework
Let’s dive deeper into each area to see how.
Gaining deep customer insight
The entire team has a deep understanding of how customers experience their journeys and what they need next.
The best teams have a structured workflow to find insights obtained through direct interactions with customers at different points along the buyer journey and customer lifecycle. They master the skills of validating actionable insights and connecting them to the right steps of the customer journey.
Using buyer personas gives you another dimension through which you can look at the same journey through the eyes of different customers. (If you haven’t yet created Personas, or are looking to improve existing Personas, check out these 3-tips for creating Personas.)
CX Managers, Marketers, and UX researchers interview customers before journey mapping takes place. Insights get validated and structured into the journey using personas. They are able to In the absence of standardized formats for personas and journeys, this is hard to do.
Even if the experts know how to find insights and develop action plans based on customer journeys, gaining buy-in from other stakeholders can be tricky. Being able to point to a centralized system that documents those insights, such as reasons for customer churn or retention at certain key moments, makes buy-in a lot easier to sell. Having a journey-centric system in place accelerates every project teams do.
Standardizing the Customer Journey Management Framework
Everyone in the organization understands what the customer experience is like and there is a standard process for working with journeys.
With so many journeys (big and small) all over the place, it’s easy to get lost. Making decisions based on gut feeling or spreadsheet analysis is not uncommon when you don’t see the big picture. Having the ‘CX blinders’ on is especially common in organizations that have a vertical structure where departments traditionally don’t talk to each other. The customer journey, however, breaks through these artificial walls like they don’t even exist.
That’s why the most effective organizations have a framework or hierarchy for all their journeys. Customer journeys, Employee Journeys, Client Journeys, you name it. No matter how large the organization is, there is always a simple way to structure journeys using a simple customer journey framework.
Some organizations organize all of their customer journeys against the Customer Lifecycle as a reference, other organizations have an ecosystem of brands and journeys for different personas and outcomes. All have their own journey analytics and KPIs.
At TheyDo, we use the Triple Diamond approach for gathering customer feedback, problem discovery, and designing & developing solutions. In its most basic form, the Tripe Diamond looks like this:
We use this framework across teams in our organization so that everyone is on the same page about how to gather information and take action from the Customer Journey. Not only that, but we’re always refining those journeys to improve the customer experience and identify new opportunities for development.
There is one common pattern amongst the most successful organizations: they all work with ‘current’ and ‘to-be’ journeys. No matter how many journeys there are, if you know exactly what to do next and why for each of them, prioritization across journeys is as easy as 1-2-3.
Everyone across the organization prioritizes based on a common set of rules.
Using a continuously updated list of Opportunities obtained from all journeys within the journey framework, everyone knows how to align teams, and stakeholders and make sure everyone agrees, including the customer.
The most important asset to have is an objective method to score all the opportunities in the ecosystem. Because this scoring is done from the customer’s perspective, the score does not resemble whether some touchpoint is good or bad; ideally, it reflects what people need and what your business aims to deliver.
Having customer-centric prioritization in place only works when you are clear on what your business will and will not do. Business-centric values are just as important as customer desires. Combined, they make sure bias, opinion, and ‘vetoing’ stay out of the room when decisions get made.
If you have great customer insights and a journey framework, but a prioritization model is not in place, you will lack strategy;
If you have a great journey framework and can prioritize opportunities across them, but do so without customer insights, you are missing out on why people do what they do, and;
If you do know how to prioritize opportunities in a smart way, and have deep customer insight but lack a journey framework, then it’s impossible to get an overview of customer experience.
Great CX leaders ensure that making decisions on what to do next and why is not based on a black box, but rather on a combination of customer engagements and business strategy. They understand that everyone in the organization is working to improve the Customer Experience.
They also ensure that the outcome is not just a journey map, but a common vision for customer excellence. Business and customer priorities become equally important and decisions get made in the context of the entire CX.
Customer-centricity is everyone’s priority, not just Customer Service or User Experience teams. Does this sound like an unattainable goal? It doesn’t have to be.
The 5 stages of Journey Excellence
From our experience working with many organizations around the world, speaking to hundreds of managers, and seeing thousands of journeys, we see most organizations transform toward Journey Excellence through 5 common stages.
Stage 1: Intuition-driven
Everyone has a different idea of what customers need based on anecdotal evidence and strong hunches. Action is taken based on intuition from inside the company, not customer data.
Stage 2: Fragmented
Methods for organizing journeys are being introduced, but are not yet standardized. Different teams use different tools to discover opportunities to improve customer journeys.
Teams coordinate collaboration around customer feedback. All customer journey info is stored in one place.
Stage 4: Scalable
There is a company-wide strategy, methods, and tooling centered around Customer Journeys. Customer journeys play a key role in major business decisions
Stage 5: Excellence
The entire team has a deep understanding of customer experience, and the company is able to anticipate customer wants and needs ahead of time.
The 5 stages of Journey Excellence
A recent study of implemented Journey Management programs reports these organizations have seen 37.4% annual growth in customer satisfaction, 34% time saved per employee per year, and €98,000 in savings per team per year.
Journey Management improves the impact of single teams, cross-functional teams, and company impact on Customer Experience. Those affected directly include Design teams, UX teams, Product Teams, Sales and Marketing, and Leadership.
With Journey Management, NPS scores and referral rates go up, creating opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell existing customers.
Effective customer journey management has endless benefits. No doubt the process of creating a holistic Customer Journey Framework is a journey in itself - but by breaking the process into stages, and using the right tools and guidance from leadership, teams can become excellent practitioners of journey management in no time.
If you’re ready to start setting up your own Customer Journey Management system, a few questions may come up. For example; How mature are we now, what is our goal, and how do we get there? To help answer these questions, we have developed the Journey Management Maturity Scan.