Brandspeak: Why Map Your Customer Journey?

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Map Customer Journey

The following is a guest post by SAP senior director Joe Pantigoso.

There are several reasons to map out your customer journey. First, there’s the obvious reason: Mapping your customer journey can help identify opportunities to enhance your customers’ experience to build your brand and business.

Second, and maybe less apparent, it can make your life easier by giving you a way to build bridges between different groups within your company, uniting them toward a common cause.

Customer Journey to Enhance Your Customers’ Experience

If you haven’t mapped your customer journey, don’t feel bad. According to Forrester Research, “While every executive knows that customers matter, most companies simply don’t approach their interactions with customers in a disciplined way.”

A customer journey map is an important first step toward understanding that customer experience. It charts the points in a customer’s interaction with a brand. Ideally based on a combination of customer research and internal experience, this tool can provide an understanding of customers’ tasks, needs, preferred communications channels and pain points so more customer-centric decisions can be made.

And if you don’t have the budget for a research-based customer journey, a working session with internal stakeholders might be enough to create the foundation. This way, you might identify some customer pain points that could be addressed for some quick wins.

As cited in a McKinsey-authored article in the Harvard Business Review, “Organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction.”

Customer Journey for Internal Bridge Building

Additionally, creating a journey map can help foster partnership and communication between different lines of business within your company, uniting an organization behind activities that can build a more customer-centric business.

Imagine a company where the areas responsible for brand, marketing and advertising report separately from the group that manages product development and sales. In this scenario, it might not be surprising to find that the customer experience isn’t consistent. As a newlywed, for example, I went to a well-known lingerie store to buy my wife a Valentine’s present. I had images of their commercials in my head and I thought this a perfect gift for my beautiful bride (remember being first-married without kids?). But once in the store, the brand in my head from the ads didn’t match the brand in the store. And I left without a purchase, never to return.

To avoid such disconnects and customer disappointments, the way many companies work internally has to change. According to McKinsey, “Adopting a journey-centric approach allows companies to move from siloed functions and top-down innovation to cross-functional processes and empowered, bottom-up innovation.”

Keeping a company’s functional alignments while adding cross-functional working teams and processes can help in the short term. But long term, shifting organizational culture and mind-sets “to a journey orientation,” McKinsey points out, requires changing metrics and incentives, evaluating teams not just on the touchpoints they create, but on the entire, resulting customer experience.

As Disney’s former CEO Michael Eisner said, a brand is “the product of a thousand small gestures.” Mapping your customer journey can help you optimize those individual touchpoints and make it easier to build bridges within your company to create a seamless customer experience that enhances your customers’ satisfaction and increases your revenues.

Joe Pantigoso / SAP headshot


Joe Pantigoso is a Senior Director in Global Branding at SAP, a leading enterprise software company and top globally ranked brand. Read more from Joe in his series on Brand Tips for Branders.

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