Map customer journey touchpoints for better UX

If you're trying to increase customer satisfaction scores or improve the image of your IT department or service department, check out customer journey mapping as a means to that end.

Customer service and customer journey mapping can provide a complete view of your services and their quality, and may help you improve your end users' experiences and improve customer satisfaction scores.

The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Service Management 2018

What is customer journey mapping?

A customer journey review is about understanding the service you provide to those you serve, from the point of view of a customer. While there are many ways to do this, you must start with the development of several user personas.

Personas are essentially different categories of "typical" customers. These personas provide you the opportunity to understand different perspectives—simple, but effective. Once you have created these customer profiles, touch points and experiences become easier to map.

How to map out your customer journeys

The aim here is to plan big while starting small. Likely the best thing to do is to examine the most common customer journey in IT service management—usually a customer who wants a solution for a disruption. Map it out with one or two customers and find where there may be opportunities for improvement.

Keep in mind, though, that mapping only one customer journey is not enough to gain anything meaningful from this experience. Customer journeys are plentiful and, to improve your customer experience, you must track many of them.

Do so by capturing every experience of your customers, from looking for an answer to quote requests, order placement, or even the changes in an employee's role or contact details. Don't forget one of the most important journeys: onboarding a new customer.

And remember, a customer journey is made up of multiple contact encounters.

[ Special Coverage: Focus on IT Service Management at Fusion 18 ]

What does a customer journey look like?

A customer journey can look different based on the customer. For example, a customer reviews the online knowledge base in search of an answer to a question. If the answer is not found in the knowledge base, then he or she accesses your online portal, at which point the service desk requests more information via an email.

The customer follows up with an email, but the answer is incomplete. Thus, the service desk representative calls the customer to ask about the problem. From that call, a solution is identified and emailed to the user, but the solution doesn't work for that specific problem. The back-and-forth problem solving continues via chat, and the question is finally answered.

Another customer may only go through one or two of those steps to arrive at an answer.

Keep in mind that all the moments of interaction form the customer journey. Your customer might consider this as smooth as some of your other processes, or a bit clumsier.

You need to optimize the customer journey. To do this, work with leaders from all departments involved and keep the customer experience in focus. After all, customers don't care which department they talk to; they just want their journey to be quick, comfortable, and effective.

From touch points to journeys

Individual interactions in a customer journey are more commonly called touch points. But optimizing touch points can mean that service providers become very focused on managing individual interactions and trying to improve customer experience based on these points, such as asking for feedback after the customer contacted the service desk, for example. This helps, of course, but there is more work to do.

In the end, your customers don't care about a specific touch point. When your customers look back on the service provided, they care about all of the touch points together—the entire journey.

Your job is to determine the outcomes of all the experiences combined. To capture your customers' thoughts, ask for feedback at the end of the journey. If, for example, customers searched hours in vain for a solution in the online knowledge base, that's a pretty clear indication that something needs to be improved.

Customer touch points

Customer touch points are essentially, by definition, any interaction your customer has with your business, from initial contact through resolution. Identify interactions from a number of sources, including emails, phone calls, and waiting times, and dig into any records of interactions your customers have with you.

Each of these channels can provide you with much-needed insight into how your customers feel about working with you and how you may, or may not, have served their needs.

Each interaction ultimately contributes to their journey, with every touch point playing an important role in the overall customer satisfaction score. Consider every possible correspondence and how the customers feel about that specific interaction. What's the reaction on their end, and what can you do to improve it?

How to create a customer journey

When creating a customer journey, it is important to decide what you want your customer to experience. This is the foundation for subsequent experience mapping. Steps toward creating a customer journey include:

  1. When plotting the journey, start with a descriptive name and outline the expectations your customer would have for this journey.
  2. Outline and describe the touch points. Consider all the possible interactions.
  3. Plot how customers might react to each touch point and attach emotions accordingly (happy, angry, satisfied).
  4. Finally, identify where improvements must be made and how you will make them.

Hopefully, these actions will propel your experiment forward and allow you to begin improving your customers' experiences and to fix some of your least effective customer service experiences. It may be worth considering working with your colleagues to decide how you want to improve and discuss why specific changes will benefit everyone.

Customer experience mapping provides you the opportunity to identify and resolve potential issues faced by customers in their journey with your organization. Process improvement takes time, but helps you to ensure meaningful change that will contribute to improved customer journeys.

Want to know more? During my presentation, "The Workforce Awakens: 3 Insights that Unleash the Potential of Your Workforce," at the Fusion18 conference in St. Louis, I'll talk more about the customer journey and how to motivate your employees to enhance your customers' experiences. The conference runs from September 30 to October 3, 2018. TechBeacon readers receive a $200 discount by registering with promo code TECH18.