Customers nowadays expect a consistently positive experience when interacting with companies, products and services. If organizations really desire to meet or exceed these expectations, they need to rethink and adapt the outside-in perspective. In other words, they need to walk in their customer’s shoes and understand how they are really experiencing the customer journey and what they are feeling at each transactional touchpoint.
Customer journey maps are an indispensable tool for this emotional record and have largely established as a corporate standard. They are often the starting point of implementing a strategic Customer Experience Management as well. What at first glance feels like an analog brownboard and workshop concept can perfectly be implemented virtually by utilizing collaboration software. This approach is intriguing for companies with distributed teams and more relevant than ever when collaboration includes homeoffices.
Customer journey mapping one of the first steps towards customer centricity
A customer journey map summarizes the customer experience from the first contact with a product or service throughout the entire usage process. It identifies the key brand touchpoints and enriches them with emotional assessments from the customer’s perspective. Decision-makers gain valuable insights into the emotional customer experience at each touchpoint or whether there are any dropouts due to negative factors like e.g. downtimes of a landing page or long loading times of an online form. In particular, a deeper understanding of touchpoints and customer emotions provides important conclusions about brand perception. Based on these insights, CX teams can work with all departments responsible for a touchpoint to develop improvements. In this way, customer journey mapping helps to put aside one’s own “inside-out” process thinking and put oneself in the customer’s “outside-in” perspective.
Virtual customer journey mapping helps liberating insights from silos
Virtual customer journey mapping is a proven approach that enables all responsible departments to collaborate on the CXM project, regardless of their location. Keep in mind: Customer journeys do not take into account the internal silos of a company.
Let’s have a look at an example journey like “consumer orders a product online”. The user has different touchpoints: the inspirational campaign mail, the landing page, the order form, the delivery process. However, these touchpoints might be managed by different departments such as Marketing or E-Com Operations.
A virtual customer journey mapping workshop allows a holistic analysis of customer journeys and the realization of mutual improvements.
Specialized customer journey mapping software supports that approach. These tools enable collaborative working, as all journey templates are optimized for screen sharing and real-time collaboration between multiple teams.
Advanced Journey Mapping software is much more database-based and provides dynamic and flexible visualizations and sustainable KPI data connections alike – far beyond what templates in Excel, PowerPoint or flat file whiteboard sharing tools can provide. The latter are a quick solution, but usually a flash-in-the-pan, as they are not interconnected and don’t provide structural references. Datasbase-based solutions include emotional journeys, images and storyboards.
Optionally, automatically extracted journeys (via Process Mining) can be compiled with touchpoints, personas, issues management and feedback data using drag & drop. And with various views such as Storyboard or Swimlane, users can adapt the journey view to their requirements with just a few clicks.
Before you get started with your virtual customer journey mapping workshop, some preparations are helpful:
- Make sure all participants have video and screen sharing / video conferencing software installed.
- Take care that all participants have access to sufficient bandwidth. Running multiple tools in parallel can cause latency.
- Each participant requires a headset and a webcam.
- Since the entire team works collaboratively, using the conferencing tool’s chat channel to share ideas, drafts etc. is recommended.
- For breakout sessions, at least two virtual conference rooms should be available in parallel and without time lapse.
- Working with two monitors (Laptop + external screen) is highly recommended for the collaborative editing (like with the analog brownboard, maps need some space)
- Even if all participants could technically edit the journey mapping software simultaneously, it has proven practical, to assign one or two editors, while having everyone else contributing by following the shared monitor
- You should define and assign the following roles: Who is the timekeeper? Who is the Host, sharing her/his screen?
With these best practices and the right software solutions, companies are well prepared for virtual customer journey mapping. This approach allows decision-makers to work across departments for improving customer experience and enhancing the importance of a customer-centric thinking in their organization.
You want to know more about Customer Journey Mapping? This guideline will help you to get started with this methodology and provides you with helpful best practices.