One of the most popular Customer Experience (CX) tools is customer journey-mapping.
In addition to being a simple way to socialize the desired experience across an organization, journey maps can spark new and innovative ways for a company to deliver upon its brand promise.
As Forrester Research CX expert Tony Costa writes in a recent report, effective journey-mapping exercises require some key steps. He also makes an important point about the differences between current state and future state journey maps as well as when each (or both) may be employed.
As the report highlights, current-state journey maps document existing problems for customers and then identify respective solutions. No doubt there is value in this, but if a company is looking to be more innovative or use journey-mapping to create a yet to be defined experience for a new product or service, then starting with the future state is a must. Future state requires a different mindset: How can you wow customers with a brand-new experience rather than simply sprucing up an existing one that fell short? Effective outcomes come out of throwing out all preconceptions and letting opportunities reveal themselves.
If the team can adopt the right mindset, Andrew Reise finds most clients benefit from starting with future state first. This involves a collaborative effort with employees across many departments, customers and outside industry experts. It helps to incorporate customer research and even personas, as well as ensuring a solid understanding of the corporate strategy and brand promise.
We also advise to not only focus on the interactions a customer will have with your company, but to examine the entire customer ecosystem to understand what may influence them. For instance, what are their trusted sources? Where do they look for information? Is there a channel preference? Any big events in the customer’s life? This helps to understand how the company fits into a customer’s life and therefore how companies can best meet expectations.
The Andrew Reise clients that have been through this process say it is an eye-opener regarding how companies can intentionally design to better connect with a customer. In his report, Costa cites Joe Piette, Andrew Reise Consulting Vice President of CX, who says, “Certain details didn’t sink in until [senior-level leaders] heard it directly from customers.”
Besides enabling a market-differentiating CX, journey mapping also can be the foundation for future strategic decisions. It provides the insights that enable you to innovate organization-wide instead of operating in a constant state of triage.
There are tremendous benefits to future state journey-mapping, and if you haven’t already started, you may be missing out on some big opportunities. To stir your thoughts more, we’re offering a complimentary download of a recent Forrester research report, “Start Innovating With Future-State Journey Mapping” (Forrester Research Inc., Feb. 2015).