“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.” That’s what Elbert Hubbard, an American writer, artist and philosopher, said more than 100 years ago, when the world was still in the manufacturing era and long before the fast pace of today’s digital age.
His words are more than applicable today, especially if a company is challenged to respond quickly to increased competition and changing customer demands. If that’s the case, customer journey mapping can help the company improve the customer experience, build brand loyalty, and become a market leader.
The power has shifted from companies to customers, who have the ability to easily compare products and switch brand loyalty at the click of a mouse. This increases pressure to innovate faster and deliver the best customer experience — better than one offered by the competition.
But, it is not always easy to enlist executive support for the initiatives that will benefit the company the most. How can you persuade your executives that investing in customer journey mapping may be the smartest decision they make this year?
Here are five steps can help build the case to improve the customer experience through customer journey mapping:
1. Define where you want to go
What are the most important goals for your company today, in six months, in a year, etc? Does your company:
- understand how your buyers expect to interact with your company
- know the reasons why customers leave during the purchase cycle
- meet fast-changing customer needs by adjusting your business processes quickly
- go to market quickly with new products geared to what buyers want
What will your company’s customer base look like in the future? How do your executives define success with customers and how do they measure it?
Each stakeholder may define success differently. Various metrics … saving money, saving time, increasing revenues, reducing risks … may have a different value for each stakeholder. If you translate the value you see in transformation via customer journey mapping into the benefits each stakeholder appreciates, it’s easier to gain approval for a company-changing initiative.
2. Define where you are
In order to better communicate the value customer journey mapping can provide to your company, it is important to consider some of the better known concerns customers have expressed.
What are the major business challenges that your company faces?
- a high number of potential customers who abandon the buying process before they complete a purchase
- customers who don’t return for repeat purchases and customer ratings that are low in surveys and on social media
- interaction with customers that is handled by many siloed business units within the company
When you clearly define your challenges related to customer interactions, you can also define precisely how customer journey mapping can used to support the resolution of each one. Additionally, it is important to highlight the value of using customer journey mapping to uncover unknown challenges customers face.
3. Identify your decision makers and stakeholders
It’s important to identify all of your stakeholders and find out what matters most to each of them.
For example, your call center, web sales team, mobile app and customer support unit may engage with the same customer in completely different ways. But the buyer wants a seamless, personalized experience each time, which is only possible with a well-defined and designed customer experience that transcends department lines.
The board and shareholders want to see healthy, steady sales and revenue growth while recognizing that the expense of continuously seeking new customers has grown too high. Without knowing the characteristics of repeat buyers and one-timers, the company can’t target new customer segments that are most likely to become brand loyal.
What is priceless to each of your stakeholders?
4. Create your value statements
Many try to pitch an idea within the company by framing it in what they see as the most important benefit to their role, while budget decision makers really want to understand how it will advance business goals.
How about using benefit statements in a new way to increase your success in getting buy-in from your budget decision makers? Begin with what matters most to them, then let them decide how much more detail they want on advantages that are created for different roles within the company.
Using your company’s challenges, goals and strategies, create your value statement for your decision makers and stakeholders, using the stakeholder benefit based approach.
5. Demonstrate the value of customer journey mapping and ways to measure it
Some executives measure their company’s success in terms of enterprise value: sales revenue growth, profit margin, earnings per share. Others dive deeper and look closely at value by business unit, market share or customer retention.
However your company determines the value of investments, every budget request will be compared with others. Not all will be approved, so often the decision is made based on which ones can be expected to deliver the most value to the company. Then it is even more important to show that the value of customer journey mapping can be measured and demonstrated.
Some of the benefits of customer journey mapping that can be estimated may include:
- lower customer acquisition costs
- increase sales and profits through better brand loyalty
- higher customer satisfaction ratings – communicated through social media
- reduced time-to-market for new products
- more efficient and less expensive business processes related to customer interactions
- improved competitive position in the market
- increased customer privacy and data protection
Putting it all together
With a good grasp on company goals, challenges, what’s important to your stakeholders, a way to share the value of customer journey mapping, and how it can help your company achieve its digital transformation goals, you can build a business case for customer journey mapping and help your company move confidently into the future.