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‘Customer journey mapping’ is a widely accepted practice for customer experience teams right now as they seek consistency across all channels and touchpoints.

According to McKinsey, you should “(pay) attention to the complete, end-to-end experience customers have from their perspective. (Do not) focus on individual interaction touchpoints devoted to billing, onboarding, service calls, and the like. A customer journey spans a progression of touchpoints and has a clearly defined beginning and end.”

An accurate customer journey map realigns focus from touchpoints to journeys, enabling you to optimize each customer interaction from initial engagement with your company to purchase and – beyond that – to brand advocacy. Sounds good in theory.

But as I explained in my previous blog, the reality is most are struggling to create a frictionless and enriching customer experience throughout the journey. As Forrester notes: while almost three-quarters of companies aim to be CX leaders in their industry or across all industries and 63% map customer experiences, only 25% of CX professionals say that their companies’ CX programs actually improve CX.

Customer journey maps are not currently achieving their goals

What does this tell us? That most customer journey maps are not currently achieving their intended results.

However, companies are becoming increasingly innovative in their efforts to improve – with a number of trends evident among industry leaders. Here, I briefly explore three emerging trends companies are tapping into to optimize their customer journey maps.

Trend 1: Incorporating Voice of Employee
What it is: Gathering feedback from your own employees about your customer journey and building this into your mapping processes.

Why it’s important: Listening to your Voice of your Employees (VoE) can help you deliver great customer experiences.

Your employees provide insight from a unique vantage point. They serve on the frontlines and are an integral part of the customer journey.

Key stat: 77% of companies that collect employees’ insights on customer issues do so sporadically (Forrester)

Trend 2: Future-state journey mapping
What it is: Predicting new customer experiences and making these an integral part of your journey mapping approach. Stages tend to focus on optimization and differentiation (as opposed to repair and elevate) and the process typically involves collaboration across departments, customers and industry experts.

Why it’s important: Future-state journey mapping focuses on envisioning the future to create innovative experiences, find new areas of customer value and reassess how best to engage with your customers.

By reinventing and conceiving new customer experiences, you have the opportunity to deliver a pioneering and trend-setting CX that delights and wows your customer.

Key stat: Just 26% of companies currently have a future-state journey map (Forrester)

Trend 3: Incorporate real-time Voice of Customer
What it is: Leveraging the insight obtained by listening and engaging with your customers as they navigate their way through their journey to inform your customer journey mapping processes.

Why it’s important: To provide an enriching CX with limited resources as the number of channels available to your customers continues to rise, you need to turn each touchpoint throughout the journey into a listening post that captures critical customer-specific information.

An effective Voice of Customer (VoC) program provides the insight to not only improve the accuracy of the research and design aspect of your mapping process, but also makes maintaining and updating your customer journey maps over time easier. The result is a far more dynamic and agile approach across multiple channels in real-time. By actively listening to customers, encouraging them to be a part of the process and then taking action on what they tell you, you increase loyalty and advocacy while continuously fine-tuning the customer experience you offer to ensure it reflects what your customers want.

Furthermore, an effective VoC strategy enables you to troubleshoot problems, understand trends, pinpoint solutions and share discoveries across the organization without workshops, emails, or focus groups. In other words, it can save time, money, resources and energy, all while making customers feel truly heard and appreciated across every channel and touchpoint.

Key stat: 31% of CMOs say they are able to provide better customer experiences, largely due to the accessibility of customer intelligence data (VentureBeat)

If you’d like to read more about this topic, check out the OpinionLab Strategy Guide: “The Future of Customer Journey Mapping: Six emerging trends to inform how you chart CX.”

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