02.02.2022 5 min reading

Customer journey mapping: understanding the customer is the key to success

Today, customer experience is undoubtedly the focus of attention for companies. Many statistics show that consumers value experience more than price.

As a result, companies are focusing on customer experience as a differentiator. The question is "how do you build Customer Excellence (CX) initiatives that deliver results?" The answer lies in the approach. Too often, companies take an "inside-out" approach focused on optimizing internal processes. This approach fails to take into account external factors, including radical changes in customer behavior and expectations, such as the growing demand for digital experiences.

The pandemic has accelerated these market changes, raising the stakes for business transformation. Digital-only and consumer-facing brands have not only challenged many sectors with lower prices and additional services, they have filled a need and solved problems that traditional brands were not even aware of. Many of these brands have engaged in open dialogue with their customers on a wide range of issues, from the provenance of raw materials to new products and features. This has shifted the focus from selling a product to understanding and solving customer problems. As a result, consumers expect more from all brands - more personalisation, more convenience, more value and more control over their interactions with companies or their customer journey. They are digitally savvy and easily switch brands if a company no longer meets their needs, preferences or takes too long to respond to their issues in their customer journey. To win in this ever-changing market, companies must not only ensure operational excellence with their customers, but also focus internally on their customers. According to a 2021 MIT study, companies that improved their customer experience and operational excellence saw their net profit margin increase by 19.3% compared to other players in their industry. Focusing solely on one or the other is not enough. 

In a study of more than 1,500 companies conducted over four years by MIT, companies that transformed both their customer experience and operational efficiency increased their net profit margin by 19.3% compared to their industry average (source: MIT CISR) 

Customer journey mapping allows you to gain the perspective of your customers and allows you to develop empathy and understanding of them. By connecting the customer journey to your internal processes, you can develop a transformation guide and become the customer-centric company your customers want to see. A better understanding of your customers translates into improved business, and even new products and services. For example, Thinx started the debate about what seemed to be a taboo subject and invited consumers to improve women's underwear during their periods. The product was almost secondary to the way the company responded to a need for a more open conversation about women's underwear. These conversations subsequently led to product improvements and new product lines, including urine leakage underwear which was launched under the Icon brand in 2015. In 2018, Iconundies.com accounted for 25-30% of Thinx's total revenue, according to what the company said on CNBC's Make It. With customer journey mapping, you'll discover how to keep your customers happy, whether it's improving the current customer experience or solving a new problem they're having. This paper highlights the added value of customer journey mapping. It is not limited to customer-facing teams but is relevant to your entire organization. We will share examples and provide a step-by-step guide on how to get started.


Customer journey mapping improves sales performance 


Customer journey mapping reduces costs, increases sales and improves customer and employee satisfaction. Companies that adopt an outside-in perspective have delivered 150% shareholder return and increased sales by 134% in 6 years. Through customer journey mapping, you can create a model of how current steps match up with internal processes. You can then evolve these processes to match an optimal customer journey. This allows you to identify and prioritise the processes that need to be changed. Your customer journey map becomes your guide to transforming yourself into a business that delivers value and convenience to your customers. In turn, your business benefits from increased customer loyalty and growth. Even small changes can have a big impact. The human resources manager at Jet Blue made headlines when he and his team handed out donuts and water to people waiting in line. The distribution of food and water was a small gesture. However, it did address the complaint of customers stuck in the queue. Customer journey mapping can also help companies focus resources on higher value or higher risk customers. One airline used predictive insights to respond to delays and cancellations. McKinsey & Company states that: "By basing these actions on customer sentiment and predictive outcomes, the airline was able to focus its efforts more effectively on the customers they were most likely to lose and achieved an 800% increase in customer satisfaction and a nearly 60% decrease in potential customer losses.

Customer journey mapping allows you to put yourself in the customer's shoes, follow different personas, and understand what makes them tick (or annoyed) at each stage. With these insights, you can make small changes that will bring big results and create momentum for the more complex process changes you may need to really impress your customers.


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