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Annette Franz

Customer Care

Have You Digitized Your Journey Map?

Nothing changes if nothing changes

Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 12:02

In the past, I’ve written about some of the myths of journey mapping. One of those myths is: Without a digital mapping platform, I can’t even begin to map. Let me explain my position.

You probably know by now that I’m an advocate of digitizing your maps, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it checks the box for the basic tenets of mapping, including that maps must be:
• Created collaboratively, with customers and with other stakeholders
• Shared with the employees who impact the journey that was mapped
• Updated to always reflect the current state of the experience
• Communicated by using them as onboarding and training tools for your organization
• Brought to life with data and artifacts
• Validated by customers, if you started with assumptive maps
• Actionable, meaning they must include enough detail and data to not only truly understand what’s going well and what’s not, but to also be able to identify the moments of truth

Let me go back to the myth for a moment: Without a digital mapping platform, I can’t even begin to map.

You absolutely can map without a digital platform; as a matter of fact, I often like to start my journey-mapping sessions with butcher paper and sticky notes because it gets people out of their seats and involved; up and thinking; and collaborating, questioning, and learning. It’s more of a design-thinking, creative approach.

But you can’t stop there. I think this is often why maps fail. Digitizing your maps makes all of those basic tenets possible. Some digital platforms offer features that allow you to assign ownership and to develop actions plans to ensure accountability for making improvements and driving change. No more maps rolled up under your desk or stored in a closet! Of course, you must take that step to transfer from analog to digital, but that's fairly straightforward.

I’m often asked about journey-mapping platforms: which one to use, capabilities to consider. Think about what you want your platform to be able to do. Here are just some of the questions you should be asking:
• Is it flexible, allowing you to adjust the columns and the swim lanes?
• Can you map actual customer steps, not just stages and touchpoints?
• Does it allow you to capture not only what the customer is doing but also what the customer is thinking and feeling?
• Can you display the persona for which you are mapping right there with the map?
• Are you able to bring data into the map? Is it connected to or integrated with a voice-of-the-customer platform or a customer relationship management system?
• Are you able to analyze the maps and prioritize moments of truth within the platform?
• Does it help you take the map from tool to process?
• Can you assign tasks and owners?
• Does it allow you to create action plans?
• Is it collaborative? Can others view/edit the maps?
• Does it have validation capabilities, often in the form of an integrated online community platform or survey platform?
• Can customers add comments, video, or pictures to help bring the journey to life?

Regarding which one to use, here are a couple of informative sources to help you get started:
Customer Journey Mapping Software Review by Genroe
Top Customer Journey Mapping Tools: 50 Useful Software Tools to Map and Visualize Your Customer Journey and Improve the Customer Experience by NGDATA
The Forrester Wave: Journey Visioning Platforms, Q4 2018

An important thing to note: Just because you’ve mapped doesn’t mean you’re done. The map is really just the beginning. It should be detailed enough to help you understand the current-state experience and to identify what’s working and what’s not. From there, you must do the work. You have to conduct root cause analysis, prioritize moments of truth, design the future state experience, test the new experience, and fail fast. Do it again.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. Get mapping!

“Man is always inclined to be intolerant toward the thing, or person, he hasn’t taken the time adequately to understand.”
—Robert R. Brown

First published Feb. 13, 2019, on the CQ Journey blog.


About The Author

Annette Franz’s picture

Annette Franz

Annette Franz, CCXP is founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc. She’s got 25 years of experience in both helping companies understand their employees and customers and identifying what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and the overall experience – so that, together, we can design a better experience for all constituents. She's an author (she wrote the book on customer understanding!), a speaker, and a customer experience thought leader and influencer. She serves as Vice Chairwoman on the Board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), is an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council, and is an Advisory Board member for CX@Rutgers.