9 Elements for Mapping the Customer Journey

By Andrew Stevens

Quadient was recently involved in a study on the use of customer journey mapping (CJM), surveying customer experience professionals from around the globe who work in a wide range of industries—including financial services and banking. When asked about specific key elements of CJM, the participants’ responses provided several eye-opening insights.

First, the survey was able to wrap some numbers around the assumption that firms engaging in CJM exercises are ultimately improving the customer experience:

  • 71% of respondents reported seeing an increase in customer satisfaction.
  • 53% experienced an increase in net promoter score.
  • 48% saw a drop in customer complaints.
  • 40% reported a reduction in customer churn.

Perhaps most significantly, however, it appears the greatest direct benefit of CJM is not strictly for customers, but also for marketers. That’s because CJM can provide a fact-based, documented look at how customers do business with an organization. It can also point toward the types and channels of communication that work most effectively—and which ones customers may not find as useful and attractive.

The often intimate relationship banks build with clients over time requires a high level of trust. Knowing your clients and their needs is fundamental, and CJM can support this kind of knowledge and understanding. However, to be truly useful, customer journey maps need to include the following nine elements:

  1. A profusion of detail that has been proven and validated

Customer journey maps are only useful when they are based on legitimate data and insights. The more detail you have, the more useful they become. Your maps should capture details of the customer relationship from first interactions—such as, when a customer visits a bank or a website, or requests information—all the way through opening an account, taking out a loan or mortgage and following the ongoing touchpoints of every customer journey. There will be more than one path, and many customers will engage with you in a variety of ways.

  1. Inclusion of qualitative and external data

When you capture data and information, it’s important that you aren’t relying on only transactional information or data that comes through your IT systems or databases. Observe and listen to and your customers carefully, and incorporate the insights you might gain from customers’ interactions and touchpoints with competitors and other organizations.

  1. A single, flexible, digital view of all of your efforts

Your customer journey maps should aggregate the results of all of your efforts across web, mobile, in-person, social marketing and sales. This allows you to effectively coordinate your communication efforts.

  1. A searchable view of individual journeys in real time, over time

Although marketing segments remain useful, it’s more powerful to be able to engage individual customers based on their unique journeys in real time over their lifecycle of engagement. Your customer journey maps should let you visualize each journey in a broad context that includes the lens/personas, touchpoints and goals, feelings and sentiments, satisfaction, outcomes and insights. Compare it against other customers and take action when needed.

  1. A way to “pop the bubble” of assumptions

CJM might surprise you, and certainly it should help in breaking down any assumptions you may have about customer experience. As such, it should offer you a means to understanding why non-customers prefer your competitors.

  1. Deep integration with other systems

Your customer journey maps cannot operate well in isolation. They need to be integrated with other IT systems, including your customer communications management (CCM) platform and also customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Your tools should be digital to allow you to add all types of information, including documents or media.

  1. Shareability and accessibility

Customer journey maps are more powerful when all stakeholders across the organization are able to view them and fully understand their importance in order to act on the insights they offer.

  1. Customer privacy and security

Your CJM capability must respect privacy and be developed with the highest levels of security in mind. The importance of this should not be underestimated.

  1. Dynamic adaptation to changing circumstances

Customer journey maps should not be static illustrations, unchanging diagrams or an explosion of sticky notes on the wall that highlight yesterday’s personas. They need to evolve and constantly update based on current customer experiences and needs. They should give you a way of planning, testing and implementing any changes in your customer experience strategy.

Ensuring that these nine elements are part of the process will make your customer journey mapping exercise an effective one and prove its worth. When used most effectively, customer journey mapping is an important tool for bank marketers in winning and keeping customers.

Andrew Stevens is global banking specialist for Quadient, the award-winning leader in customer communications management software. With nearly two decades of experience at one of the world’s largest banks, Andrew covers all aspects of banking operations and technology with respect to customer communications management and customer experience. Email: [email protected]