Traditional Customer Journey Mapping –  missing so much opportunity!


So you have made a decision to get closer to your customers with customer experience featuring with higher priority. One of the things every company does is to try to understand their customer journeys and then find ways to improve them.

The next thing they do is work out the best approach to journey mapping and improvement. There are plenty of “best practice” paths out there, they are not very complicated and almost all follow a similar approach. What is less well understood is ALMOST ALL of these approaches massively miss out on, if only they could look at the approach slightly differently.

What does missed opportunity mean here?

From a P&L perspective it means missed cost, revenue and service opportunity. It means a big miss in a company’s ability to differentiate itself from its competitors in the eyes of the customer. It means missed innovation. It means missed efficiency opportunity. CX in 2016 actually creates the path for operating efficiency – its just not very well understood.

So what does traditional Journey Mapping look like in 2016?

In short, traditional journey mapping is a method that facilitates “cheaper, better, faster” ideas to improve current state. Cheaper, better faster is good as far it goes but it is an extrapolation on what is already being done rather than any real innovated step change. Let me illustrate. In Henry Ford terms traditional cheaper, better etc gets you to the faster horse. If you aspire to a means of transport that changes the speed, time, cost and convenience dynamic forever then you need access to more innovation style thinking.

The crux here is traditional journey mapping will take you to a better place but it does not readily support innovation. In the main however, if you don’t innovate then you will not lead your markets – you will be the business equivalent of the journeyman.

That said, innovation is actually not that difficult. It does require you to think differently!

Lets examine the traditional approach:

  • Companies seek to understand the key Moments of Truth or customer interactions associated with the journey(s).
  • Map back specific MOT’s to the functional internal part of the operation responsible
  • Measure either the overall emotion range associated with that specific MOT, or measure the emotion in the context of specific reality.
  • Remediation lies mostly around identifying initiatives to improve the emotion and therefore customer experience. Feedback mechanisms such as Voice of Customer or Net Promoter Score can be quite useful in helping assess customer feedback.

There maybe some supplementary analysis to get a little more depth of understanding around these key moments of truth but that is pretty much it. Its the customer experience equivalent of cheaper, better, faster.

Now ask yourself a question. Once you have deployed that cheaper better faster approach, and assuming every other company is looking at similar principles – what sort of differentiation from your competitors have you really managed to inject?

The answer is not much. Firstly, every single company is using roughly the same approach. Secondly, once you have delivered one or two iterations you very quickly run out of ideas and need to rely on your talented ideas men to “make the difference”. This is neither necessary to useful in 2016.

What do we need to do differently?

Two ideas as a starter:

Change the focus from improving existing Moments of Truth to a focus on understanding the customer better and delivering to that superior understanding. 

By “better understanding” I mean better than any of your competition and better than the customer understands themselves. Now, if you can do that then you are truly innovating. We term this the concept of Successful Customer Outcome and it extends the concept of understanding a customer to way beyond what Voice of Customer or traditional insight methods will give you. 

Let me illustrate why this takes you to a considerably more powerful place by comparing the approach across 2 companies, Company A which innovates versus Company B which adopts a cheaper, better, faster mantra.. Company A has methods to understand its customers better than any of its competitors and builds its journeys to align to that enhanced understanding. Company B takes is existing customer interaction points and improves them. Which company is going to enjoy greater longer term success? Its obvious, its Company because they are delivering journeys closer to the stated and unstated needs than any of the competition.

Bring the Customer Journey World and the company internal process world together in a really agile way

Customer experience is a result of process. A company’s ability to create a customer experience is also a result of process. We talk about selling products and services but in reality we are selling a Successful Customer Outcome which is the product/service plus all the Moments of Truth we face every time engages a customer engages with the company. This is all process but process that is largely unstructured. This means that process moves to the centre of everything we do. As a customer how we use products and service is process. 

How we engage with a customer is process. Customer experience is a result of process. If we find a way to bring our customer journeys and our internal processes together in a really meaningful way then we have the ability not only to use SCO thinking to drive outcomes superior to our competition but then align all our work to those SCO’s – taking out everything that does not directly contribute. 

Back to the Company A vs Company B comparison again. We now have the ability to deliver superior Successful Customer Outcomes but also the ability to align all our work to its achievement, taking away anything that does not contribute.

You will hear plenty of process practitioners claim they place the customer at the centre of the process. NOT TRUE. They consider customer – they do not make the customer centre stage and that is a big difference.

If you work on customer journeys but have no means to harmonising this to all the work we do internally then we are leaving massive amounts of cost, complexity, cause of work and points of failure in everything we do. Depending on the source you look at the average life expectancy of a top 100 European company is 12 to 16 years. If companies had a means of getting a superior understanding of customer and an agile alignment mechanism then we can change all that.

Final question – if you are now driving customer experience focus from a starting point of understanding the customer wants/needs framework PLUS you are aligning your company’s internal processes to customer journey to successful customer outcome, you are demonstrating an innovated revenue, cost and service proposition. 

How does this now compare to the standard approach of cheaper, faster, better of today state?

We have only just touched the surface of the opportunities that lie out there today. Do you want to know more?

Hope to see you at one of the CEW events this year.


Call us on 00 44 (0) 121 709 3938 to book your place now at CEW 2016 Johannesburg or CEW 2016 London.
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Yours sincerely,

Charles Bennett
Partner and Thought Leader