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The Basics of Customer Journey Mapping

The Basics of Customer Journey Mapping



Trusted Experience Management Partners

Over 150 customer experience professionals completed a PeopleMetrics online assessment about the presence, or absence, of customer-centric practices in their organizations. In our blog, we commented on the slow progress revealed by the trends in this data, with few disciplines improving over time.

However, one exception to this stagnation in activities exists: the practice of customer journey mapping. On average, in 2014, one-third of participants (32%) said that their organization had practiced customer journey mapping as part of their customer experience improvement efforts. So far in 2015, the proportion of practitioners who say they are familiar with journey mapping has increased to nearly half (48%). That's a 50% growth in this activity in just a few short months.




If you've kept up with this series, you know that a common understanding of customer experience, your target customer segments or personas, and the vision for the experience you intend to deliver separates growth banks from non-growth banks. In the banking world, customer journey mapping is an important tool to help you better understand and get closer to your ideal customers.

So let's outline the basics of customer journey mapping – what it is, why it matters, and how to create journey maps in your own bank.


What is Customer Journey Mapping Anyway?

A customer journey map is a diagram that illustrates the physical and emotional steps customers go through when engaging with a company while pursuing a particular goal.

At PeopleMetrics, we strongly encourage our clients to think about the emotional side of the customer journey. After all, great customer experiences (and unfortunately terrible ones too) leave an emotional

Download the Introduction to Customer Journey Mapping

mark or memory. If you can understand how your customers are feeling at every step of the journey, you can find ways to remove or limit negative emotions and harness the power of the positive.

If you click on the image, you'll see a depiction of an emotional journey map PeopleMetrics created for a bank looking at the HELOC journey. It clearly depicts how a customer can move from excitement, confidence, and control to confusion, irritation, and embarrassment.


Why Tackle the Hard Work of Journey Mapping?

Journey mapping helps you develop empathy for customers so you can build a better experience for them. According to Jeanne Bliss in Chief Customer Officer 2.0:

“A journey framework even in its simplest form, when used with consistency, provides rigor to understand where the priorities in customers’ lives are. By using the journey to look comprehensively across what the company delivers, it enables leadership to make choices. This moves the work from “boiling the ocean,” trying to map and drive improvement on all the touchpoints, to focusing on those that matter most in the lives of customers.”

So, in nice and easy bullets, customer journey mapping brings:

  • Organizational empathy with the customer and what they are going through.
  • Clarity around opportunities for operational efficiencies.
  • A mechanism for breaking down organizational silos.
  • A chance to identify areas in which you can truly differentiate the customer experience.


So Where Do We Begin?

f you are starting out with customer journey mapping, you should keep it simple and begin by naming the stages of the journey. Bliss emphasizes how it helps you to shift from “independent silo activities to understanding the complete experiences or objectives that customers are trying to achieve as a result of their interactions with you.” 

Simply put, it helps you approach things from the customer perspective.




Once you have the stages named from the customer’s point of view—not the business's—you can move into identifying your top touchpoints. This prioritization is often best done with input from employees across the business.


What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

In our experience helping banking clients build their journey maps, we’ve collected a few battle scars. Here are our lessons learned, so you can avoid mistakes:

  1. Be specific about the persona you are mapping for and the scenario they are living. A customer journey cannot be mapped if the team does not have a clear picture of the customer on the journey. If you don't have a clear view of your target customer segments and personas, revisit the prior edition on building customer segments and testing and validating your customer personas to get started.
  2. Encourage “Yes And” not “No But” thinking. We once ran a journey mapping session with a cross section of senior-level employees, including representatives from Regulatory and Compliance. The session involved a lot of naysaying and "No But" responses to ideas and solutions raised by other members of the session. Understandably, it wasn't a very effective session. Avoid this mistake by setting the tone early that everyone should wear their "Yes And" hats and consider all possibilities.
  3. Validate with real customers. While you may want to skip the expense of co-creating with customers, we strongly advise you to bring them to the table when you are further along. The early stages of journey mapping can be handled from an inside-out perspective, but customer input and validation is essential to the integrity of the ultimate output.



If you're interested in more information about customer journey mapping, download our free ebook by clicking on the button below.


Download the Introduction to Customer Journey Mapping


In the next installment, we'll cover how to make better decisions to improve customer experience. We'll see you then. And as always, if you need us to clarify anything, or just want to chat, feel free to contact us. We'd be thrilled to hear from you.

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