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Making Journey Mapping Work for You: Interview with AMS Customer Experience Innovation Expert John Burns

Let’s start at the beginning. What is journey mapping?

Journey mapping is a way to identify all the touchpoints you have with your customers, across all channels, and encompassing the entire purchase cycle: awareness, investigation, purchase and the post-sale experience. They include where you lose customers and where they go instead. They’re obviously very valuable, but what’s often missing is that maps are a piece of the overall customer experience. You must understand what customers want in the experience to identify what to change to make that experience distinctive – and make them want to buy from you and remain loyal.

making journey mapping actionableCould you talk more about journey maps and the customer experience?

Customer journeys are part of an overall experience that customers want. It’s critical to understand the functional, experiential and emotional aspects of the journey – and the experience – customers want, and that you must get right, to develop a truly distinctive experience. What are customer priorities, and what are the moments that matter that you can’t get wrong. It’s not just the map. It’s these insights that make a journey map actionable.

You mentioned moments that matter. Could you talk about those?

Moments that matter are key moments in a customer journey where sales are won or lost, loyalty is strengthened or weakened. It could be as simple as finding what you want on the website quickly and easily – or not finding it and never going back and making a purchase somewhere else. Or it could be a telephone VRU with a menu that works for you and has what you need, rather than having to wait to talk to a person and be on hold for 45 minutes to maybe get a resolution or answer.

Are there particular techniques that work better or should be used for journey maps?

It begins with excellent qualitative research using best practices like our methods at Applied Marketing Science. You need to understand the process, and all the elements of the process that are important to the experience all along the way. But quantitative assessments of the customer journey are lacking. We do them, but many companies do not. Where are you losing customers and in what magnitude, and where are they going when you lose them, or gain them from another source, such as if they leave a competitor and visit your website, physical store or call you. People at MIT Sloan like Glen Urban with his Sprinter Models were doing fabulous work on this 40 years ago, but it’s not done as much and that’s a loss.

What advice do you have for those looking to understand customer journeys?

Begin with good qualitative. Keep it exploratory. Don’t just identify the steps, but understand the experience. Look for segments, because different types of customers have different preferences. And, if you can, look to quantify the process so you know where and why you’re losing customers.

Learn more about journey mapping at our upcoming free webinar, “More than a Map: Making Customer Journey Mapping Actionable”, hosted by AMS journey mapping expert John Burns.

Customer Experience Journey Mapping

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