David Riley: ‘Smarter Organisations Use Customer Journey Mapping'

David Riley is a Customer Insight Consultant. In this blog, he shares some tips and tricks for customer journey mapping.

What is customer journey mapping?

Businesses often look to improve efficiency as it generally leads to greater productivity and lower costs, which in the private sector means more profits, or for a charity, more funds to help people. This all sounds fantastic and to some extent it is.

Trouble is that almost exclusively, this will be done through process mapping, to find the quickest and cheapest point from A to B, eliminating duplication and waste.

The smarter organisations use customer journey mapping to refine their approach. This involves thinking in the customers shoes, often with real customers in the room.

How do you go about creating a customer journey map?

Essentially, you think about how customers feel in every stage of your business’ journey, be it buying something, being referred to see a consultant, being assessed to receive charitable help. You plot the customer emotion at every stage, celebrating where the experience is a happy one and investigating improving the journey where a grumpy faced emoji is recorded.

The result is a very different outcome to the process mapping exercises. Gone is silo working - moving from administrator 1’s backlog to the next persons - instead you build a picture of the customer’s experience, which is a far more compelling story.

When you get it right, you reap the benefits: happier customers, reduced costs, fewer complaints, greater efficiency etc.

How can these be used to transform public sector services?

In most businesses, there’ll be five or six key customer journeys that account for 80% of the dissatisfaction amongst customers and colleagues. Identifying these is absolutely key to moving forward and your colleagues will know which they are.

Once identified, the task ahead is mammoth; these journeys will have been broken for many years. You'll need to gain sponsorship within your organisation to make a difference and stick at it.

Despite the difficulties, past customers will willingly help you, especially if their personal journey was poor. I recommend you involve your communications team in letting customers and colleagues know what’s going on; it shows customers that you’re listening, that things are changing and crucially it buys you time to put things right.

What is your final tip for the process?

You can never over communicate, so keep customers updated. Think about flyers in letters, about how customers can be involved in helping you and make sure that the website and notice boards are updated regularly. It all matters.