Customer Journey Mapping: An Art or a Science? Part 1

By Ian Williams

CX (Customer experience) is the real deal. Organisations are now beginning to realise that CX is one of the very few ways in which they can truly differentiate themselves from their competitors. In fact, in a survey undertaken by Gartner in 2014, 89% of marketers stated that they expect to compete primarily on the basis of CX by the year 2016.

Is CX a completely new concept?

Although it has only really been taken seriously within the past 15 years, many of the aspects and practices found within CEM (Customer Experience Management) go back a lot, lot further. These include customer research, customer satisfaction and loyalty, to name but a few. In fact, anyone who has read my previous blogs will appreciate that, in my opinion, CEM is what marketing (or certainly strategic marketing) should always have been.

Time…

However there were always a few key concepts that the marketers missed. The most important of these is chronology. The concept of time – principally in the form of a journey map – is a central tenet of CEM. You could go as far as to argue that time is the most important aspect of all.

But if journey mapping is such an important element of CX, how come there isn’t one commonly understood way of mapping a customer journey? Search online for the term ‘Customer Journey Mapping’ and you will be presented with hundreds of different examples, all of which are subtly – and sometimes radically – different from each other. So, which approach is the right one to go with? Or at least which one is going to deliver the results you are looking for?

In this blog, we will be looking at some of the key considerations, discussing what a journey map is …and isn’t; key elements and the pros and cons of different approaches. Take a walk with me…

The origins of customer journey mapping

The roots of journey mapping probably began with the concept of the customer lifecycle, which to all intents and purposes, is the journey of the customer at the very highest level. Typically, the customer lifecycle represents the relationship between the customer and the brand throughout the customer’s life – from the very first time they hear about the brand, right through to their very last interaction, be that direct or indirect. If a brand is a promise of what is to come, then the brand is the expectation against which the real experience is measured.

The customer lifecycle goes beyond direct or transactional interactions. For example, I love Aston Martin cars. I have never driven or owned an Aston Martin and I may never do. However that doesn’t stop me admiring and talking about them. I am part of that groundswell of enthusiasm for the brand that keeps it in demand, exclusive and expensive. I still have a form of relationship with Aston Martin.

You could even argue that the customer lifecycle goes beyond the human lifecycle. Brands play an extremely important role in this. The example I always use to demonstrate …read more

Read more here:: B2CMarketingInsider

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