Customer journey management is one of the best methods an organization can use to continuously improve customer experience, or CX.
Unfortunately, many teams stop at just customer journey mapping, leaving them with one of two problems:
- Either they end up with a pretty picture that doesn’t drive meaningful action, or
- They have an initial burst of success, but then struggle to sustain and accelerate that success over time.
How do you avoid these all-too-common outcomes? Establish a disciplined approach to customer journey management.
What is customer journey management?
Customer journey management is the discipline of understanding, planning, implementing, and optimizing a portfolio of journey maps to generate value-building enhancements to the customer experience.
Journey management keeps an organization focused on active enhancement and refinement of the journey by assigning tasks, owners, and deadlines to various touchpoints.
Through this practice, the organization and individuals are held accountable for continuous improvement, allowing your brand to deliver the experience customers expect.
Put another way, customer journey management helps an organization remain on track as it transitions from the ‘Current State’ CX to the ‘Future State’ CX. As your consumers’ expectations grow and change, your picture of the future state should, too, always be adapting.
From journey mapping to journey management
Throughout our time as CX consultants, there have been countless occasions where we’ve looked around the landscape of customer experience methodologies and wondered why we’re not talking more about customer journey management.
We’ve seen a lot about customer journey mapping and how to visualize those maps, but nearly all conversations presume that those journey maps are the final outcome. The truth is, mapping your customer journey doesn’t have a completion date.
A journey map is a powerful tool for an organization to determine how their processes meet (or fail to meet) customer needs at each step in the journey.
If your organization has done this, that’s fantastic! It’s a crucial early stage in discovering how customers are interacting with your brand. Do your due diligence by asking yourself the following:
- Do your journey maps connect within a shared structure, or are they disparate pieces that sprawl in different directions?
- Are you performing maintenance on your journey maps to reflect changes and improvements in the business?
- Do you develop action plans and assign owners to address pain points in your customer journeys?
If you uncovered any gaps in your internal processes in answering these questions, you’re certainly not alone. The good news is there are clear next steps for moving forward.
CX success happens when your journey maps aren’t just sitting on a shelf, but are actively used to identify new ways to meet customer goals and objectives. Customer journey management does just that by helping your organization stay on top of customer issues and optimizing the journey on an ongoing basis.
Journey Management as a Core Element of Customer Experience Management
At Material, we approach every mapping project with an eye toward enabling clients to master ongoing journey management so they can get value from the practice long after we’re gone.
One element of this process is helping you build what we call a “Journey Atlas”. Think of the atlas as the ‘map of maps’ used to stay aligned across your portfolio of customer journeys.
Another key element is the methodology or approach the organization will align around to practice journey management. We have a standardized process for customer journey management, but every organization needs to adapt the methodology to fit its unique environment, culture, and resource plans.
The last vital element is developing the internal knowledge, skills, and resources to actually do the work in practice.
Once you have a cohesive portfolio of maps, journey mapping is a routine process that provides your brand with a direct link to acting on optimizations for your customer journeys. In turn, this creates positive outcomes for both your customers and your organization.
Journey mapping is an essential initial step in improving customer experience, but remember — driving lasting change requires a commitment to journey management.